After two and half months of discussion, Caisse d’Epargne and Banque Populaire yesterday signed an agreement to merge their investment subsidiaries Natexis and Ixis - creating France’s second largest funds management company with assets of e534bn. The new company, valued at around e25bn will be called Natixis and partially floated with both sides retaining stakes of 34%.
With Ixis Asset Management already one of France’s largest institutional fund managers, after AXA Investment Management, and Natexis a mid-sized player, the newly merged group will become the 15th largest fund manager in the world and better able to compete internationally.
Ixis AM is best known for its bond funds and US subsidiaries while Natexis AM has a strong presence in monetary funds, company savings schemes and has recently built up its multi-manager business.
The merger is expected to shake up the asset management operations of both companies and, although many areas are complementary, there is still some overlap. A rash of job cuts could cause concern among institutional investors.