Amundi buys Smith Breeden for U.S. expansion

Amundi agreed to acquire Smith Breeden Associates, a fixed-income specialist with about $6.3 billion in mostly institutional assets under management, according to Michael J. Giarla, Smith Breeden's chairman and CEO.

In a bid to expand its U.S. capabilities, Paris-based Amundi plans to assume 100% ownership. Financial terms were not disclosed, and there will be no changes to Smith Breeden's investment process or personnel. Smith Breeden made its name in fundamentally driven fixed-income strategies, with about 40% of the AUM targeting mortgage-related securities.

For Smith Breeden, a global parent provides opportunities to expand its client base, Mr. Giarla said. “As a U.S.-focused fixed-income firm, we don't currently have investors on the ground outside of the U.S.,” he added.

Amundi, one of the largest managers of European credit strategies, will also allow Smith Breeden “over time to have global fixed-income offerings,” Mr. Giarla said in a telephone interview.

Pending regulatory approval, the transaction is expected to close by the end of September.

According to an Amundi spokesman, the agreed deal “offers Amundi a chance to build its U.S. expertise in a way that's complementary to existing capabilities … and provides a foothold in the U.S.” Amundi has about €750 billion ($980 billion) in AUM globally, with less than 1% sourced directly from U.S. institutional investors.