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Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Harbor Could Sell By October

News summary by MFWire's editors

Watch for Harbor Capital Advisors [profile] to change hands this fall. In an update to the ongoing efforts by Rabobank's [profile] to sell its asset management arm, bids for Robeco Group NV, which also owns Chicago-based mutual fund shop Harbor, are due by mid-September, and a deal could be reached as early as October.

P&I reports that the Netherlands' largest retail bank has focused on buyers willing to bid for the entirety of Robeco. Robeco's investment management teams include two boutique asset managers in the U.S., value equities manager Robeco Boston Partners and core quantitative equity manager Robeco Weiss, Peck & Greer. Robeco Group also holds a 100 percent interest in Harbor. Robeco overall boasts $234 billion in AUM as of July 31 and could sell for more than $2 billion, according to some estimates.

Tales of the Robeco sale began on April 27, when Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad cited unnamed sources in reporting that Rabobank was planning to sell Robeco for between 1.5 billion and 2.0 billion euros as part of a strategic restructuring. The paper added that Rabobank appointed Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan as advisors on the sale. A Financial Times report on May 27, 2012, updated that news by revealing that Rabobank appointed Barclays to advise on the sale.

A year prior to news of the sale, Rabobank lost its triple-A credit rating from Standard & Poor's as the agency changed its rating system.

As part of its larger restructuring efforts, Rabobank has already begun selling off its businesses, offloading a majority stake in private Swiss bank Sarasin for SFr 1.04 billion to global private banking group Safra in November 2011. As of the April report, Rabobank was also reviewing sales of other subsidiaries, including mortgage intermediary Obvion, car lease company De Lage Landen and property unit Rabo Vastgoed.  

Edited by: Irene Park


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