Azimut Group, an Italian stock exchange-listed, Milan-based asset manager, has acquired a 51% stake in the Australian equities boutique Sigma Funds Management.
It is the European firm’s second Australian deal in 18 months. In 2014, it unveiled a partnership in 2014 with the advisory firm AZ Next Generation Advisory, which it has subsequently used to acquire other Australian entities, including, in a deal announced last month, Perth-based Wealthwise. Wealthwise is a financial advisory firm founded 30 years ago by Jamie and Sheila Luxton, with some A$377m (€245m) under advice.
In a statement, Azimut said it was carrying out the deal to acquire the stake in Sigma through its fully-owned Luxembourg holding company AZ International. Sigma’s executives will retain a 49% stake in the business, Azimut said.
The deal is subject to regulatory approval by local authorities, and is expected to close later this month.
Sydney-based Sigma has been founded in August 2009 by an ex-Credit Suisse team of six, and focuses on large- and small-cap Australian equities, which it manages via three long-only funds.
The firm had A$70m (€47m) in assets under management at the end of March.
In a statement announcing the deal, Azimut and Sigma said they would seek to leverage Sigma’s “solid track record and investment know-how” in order to build a long-term franchise in equity markets, and widen its distribution capabilities.
At the same time it announced the Signma deal, Azimut also reported that it saw total net inflows of €626m in March, to bring its first-quarter total to € 1.7bn.
The Italian group’s AUM stood at €31.6bn at the end of March, or €37.4bn when assets under administration are included.
Pietro Giuliani, Azimut’s chairman and chief executive, said the agreement with Sigma would give the company “the opportunity to offer our local and international clients a portfolio management team resident in Sydney, and investing in Australian companies” in addition to its existing investment offerings.