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Norway's Storebrand buys asset manager Skagen in €170m deal

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Storebrand, one of Norway’s largest pension providers, has agreed to buy asset manager Skagen.

Once complete, the transaction will make Storebrand Norway’s largest provider by assets under management, according to IPE data. 

In a statement, Storebrand said it planned to pay Skagen’s current owners a total of NOK1.6bn (€169m), paid through a combination of Storebrand shares and cash, with the possibility of further gains subject to Skagen’s performance.

Skagen – also a Norwegian firm but with branches across Europe – will operate as a separate company within the Storebrand group. Investment processes and philosophy would not change, the asset manager said.

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“In the current dynamic environment for the asset management industry, Skagen is delighted to be acquired by such a strong and well-resourced parent company,” the asset manager’s statement said. “The transaction will deliver real synergies and maximise the long-term potential of Skagen, allowing the company to develop in the best interests of its clients.”

Storebrand CEO Odd Arild Grefstad said the acquisition was “an important building block” in the group’s growth strategy, while the group’s asset management CEO, Jan Erik Saugestad, highlighted the potential for growth in institutional provision.

“Skagen is a contrarian and independent asset manager, held in high esteem by their clients,” Saugestad said. “We believe in their active investment philosophy, and will protect this along with their strong brand.”

Øyvind Schanke, CEO of Skagen, added that his firm would have “greater ability to invest and innovate” due to its new owner’s resources.

According to IPE’s annual Top 400 Asset Managers survey, Storebrand managed €63.5bn at the end of 2016. Skagen ran roughly €9bn.

Storebrand said the acquisition would more than quadruple its share of the Norwegian private fund savings market from 4% to 17%.

The deal is subject to regulatory approval in Norway and Sweden and is expected to complete before the end of this year.

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