Quilter Cheviot owner Bridgepoint is looking to float or sell the private client business by the end of the year, Wealth Manager understands.
The private equity backer is exploring appetite for both options as the three-year anniversary approaches since it acquired Quilter in January 2012. Bridgepoint went on to fund the merger with fellow private client investment firm Cheviot in November of the same year.
The two businesses are now integrated and Quilter Cheviot is currently in the throes of moving both onto the same platform, Figaro, which will mark the final stage of the process. Bridgepoint is understood to be working with Evercore Partners.
A source close to the situation said Bridgepoint is looking to dispose of Quilter Cheviot through a float or sale by the end of the year owing to concerns about the uncertainty that could be created in markets by the General Election in 2015.
‘Route A is an IPO but they have not excluded trade buyers,’ the source said.
Quilter Cheviot has £15.8 billion under management and generated revenues of £128 million in 2013. It is understood that Bridgepoint is valuing the business between £650 million at the bottom end of the range and £950 million at the top end.
If a sale is the preferred option, the private equity firm may consider selling off the core London investment management division separately from its 12-strong regional network.
Following the merger of Quilter and Cheviot, it has become a large player in the UK private client investment management sector. It could prove to be a big project for any potential acquirer looking to buy the whole business, which would make it more likely that another private equity house may look to buy it or a foreign bank with deep pockets.
A float is likely to be seen as the preferred route by management, given the multiple changes of ownership that Quilter has had through its 243-year history. However, the likelihood of this happening will depend on the direction of travel of the UK stock market and appetite for IPOs after a flurry earlier in the year.
Quilter Cheviot chief executive Martin Baines (pictured) declined to comment on the likelihood of an IPO in his cover star interview, but said: ‘[Through] the change of ownerships we have continued to grow our business and, whatever happens in the future, that is what we will keep doing. It is impossible to comment on what will happen down the line. At the moment, we just keep doing what we are doing.’
Quilter Cheviot and Bridgepoint declined to comment further.