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AllianceBernstein to acquire WP Stewart

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AllianceBernstein is to acquire WP Stewart, an equity investment manager that currently manages USD2bn in US, global and EAFE concentrated growth equity strategies for institutional and retail clients, primarily in the US and Europe.

Upon completion of the acquisition, WP Stewart’s investment services will be added to AllianceBernstein’s equity offering.
 
WP Stewart’s team of investment managers will remain in place and continue to manage their investment services as they do today. At the same time, they will gain access to AllianceBernstein’s broad global reach and research team, and benefit from extensive access to corporate management.
 
"I’m excited to be adding WP Stewart’s complementary concentrated growth equity services and strong bench of talent to our equity platform," says Peter S Kraus (pictured), chairman and chief executive officer of AllianceBernstein. "While our equity business is well-positioned to deliver in many areas, we also understand that our clients want more options, particularly in concentrated strategies that can help improve alpha generation potential within their portfolios. WP Stewart has an impressive track record as concentrated growth managers and brings a unique set of capabilities to our existing equity platform that position us even better to serve our clients."
 
James T Tierney, Jr, chief investment officer of WP Stewart, says: "In joining AllianceBernstein, we can remain focused on building and managing concentrated equity portfolios, yet at the same time leverage the firm’s exceptional research, corporate access and global presence. We’ve chosen a partner that shares our unwavering client focus, and enables us to take our differentiated investment approach and strong performance to the type of broad client base that only a global firm like AllianceBernstein can provide."
 
To help ensure a smooth transition, founding partner William P. Stewart, an esteemed investor with nearly 60 years of industry experience, will stay on through the earlier of the end of this year or the close of the transaction, at which point he will retire from the firm.
 
At the closing of the transaction, AllianceBernstein will pay WP Stewart shareholders USD12 per share in cash and will issue to WP Stewart shareholders transferable contingent value rights entitling the holders to an additional cash payment of USD4 per share if the assets under management in the acquired WP Stewart investment services reach USD5bn on or before the third anniversary of the closing. WP Stewart currently has approximately five million shares outstanding. The closing is expected to occur in approximately four to six months and is subject to customary closing conditions, including WP Stewart shareholder approval and requirements relating to retention of assets under management and cash.
 
In connection with the proposed transaction, AllianceBernstein will file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) a registration statement on Form S-4 that will include a prospectus of AllianceBernstein relating to the contingent value rights and a proxy statement of WP Stewart, as well as other relevant documents concerning the proposed transaction.

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