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AssetCo announces deal to buy Ocean Dial Asset Management for £4.1m

Share plunge: Wealth management firm AssetCo, chaired by Martin Gilbert (pictured), saw its share price tumble on Thursday morning as it reported a loss

Martin Gilbert AssetCo takeover vehicle set to buy India-focused Ocean Dial Asset Management for £4.1m

  • AssetCo said it would buy investment manager Ocean Dial for £4.1million
  • The India Capital Growth Fund primarily focuses on small and mid caps
  • About a quarter of the fund’s holdings are in the financial services sector

Martin Gilbert’s acquisition vehicle, AssetCo, has agreed to buy Ocean Dial Asset Management, marking the latest acquisition in his ever-expanding empire.

The firm said it would buy the investment manager for £4.1m from its current owner, London-based Avendus Capital Asset Management.

Launched in 2005, Ocean Dial currently manages the India Capital Growth Fund, which has a net asset value of over £127m and an annual income of £1.4m as of February.

Takeover: Acquisition vehicle AssetCo, chaired by Martin Gilbert (pictured), has agreed to buy Ocean Dial Asset Management for £4.1m in a cash and share deal

Takeover: Acquisition vehicle AssetCo, chaired by Martin Gilbert (pictured), has agreed to buy Ocean Dial Asset Management for £4.1m in a cash and share deal

According to its website, the fund’s portfolio focuses primarily on small- and mid-cap stocks, and about a quarter of its holdings are in the financial services sector.

Its investments are also concentrated in the industrials, materials and consumer discretionary sectors.

To complete the deal, AssetCo will pay £2.13m in cash and acquire over 2.9m shares worth 1p each, with £500,000 and 732,065 shares of that amount deferred to next year.

Approval of the transaction is required from the Financial Conduct Authority of the United Kingdom and the Reserve Bank and Securities Exchange Board of India.

Once complete, AssetCo will integrate Ocean Dial into its River and Mercantile brand, along with other active equity asset managers including SVM Asset Management, Saracen Fund Managers and Revera.

The three companies were bought by AssetCo over the past two years for a total of £16.3million, as part of Mr Gilbert’s drive to create a new leading UK player in wealth management and of assets.

The Edinburgh-based group, which previously leased fire engines and ambulances to emergency services, has also taken stakes in Parmenion Capital Partners and exchange-traded fund provider Rize ETF.

Town great Gilbert said “the company’s mission is to acquire, improve and grow high-potential asset management businesses.”

He added: “We are excited about the long-term potential that India offers and see opportunities to add value by bringing Ocean Dial together with the other active equity asset management businesses that we group under the River and Mercantile brand.”

Gilbert became chairman of AssetCo two years ago, shortly after buying a large stake in the cash shell as part of a consortium including Toscafund Asset Management and longtime colleague Peter McKellar.

Prior to that, he co-founded and spent more than three decades at the helm of Aberdeen Asset Management and its successor Standard Life Aberdeen, renamed Abrdn in July 2021.

AssetCo’s latest takeover announcement comes weeks after it reported a loss of £9.3m for the 12 months to September, partly due to costs associated with acquisitions.

AssetCo shares were up 0.7% at 68.5p late Monday afternoon, although their value has more than halved in the past 12 months.

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