A growing number of Chinese and Japanese firms are looking to invest in overseas asset management firms, with analysts and bankers predicting Chinese companies might prove to have the bigger appetite over the next few years.
Investment bankers say that as of mid-May, companies from both countries are among the bidders still standing for the biggest money management prize on the block now: the $273 billion multimanager business of Seattle-based Russell Investments, being sold by London Stock Exchange Group PLC.
Investment bankers, who declined to be named, said Orix Corp., the Tokyo-based finance company, is bidding for Russell Investments through Robeco Group, the Rotterdam-based money manager with more than e250 billion ($279.83 billion) in assets under management. Orix acquired Robeco in 2013.
A Robeco spokesman declined comment.
In a telephone interview, Atsushi Horii, an Orix spokesman, declined to comment about Russell. But he acknowledged Orix is engaged “in a number of conversations” in pursuit of overseas money management acquisitions that can complement the Europe- and U.S.-focused business of Robeco with a presence in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
Bankers say at least one of what they believe are now fewer than 10 bidders remaining is a Chinese company, but declined to name the firm.
However, names offered up by bankers as potential bidders suggest a broad range of mainland businesses are considering asset management acquisitions now, from usual suspects such as Shanghai-based China Pacific Insurance (Group) Co. Ltd. to less obvious choices such as Shanghai-based Internet game provider Shanda Interactive Entertainment Ltd. and Haikou-based Hainan Airlines Co. Ltd.
Spokesmen for the two New York-based banks running the auction, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs & Co., declined to comment.
Bankers say that the Asia-based interest in Russell reflects broader trends.
“It's definitely fair to say both (Chinese firms and Japanese firms) are now looking outward much more,” said Ian Martin, vice chairman, Asia Pacific, in Sydney with Berkshire Capital Securities LLC, a New York-based investment banking focused on the financial services industry.