PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc. (PwC) says that it will seek court approval next week for a process to possibly sell troubled fund manager Bridging Finance Inc. along with its funds and assets.
PwC, which was appointed Bridging’s receiver on April 30, denied a report that it was in advanced discussions about selling the firm or its funds. PwC said it expects to file materials in court next week outlining a proposed sale process for the firm.
On Thursday, Bloomberg reported that BlackRock Inc. and Canaccord Genuity Group Inc. are in “advanced talks” to buy Bridging, citing sources familiar with the matter. The report said Bridging would continue to exist under the deal with the new owners managing existing funds.
PwC said Friday that it has “received preliminary indications of interest from a broad range of potentially interested parties,” and that those prospective buyers will be able to participate in the sale process, provided they meet its requirements.
In the meantime, PwC said that it has been preparing for the sale, “including assembling the information that will be made available to [participants] who execute confidentiality agreements.”
Bridging was ordered into receivership by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice at the request of the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) amidst an investigation that uncovered questionable transactions involving the funds and possible conflicts of interest.
The OSC hasn’t made any formal regulatory allegations in the case.
Since PwC was appointed as receiver to preserve the firm’s assets, it has raised questions of its own about certain transactions involving the funds. So far, it has not been able to provide a reliable net asset value (NAV) for the funds.
Back in early June, a group of unnamed Bridging investors called for the firm and/or the funds to be sold so that investors could recover assets that have effectively been frozen since the receivership took effect.
Since then, the court approved PwC’s request to form a pair of investor advisory committees to provide it with investor input on any actions that it takes involving Bridging and its funds, including a possible sale process, which would be subject to court approval.
On June 22, the court also gave the receiver 60 days to sort out the funds’ finances before determining whether to appoint counsel to represent retail investors’ interests.