Standard Life Investments will sell its passive minority stake in European equity manager Argonaut Capital, with founder Barry Norris assuming full ownership of the firm.
The deal, which is subject to completion via a scheme of arrangement and regulatory approval, is expected to close in June, an Argonaut spokesman said. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
The £1.4 billion ($2 billion) firm was formed as a joint venture between its founders and Britannic Asset Management, which later became Resolution Asset Management, and then Ignis Asset Management. Argonaut became operationally independent from Ignis in 2012. Ignis was acquired by Standard Life Investments in 2014, which retained its passive minority stake in Argonaut.
“This ownership agreement demonstrates my belief in Argonaut and my long-term personal commitment to the business, our people and our unit holders,” Mr. Norris said in a news release.
Further, Argonaut manager Oliver Russ will join manager Liontrust, which will also acquire Argonaut's European income business.
Liontrust, with £4.8 billion in assets under management, said in a separate news release that Mr. Russ will become head of European income. As part of this deal, Argonaut will sell its £169 million European Income fund and £131 million Enhanced Income fund, to Liontrust. These strategies will continue to be managed by Mr. Russ, and, upon completion of the purchase, will be merged with two new Liontrust strategies. Terms were not disclosed. The deal is also expected to close in June.
“(Mr. Russ) will be an excellent addition to our six existing fund management teams,” said John Ions, CEO of Liontrust, in the news release. “(He) is an experienced and highly respected manager and will extend our equity income capability at a time when demand for income investing is only going to rise through increased longevity and pension freedoms.”
After completion of the deal, Argonaut will focus on its European alpha, pan-European alpha and absolution-return strategies, which account for more than £1.1 billion in assets under management.