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Monday, July 20, 2015

First Eagle Sells

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

A pair of private private equity shops are buying a majority stake in First Eagle Investment Management [profile], through First Eagle's Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder Holdings Inc. holding company.

Bridget Macaskill
First Eagle Investment Management
President, CEO
Today the New York City-based mutual fund shop unveiled a deal by Blackstone and Corsair Capital, which values all of First Eagle at about $4 billion (four percent of First Eagle's roughly $100 billion in AUM). Another private equity shop, TA Associates, owns about 25 percent of First Eagle and will divest completely as part of the deal. Yet the founding Arnhold family (which had a majority stake in First Eagle) and First Eagle's leadership team will still be "substantial shareholders" once the deal closes, expected in Q4 2015.

John Arnhold
First Eagle Investment Management
Chairman, Chief Investment Officer
The deal is in line with reports that surfaced this spring about First Eagle, Blackstone, and Corsair working on a deal.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch advised First Eagle on the deal, and HSBC and Morgan Stanley advised Blackstone and Corsair.

Bridget Macaskill praises Blackstone and Corsair as "two successful long-term investors with whom First Eagle shares many cultural and philosophical beliefs."

D.T. Ignacio Jayanti
Corsair Capital
Managin Partner
"We have achieved our primary goals of remaining independent, preserving our investment-centric culture, and increasing employee ownership, while addressing the liquidity needs of current shareholders," Macaskill states.

John Arnhold, chairman and chief investment officer of First Eagle, lauds the deal as providing "long-term stability," for First Eagle and its clients. The Arnhold family will remain on First Eagle's board of directors.

Joseph Baratta
Blackstone
Global Head of Private Equity
"We look forward to maintaining our involvement with First Eagle and remaining one of the firm's largest clients," Arnhold states.

D.T. Ignacio Jayanti, managing partner at Corsair, praises First Eagle as "a premier specialist active asset management firm, and Blackstone global private equity chief Joseph Baratta describes First Eagle as "a first class asset management firm with excellent investment talent."

"Blackstone understands and respects First Eagle's culture and investment philosophy, and we recognize that preserving these is critical to the long-term success of the Firm," Baratta states. "We will support First Eagle's management and employees as they seek to provide outstanding investment performance and service to their clients.

Check back for more updates as this story develops. 

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