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Friday, March 28, 2014

Healey Feasts on Two Firms

Reported by Tommy Fernandez

Sean Healey, AMG's chairman and chief executive officer, is loading up his plate with all sorts of interesting fare these days.

His firm has just completed two big deals: acquiring the remaining interest of mutual fund sub-advisor River Road, and investing in the energy specialist EIG Global Energy Partners, the TCW spin-off which last year played a decisive role in Carlyle's acquisition of its former parent and hired today William Sonneborn, a former TCW president who had resigned from his job as czar of KKR's burgeoning mutual fund business last year.

AMG had already been an equity owner in River Road. It bought out the remaining interest in the firm from Aviva Investors North America Holdings , a subsidiary of the British firm Aviva plc.

The $11 billion AUM River Road sub-advises six funds for Aston Asset Management, which is part of the AMG Funds business.

“We have long appreciated River Road’s strong fundamental approach to investing and outstanding track record of generating excellent performance for investors on a global basis,” stated Healey. “River Road has a tremendous history of developing innovative products to meet the dynamic needs of its client base, including in areas increasingly attractive to global investors, such as low-volatility income-oriented strategies."

EIG Global Partners, meanwhile, has had an interesting history as of late. The institutional investor, which directs capital to energy projects, companies, and related infrastructure, had been part of TCW until it spun off in 2010. Because of various legal ties to TCW, EIG had to give its blessing to last year played a decisive role in Carlyle's acquisition of its former parent in return for certain concessions.

EIG's hiring of William Sonneborn, the former TCW president, is notable in part because of his previous job as head of corporate credit and equities investments for KKR, in short serving as the chief of the firm's burgeoning mutual fund business. He left that job in July 2013 and from the two funds soon after. KKR later shuttered those two funds this year.

But these aren't the only interesting things that have been going on at AMG as of late.

For example, in January the firm announced a number of strategic initiatives related to its U.S. retail business.

For example, the firm rebranded its retail business, formerly known as Managers Investment Group, into AMG FUnds. This effort included the renaming of 39 MIG funds.

Also, AMG acquired the remaining equity of Aston Asset Management, which sub-advises 23 funds. In 2010, AMG acquired a substantial majority of the equity in Aston, which had $15 billion in assets as of September 30, 2013, according to the company. AMG had exercised an option included in the original agreement with Aston to acquire the balance of the equity that it does not already own. This option was unique to the Aston transaction, according to the company.

Moreover, Aston was restructured to become part of AMG's U.S. retail distribution platform through the renamed AMG Funds. Stuart Bilton, Aston?'s founder, chairman and chief Eexecutive officer, now reports to Andrew Dyson, AMG?s executive vice president and head of global distribution.

And on Tuesday, Healey named Jeffrey Cerutti to the newly created position of chief executive officer of AMG Funds, Cerutti had previously served as executive vice president, head of distribution of Virtus Investment Partners.

Bon Appetit, Mr. Healey. 

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