A new deal has sold off control of a sprawling, family-run financial advisory services firm.
NorthStar Financial Services Group, the Omaha, Neb.-based parent company of Orion Advisor Services, CLS Investments, Gemini Alternative funds and other subsidiaries, has agreed to sell a majority stake to private equity firm TA Associates.
Patrick Clarke, NorthStar's late co-founder, died in a fatal plane crash in 2012. But according to son Eric Clarke, CEO of Orion Advisor Services, that is not what ignited the search for a buyer.
"Firms proactively reaching out to us prompted us to consider the option and once we began the process, we realized the opportunity of having a well-funded partner and the potential of NorthStar," he said.
According to the younger Clarke and his brother Todd Clarke, president of CLS Investments, two shareholders looking to "retire and divest of their shares" in NorthStar helped propel the search.
"We looked at a lot of different options that we had available, from going public, strategic mergers, as well as dozens of private equity firms, to help buy out our shareholders that wanted help to fulfill their desire to retire and sell their ownership in NorthStar," the Orion CEO said.
Although NorthStar management will remain significant owners following the likely second-quarter closing, TA Associates announced it would take majority stakes in NorthStar's primary business units. These include Orion Advisor Services, CLS Investments, Gemini Alternative Funds, Gemini Fund Services, Gemini Hedge Fund Services, Northern Lights Compliance Services and Northern Lights Distributors. Additional terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
With more than 650 employees, NorthStar manages and administers approximately $275 billion, according to the website. The company is comprised of nine subsidiary wealth management units that serve RIAs, independent broker-dealers and investment management firms.
"After exploring numerous options designed to take the NorthStar companies to the next level of growth, we made a carefully thought-through decision to remain a private company and to retain our independence, which we believe is to the benefit of our clients, Orion's Clarke said.
TA Associates will have the biggest impact at the board level to help set strategy and provide acquisition capital he added.
M. Roy Burns, managing director at TA Associates, will be one of many new faces on NorthStars board of directors following the transaction.
"NorthStar and its talented management team have created a platform that serves multiple channels within the global wealth management industry, from money management and pooled investment solutions to integrated technology and compliance services," Burns said in a statement.
Todd Crockett, a managing director at TA Associates, will also join the board.
Goodwin Procter is providing legal counsel to TA Associates. Mayer Brown is serving as legal counsel and Raymond James & Associates is acting as financial advisor to NorthStar.
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