NGA completes Eureka Whittaker Macnaught acquisition

Next Generation Advisory (NGA), a subsidiary of Italian asset management giant Azimut, has successfully completed the acquisition of CBA-aligned Eureka Whittaker Macnaught (EWM).

The deal was completed late last week, with the total value of the transaction being 3.9 million euro at an exchange rate of 1.7053, NGA chief executive Paul Barrett said.

“The completion is the most important thing," he said. "There are at least 20 things between announcing the deal and completing it which could affect the outcome, so there is a lot to do.”

The plan to acquire CBA-aligned EWM was first announced in May this year and was the first purchase since Mr Barrett, a former managing director of global advice and distribution at ANZ, announced Azimut had allocated $100 million for the strategic purchase of Australian planning firms in November 2014.

A statement issued by NGA at the time said the deal would include a “share swap of [49 per cent] of EWM’s equity for AZ NGA shares and a progressive buy back of these shares over the next 10 years”.

The remaining 51 per cent stake would be paid to the founding partners in cash over a period of two years.

Mr Barrett said there would be no large changes for EWM.

Current EWM chief executive Greg Cook, CFO Andrew Jones and Queensland state manager Sally Bell will stay on in their respective roles, with Mr Cook also taking a board position at NGA.

Mr Cook and Mr Jones have entered into long-term arrangements to ensure continuity of services.

“If you have the luxury to acquire quality, efficient and profitable firms, why would you change them?” Mr Barrett asked.

“If the firms are already operating extremely efficiently and profitably, it's more about continuous improvements than some kind of operational agenda.”

The completion of the acquisition comes after an announcement that NGA had signed an agreement to acquire a 51 per cent stake in Pride Advice, which is a member firm of ANZ-owned dealer group RI Advice Group.

Mr Barrett said EWM was its founding firm and that its next deal would be completed in June.

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