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Rating:Rydex Execs Hold a Pow-wow Not Rated 3.6 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Rydex Execs Hold a Pow-wow

Reported by Erin Kello

While Rydex officials are still not publicly discussing a possible sale, they have now confirmed the news to their own employees. The MFWire has learned that top Rydex executives called a meeting last Monday (April 9) to inform the company's employees that the sale rumors circling the company are indeed true.

Quite a few employees, however, saw the writing on the wall before that, confided an executive recruiter interviewed by The MFWire. The activity started about two weeks ago, when he saw a jump in the number of Rydex wholesalers in the market for other employment.

Dawn Kahler, vice president of corporate communications at Rydex told The MFWire that Rydex is "privately owned by the Viragh family, so it is not appropriate for them to comment on the matter", but she added that Rydex "remains business as usual, and remains committed to its customers and to bringing the highest quality products to the marketplace."

A.P. "Skip" Viragh founded Rydex in 1993 and died of pancreatic cancer a decade later in December 2003 at the age of 62. The fund firm was inherited by his trust which is controlled by his siblings, according to an industry source. Those family members tapped Goldman Sachs to help formulate a strategic plan for the company last fall.

Goldman Sachs is pushing for a "highest bidder takes all" auction. A spokesperson for Goldman Sachs said the firm had no comment on its role in the deal.

The family is weighing its options when it comes to the legacy they want to leave at the company, says a highly placed source at a rival fund shop.

If the family accepts the highest compensation offer -- which would most likely take the form of a mix of stock and cash -- they would be left with little control of the company's future. The higher price could also force the buyer to significantly cut the sales force in order to boost Rydex' $65 million EBITA by the 20 percent the deal's pricing would seem to require.

Alternatively, if the deal takes the form of an earnout,the family would likely receive less compensation but they would retain greater say in how the firm evolves.

Since last week when The MFWire reported that IXIS, Man Group and Security Benefit were the three leading bidders, another name has emerged.

One source confides that AMVESCAP could be in the hunt. An AMVESCAP purchase would come on the heels of its purchase of Powershares, making Rydex a very strategic acquisition for them. Bill Hensel, a spokesman for AMVESCAP (perhaps soon to be known as Invesco), said it is not company policy to comment on rumors and speculation.  

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