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Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Why a 34-Year-Old Firm Picked This Buyer

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

A 34-year-old U.S. asset and wealth management firm's pending sale to a European ally to asset managers is "really a growth story."

Steve Matthew Savage
Litman Gregory Asset Management, LLC
CEO, Managing Principal
So says Steve Savage, CEO of Litman Gregory [profile]. As previously reported, Paris-based iM GLobal Partner has agreed to buy Walnut Creek, California-based Litman Gregory, and the deal is expected to close next quarter. Berkshire advised iM Global on the deal, while Raymond James advised Litman Gregry, Savage confirms.

Savage says that the deal is not about cost-cutting and notes that the two have basically no overlap in their existing infrastructure.

"There's not going to be any change to Litman Gregory's operations," Savage tells MFWire. "The change is going to be in the areas we wanted it, not in the areas we didn't want it."

Litman Gregory is currently privately owned by 16 principals, 12 of whom are still actively working with the firm. Rosemont, a private equity firm, also owns a minority stake (less than 14 percent) of Litman Gregory. Rosemont has agreed to sell its stake in Litman, but Savage confirms that Litman Gregory's principals have "healthy incentives" to stay on after the deal closes and will not be "cashing out and retiring."

"All 12 active partners will remain," Savage says.

As for choosing iM Global, Savage says the deal was "almost opportunistic."

"We didn't seek out a transaction. We came across iM Global Partners through industry contracts," Savage says. "We really took a lot of time to make sure that things that were important to us were being met."

Cultural commonalities were key to the deal, Savage says. Both firms have a "strong research focus," he adds, and an entrepreneurial perspective. 

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