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Friday, August 19, 2011

Artisan's IPO Awaits SEC Approval

News summary by MFWire's editors

Artisan Partners [see profile] is still waiting for Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approval for its planned initial public offering (IPO), though the Milwaukee-based mutual fund firm's owners may not be in a rush for now. The Milwaukee Business Journal's Rich Kirchen ponders whether the recent market turmoil, which is near and painfully dear to the hearts of fund firms thanks to asset-based fees, may delay the IPO.

Indeed, the market woes of the past few weeks have slammed the stocks of many already-public asset managers and their parents [see MFWire.com, 8/5/2011, 8/10/2011 and 8/18/2011]. And at least one firm -- Old Mutual -- has acknowledged that it will probably delay the partial IPO of its U.S. asset management business [see MFWire.com, 8/11/2011].

"An IPO is very hard to achieve in current market conditions and I would expect Artisan to hold off until these have stabilized," opined John Temple, president of Cambridge International Partners. "Hellman & Friedman [which bought a piece of Artisan five years ago] can presumably afford to wait a little longer to monetize their investment rather than try to force an exit at a time when the market is so unfavorable."

Artisan spokesman Mike Roos declined to comment to the Journal about Artisan's IPO plans, though he confirmed that they "still have not received the final OK for the registration process from SEC." Artisan filed in April, and Roos said the process takes four to six months.

Casey, Quirk & Associates partner and research director Ben Phillips also weighed in for the Journal article.

At least two other fund firms -- Rochester, New York-based Manning & Napier and Los Angeles-based Oaktree Capital Management -- have also recently filed to go public. Will their backers delay their IPOs, too? Two weeks ago MFWire.com could not reach an Oaktree spokesperson for comment on the firm's IPO plans and a Manning spokesperson was not able to comment.

Executive chairman Andrew Ziegler and fellow Artisan shareholder Carlene Murphy Ziegler founded Artisan in 1994. As of March 31, the firm boasted 244 employees and $62.7 billion in assets under management. It earned $10.1 million in net income in the first quarter, from $112.9 million in revenue. 

Edited by: Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

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