Is Lovell Minnick Finally Selling ALPS?

Hold onto your mutual funds. The asset management sector might soon play host to another M&A deal, as sources say that Lovell Minnick Partners is thinking about selling ALPS Holdings.

For the unfamiliar, ALPS Holdings is a third-party administrator that provides back office services like distribution and accounting to exchange-traded funds and mutual funds. Lovell Minnick bought a majority stake via a recap in 2005, and has since helped ALPS make a pair of bolt-on acquisitions: Hedge fund administrator Price Meadows in 2008, and the the Liberty All-Star closed-end fund business from Bank of America in 2006.

Five years is the typical hold time for Lovell Minnick, and sources say that the firm is open to overtures (although it hasn’t yet hired a banker). “ALPS will certainly sell but only when the price is right,” one private equity executive tells peHUB.

One banking source suggests a price-tag of around $150 million, although others suggest that may be a bit rich.

A sale of ALPS would be the latest in an asset management sector which produced a string of transactions in 2009. Guggenheim Partners bought Claymore Securities, an ETF provider, last fall and is set to close on Rydex/SGI. Barclays sold BGI, which owns iShares (the largest ETF provider in the world), to BlackRock for a mammoth $15.2 billion. Then there was Lincoln Financial selling its Delaware Investments money management unit to Aberdeen; Morgan Stanley selling its retail fund unit, including Van Kampen Investments, to Invesco and Bank of America divesting Columbia’s long-term asset management business to Ameriprise.

Lovell Minnick did not return requests for comment.