VenGrowth Sells Mutual Fund Arm

VenGrowth Asset Management has agreed to sell its mutual fund business, Criterion Investments, to First Asset Capital Corp. No financial terms were disclosed. In a statement, Vengrowth said the move would allow it to “dedicate itself fully to its private equity business.”



VenGrowth Asset Management (“VenGrowth”) announced today that it has signed a letter of intent to sell the business of Criterion Investments (“Criterion”), its mutual fund business, to First Asset Capital Corp. (“First Asset”).


Criterion is a Canadian leader in unique investment strategies for retail investors, particularly in the environmental area having launched Canada‘s first water infrastructure fund and first global clean energy fund. Its investment philosophy is to offer funds that can add value based on thematic trends, risk mitigation or sought-after portfolio management talent. In December 2008, Criterion was recognized for marketing excellence at the 14th annual Canadian Investment Awards, winning the Marketing Award for the second year running. It is the intention of First Asset that Criterion will retain its brand, its fund line-up and its sub-advisors.


First Asset offers a unique variety of innovative, tax-effective investment vehicles including TSX-listed investment funds, mutual funds, principal-protected notes and flow-through limited partnerships. In addition to its family of internally managed investment funds, First Asset provides Canadian investors with access to some of the world’s most recognized and respected investment managers. Having managed investments on behalf of individual investors since 1996, First Asset is one of the largest managers of TSX-listed investment funds in Canada.


Mike Cohen, Managing General Partner of VenGrowth, said, “Criterion is an innovative company that VenGrowth has nurtured over the past few years and we trust it will blossom within First Asset. This transaction allows VenGrowth to dedicate itself fully to its private equity business while still participating in the future success of Criterion and First Asset through a minority equity interest resulting from the transaction.”


“The fit for First Asset is excellent. In particular, Criterion’s fund line-up, its refreshing investment philosophy and its marketing prowess are attractive to us. We anticipate considerable synergies and strong growth resulting from the combined First Asset and Criterion family of funds,” said Barry Gordon, Chief Executive Officer of First Asset.


The transaction is still subject to satisfactory completion of due diligence by both parties, the completion of a definitive purchase and sale agreement and receipt of all necessary approvals and consents. Closing is expected in Q2 2009.


About VenGrowth


VenGrowth is a premier Canadian private equity firm. Since 1982, VenGrowth has invested over $1.3 billion in almost 200 North American companies, working alongside business owners to maximize potential. VenGrowth manages assets on behalf of over 150,000 individual investors as well as leading pension funds, banks, insurance companies and family foundations. VenGrowth’s offices are located in Toronto (Corporate Headquarters), Ottawa and Montreal. For more information, please visit