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Friday, June 20, 2014

Strategic Insight Finds a Buyer

Reported by GI

Apparently, Strategic Insight's mutual fund insights were enough for one buyer to scoop it up.

The San Francisco private equity shop Genstar Capital today announced its purchase of Asset International, the parent of mutual fund industry data giant Strategic Insight, from PE firm Austin Ventures. Terms of the deal expected to close in July weren't disclosed.

MFWire reported on the anticipated sale of Strategic Insight last month.

Boutique investment bank Evercore spearheaded the search for a buyer, Jim Casella, chairman and CEO of Asset International, tells MFWire sister publication 401kWire. He declined to specifically identify other interested bidders, aside from saying they included "large, strategic companies" in the financial and businesses services space and a slew of PE shops.

Genstar has a financial services focus (along with healthcare, software and industrial technology), and Tony Salewski, Genstar's principal, states that the deal will help "build a global leader in financial data and marketing services."

Austin Ventures, through Asset International, bought Strategic Insight in 2009. Other AI financial services holdings include parts of mutual fund research shop FRC, and publications Chief Investment Officer, The Trade, Global Custodian and retirement plan trade magazines PlanSponsor and PlanAdviser.

Casella says senior management team is staying on board following the sale's close, and that price, Genstar's understanding of the financial services sector, and commitment to AI's growth plans (organically and through overseas acquisitions) made Genstar an attractive buyer.

"You'll see we'll continue to grow our footprint around the globe," Casella says. "Since we bought Asset International back in 2009 ... we have really looked to put together a global platform," through AI acquisitions such as Canadian and Australian financial services research shops Investor Economics and Plan for Life (both of which are now divisions of Strategic Insight).

"We will look to expand into some countries that we're not in right now. In that regard Genstar really understands those plans and are very supportive," Casella says.  

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