GLOBAL – Japanese financial services group Orix is on the verge of acquiring Dutch asset manager Robeco, according to news reports.

Reuters said the Rabobank-owned asset manager would be acquired for €1.95bn in Orix stock and cash, citing “sources familiar with the matter”.

It said deal was likely to be announced early next week.

When contacted by IPE, Orix confirmed it was looking into the acquisition of Robeco, but it stressed that no decision had yet been made.

Rabobank declined to comment.

Orix reportedly was part of a bidding process for Robeco in October, together with UK private equity firm Permira and US asset manager AMG.

The Japanese company already stakes in investment banks, private equity, property finance, healthcare and life insurance, with operations in 28 countries and regions worldwide.

Last April, Rabobank announced that it was exploring its subsidiary’s strategic options as part of a reorientation and drive to increase assets.

Roderick Munsters – former CIO at the €281bn civil service pension fund ABP – has managed Robeco for the past three years.

Under his watch, the company refocused on institutional investors and launched a cost-cutting operation.

Munsters has stated that he wants Robeco to become market leader in the Netherlands again and increase its assets under management to €250bn by 2014.