UK wealth management firm Quilter is reportedly set to receive takeover bids from at least four companies, according to This is Money.
The financial publication reported that one of the suitors is British banking giant Natwest, which is in the early stages of submitting an offer for the business.
Other companies that have reportedly shown interest in Quilter include private equity firms CVC, Bain Capital and BC Partners.
It is believed a potential sale could value the wealth giant at around £1.4bn.
When contacted by our sister publication International Adviser, Quilter, Natwest, CVC, BC Partners and Bain Capital declined to comment.
See also: Natwest eyes bid for Tilney, Smith & Williamson
A familiar story
On the back of the acquisition rumours, which were first reported at the weekend, Quilter’s share price rose 15% by 1pm on Monday to reach £1.20. This gives the company a current market cap of £1.7bn – a far cry from the £2.7bn it achieved at the time it listed and a considerable gap from the £1.4bn rumoured price tag.
This is by no means the first time that the FTSE 250 wealth manager has been the subject of takeover talks. In 2016, several private equity outfits, including Bain Capital and Warburg Pincus, were rumoured to have considered making an overture.
No deal was agreed and, 18 months later, Quilter was spun out of its former South Africa-headquartered parent company, Old Mutual, and listed on the London Stock Exchange. With a final price of £1.45 per share, it gave the wealth manager a market cap of £2.7bn in June 2018.
In January 2020, rumours began to emerge that Warburg Pincus was readying another offer, which makes it especially interesting that the firm has not been named among the supposed suitors this time around.
In the interim, Quilter sold its international division in November 2021 to fellow Isle of Man-based life insurer Utmost Group in a deal worth £483m.
The company recorded assets under management of £126.6bn as of 30 June 2021, on the back of 127% jump in inflows. Despite the strong performance, it was reported the same month Quilter was making hundreds of members of staff redundant as part of a cost cutting drive.
With markets buffeted by compounding macro-economic shocks and investors pulling money to help cope with the cost-of-living crisis, AUM dropped to £111bn on 31 December 2021, before falling a further 4% by the end of March to reach £107.2bn. Results for its second quarter, ending 30 June, have not yet been published.
See also: Quilter CEO Paul Feeney: The trouble with asset managers is everyone is trying to eat each other’s lunch