"We're Just In a Better Position" For M&A
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Wednesday, May 01, 2019

"We're Just In a Better Position" For M&A

Watch for an asset manager's publicly traded parent to make a bigger M&A splash than it has in recent years.

Philip James Sanders
Waddell & Reed, Inc.
CEO, Chief Investment Officer
"While we've always been open to it, I think probably our ability to execute on that, and our appetite for that is a probably a little bit, maybe more open minded to that today than we've always been," Phil Sanders, CEO of Ivy [profile] parent Waddell & Reed, said yesterday on the firm's Q1 2019 earnings call (as transcribed by Seeking Alpha) in response to a question from Dan Fannon, managing director and research analyst at Jefferies. "We're just in a better position to execute on that and move forward."

And it sounds like asset management M&A in particular is on the table. Earlier on the call, Waddell chief financial officer Ben Clouse noted that Waddell will continue "tightly managing cash balances" to be well-positioned for the company's "organic growth plans, as well as attractive inorganic opportunities, should they become available in both the asset management and wealth management spaces."

Yesterday morning the Waddell team reported earnings of $0.42 per diluted sharing, beating estimates by $0.06. AUM rose nine percent in the quarter but fell 11 percent year-over-year to $71.7 billion on March 31, 2019. Net outflows fell from the previous quarter to $1.8 billion. Revenues fell $12.8 million from Q4 2018 and $38.2 million from Q1 2018 to $259.4 million for Q1 2019.

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