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June 29, 2020

Generali eyes acquisition of US asset manager Brightsphere

Italy’s Generali has shown interest in buying US asset manager Brightsphere Investment Group, reported Reuters.

Brightsphere, a Boston-based holding firm for seven boutique asset management brands, had total borrowings of $635.6m at the end of March.

Hedge fund Paulson & Co, Brightsphere’s largest shareholder, will be able to cash out if the deal comes to fruition.

Paulson picked a 25% interest in Brightsphere in 2018 from Chinese conglomerate HNA Group.

In April, head of the hedge fund John Paulson became the chairman of the asset manager, which manages nearly $160bn in assets.

However, it is unsure whether Generali will meet Paulson’s valuation expectations for the deal, noted the report.

Citing a source, the report added that the deal, if materialised, would not face major antitrust hurdles.

Generali, Brightsphere and Paulson refused to comment on the issue.

Brightsphere shares surged 25% on the report, offering it a market capitalisation of over $1bn.

Generali allocated up to €4bn ($4.5bn) for takeovers under a three-year strategic plan in 2018. A deal with Brightsphere would bolster its US presence.

Recently, the insurer agreed to acquire 24.4% of smaller rival Cattolica Assicurazioni. The deal makes Generali the largest shareholder of Cattolica.

Generali CEO Philippe Donnet recently told Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore that the firm was weighing asset management deals in the US and Asia.

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