RI specialist Alliance Trust Investments bought by Liontrust in £30m deal

Eleven sustainability funds will add £2.3bn to new owner’s AUM.

Alliance Trust Investments (ATI), the UK fund manager, which manages a suite of 11 sustainable investment funds, has been bought by Liontrust, the London-based £5.6bn fund manager, which specialises in UK, European, Asian and Global equities and Multi-Asset strategies, in a deal which ATI’s parent, Alliance Trust, said is worth up to £30m, representing a premium of at least £5m to book value. 

ATI had been the manager of the £3bn Alliance Trust, one of the largest generalist investment trusts listed on the London Stock Exchange.
That mandate has now been handed to Willis Towers Watson (WTW), the investment consultant/fiduciary manager, to run on a multi-manager basis.
Liontrust has bought the ATI funds business, which it says will bring it an additional £2.3bn in assets when the Trust assets are stripped out. The buy-out will take Liontrust’s assets to more than £8bn once the proposed acquisition completes in 2017.
Liontrust said the 11 ATI funds would continue to be managed according to the same investment process by the same team.
ATI is lead by Peter Michaelis, its Head of Sustainable and Responsible Investment. Michaelis, who joined ATI when Alliance Trust acquired Aviva Investors’ SRI team in a £1m deal in 2012, had his position running the investments cemented with theannouncement in February this year that Katherine Garrett-Cox had stepped down as CEO at ATI. That had followed a bruising boardroom battle with activist firm Elliott Advisors, which saw Garrett-Cox relinquish her CEO role at the Trust. The sale of ATI by Alliance Trust has come after a review of the business by the Trust’s board following the activist fight where it had been criticised for a languishing share price.
John Ions, Chief Executive of Liontrust, said a key reason for the ATI buy-out was market growth in sustainable investments: “There is strong demand for sustainable investment in the UK and internationally. Increasingly, consumers expect the companies they use to be socially responsible and the demand for sustainable investment will only grow with the rise of millennials. The acquisition of ATI puts us in a very strong position to meet this demand. We look forward to promoting the team and the sustainable investment funds in the UK and across continental Europe.”
Michaelis said: “Liontrust will provide the team and investors with long-term stability. We have also been impressed by the strength of Liontrust’s brand profile and its distribution capability. This is a very important consideration for us as we look to raise the profile of the team and the funds we manage.”