Morgan Stanley spending $900M on largest buy since financial crisis

Feb. 11 (UPI) — Morgan Stanley announced Monday that it will buy stock manager startup Solium Capital for $900 million, its largest deal since in the financial crisis.

Solium is a software platform that manages stocks for employees who receive them as part of their pay. The Calgary-based startup has about 3,000 clients who hire roughly a million workers, the companies said.

“Most people’s money is coming through their workplace, so it’s an obvious place for us to be,” Morgan Stanley chief executive James Gorman said in a statement. “We didn’t historically have a way to serve them. Now we do.”

Morgan Stanley will pay 19 Canadian dollars a share for the firm. Officials said the deal should close by July.

Morgan Stanley first began a partnership with Solium in 2016 to administer equity compensation plans for corporate clients and employees.

“We view this acquisition as part of our broader, longer-term strategy, leveraging our digital capabilities in the workplace,” Andy Saperstein, co-head of Morgan Stanley’s Wealth Management, said.

Solium CEO Marcos Lopez will remain with the Canadian company

“The Solium board … has unanimously determined that the arrangement is in the best interests of Solium and is fair to the holders of Solium Shares; and recommends that the holders of Solium Shares vote in favor of the arrangement,” a statement on the firm’s website said.

The deal must be approved by two-thirds of Solium shareholders.

The acquisition is Morgan Stanley’s largest since the financial crisis at the end of the last decade and came a few days after BB&T announced a merger with SunTrust, the largest bank merger in years.

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