R&M shareholders vote in favour of takeover

R&M shareholders vote in favour of takeover

The majority of shareholders in River & Mercantile have voted for the company’s takeover by AssetCo.

In a shareholder meeting on Friday (April 1), 98 per cent of shareholders voted in favour of the acquisition.

Campbell Fleming, chief executive of AssetCo, said he is “immensely grateful” for the votes.

“River and Mercantile has great potential as an active equity and infrastructure manager with people, clients and product offering that will complement our existing businesses,” he said. 

“It will become a cornerstone of our mission to build an agile 21st century asset and wealth management business that meets the needs of today’s investors."

Shareholders also voted for the sale of the firm’s US solutions business to Agilis for $8.6mn (£6.55mn).

Acquisition history

AssetCo’s acquisition of R&M was confirmed in January this year, with AssetCo paying £98.8mn for the company in an all share transaction.

As part of the deal, the cash from the sale of the River & Mercantile Solutions business to Schroders, some £190mn, will also go to River and Mercantile shareholders.

AssetCo already has a stake in R&M, whose shareholders will receive 0.73 AssetCo shares for every R&M share they own.

When the return of the cash from the sale of the solutions business is taken into account, the total value of the deal is £289mn. 

R&M shareholders will own more than 40 per cent of AssetCo shares as a result of the transaction. 

AssetCo already owns Saracen Fund Managers, an asset management firm which will be combined with R&M. 

R&M was formed in 2014 and has assets under management of £49bn.

AssetCo is a former shell company which Gilbert and several former colleagues from the firm he founded, Aberdeen Asset Management, have used to buy stakes in a number of businesses in the asset and wealth management sectors, including a stake in the Parmenion platform and Saracen. 

The company's chief executive, Campbell Fleming, is tasked with the day-to-day running of the businesses acquired by AssetCo, while Gilbert and others focus on the M&A.  

When the offer was initially touted in November, AssetCo said its directors believed the two firms were “highly complementary” and a combination of the two would create “significant value” for the group’s clients, portfolio managers, employees and shareholders.

AssetCo, which is chaired by Gilbert, said in March last year it was looking to make “strategic acquisitions” and develop the business through M&A.

In June 2021, the firm collected £30.9mn to fund this strategy.

Gilbert is also deputy chairperson of R&M but has recused himself from the board while discussions of a takeover take place.

Premier Miton also bid for the business in November last year, but pulled out of discussions earlier this month.

The firm’s chief executive Mike O’Shea said he had concluded there were “insufficient commercial merits” for the deal to go ahead.