South Africa-U.K. Wealth Management Giant Old Mutual Plans $12.8B Split-Up

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Written by Staff

From SkyNews. Story by Mark Kleinman.

Anglo-South African wealth management group, Old Mutual, is planning a  $12.8 billion breakup which could spark a takeover battle for some prominent wealth management operations.

The international investment, savings, insurance, and banking giant is on the FTSE 100, an index of the 100 largest companies listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Old Mutual is working on a plan to split itself into standalone companies. These involve its stake in Nedbank, one of South Africa’s biggest lenders; its wealth unit, which is focused on the U.K.; its emerging markets operation based in South Africa; and its institutional asset management business, which includes its remaining stake in the U.S.-listed division.

Two buyout firms – Cinven and Warburg Pincus – have already tabled a multi-billion pound joint cash offer for Old Mutual Wealth, which includes names such as Quilter Cheviot and Old Mutual Global Investors, one of the most powerful investors in the U.K. stock market.

Details of the break-up plan could be outlined as soon as next Friday, when Old Mutual is due to announce its annual results.

Insiders cautioned, however, that the plan has yet to be finalized and is likely to take many months to complete.

If they come to fruition, the proposals would carve up one of the best-known names in London’s blue-chip share index and divide the ownership of businesses which manage roughly $455.47 billion in assets.

Company started in South Africa

Old Mutual, which recently agreed a deal to sponsor some of England’s rugby union international matches, was established in Cape Town in 1845, but has endured speculation for many years about the logic of its corporate structure.

In 2014, it listed its U.S.-based asset management arm, OM Asset Management, which counts a string of boutique fund managers among its affiliates.

It also came close to selling Nedbank to HSBC in 2010 but the deal was called off at the 11th hour.

Bruce Hemphill, Old Mutual’s group CEO, instructed advisers to begin work on the break-up shortly after taking over in November.

The company has continued to face the headwinds of a weak rand and tougher regulation as a consequence of its U.K. domicile.

Old Mutual has more than 17.5 million customers and employs more than 60,000 people globally.

The company’s brokers, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs, are likely to have roles in the restructuring and sale of various assets.

Read more at SkyNews.