Liontrust to acquire Walker Crips Asset Managers

Liontrust Asset Management has acquired Walker Crips Asset Managers from the Walker Crips group in a deal worth £12.4m.

John Ions
John Ions

The acquisition will see fund manager duo Stephen Bailey and Jan Luthman join Liontrust. The deal will grow Liontrust’s assets under management by £604m and see the addition of eight UK equity unit trusts.

Bailey and Luthman will continue to manage the CF Walker Crips UK Growth, CF Walker Crips Equity Income, CF Walker Crips UK High Alpha, CF UK funds and two institutional segregated accounts.

John Ions, chief executive of Liontrust, says the acquisition of Walker Crips Asset Managers will “significantly strengthen” its fund offering.

He says: “The addition of Stephen Bailey and Jan Luthman is testament to the fact we invest in fund managers with robust and repeatable investment processes that add value to client portfolios over the long term and that the success of Liontrust over the past couple of years enables us to attract the best talent.”

Ions adds: “The deal shows Liontrust’s commitment to active fund management and those fund managers who have conviction in their investment processes. The market place is very crowded but companies that consistently add value will be recognised and their clients rewarded.”

The deal is expected to cause “little, if any, disruption for investors” and does not have any impact on the management of the acquired funds, which will run alongside its existing UK Equity Income and UK Growth funds.

The CF Walker Crips Corporate Bond fund, the CF Walker Crips Select Income Trust and the CF Walker Crips Global Growth Trust will be managed by a company within the Walker Crips group, due to the “high number of Walker Crips group clients that are invested in the funds”.

Walker Crips Asset Managers (WCAM) reported revenue of £5m for the year to March 31 2011 and pre-tax profits of £2.4m.

David Gelber, chairman of Walker Crips, adds: “WCAM has grown significantly since its inception and in reality has required only modest resources and investment from the group.

“However in order for WCAM to fulfil its potential, significantly increased levels of investment in infrastructure, systems and personnel would be required. Following a strategic review, and taking into consideration the views of Stephen and Jan, the board has decided to instead deploy its resources to its core businesses.

He adds: “The board also believes that this would be the right time to crystallise value in the best interests of shareholders and the company for what it considers to be a full and fair price. The board are pleased that the structure of the transaction will allow the company to continue to participate in the future development of WCAM through the investment in Liontrust received as part of the consideration.”

The acquisition price has been broken down into a £6m cash payment, the allotment and issue £4m in convertible unsecured loan stock and the allotment and issue of 1.9m new ordinary shares of 1 pence each.