Storebrand snaps up Skagen Funds

Storebrand_buildingStavanger-based funds firm Skagen has been bought by Oslo-based life insurer Storebrand Group for a minimum of 1.6 billion Norwegian kroners (€169 million) from Skagen shareholders.

The final sale figure will be adjusted upwards if Skagen Funds reaches financial targets over the next two years.

Skagen, some of whose funds have underperformed their benchmarks over the last three years, will retain its own identity and will be run as separate company within the group with its own board chaired by Storebrand’s chief executive Odd Arild Grefstad.

A press statement released by Skagen said there would be no change to Skagen’s investment approach and that the only difference for clients is that they would have access to a wider range of investment and savings solutions.

Skagen chief executive Øyvind Schanke said the deal would “deliver synergies that would allow the firm to develop in the best interests of clients”.

“We believe this will enable us to deliver an even better proposition and service to our clients,” he said.

“By combining the two companies’ complementary areas of expertise and with Storebrand’s strong market position and balance sheet, we will have greater ability to invest and innovate.”

Grefstad said: “As one of the leading savings providers in the Nordics, the acquisition of Skagen is an important building block in pursuing our domestic and international growth strategy.

“We look forward to benefiting from Skagen’s significant expertise in active management, direct client service and experience with international distribution.”

Founded in 1993, Skagen is particularly known for its equity and fixed income funds, including its flagship  €3.5 billion KonTiki emerging markets equities fund.

As of the end of September the firm had assets under management valued at €8.5 billion, down from €12 billion in 2014.

Oslo-listed Storebrand, which dates back to 1767, is Norway’s largest private asset manager and manages more than €60 billion for clients in Norway and Sweden.

Skagen’s selling shareholders include founders Kristoffer Stensrud, Tor Dagfinn Veen and Åge Westbø as well as a number of current and former employees.

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