October 2, 2023


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iM Global to acquire Litman Gregory Asset Management

A global network of active asset managers is expanding its significant U.S footprint and breaking into wealth management under a major M&A deal.

Litman Gregory Asset Management — a 34-year-old practice that has also managed a lineup of mutual funds since 1996 — sold to iM Global Partner, the firms said March 9. San Francisco Bay Area-based Litman Gregory has $6.2 billion in assets under management across the practice and its funds. The deal will push iM’s assets above $24 billion at seven partner firms.

Under the 100{de3fc13d4eb210e6ea91a63b91641ad51ecf4a1f1306988bf846a537e7024eeb} transaction, the Paris-based buyer is purchasing the minority stake in Litman Gregory that had been acquired in 2013 by Rosemont Partners III — a private equity fund managed by Rosemont Investment Partners, according to Rosemont’s parent firm. The parties didn’t disclose terms of the deal, which is expected to close in the second quarter. The iM network plans to retain Litman Gregory’s wealth management business as a separate unit.

“Litman Gregory becoming a part of our group is a major step forward as we continue our U.S. expansion,” Philippe Couvrecelle, CEO of iM, said in a statement. “This strategic operation allows us to add wealth management as a new key activity for iM Global Partner.”

The sellers were advised by Raymond James’ Head of Asset & Wealth Management Investment Banking Elizabeth Nesvold. Ken Gregory and Craig Litman founded the Walnut Creek, California-based firm, which has 59 employees, 354 high-net-worth individual clients and $2.4 billion in AUM from five turnkey asset management platforms, its SEC Form ADV shows.

“iM Global Partner brings complementary global research resources and strong alignment on total client focus,” Litman Gregory CEO Steve Savage said in a statement. “The combination of our organizations is a natural fit because of our shared research DNA, commitment to independent thinking, integrity and total client focus.”

As a passive investor in Litman Gregory, Rosemont chose to sell its stake after the firm picked iM Global, according to an emailed statement by Brad Mook, a managing director of Rosemont Investor Group.

The transaction “furthers our own strategic transition out of private equity fund investing and into permanent capital investing,” Mook said. “We have a long legacy of partnering with employee-owned asset and wealth management firms and leveraging our knowledge and network to help them, and as our Fund III winds up we are actively building a new portfolio of permanent capital investments.”

As of December, iM has 11 locations worldwide and $20 billion in AUM across six partner firms operating under different brands and, in some cases, managing a significant share of their assets outside of iM. The largest partner firm, Boca Raton, Florida-based Polen Capital, has more than $58 billion in AUM across its funds.