BOSTON - In what could be the first of an aggressive acquisition program, Shawmut Investment Advisers Inc., Boston, has agreed to form a joint money management venture with Marque Millennium Group Ltd., New York, with an option of ultimately acquiring the quantitative equity manager, said Clarke T. Blizzard, Shawmut's vice president-institutional sales and marketing.
The agreement is contingent on final details.
The potential acquisition would be the first for Shawmut Investment Advisers, a unit of Shawmut National Corp., said Mr. Blizzard.
Initially, Marque Millennium would, in the joint venture, manage assets of clients introduced to the firm through Shawmut's marketing, said Wilfred J. "Bill" Meckel II, Marque's senior managing director and chief executive officer.
Shawmut, contingent on the agreement being finalized, would have the option to buy all of Marque over the next four years. Mr. Blizzard said the price could be $15 million, although that has yet to be determined.
Millennium, founded in 1989, has $52 million under management, Mr. Meckel said.
Under the joint venture, Shawmut will create a mutual fund Marque would manage.
Marque will run as well separate account portfolios for institutional clients brought to it by Shawmut.
Marque will remain autonomous in terms of investment management under the joint venture and under a potential acquisition, although its name may be changed to something like Shawmut Millennium, Mr. Blizzard said.
Shawmut will market for the firm, although Marque would retain its own marketing as well, he added.
Other acquisitions are planned, said Mr. Blizzard.
Shawmut Investment Advisers itself has about $14 billion under management, including about $7 billion from tax-exempt clients.