The first half of 2011 saw a continued dearth of big asset management M&A deals, but a pickup in midsize deals with between $1 billion and $10 billion in assets under management changing hands lifted the six-month tally to 58 from 54 for the year-earlier period, according to advisory firm Freeman & Co.
Two first-half deals involved the acquisition of firms with more than $30 billion in AUM, matching the year-earlier tally, but well off the pace of the full-year totals of 17 for 2009 and 11 for 2008.
In a telephone interview, Eric C. Weber, Freeman's COO, said Europe was the site of some of the biggest deals for the most recent period — including Henderson Global Investors' purchase of Gartmore and its $25.8 billion in AUM as well as Ashmore Group's acquisition of Emerging Markets Management and its $10.4 billion in AUM.
Mr. Weber said he expects M&A deals targeted at emerging markets capabilities as well as alternatives and other non-traditional asset classes to dominate activity for the second half of the year and beyond. While continued regulatory uncertainties will continue to hamper moves by big banks and insurers in Europe and the U.S., other potential buyers – including long-only money management firms and private equity firms — will have a freer hand to pursue acquisitions, he added.