Northern Trust's 50 South Inks Deal To Acquire Aurora Investment Managment

Mar 2 2016 | 8:23pm ET

Northern Trust’s alternative investment unit has signed an agreement to acquire the investment management business of Aurora Investment Management, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Natixis Global Asset Management. 

The merger of Chicago-based Aurora, a hedge fund-of-funds manager, with Northern’s 50 South Capital Advisors will offer clients of both firms access to an expanded global alternative investment platform and additional size and resources, according to a press release. 

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close during the third quarter of this year.

“This strategic acquisition supports our objective as a trusted asset manager to provide solutions that are suited to client investment objectives and risk tolerances,” said Northern Trust chairman and CEO Frederick Waddell in the statement. “We are pleased to take this step and significantly grow our alternative investment capabilities to help investors meet the challenges of high volatility and persistent low yields in financial markets.”

“We share similar values and closely-aligned investment philosophies with 50 South Capital and are thrilled to be joining forces,” added Roxanne Martino, CEO of Aurora. “We believe this combination will create highly complementary investment capabilities, offering a wider range of options to our clients and a strong platform for growth.”

Founded in 1988, Aurora has developed expertise in hedge fund strategies including seed and co-investment activities, for corporate and public pension funds, foundations and endowments, insurance companies and healthcare organizations. The firm managed approximately $5.7 billion as of January 1, although AUM took a hit in late February when the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund pulled a $488 million mandate, according to Pensions and Investments

When completed, the acquisition is expected to bring 50 South’s platform assets to $9 billion. The firm focuses on hedge fund and private equity investing for high net worth and institutional investors.

“Alternative investments are a strategic priority for Northern Trust, and we feel this combination strengthens our position in this competitive business,” said Northern Trust Asset Management President Stephen Potter about the deal.

50 South, led by CEO Robert Morgan, will absorb the majority of Aurora’s personnel in the merger, noted the release. Aurora CEO Roxanne Martino, president Scott Schweighauser and managing director of operations Anne Marie Morley, all of whom will serve as senior advisors to ensure a smooth transition of the business. 

Founded in 1889, Northern Trust is one of the largest asset managers in the world. It provides wealth management, asset servicing, asset management and banking to corporations, institutions, affluent families and individuals, and had assets under management of $875 billion as of December 31, 2015.

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