Gluskin Sheff says sought sale, but will stand pat

Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:36pm EDT
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By Cameron French

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian asset manager Gluskin Sheff + Associates Inc (GS.TO: Quote) recently sought bids for the company, but it said on Monday it has decided to hold off on a sale for now, triggering a sharp slide in its shares.

In a statement responding to a Globe and Mail report that the company was entertaining offers, Gluskin said it had explored the possibility of a sale at the request of founding shareholders Ira Gluskin and Gerald Sheff.

However, it said the search for bids had concluded.

"The founders, the board and management have concluded that the current platform remains an excellent way to serve clients and enhance shareholder value at this time," the company said in a statement.

It did not rule out the possibility of a future sale.

The Toronto-based company's shares, which were up 35 percent in 2013 coming into the session, sharply outperforming the 1.3 percent rise of the TSX financials index, were down 5.6 percent at C$17.78 by mid-morning.

Gluskin, which has assets under management of C$5.7 billion, would have obvious appeal for Canada's six biggest banks, who have all expressed the desire to build up their wealth management businesses, both in Canada and internationally.

Just last week, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO: Quote) said it would buy Atlantic Trust Private Wealth Management from money manager Invesco Ltd (IVZ.N: Quote) for $210 million, while in late March, Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO: Quote) completed its $668 million acquisition of Epoch Investments.   Continued...