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Renshaw Bay sold to Swiss asset manager GAM

The sale of real estate debt-focused Renshaw Bay to asset manager GAM follows a number of similar stake sales and mergers in the credit fund arena.

Real estate debt fund manager Renshaw Bay is to be acquired by much larger independent firm GAM, the Swiss-based asset manager of the GAM and Julius Baer funds, reported PDI sister title Real Estate Capital

The sale resolves uncertainty hanging over Renshaw Bay since its founder, Bill Winters (pictured), took the top job at international bank Standard Chartered earlier this year.

GAM said this morning that it has entered a definitive agreement to acquire Renshaw Bay and that the entire 10-strong real estate team, led by Jon Rickerts, will transfer to GAM. The deal is expected to complete in October. It will see all existing client relationships move across.

The sale is the latest in a string of deals agreed by independent debt funds or credit advisory firms, taking advantage of the buoyant market to expand or cash-in.

Last week, Mediobanca announced it was taking a 51 percent stake in Cairn Capital; Brookland Partners sold a 40 percent stake to alternative asset manager Omni Partners, and other independent real estate debt fund managers are said to be exploring sales.

GAM, which is listed on the Swiss stock exchange and has over 1,000 staff in 11 countries, said Renshaw Bay would be “launching new strategies under the GAM brand, investing in senior and mezzanine debt backed by real estate in the UK and Continental Europe”.

Renshaw Bay was set up by Winters, the former co-chief executive of JP Morgan’s investment bank, in 2011 with backing from South African family office Reinet Fund and Jacob Rothschild’s RIT Capital Partners. It aimed to capitalise on the investment opportunities resulting from the recent evolution of the banking and credit landscape.

It’s debt fund, which held a final close in February this year on £356 million ($570 million; €516 million), originates commercial, mainly whole real estate loans in Western Europe. The team also invests in fixed-rate senior loans for Guardian Financial Services and has $1.2 billion in committed capital from clients.

In March Renshaw hired Mark Coomber from Lloyds Bank to join Rickerts, Martin Farinola and the rest of the real estate team.

Alexander S. Friedman, GAM’s Group CEO, said: “The persistent low-yield environment makes private market real-estate investments enormously attractive. As an asset class, it is a prime area for active managers to excel – and one we have not offered to our clients in the past. It will further diversify our business mix, adding a sustainable stream of revenues tied to long-term capital commitments. We greatly look forward to working with this terrific group of experienced investors and risk managers.”

Jon Rickert, Head of Real Estate Finance at Renshaw Bay: “We are delighted to join a company with such deep resources and rich heritage. In particular, we are attracted by GAM’s genuine belief in independent thinking and conviction investing. We are convinced that this will be very appealing and beneficial for our clients.”

Bill Winters, founder of Renshaw Bay, said: “GAM is the ideal home for Jon Rickert and his team. As a company with world-class investment talent, it will be a great cultural fit, giving clients the reassurance of utmost continuity in how their capital is managed.”