TD Bank to buy Epoch, fourth quarter profit little changed

Thu Dec 6, 2012 10:23am EST
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By Cameron French

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO: Quote) is buying the owner of Epoch Investment Partners for $668 million in cash to expand its U.S. asset management business, Canada's No. 2 bank said on Thursday as it reported little change in quarterly profit.

The acquisition will add $24 billion in assets under management to the $207 billion already overseen by TD Asset Management, and will fill a strategic gap for the bank, said TD Chief Financial Officer Colleen Johnston.

"It complements our existing capabilities by adding U.S. and global equities capability," she told Reuters. It's also going to be very helpful in terms of growing our U.S. wealth management business."

The bid is among several small acquisitions by TD since the 2008 financial crisis, the latest being an agreement last month to buy Target Corp's TGT.N $5.9 billion credit card portfolio.

TD, which is also a sizeable player on the U.S. East Coast, said it had earned C$1.6 billion ($1.61 billion), or C$1.66 a share, in the fourth quarter that ended on October 31. That compared with a year-earlier profit of C$1.6 billion, or C$1.68.

Excluding a C$37 million charge from superstorm Sandy and other one-time items, TD's earnings came in at C$1.83 a share, slightly ahead of the C$1.81 that analysts expected, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The $28-a-share offer for Epoch Holding Corp EPHC.O represents a 28 percent premium over the company's Nasdaq closing price of $21.91 on Wednesday.

The company's stock was up 26.8 percent at $27.78 in early trading, while TD slipped 0.9 percent to C$81.85 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.   Continued...