December 19, 2005

Vontobel Buys Majority of Harcourt

NEW YORK (HedgeWorld.com)--The Swiss private bank Vontobel Holding AG is purchasing a 56% stake in the Zurich-based fund of funds manager Harcourt Investment Consulting.

Vontobel is acquiring the position from NIB Capital, a private merchant bank that focuses on Northwest Europe, for US$62 million. Harcourt has US$3.1 billion in assets.

The hedge fund investment business will remain a separate brand, with its management making operational, investment and other decisions. Harcourt managers and employees are to continue as shareholders of the company. Putnam Lovell NBF Securities Inc. acted as financial adviser to Harcourt in the deal.

The acquisition broadens Vontobel's product offering. Herbert Scheidt, chief executive of Vontobel, said in a statement that the bank's institutional clients will profit from Harcourt's research and portfolio management capabilities and that its private clients will gain access to a broad range of products in an ever more important asset class.

Harcourt's chief executive, Philipp Cottier, said Harcourt's products and clients will benefit from the significant corporate backing of Vontobel.

Another acquisition involving hedge funds took place only a couple of days ago, when Morningstar purchased Ibbotson Associates. Ibbotson has a fund of hedge funds operation as well as traditional investment businesses.

CKurdas@HedgeWorld.com

Contact Bob Keane with questions or comments at bkeane@investmentadvisor.com.

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