Aberdeen enlarges business with two acquisitions

DealAberdeen Asset Management has paid $175 million (€130 million) in cash for Artio Global Investors, a United States-based asset manager with $14 billion under management.

Aberdeen says the deal will expand its North American business, enlarge its distribution network in the region and add to its bond investment capability, particularly in US total return and high yield bonds.

Aberdeen, which had $314 billion of assets under management at the end of 2012, is known for its emerging market coverage. Nearly 40% of the $176 billion that Aberdeen invests in equities were in global emerging markets as of the end of 2012, according to a group overview published in the first quarter. In contrast, just 1.9% was invested in US equities and 1% in European equities.

The company's fixed income portfolio displays a similar slant towards the emerging markets. A quarter of its $70 billion fixed income investments were in Asia-Pacific fixed income at the end of 2012, compared with 12% in US bonds.

Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Aberdeen, says the deal with Artio Global Investors is part of a strategy to make “infill acquisitions” that will enlarge the business.

Aberdeen also revealed it paid £17.5 million (€20 million) in cash for a majority stake in SVG Advisers, a London-listed private equity investment firm with £4 billion under management. Aberdeen says it will integrate SVG Advisers with its private equity fund of funds offering, which has £700 million under management, considerably increasing the size of the private equity operation.

Aberdeen has an option to buy the remaining 49.9% stake in SVG Advisers after three years for a price between £20 million and £35 million.

Gilbert says SVG Advisers' expertise and distribution network would help meet a rising investor demand for private equity.

“Institutional investors are increasingly looking towards alternative asset classes, including private equity, to diversify their portfolios and offer additional sources of alpha,” he says.

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