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H2O Asset Management to buy back Natixis stake

French investment bank owns just over 50% of the company

Mifid markets


Kirsten Hastings

The chief executive of Natixis Investment Managers, Jean Raby, has confirmed that Natixis has reached an agreement with the leadership team of H2O Asset Management to sell its majority stake.

“We did not put it up for sale,” he told Bloomberg on Monday.

“We agreed with management that we would part amicably, in total agreement, with management buying our stake in the company, subject to regulatory approval,” Raby added.

He explained that the process is being handled in “an orderly manner”.

Natixis has held 50.01% of H2O since the company was founded in 2010. H2O’s partners hold the remaining 49.99%.

Not always plain sailing

But it has not always been the smoothest of relationships.

Despite delivering outsized returns for investors, the Financial Times reported in 2019 that H2O invested over €1bn in illiquid bonds linked to controversial German financier Lars Windhorst.

Our sister publication Portfolio Adviser reported in June 2020 that Lord Paul Myners had called on the Financial Conduct Authority to investigate the value of recent trades with Windhorst to ensure they were conducted at a fair price.

The most recent information on the H2O AM website states it had assets under management of €22bn as of 28 May 2020.

No further details about the sale were provided.