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MONEY MANAGEMENT

Unigestion to acquire Akina, roughly doubling its private equity business

Unigestion will acquire Zurich-based private equity boutique Akina, the two firms announced Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for Unigestion said financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

A joint news release by money manager Unigestion and Akina said the addition of Akina's $2.6 billion in assets under management would lift Unigestion's AUM to more than $23 billion, and boost private equity assets to about $6 billion, the second largest asset class after publicly traded equities.

Christophe de Dardel, Unigestion's head of private equity, will continue in that role. The spokeswoman said Christopher Bodtker, managing partner of Akina, will join the Unigestion investment committee and remain chairman of the Akina investment committee.

The deal is “a great opportunity to provide clients with more expertise and deeper expertise” in the small and midmarket segment of private equity, said Mr. de Dardel in a telephone interview. Unigestion already invests on a global basis, and the transaction will “multiply our expertise in the European part of that market.”

He added that Akina also already has a client base in the U.S., something Unigestion does not have. “So in that sense, our investor base is very complementary.”

Thomas Frei, a senior partner at Akina who will become head of investment solutions – private equity upon completion of the deal, said in the same interview that the “scaling” of the business and distribution opportunities offered by Unigestion were attractive. “Unigestion has a distribution force, sales force, about six times bigger than ours,” he said.

Messrs. de Dardel and Frei said they hoped the deal would complete this month, following regulatory approvals in Switzerland and Luxembourg.

The merger of the two private equity businesses would create a division with 54 investment professionals located in Geneva, Zurich, London, New York and Singapore.