Manager M&A boom in Q1

Money manager M&A activity in the first quarter increased almost 40% from the previous quarter, with assets involved in the transactions totaling $949.1 billion. Assets rose almost 300% from the year-earlier quarter.

Twenty-four money management deals took place in the first quarter, up from 22 in the previous quarter. In the first quarter of 2016, there were 21 transactions.

There was a blockbuster deal in the U.K. with the merger of Aberdeen Asset Management Inc. and Standard Life Investments Ltd. The combined company will have more than $700 billion in assets under management.

SoftBank Group Corp. agreed to acquire Fortress Investment Group LLC for more than $3 billion, or $8.08 per share. That ended Fortress' rocky path as a listed company, which at one point in the financial crisis saw its stock price drop below $1. There were two other outbound M&A deals from Asia: HNA Capital U.S. acquired a 24.95% stake in OM Asset Management and Mitsui & Co. acquired a 20% stake in CIM Group.

During the first quarter, there were 15 deals that did not involve money managers. Among them, Blackstone Group agreed to acquire Aon's U.S. defined contribution record-keeping business and Virtu Financial made an offer to acquire trading firm KCG Holdings for $1.3 billion.

All information is based on transactions reported by Pensions & Investments' global reporting staff.

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