H&F buys Gartmore

US-based buyout firm Hellman & Friedman has agreed to buy Gartmore, Nationwide Mutual’s UK-based fund management arm, for a reported near-£500m.

Hellman will own just over 50% of Gartmore, with management owning the remainder.

The acquisition includes Gartmore’s UK, European, Japanese and Latin American businesses, which manage £24bn, although not the US based funds of hedge funds operation, Riverview, or Gartmore Global Investments (previously Villanova Capital), which Nationwide is keeping.

Jerry Jurgensen, chief executive of Nationwide, said: “The Gartmore UK transaction finalises Nationwide’s strategic exit from Europe and allows us to focus on the US investment and insurance markets.”

Nationwide had paid Royal Bank of Scotland about £1bn for Gartmore, after the UK-based bank had acquired local rival NatWest, which then-owned Gartmore.

Roger Guy, a Gartmore board director and its star hedge fund manager, said: “Guillaume Rambourg and I, together with our team, are 100% committed to Gartmore as a result of this transaction. H&F is one of the few private equity companies with a successful track record of investing and supporting management teams in the investment management arena.”

Patrick Healy, the European head of H&F, said: “Gartmore has evolved into one of the most innovative investment management firms in the industry, offering a broad array of highly regarded high alpha and absolute return products.”

Previously, H&F has supported Franklin’s purchase of Templeton, Brinson Partners, Farallon, Oechsle and Artisan.