Firms line up to bid for Munder in potential $400 mln deal-sources

Fri Aug 30, 2013 9:29am EDT

* Blackstone, Advent eye first step toward multi-boutique- sources

* Genstar, Lightyear, Thoma Bravo, Pacific Life also bidding -sources

By Jessica Toonkel

NEW YORK, Aug 30 (Reuters) - A number of private equity firms and at least one investment management firm are expected to bid for Munder Capital Management in a deal that could be valued up to $400 million, according to a number of sources familiar with the deal.

Blackstone Group LP has teamed up with Advent International to bid for Munder - which rode the dotcom wave and subsequent bust with a technology fund - as a first step toward creating a multi-boutique asset management firm, according to three of the sources, who wished to remain anonymous because they are not permitted to speak to the media.

Private equity firms Lightyear Capital, Genstar Capital and Thoma Bravo are also expected to submit bids, the sources said. On the investment management side, Pacific Life Insurance is expected to bid.

Bids are due by mid-September, the sources said.

Calls to Lightyear, Thoma Bravo and Pacific Life were not returned. Advent, Blackstone, Thoma Bravo, Genstar and Crestview declined to comment.

New York-based private equity firm Crestview Partners is looking to sell Birmingham, Michigan-based Munder after owning it since 2006. The firm has tapped Goldman Sachs to oversee the sale. A Goldman Sachs spokesman declined to comment.

During the dot-com boom, Munder was best-known for managing the NetNet Fund, which in 2000 was the largest Internet fund, with $11.5 billion in assets.

But after the industry crashed in the early 2000s, Munder struggled to recover. The firm currently has eight mutual funds with $7.2 billion in assets, according to Morningstar.

Blackstone and Advent are looking at jointly buying Munder as a first step toward creating a multi-boutique investment management firm along the lines of Affiliated Managers Group and Legg Mason, two of the source said.

The two firms have had discussions about funding such a platform, the sources said, declining to elaborate on other asset managers that may be looking to buy as part of the effort.

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