M&A deals about the same, but dollars involved down

The number of money management M&A deals in the first three quarters of 2011 continues the pace set by deals in 2010, although fewer large firms are involved in deals, according to Freeman & Co.

While there have been 82 deals through the third quarter of 2011 — compared to 84 deals during the same period in 2010 — the total deal AUM is low at $692 million. During a “normal” year, total deal volume can range from $1 trillion to $2.5 trillion in AUM, according to the report.

Many significant acquisitions have been suspended because of regulatory and economic uncertainty, and divestitures of asset classes such as hedge funds and private equity have resulted in greater deal activity among managers with less than $10 billion in assets under management, according to the firm's Asset Management Focus newsletter.

Among the 82 transactions in 2011 through Sept. 30, 58 are of firms with between $1 billion and $10 billion in AUM, 15 among firms with over $10 billion in AUM.

Among the top asset management transactions as of Sept. 30 this year are Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce's acquisition of 41% of American Century Investments and its $112 billion in assets under management, and management's buyout of 27% of Mondrian Investment Partners and its $70 billion in AUM.

Eric Weber, managing director at Freeman, was unavailable for comment.