big ben, bridge, river, london

Fiera Capital Corp. has reached an agreement to acquire an 80% interest in Palmer Capital Partners Ltd., a U.K.-focused real estate investment manager, based in London, U.K., the Montreal-based asset manager announced Friday.

The transaction will be made through Fiera Capital’s wholly owned alternative asset subsidiary, Fiera Properties Ltd., which provides direct real estate investment opportunities to institutional investors, foundation and endowment clients, and high net-worth individuals.

Under the terms of the purchase agreement, the 80% interest to be acquired by Fiera Capital has an equity value of £40 million ($68 million)and an enterprise value of £30 million ($51 milllion), subject to post-closing price adjustments.

Palmer Capital, founded in 1992, has more than £800 million in assets under management with an additional £215.5 million managed through the joint ventures of eight regional property companies in which it is a minority shareholder, Fiera Capital says in a news release.

Palmer Capital will remain independently managed but will become the U.K. arm of Fiera Properties. Founder Ray Palmer will remain executive chairman and Alex Price, CEO, will continue to run the day to day strategy and operations of the business.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019. The acquisition will increase Fiera Capital’s headcount in the U.K. to over 100, the firm says.

“Palmer Capital is a perfect fit for us as we look to further grow our footprint outside of North America,” says Vincent Duhamel, global president and chief operating officer, Fiera Capital, in a statement. “This is a strategic acquisition with a growing business in Europe and the United Kingdom — key areas of focus for us as we expand globally.”

John Valentini, president and CEO, Fiera Private Alternative Investments, adds: “This transaction, which sees Fiera Capital taking a long-term view of the U.K. real estate market, is very much in line with our strategy of expanding our current service offering in alternative strategies and provides an excellent platform for both Fiera Properties and Palmer Capital to expand their domestic businesses and become part of a co-ordinated and growing global business. The combined business significantly expands the range of offerings to our existing client bases.”

The deal  marks Fiera Capital’s first acquisition of a real estate investment-management business outside of Canada and its second acquisition in the U.K. market following its acquisition of boutique fund manager Charlemagne Capital in 2017.

Fiera Capital increased its presence in Asia with the acquisition of Clearwater Capital Partners in March 2018.

In Canada, Fiera Capital recently sold its retail mutual fund lineup to Calgary-based Canoe Financial LP.