Buyout firm Genstar seeks to sell stake in fund servicer Apex – sources

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(Reuters) – Buyout firm Genstar Capital is exploring the sale of a minority stake in Apex Group, hoping a deal will value the provider of administration services to asset management firms at as much as $5 billion including debt, people familiar with the matter said.

Genstar acquired most of Apex in 2017 from FTV Capital. Since then, Apex has made a number of acquisitions, including taking over Deutsche Bank’s alternative fund services unit. To support two of Apex’s deals in 2020, Carlyle Group made a preferred equity investment in Apex.

It is possible that Genstar could agree to sell its entire majority stake in Apex if it receives an attractive enough offer, the sources said, cautioning that no deal is certain. An investment bank is working with Genstar on the process, the sources added.

Genstar is seeking to value Apex at as much as 20 times its 12-month earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of about $240 million, according to two of the sources.

Genstar and Apex declined to comment.

Founded in Bermuda in 2003, Apex crossed $1 trillion of combined assets across administration, custody, depositary and under management this year. It has 45 offices worldwide and more than 4,000 employees, according to its website.

Companies offering administration services to the asset management industry are in high demand, because money managers are under pressure to keep their costs low after competition forced them to slash fees on many of their mutual funds.

London-listed asset management services provider Sanne Group Plc has rejected four offers from private equity firm Cinven this year, the latest worth $1.9 billion. Cinven will have to end its pursuit if Sanne does not accept an offer by June 11, according to British takeover rules.

Sanne shares were trading at the equivalent of 20 times its EBITDA before Cinven approached it.

Reporting by David French in New York; Editing by Alexandra Hudson