Euronext Explores Takeover of H&F-Backed Allfunds
Other suitors have studied bids for Amsterdam-listed Allfunds
H&F and BNP Paribas are Allfunds’s biggest shareholders
The Euronext stock exchange in Paris.
The Euronext stock exchange in Paris.Photographer: Nathan Laine/Bloomberg
ByJan-Henrik Foerster and Manuel Baigorri
22 februari 2023 om 14:31 CETUpdated on22 februari 2023 om 14:43 CET
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Euronext NV is considering an acquisition of private equity-backed fund distribution platform Allfunds Group Plc, people with knowledge of the matter said.
The European stock exchange operator has held talks with major shareholders including buyout firm Hellman & Friedman, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information.
A vehicle backed by Hellman & Friedman owns about 34% of Allfunds, while French bank BNP Paribas SA is its second-biggest holder with a roughly 12% interest, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Any acquisition of these holdings would likely trigger a mandatory offer for the rest of the shares in Allfunds.
Allfunds’s shares rose as much as 20% on Wednesday. The stock was up 18% at 2:38 p.m. in Amsterdam, giving the company a market value of €5.4 billion ($5.8 billion) and putting it on track for the biggest daily gain in almost two years.
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Other suitors including rival stock exchange groups have also looked at the asset and could still emerge as competing bidders, according to the people. Deliberations are ongoing and there’s no certainty Hellman & Friedman or others will decide to sell, they said.
Spokespeople for Euronext, Hellman & Friedman and BNP declined to comment.
Platforms such as Allfunds offer investors access to a range of investment products in one place. They can require major technology investments to succeed, something that’s typically not a problem for exchange operators whose business is ensuring the smooth trading and settlement of financial products.
Allfunds, which works with almost 3,000 fund groups and has more than €1.3 trillion of assets under administration, previously attracted takeover interest from German exchange group Deutsche Boerse AG, Bloomberg News reported in 2020.
Hellman & Friedman eventually opted to list Allfunds in 2021 and retain an interest. The private equity firm acquired Allfunds in 2017 and grew it through a series of acquisitions, including a purchase of Credit Suisse Group AG’s InvestLab platform.
Euronext, which is led by Chief Executive Officer Stephane Boujnah, had close to 1,930 listed equity issuers and around €6.3 trillion in market capitalization across exchanges in Belgium, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Portugal at the end of last year.
Under Boujnah, an ex-banker and prolific dealmaker, Paris-listed Euronext has expanded its footprint across Europe via acquisitions, including the purchase of Borsa Italiana in 2021.
— With assistance by Alan Katz and Dinesh Nair
(Updates shares in fourth paragraph.)