Piper Jaffray is exiting the asset-management business by selling its Advisory Research Inc. subsidiary in two separate transactions.
Minneapolis-based Piper has agreed to sell the business for a combined $60 million to $70 million to a partner group led by Matthew Swaim, managing director and executive chairman of Advisory Research, and to Kansas firm Tortoise Capital Advisors.
The proposed sale price for Advisory Research is less than one-third of the $218 million Piper paid for it about 10 years ago. Last year, the asset-management business revenue was down 12.4% and accounted for 5% of the firm's total sales of $801 million.
Piper's core business is in investment banking, which raises capital for clients and advises on mergers and acquisitions. Asset management invests money for institutions and high net-worth individuals.
Advisory Research, founded in 1974, has been a declining portion of Piper's business since 2013 while its investment-banking business has grown.
"Without significant investment, the business lacks the potential to scale to a level that will represent a meaningful part of Piper Jaffray's overall business mix," said Piper Jaffray President Deb Schoneman in its release.
Advisory Research has about $6 billion in assets under management and a strong focus on energy infrastructure markets and master limited partnerships. More than 40 employees will remain in Advisory Research's Chicago office; 18 employees will move to Tortoise.
"These transactions sharpen our focus with respect to core strengths," said Chad Abraham, chief executive of Piper Jaffray. "We intend to reinvest the capital from this sale in our core areas of expertise through both organic investments and corporate development activity."
Tortoise, which has $20.9 billion in assets under management, invests primarily in energy infrastructure, sustainable energy infrastructure such as wind and solar, and social and digital infrastructure projects. Tortoise is acquiring the midstream energy asset management business of Advisory Research, which has approximately $3 billion in assets under management.
"The Advisory Research team is well-known and highly regarded as forward-thinking midstream energy asset managers," said Tortoise Chief Executive H. Kevin Birzer in a news release. "We anticipate that our similar leadership styles and culture will ensure a seamless transition."
Swaim will lead the remaining Advisory Research teams.
"We will continue to invest in premier investment talent, maintain our intense focus on client success and grow our niche investment strategies with like-minded clients," Swaim said in release.
The transactions are expected to close in the second half of 2019. Shares of Piper Jaffray were trading at $72.60 per share, down 1% at the close of Wednesday's trading. Piper's shares are up 11% year-to-date and have traded in the range of $60.49 to $82.52 over the last 52 weeks.