June 14, 2007 / 10:45 PM / 12 years ago

Marsico buys itself back from Bank of America

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Mutual fund manager Thomas Marsico said on Thursday he agreed to buy back his firm from Bank of America Corp. (BAC.N), seven years after selling it to the No. 2 U.S. bank.

Terms were not disclosed. The firm, Marsico Capital Management LLC, has increased assets sixfold to $94 billion since Bank of America bought it for $1.1 billion. The bank had paid $150 million for one-half of the firm in 1998, and $950 million for the remainder two years later.

Marsico, 51, founded his Denver-based firm in 1997 after many years at the Janus mutual funds group, where he managed the Janus Twenty JAVLX.O fund. His firm is best known for investing in large-capitalization “growth” stocks.

“The timing for both organizations seemed appropriate,” Marsico said in an interview. “The sense of independence, and the opportunity to have an ability to get equity to everyone in our firm, was the driving force.”

Brian Moynihan, Bank of America’s wealth and investment management chief, said in a statement “This move supports Tom’s growth plans for MCM and his and the company’s desire to operate as an employee-owned investment firm.”

A bank spokesman, Jon Goldstein, added: “From the bank’s perspective, Marsico was a successful investment.”

The Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank had $547.4 billion in assets under management as of March 31.

Bank of America will keep distributing Marsico-subadvised funds, including those operating under the bank’s Columbia brand. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter, after client consents and fund shareholder approvals.

Marsico said his firm has three portfolio managers and 21 analysts, and invests entirely in equities, including 20 percent outside the United States. It employs 71 people.

“I really appreciate the relationship we’ve had with Bank of America, and we look forward to continuing our relationship,” Marsico said. “(Chief Executive) Ken Lewis has been a terrific person to work with.”

The Marsico Focus (MFOCX.O) and Marsico Growth (MGRIX.O) funds, both run by Thomas Marsico, have outgained a respective 76 percent and 71 percent of their "large growth" peers over three years, though both have trailed the Standard & Poor's 500 index .SPX over that time, according to Morningstar Inc. (MORN.O) data.

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