ABN AMRO Sells U.S. Mutual Fund Biz For $38.6M
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Friday, April 21, 2006

ABN AMRO Sells U.S. Mutual Fund Biz For $38.6M

The M&A action continues. ABN AMRO Asset Management Holdings said Friday it has agreed to sell its U.S. mutual fund business to Highbury Financial Inc. for $38.6 million.

The deal, which is expected to close in the second half of the year, covers 19 mutual funds with $6 billion of assets under management.

The transaction will enable ABN AMRO Asset Management to step up its focus on the institutional market, which represents over $35 billion of core business in the U.S.

"This is an excellent opportunity to place even greater focus on the institutional side of the business," said Nancy Holland, interim chief executive and president of ABN AMRO Asset Management, in a news release.

Denver-based Highbury was formed last July to acquire financial services businesses and raised $48.8 million in an initial public offering in January.

Richard Foote, president and chief executive of Highbury, called the deal "an ideal transaction for our initial business combination, as it will provide a solid foundation from which to build a platform of affiliated asset management businesses."

Under the deal, a newly created limited newly created limited liability company, Aston Asset Management LLC, will act was the advisor to the funds, which will be rebranded The Aston Funds.

Stuart Bilton, Kenneth Anderson and Gerald Dillenburg, who currently manage the business for ABN AMRO, will lead Aston when the transaction closes. Highbury will be the managing member and majority owner of Aston.

Aston plans to enter into sub-advisory agreements with the current ABN AMRO advisory firms for the continued management of the funds and expects to retain the current sales force which includes 18 wholesalers, according to the release.

The funds are currently advised by several of ABN AMRO Asset Management's affiliates, including ABN AMRO Asset Management Inc., Montag & Caldwell Inc., TAMRO Capital Partners LLC, Veredus Asset Management LLC and River Road Asset Management LLC.

Highbury said it will continue to "develop acquisition opportunities and will seek to establish other accretive partnerships with high quality investment management firms over time."

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