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Friday, August 04, 2006

Munder Sold in Management Buyout

Reported by Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

Comerica has found a new home for its Munder Capital arm. The Detroit bank pulled the trigger on a $302 million deal that sends the $25.1 billion asset manager to its managers and Crestview Partners, a private equity firm, in a leveraged buy out. Meanwhile, the bank is holding onto World Asset Management, Munder's quantitative and fixed income strategies unit that manages $15 billion in passive strategies.

Munder Sale Terms

Investor group consisting of Crestview Partners, Munder's management and Grail Partners will pay $302 million for Comerica's approximately 90% stake:
  • $232 million upon closing.
  • 8% interest-bearing, seven-year note with an initial principal amount of $70 million. Principal amount may be increased to a maximum of $80 million or decreased based on the level of revenues that relate to assets of Comerica clients managed by Munder.
  • Comerica obtains full ownership in World Asset Management.
Source: Comerica press release
Word that Comerica was shopping the asset manager has been circulating through the industry since April.

Grail Partners, which advised the Munder management team on the deal, will also buy a stake in the firm, while Goodwin Procter acted as their legal advisor. Crestview Partners was advised by Credit Suisse Securities (USA) and by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. The sides did not disclose the identity of Comerica's bankers. The CrestView Partners team was led by Barry Volpert and the Grail Partners effort by Don Putnam. The deal is expected to close at year end.

The firm's clients will not be seeing big changes. Munder Capital will continue to operate under the same name and remain headquartered in Birmingham, Michigan. The current senior management team and portfolio managers will continue to lead the firm and will own a significant minority interest in Munder Capital Management.

"Under the terms of the agreement signed today, we will pay Comerica $302 million, in addition to Munder Capital's interest in World Asset Management for Comerica's stake in our firm," said John S. Adams, president and CEO-to-be of Munder Capital. He added that, "As an important aspect of the agreement, Munder Capital will continue to offer its investment management services to the clients and distribution channels of Comerica. Comerica will be our largest client."

Adams added that he will keep the firm's management and client services teams intact and that its investment process will remain unchanged.

"We are proud of our longstanding commitment to outstanding and personalized client service, a central element of our business approach that we look forward to continuing for years to come," he said. 

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