Advent, Hellman vie for AssetMark: sources

The auction of AssetMark Inc is heating up, with final bids due in mid-March, three sources said.

Private equity and “real” strategics — companies not backed by PE firms — have taken part in the highly competitive auction, sources said. “Tons of PE firms” looked at AssetMark, which went up for sale earlier this year, one of the sources said.

Advent International Corp and Hellman & Friedman LLC remain in the running for AssetMark, the sources said. Of the strategics, AON and E*Trade Financial Corp are involved, sources said.

The status of Marsh & McLennan Cos is unclear, with one source saying Marsh remains in the auction while another saying it is out of the running. Marsh could not be reached for comment.

Warburg Pincus had also been involved, but has since dropped out, a different source said.

Bids for AssetMark are in the $700 million to $800 million range, sources said. Parties bidding below $700 million were rejected, sources said.

The second round of the auction began earlier in February. Moelis & Company and Raymond James are advising on the process, three of the sources said.

Genstar Capital and Aquiline Capital Partners LLC own AssetMark, which produces $60 million of EBITDA.

Concord, California-based AssetMark provides investment and consulting services for independent advisors. AssetMark, along with affiliate Aris Wealth Services Inc, had $28.5 billion in combined assets on various platforms, a company spokesman said.

Aquiline, Genstar, Advent, Hellman & Friedman, Warburg and Moelis declined comment. Aon, Marsh and E*Trade could not immediately be reached for comment.

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