A publicly traded, multiboutique asset manager is poised to buy a 41-year-old mutual fund firm near New York City. Meanwhile, the acquirer is closing another deal and releasing earnings.
| George Robert Aylward|
Virtus Investment Partners, Inc.
Yesterday, George Aylward
, president and CEO of Virtus Investment Partners, Inc.
that Hartford, Connecticut-based Virtuas has agreed to buy
Valhalla, New York-based Westchester Capital Management
]. Westchester Capital specializes in event-driven strategies like its flagship offering, the Merger Fund
, which accounted for $3.6 billion of the firm's roughly $4.3 billion in AUM as of December 31. (Virtus, by comparison, had $130.7 billion in AUM on December 31.)
Separately, yesterday the Virtus team confirmed
of their long-awaited Allianz Global Investors
deal, adopting AllianzGI's retail asset management offerings and bringing over one of its boutiques while keeping AllianzGI on as a subadvisor. Then this morning Virtus released
its Q4 2020 earnings report.
The Virtus-Westchester Capital deal comes a decade after PMs Roy Behren
and Michael Shannon
, with help from Lincoln Peak Capital Management
, bought out
Westchester Capital's retiring founder, Frederick Green
. As of Westchester Capital's most form ADV, filed last week, Shannon and Behren each indirectly owned between 25 and 49 percent of the company, while a Lincoln Peak affiliate owned between 10 and 24 percent. According to the Virtus team, Behren and Shannon are staying on after the deal (with "long-term employment agreements") and they're investing much of the money from the sale into Westchester Capital's own strategies.
The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2021. UBS
advised Virtus on the deal, while Piper Sandler & Co.
advised Westchester Capital. On the legal side, Goodwin Procter LLP
advised Virtus, while Berkowitz, Trager & Trager, LLC
and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
advised Westchester Capital.
Westchester Capital, which Green founded in 1980 and which launched its first mutual fund in 1989, now has 18 employees (not counting clerical staff), according to its form ADV. Per the Virtus statement, the Westchester Capital folks will be able to maintain their own "independent team, culture and brand identity."
Aylward lauds Westchester Capital as "the premier provider of event-driven strategies with a long, proven track record of attractive investment performance." For their part, Shannon and Behren praise Virtus as "an extraordinarily high-quality institution."
"Becoming an affiliate of Virtus will be seamless and smooth transition, giving us access to Virtus' scale, resources and efficiencies," Behren and Shannon state. "Virtus' multi-boutique model is the perfect environment to allow our portfolio team to focus exclusively on investment management and also allow our product specialist team to continue providing the information flow and manager access that our investors have enjoyed over the past three decades."
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