Germany’s Universal-Investment has been sold to a UK private equity firm, bringing to an end a decades-long ownership by local banks.

Montagu Private Equity acquired the €280bn asset manager, Germany’s third-largest institutional manager behind Deutsche Asset Management and Allianz Global Investors, for an undisclosed sum.

Daniel Fischer, director at Montagu Private Equity, cited Universal’s proven track record spanning 45 years managing Germany’s master KVG market as his firm’s rationale for the deal.

“We’re particularly impressed by the performance of the management team, which has developed Universal-Investment into a growing platform with an outstanding reputation,” he added.

“We’re excited to work closely with Bernd Vorbeck and his team going forward, accompanying them through the company’s next growth phase.”

Vorbeck, spokesman for the board at Universal, also emphasised the KVG market’s importance the company’s success.

“Our recipe for success includes our employees’ commitment and expertise, our independence and our distinct business model as [the] leading Master-KVG platform,” he said. 

“That’s why we’re especially excited to have found a new partner and owner in Montagu, which will continue to actively support this strategy in future.”

Joh. Berenberg, Gossler & Co, also known as Berenberg Bank, and Bankhaus Lampe have each owned 50% of Universal since 2012, when they jointly acquired German regional bank LBBW’s 27% stake.

Universal has seen a rapid increase in assets under management over the last decade, growing from €60bn to €280bn over the period.

Within Montagu’s portfolio, it will complement the London-based private equity firm’s recent acquisition of Equatex, a global employee share plan administrator.

Last year, it also bought Denmark’s largest property manager DEAS from its pension fund owners PKA and Sampension.