AllianceBernstein to buy equity shop W.P. Stewart

AllianceBernstein (AB) has entered into an agreement to acquire W.P. Stewart & Co., according to Jonathan Freedman, a spokesman for AllianceBernstein. Upon completion of the acquisition, W.P. Stewart's investment strategies will be added to AllianceBernstein's equity offerings.

Under the terms of the deal, AllianceBernstein will pay W.P. Stewart shareholders $12 per share in cash and will issue to W.P. Stewart shareholders transferable contingent value rights entitling the holders to an additional cash payment of $4 per share if the assets under management in the acquired W.P. Stewart investment services reach $5 billion on or before the third anniversary of the closing. W.P. Stewart currently has about 5 million shares outstanding and about $2 billion in AUM.

The deal is expected to close in four to six months.

After the transaction closes, W.P. Stewart's investment management team will remain in place and continue to manage its investment strategies.

“Our clients want more options in concentrated strategies that can help improve alpha generation potential within their portfolios,” said Peter Kraus, CEO of AllianceBernstein in a statement. “W.P. Stewart has an impressive track record as concentrated growth managers.”

Founding partner William P. Stewart will stay on either through the end of this year or the close of the transaction, whichever comes first; at which point, he will retire from the firm.

AllianceBernstein has $444 billion in assets under management. W.P. Stewart currently manages $2 billion in U.S., global and EAFE-concentrated growth equity strategies for institutional and retail clients.