UN PRI signatory Henderson in talks to buy rival Gartmore

Henderson looking to scoop up £20bn funds house

Henderson Global Investors, the UK asset management house that’s a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment, is in talks to buy rival firm Gartmore.

Gartmore confirmed in a brief statement late on Friday that it has “entered into negotiations with Henderson Group plc” about a conditional offer.

Henderson has £56.4bn (€66.4bn) in assets under management and employs around 930 people worldwide. It has three socially responsible equity funds: UK SRI, Global SRI and Balanced SRI.

Gartmore, rocked by the departure of star manager Roger Guy, has around £20bn in AUM and offices in London, Tokyo, Boston, Madrid and Frankfurt.

The two fund managers are talking on the “basis of a proposal at a slight discount to the Gartmore share price at the close of trading on December 16”.“At this stage,” Gartmore said, “there can be no certainty that these discussions will result in a formal offer being made for the Company either on these or on any other terms.” Gartmore, which hired investment bank Goldman Sachs to find a buyer for itself in November, has had various owners over the years.

It was founded in 1969 and bought by Banque Indosuez in 1989. It then listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1993 before being bought by NatWest in 1996 and by the Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. of the US in 2000. It became a portfolio holding of private equity firm Hellman & Friedman in 2006 before relisting on the LSE a year ago.

Dow Jones today quoted an unnamed source as saying it was unlikely a deal would result before Christmas. Henderson had been widely viewed tipped in the press for some time as a possible buyer for Gartmore.