Orix to pay $2.6B for fund manager Robeco - The Deal Pipeline (SAMPLE CONTENT: NEED AN ID?)
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Orix to pay $2.6B for fund manager Robeco

by Renee Cordes  |  Published February 19, 2013 at 9:22 AM
Japan's Orix Corp. on Tuesday, Feb. 19, struck its largest ever acquisition agreement with a deal to pay €1.935 billion ($2.58 billion) for Dutch fund manager Robeco as it signaled that it's seeking further targets worldwide.

Robeco owner Rabobank NV will retain a 9.99% stake in the Rotterdam-based target and receive €150 million in Orix treasury stock from the Tokyo-based buyer as part of the price. Robeco's Netherlands-based banking activities will transfer to Rabobank, with Robeco, by then 90.01%-owned by Orix, retaining its client service relations.

"Robeco is a global company with an outstanding brand and excellent management, well-diversified in all aspects including asset management products, investor clientele, managed portfolio and regional presence," said Orix CEO Yoshihiko Miyauchi in a statement.

He added: "Orix will pursue further expansion in Europe and the U.S., as well as growth in Asia and the Middle East regions where it has a growth platform."

That platform comprises pensions and asset management operations, which Orix said will be its prime acquisition focus in Asia and the Middle East.

Tuesday's news adds to expectations of continued strong outbound deal activity from Japan. The country was the second-largest outbound acquirer after the U.S. last year, embarking on $103.5 billion in foreign acquisitions, compared to $167.5 billion originating from the U.S., according to Allen & Overy LLP.

Pending deals include Funai Electric Co.'s €150 million purchase of Royal Phillips Electronic's NV's remaining audio-visual appliances operations, agreed last month, and SoftBank Corp.'s $20.1 billion purchase of a controlling stake in Sprint Nextel Corp,, agreed last October.

Robeco has been on the block since last May, when its Utrecht-based parent hired Barclays plc to conduct a strategic review. Rabobank, which purchased Robeco in 2001, is looking to offload the unit to boost its capital position in preparation for stricter international rules known as Basel III.

Last July, Rabobank completed the sale of a controlling stake in Swiss private lender Bank Sarasin & Co. Cie. for 1.04 billion Swiss francs ($1.13 billion) to Brazil's Grupo Safra SA.

Australia's Macquarie Group Ltd. and buyout shops Permira and Advent International Corp. all reportedly participated in the Robeco auction.

For Orix, originally a leasing company that has aggressively expanded over the past decade into real estate, life insurance, banking and asset management, the Robeco acquisition eclipses its 2006 purchase of Los Angeles-based investment bank Houlihan Lokey Inc. for $500 million in cash and stock. Orix's previous asset management acquisitions include the 2010 purchase of Harrison, N.Y.-based hedge fund manager Mariner Investment Group.

Last September, Orix opened an office in São Paulo, Brazil, to seek expansion opportunities in South America, but the company may be best known as the owner of Japan's Orix Buffaloes baseball team.

Robeco, whose origins go back to 1929, had €189 billion in assets under management as of the end of December, 26% above a year earlier. Net profit increased from €134 million in 2011 to €197 million in 2012, while net new cash stood at a record €18.4 billion at the end of 2012.

Robeco employs more than 1,600 people in Europe, the United States, the Middle East and Asia. Operations include Harbor Capital Advisors Inc. in Chicago, which has €65 billion in asets under management.

Robeco's management board, including CEO Roderick Munsters, will remain following the Orix takeover, as will the Robeco brand name.

Tags: Advent International Corp. | Bank Sarasin & Co. Cie. | Barclays plc | Macquarie Group Ltd. | Orix Corp. | Permira | Rabobank NV | Robeco | Roderick Munsters | Yoshihiko Miyauchi

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Renee Cordes

Correspondent: Brussels

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