Entrepreneur Marco Garzetti said he would invest SFr65mn in GAM as an alternative to Liontrust’s planned acquisition and would do “whatever it takes” to keep the Swiss fund management group independent.
Garzetti said on Friday that he disagreed with GAM’s board that the £96mn all-share offer from London-listed investment boutique Liontrust was in the best interest of all stakeholders.
“To the contrary, I am convinced GAM will continue to have many advantages as an independent Swiss asset management company in the future,” the Swiss entrepreneur said in an open letter to GAM shareholders.
The offer from Garzetti, who set up Taure Invest for the purpose of investing in GAM, marks the latest twist in the Swiss asset manager’s attempts to secure its future and could undermine its sale to Liontrust.
GAM has twice postponed its annual results to find a buyer following a turbulent five years for the business, blighted by a falling share price and customer outflows.
Garzetti said he had submitted a plan along with colleagues at Taure to the board of GAM, stating he was prepared to make “a long-term commitment” to “fundamentally turn the company around and make a fresh start”.
Garzetti, who holds an 84 per cent stake in Taure, added: “Together with Swiss partners, I am willing to put GAM back on the road to success, both with financial resources and with personal commitment. We will do whatever it takes.”
Garzetti, who has been involved in the asset management industry for over three decades, said he would invest SFr34mn in newly issued GAM shares to become the majority shareholder and provide a loan of SFr31mn to “secure the urgently needed liquidity”.
He said GAM could reach a pre-tax profit of SFr50mn in 2026 and noted that Taure had already made “extensive preparations” for the sale of GAM’s fund services business. Taure would also overhaul GAM’s board and management team.
Liontrust, which made its offer earlier this month, is also planning on selling GAM’s fund services arm but will retain the investment management business, to create a £53bn asset manager. Liontrust will provide two loans of up to £17.8mn to help restructure GAM.
However, the deal has faced a backlash from other quarters. A group of investors led by French telecoms billionaire Xavier Niel has taken a stake in GAM, which it plans on raising to at least 10 per cent.
The Niel-led group said days after the Liontrust deal was struck that the takeover “needlessly favours the bidder and is contrary to the principles of Swiss takeover law”.
GAM has been through a calamitous period since a scandal in 2018 over its holdings of illiquid debt.
Its former star fund manager Tim Haywood had bought bonds from companies related to Lex Greensill’s now collapsed supply chain finance business Greensill Capital, which counted former prime minister David Cameron as an adviser. Haywood’s funds were ultimately liquidated.
GAM and Liontrust declined to comment.