Billionaire investor George Soros disclosed a 3% stake in GAM Holding after the asset manager lost two-thirds of its value over a scandal involving a former star bond trader.
Mr. Soros, who rose to fame with a successful bet against the Bank of England in 1992, built the holding through a subsidiary of his family office, according to the local exchange. GAM rose as much as 15% in Zurich trading.
Mr. Soros' firm joins bargain hunter Mario Gabelli in taking a stake in the Swiss firm, which is still bleeding assets after suspending star bond manager Tim Haywood last year. The company has suffered about $28 billion in outflows since the scandal broke. GAM is now reviving efforts to sell itself after previous attempts stalled, people familiar with the matter said last month.
The long slump in the stock has made it a relative bargain. The company has a market value of 725 million francs ($723 million) and oversees $135 billion in assets. That means investors assign about $5 million in market value for every $1 billion the firm oversees. Janus Henderson, by comparison, trades as $12 million market value for every $1 billion in assets. At Franklin Resource, it's twice that.
GAM has gauged interest from banks, asset managers and insurers, according to the people familiar. Most of the money GAM oversees is in the low-margin private labeling business, but the company still runs about $55 billion in its own investment strategies. That includes credit, local emerging market bonds, mortgage-backed securities, catastrophe bonds and emerging markets stocks. Many of them were ranked in the top quartile by Morningstar over three years.
Credit Opportunities, managed by Anthony Smouha, and the Local Emerging Bond Fund, run by Paul McNamara, have both been hit by withdrawals after the Haywood scandal but still managed more than $15 billion combined as of the end of December.