Blackstone eyes £1bn Jupiter deal(2)

Jupiter Asset Management, the Commerzbank-owned fund manager that is currently mulling its strategic options, has become the latest buyout target of The Blackstone Group.

The Blackstone Group is in talks to buy Jupiter Asset Management, a UK-based fund manager, in a deal that could be worth up to £1 billion (€1.5 billion; $2 billion).

Talks are still at a relatively early stage, according to a source close to the deal, with a final decision not expected for some weeks yet.

German bank Commerzbank, which owns Jupiter, said last week that it was considering all options for the asset manager, including a possible flotation.

It would be Blackstone’s first foray into asset management, although there has been growing interest in companies in the sector from private equity firms, attracted by their high operating margins and strong brand names.

US buyout firm Hellman & Friedman has completed the most high-profile deal in the sector to date, paying an estimated £500 million to buy a 50 percent stake in UK-based Gartmore last May.

According to the London-based Times newspaper, Jupiter has also held talks with other potential bidders, including UK buyout firm Candover.

Stephen Schwarzman, chief executive of Blackstone, will be in London today following his appearance at the Super Return industry conference in Frankfurt.