St James’s Place abandons deal to buy Dublin investment firm Harvest

The wealth management group says it looks forward to maintaining its good relationships with Harvest

Harvest has more than 1,500 clients, and employs  60 people in Dublin, overseeing about €1bn  of assets

Harvest has more than 1,500 clients, and employs 60 people in Dublin, overseeing about €1bn of assets

 

FTSE 100-listed wealth management group St James’s Places has abandoned plans to buy Dublin-based pensions and investment firm Harvest Financial Services almost a year after agreeing the almost €12 million deal.

Harvest’s chief executive, Gerry Devitt informed clients this week that the takeover had been terminated in a note seen by The Irish Times.

“Whilst this outcome is, of itself, disappointing, we have learned much from our engagement with St James’s Place, and indeed look forward to maintaining a strong relationship with them going forward,” he said.

“We would, of course, like to stress that this in no way reflects on the viability of Harvest itself, and we will continue to focus on delivering the best possible service to all of our clients.

Mr Devitt did not respond to a call to his office seeking comment on Friday.

A spokesman for St James’s Place said the UK firm’s “strategic decision” not to complete the purchase “does not reflect in any way upon Harvest Financial Services”. The company “looks forward to maintaining the good relationships it has established with Harvest”.

Harvest was in advanced talks to be bought by Cantor Fitzgerald Ireland in 2016, but negotiations ended without a deal. It is believed that Davy and Investec Ireland also ran the rule over the company.

The owner-managers of Harvest – Gerry and Terry Devitt and Eugene Foley – and the rest of the management team had been set to remain on board following the planned St James’s Place deal with the firm.

Assets

Harvest, established in 1993, has more than 1,500 clients, and employs about 60 in Dublin, overseeing about €1 billion of assets on behalf of pension funds, private individuals, corporations and charities.

Jonathan McMahon, executive director at St James’s Place and a former senior financial regulatory official with the Central Bank of Ireland, had been heavily involved in the original takeover agreement, struck in late February last year.

Mr McMahon said at the time that he expected Harvest’s level of assets under management under St James’s Place to at least double over five years through organic growth and possible further acquisitions.