Commerzbank shelves Jupiter sale

The German bank has withdrawn its UK asset management subsidiary from sale due to lack of interest from private equity buyers.

German banking group Commerzbank has been forced to abandon the sale of its Jupiter Asset Management subsidiary after bidders failed to meet the bank’s asking price.

Commerzbank was originally seeking to sell Jupiter for around £500-600m, almost half of the £1bn it paid to acquire the business in 1995. It had recently sought expressions of interest from US private equity firms including Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Texas Pacific Group, although both firms have refused to meet the asking price.

The situation for Commerzbank is exacerbated by the fact that the failure to sell the business will be seen as a victory for John Duffield, the founder and former chairman of Jupiter, who offered to pay £50-100m more than any other bidder for his old business. Duffield, who left Jupiter in acrimony following a dispute with Commerzbank management over payments to him, saw his offer rejected within 24 hours of its submission. 

The Telegraph newspaper reports that other interested parties for the fund manager included Societe Generale, Franklin Templeton and UBS Asset Management. A management buyout, pricing the business at around £300m, was also considered.

Commerzbank was being advised by Goldman Sachs.