Liontrust chief executive John Ions (pictured) has penned an open letter to GAM shareholders urging them to back its proposed takeover of the Swiss asset manager.
The Liontrust CEO said the clock “is now at one minute to midnight for the future of GAM”. Shareholders currently have until 25 July to tender their shares in support of the proposed acquisition.
Ions wrote: “GAM is a loss-making business that needs significant restructuring to return to profitability. The external auditors have signed off the 2022 annual report based upon the disclosed material uncertainty about GAM’s ability to continue as a going concern without external funding.
“The Liontrust offer reflects this financial reality and provides a certain and sustainable solution for the business and its shareholders.”
He added that “only an asset manager of scale like Liontrust” is able to deliver the processes required to create value for GAM’s shareholders.
GAM’s largest shareholder, Silchester International Investors, has already declared its intention to tender its 17.3% stake in order to back the Liontrust bid.
Last week (7 July), the offer was backed by Liontrust shareholders with 84% voting in favour.
GAM’s share price has plunged over the last five years, dropping over 95% from its peak in 2018. Over the period, assets under management (AUM) in its investment management division has dropped 73%.
The firm has also not paid a dividend since 2018.
Despite the Swiss asset manager appearing united in its support for the offer internally, with senior portfolio managers at the firm publicly backing the bid, an investor group has been vocal in its opposition to the takeover.
Ions’ letter comes two days after GAM investor group NewGAMe and Bruellan published an ‘investment thesis’ laying out why it believes the group is worth double the CHF 107m (£94m) Liontrust offer, which should therefore be dismissed.
The group, which owns roughly 9.5% of GAM, has opposed the bid from the start and recently called for the GAM board to be replaced by new leadership with a “clear plan” to turn around the asset manager.
In a separate announcement, Liontrust also published a quarterly trading update today (14 July).
The firm suffered outflows of £1.6bn in during the quarter to the end of June.
AUM fell 6% to £29.5bn over the period, which largely came from continued net outflows while £294m was attributed to market and investment performance.