The board of Allfunds – the Spanish-based but Amsterdam-listed operator of a distribution network for funds, including mutual funds, ETFs, and alternative assets – is examining a 5.5-billion-euro offer from Euronext for all its shares. For Euronext, a successful acquisition would mean a diversification of its business, though the “indicative and conditional” offer first has several gates to pass before being a done deal. 

The bid was confirmed by Allfunds on Wednesday, and the share price went up to park just below the offered €8.75 per share. 

A Bloomberg article sums up the background, pointing to the comparative ease with which a major exchange operator such as Euronext could manage the major technology solutions it takes to run and develop a fund distribution network like Allfunds. Main owner of Allfunds is private equity firm Hellman & Friedman, followed by BNP Paribas. Together they hold some 46 percent of Allfunds, and Euronext’s public bid was preceded by contacts with them. The Bloomberg article says Allfunds works with nearly 3,000 fund groups, hosting over 1,300 billion euro in assets under administration. The company’s acquisitions in recent years include the InvestLab platform from Credit Suisse. 


News site The Trade (a sister publication of Global Custodian) cites sources that describe Euronext’s approach to Allfunds as “cautious”, saying the group could prefer a pulling-out from the offer rather than a bidding war. This said, The Trade sees the possible merger making sense, “in terms of both revenue and diversification – if completed, the deal would see Allfunds account for more than a quarter of the exchange group’s bottom line”. The article quotes extensively from a previous interview it has done with Euronext CEO Stéphane Boujnah, lining out the case for diversification.