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MFS pays $52 mill for Northplan

MFS has entered into an agreement to buy financial planning group Northplan for $52 million.

Monday, December 11th 2006, 10:43AM
ASX-listed investment and financial services group MFS has agreed to buy Northplan, for $52.5million.

Northplan directly has funds under management and under advice of $670million. The company also provides back office and portfolio services to a number of financial advisory groups across New Zealand.

Northplan holds strategic stakes in these advisory groups, which have a combined funds under management and under advice of more than $330million, and advise more than 1500 clients.

MFS will pay $42.5 million in cash, with the balance to be through the issue of MFS shares to some of the vendors, including key management shareholders and Northplan founder Kelvin Syms.

The acquisition follows MFS’ announcement in June that it had agreed to sell 60% of its New Zealand operations to a group of financial investors in both Australia and New Zealand, including a subsidiary of the Babcock & Brown Group.

At that time MFS indicated an intention to grow MFS New Zealand so as to become a substantial player in the New Zealand financial services sector, including businesses operating in the funds management, financial planning, investment banking and property structured finance sectors.

MFS New Zealand chief executive Jason Maywald says that Northplan would ultimately be merged with MFS’ existing New Zealand businesses

Maywald said the acquisition of Northplan was a significant step in MFS’ expansion plans in New Zealand and was the first in a series of transactions that would see MFS become an influential force in New Zealand financial services.

“We are very excited by this opportunity which will not only allow for the enhancement and acceleration of Northplan’s own expansion plans,” Maywald says. Northplan was established by Kelvin Syms in 1989. He will remain actively involved in the business and will be appointed as the managing director of MFS New Zealand. Members of Northplan’s executive team will also be appointed to new roles within MFS New Zealand.

“We recognised there was an opportunity to significantly expand the Northplan business,” said Mr Syms, “and to be able to do so with the support of MFS will provide our clients and staff with enormous benefits, whilst still retaining our ability to offer our clients the high levels of good old-fashioned service they expect from us.”

The deal is due for completion on January 31. Northplan has more than 3,400 New Zealand clients and operates nine offices.

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