Mellon Financial Corp. announced a definitive agreement Thursday to acquire Standish, Ayer & Wood, a Boston bond manager that would add to its menu of fixed-income products for institutional investors.
The price was not disclosed, but analysts said the Pittsburgh banking company may have agreed to pay as much as $180 million for Standish, which has $41 billion of assets under management. The deal is expected to close by July 30.
For the past several years Mellon has been trying to build its equity management capabilities. It bought Founders Asset Management in 1998 and Dreyfus Corp. in 1994.
Currently only 17% of the $520 billion it manages is in fixed-income products. Standish, which had been on the block for three months, manages $36 billion for institutional clients and $5 billion for high-net-worth investors.
Ronald P. OHanley, the president of Mellon Institutional Asset Management, said Standish would be a good fit because of the lack of product overlap. The banking companys fixed-income unit, Mellon Bond Associates, offers bond indexing and short-term fixed-income products, while Standish would bring active and global fixed-income products, he said.
Standish brings us important capabilities in terms of global investment management and wealth management, Mr. OHanley said in an interview. Edward H. Ted Ladd, the chairman of Standish, said it was drawn to Mellon because of the banking companys ability to increase its distribution.
The Boston firm has been trying to increase sales globally. Last year a deal to sell itself to CDC Asset Management of France fell through.
Analysts said the deal would represent a shift in focus by Mellon back to fixed-income.
Given the selloff in the market, I guess it shouldnt be a surprise that Mellon is going back to the fixed income market, said Matt Snowling, an analyst with Friedman Billings Ramsey & Co. who covers Mellon. Mellon is perhaps taking a second look at what is more safe and secure business and where things are going to consistent.
Standish would remain headquartered in Boston, but would be renamed Standish Mellon Asset Management. It would operate as a unit of Mellon Institutional Asset Management.