Genstar, Aquiline to acquire Ascensus

Private equity firms Genstar Capital and Aquiline Capital Partners announced Monday they had entered into a definitive agreement to purchase Ascensus, a defined contribution record keeper and administrator of 529 college savings plans.

The private equity firms said the deal is expected to close during the fourth quarter, according to a joint news release. They are buying Ascensus from private equity manager J.C. Flowers & Co. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Robert Guillocheau, president and CEO of Ascensus, will remain in his leadership role, and Ascensus will retain its name, said Roberta Hess, vice president for marketing and communications at Ascensus, in an interview. Ascensus has approximately 1,500 employees, and the acquisition by the two private equity firms will help it expand. “There are plenty of opportunities for growth,” Ms. Hess said.

J.C. Flowers owned Ascensus for eight years. “They received a good return on their investment,” said Ms. Hess, declining to provide details.

Ascensus had $57.65 billion in defined contribution record keeping assets as of June 30, she added. The company has 44,901 clients with 1.7 million participants. Ascensus also is the administrator of $69 billion in more than 3.3 million 529 college savings plan accounts.

According to Pensions & Investments’ annual survey of defined contribution record keepers, Ascensus had $55.8 billion in record-keeping assets as of Sept. 30, 2014, ranking 21st in assets.

“We look forward to working with Bob and his team, providing them with support and resources to continue to build the company and expand its reach in its core markets,” Jeff Greenberg, CEO of Aquiline, said in the news release.

“Ascensus fits squarely within our approach of investing in leading businesses that provide critical tools and services to the investment management industry,” Tony Salewski, managing director of Genstar, said in the release.