Morgan Stanley to buy employee stock manager for $900 million

Mae Love
February 13, 2019

Morgan Stanley agreed to buy Solium Capital Inc.in a bid to add younger clients and tech startups to its stock-plan administration business. Solium also boasts a strong business-to-business salesforce and is a top provider in private company equity administration, all of which is expected to bolster Morgan Stanley's existing offering, the companies say.

Morgan Stanley has been building a comprehensive suite of digital tools that will support expansion within the Workplace Wealth marketplace. As plan participants build their wealth, and their needs become more complex, there is a natural transition to an Advisor-based relationship. The deal is the bank's largest acquisition since the financial crisis.

"As we've said, we'd look to pursue more", Andy Saperstein, co-head of wealth management at Morgan Stanley, said in an interview. The agreement values Solium at about $1.1 billion (US$900 million).

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Solium CEO Marcos Lopez will remain with the company and be based in Calgary once the deal closes, which is expected to happen in the second quarter, subject to shareholder and regulatory approval. Davis Polk & Wardwell and Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt served as legal advisers to Morgan Stanley in the transaction.

The Wall Street bank will pay $900m to acquire Solium Capital, which manages the stock that corporate employees receive as part of their pay.

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