Lightyear, Aquiline Bidding for Munder Capital

Private equity firms are dominating Crestview Partners‘ sale of Munder Capital Management, sources say.

Four PE firms and one strategic are vying for the asset manager, two people say. Lightyear Capital and Aquiline Capital Partners, which specialize in financial services and are viewed as the most logical buyers of Munder, are bidding for the company, several private equity and banking sources say. The Blackstone Group is also involved as is Thoma Bravo, a different source says.

New York-based Lightyear was the lead bidder for RidgeWorth Investments, an asset manager owned by SunTrust Banks, which was up for sale earlier this year, Reuters has reported. Thoma Bravo was also vying for RidgeWorth.

Aquiline, along with Genstar Capital, agreed in March to buy Genworth Wealth Management, an investment manager.

Earlier this summer, Crestview put Munder up for sale. It hired Goldman Sachs to run the process, Reuters has reported. Munder, which has $15.5 billion in assets under management, could fetch from $350 million to $400 million.

Some private equity firms passed on Munder, saying the valuation expectations of the company was too high, two sources in the PE market say. Potential bidders also are troubled by the location of Munder, which is based in Birmingham, Mich. and a suburb of Detroit, a banker says.

In January 2007, Crestview acquired Munder from Comerica in a deal valued at $302 million.

Officials for Crestview and Thoma Bravo declined comment. Munder, Lightyear, Blackstone and Aquiline did not return calls/messages for comment.

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