Cetera to take Avantax private in $1.2 billion all-cash deal

(Reuters) -Financial advisor Cetera Financial Group will take wealth management solutions provider Avantax private after agreeing to acquire all of its issued and outstanding equity in an all-cash deal, valuing it at about $1.2 billion including net debt, the companies said on Monday.

Shareholders of Avantax common stock will receive $26.00 in cash per share, representing a 30.3% premium from the closing price on September 8.

Shares of Avantax surged 27.8% to $25.49 in premarket trading.

After the deal closure, Avantax will be a standalone business unit within the Cetera group, the statement added.

In June, investor Engine Capital LP had asked Avantax to explore strategic alternatives, including a possible sale.

Engine had said Avantax was worth much more to a larger firm than as a standalone entity, considering the company’s cost structure, pressures on profitability and tough competition.

Avantax had $83.8 billion in total client assets, as of June 30, 2023.

(Reporting by Jaiveer Singh Shekhawat in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)