AssetCo talks

Gilbert looks to offload part of £100m acquisition

Martin Gilbert
Martin Gilbert: embarked on a series of acquisitions

Martin Gilbert’s acquisition vehicle AssetCo is said to have held talks to sell part of the River and Mercantile fund management business it bought only last year.

Rival fund manager Premier Miton was approached about taking on part of the business, although the discussions were terminated this week, according to Sky News.

Premier Miton had been a contender to buy R&M last year, but lost out to AssetCo, which paid almost £100 million in shares, making it AssetCo’s biggest deal.

Mr Gilbert made his name in the City through Aberdeen Asset Management which he co-founded in the 1980s and built into a FTSE 100 company. In 2017 he merged it with Standard Life.

He left the combined business, now called Abrdn, in 2019 and as chairman of AssetCo he steered a series of fund management acquisitions in Edinburgh and elsewhere.

However, it has not been an easy journey with weak markets and poor sales of funds hitting many small active fund managers. AssetCo shares, which traded above 200p when Mr Gilbert first joined the business, have fallen to 41.5p.

In a trading update in June, AssetCo said its operations were making “steady progress” and assets under management had grown to £13.8 billion. It has received regulatory clearance to buy an Indian investment house, Ocean Dial.

AssetCo did not comment on the talks.



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