GAM Holding AG has entered into discussions with French billionaire Xavier Niel’s NewGAMe SA and the Bruellan investor group, after Liontrust Asset Management Plc’s bid failed to gather enough votes.
(Bloomberg) — GAM Holding AG has entered into discussions with French billionaire Xavier Niel’s NewGAMe SA and the Bruellan investor group, after Liontrust Asset Management Plc’s bid failed to gather enough votes.
The talks are focused on agreeing short-term bridge financing and NewGAMe is starting “immediate discussions with GAM’s portfolio management teams” to better understand the business, according to a statement from GAM.
The engagement with NewGAMe opens a fresh chapter in a tumultuous period for the Swiss asset manager that began five years ago and involved the shuttering of nine funds and the dismissal of star bond trader Tim Haywood. The investor group, which controls about 9.6% of GAM’s shares, said in a statement that it welcomed the result and expects an extraordinary shareholder meeting will be organized to “renew the board.”
In May, GAM’s board agreed to Liontrust’s all-share offer worth 107 million Swiss francs ($122 million), which would have created a $66 billion global asset manager.
But only 33.64% of GAM shareholders accepted Liontrust’s offer, meaning the firm will have to walk away. Shareholders originally had until July 25 to tender their shares to Liontrust, and the London-based asset manager announced three consecutive extensions as it tried to drum up enough support.
GAM’s share were up 1.7% at 10:40 a.m. in Zurich. Liontrust’s shares rose as much as 15.7%.
GAM’s decision to accept Liontrust’s bid drew immediate opposition from some of its investors. NewGAMe, which has been the most vocal opponent, said Liontrust’s bid undervalued the company. The group also made its own partial offer for GAM, as well as bridge financing to replace loans made by Liontrust of about 20 million Swiss francs in the event the latter’s tender offer for the firm is unsuccessful.
In a separate statement on Thursday, Liontrust said it currently expects to declare the offer unsuccessful. The bid would lead to a one-off exceptional charge of not more than £11 million ($14 million), Liontrust said.
“Liontrust made a full and fair offer for GAM, which reflected the financial reality of the business and would have provided a certain and sustainable solution,” Chief Executive Officer John Ions said in the statement.
(Updates with NewGAMe statement, share prices)
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