Swiss entrepreneur presents alternative to Liontrust bid for GAM

BERLIN (Reuters) -Swiss entrepreneur Marco Garzetti is prepared to invest 65 million Swiss francs ($73 million) in struggling asset manager GAM Holding and provide an alternative plan to an offer made by British firm Liontrust, his investment company said on Friday.

Liontrust Asset Management plc earlier this month conditionally agreed to acquire GAM in a deal that values the Swiss asset manager at 107 million Swiss francs.

Garzetti's Taure Invest AG said the offer undervalued GAM, would lead to its breakup, and involved "significant execution risks".

Garzetti and his team proposed to turn around the asset manager and secure its future as a Swiss-listed independent company, it added.

"Marco Garzetti and his colleagues remain prepared to make a financial and personal commitment should GAM shareholders be interested in exploring a valid alternative to Liontrust's offer," Taure said in a statement.

"I strongly believe that the decision of the GAM Board of Directors to sell and carve up the company at a poor price is wrong," the statement quoted Garzetti as saying.

Under Garzetti's plan, GAM would raise 34 million francs via a capital increase, which would give Taure a 68% stake in GAM, and receive a further 34 million as a loan from Taure, in which Garzetti holds 84%.

GAM confirmed it rejected the offer from Taure AG on May 3 as the offer did not eliminate the significant risks of GAM remaining an independent firm and was not in the best interests of all other stakeholders.

Taure's offer, which included a loan of approximately CHF 31 million, "would not have been available until GAM shareholders had approved their offer and the election of a new GAM board," the company said in a statement on Friday.

"The offer from Liontrust has been well received by clients and is strongly supported by GAM's portfolio managers which enables GAM to move forward with stability as part of a combined business with Liontrust," David Jacob, chairman of GAM said.

A group of investors, including French billionaire Xavier Niel, had earlier criticised the lack of cash offer from Liontrust, and pushed for a higher price.

The group, which jointly holds more than 8% of GAM shares, informed Swiss regulators earlier this week of their intention to increase that stake to more than 10%.

($1 = 0.8889 Swiss francs)

(Reporting by Oliver Hirt; Writing by Rachel More and Tomasz Janowski; additional reporting by Kanjyik Ghosh; Editing by Bartosz Dabrowski, Jason Neely, Jan Harvey and Marguerita Choy)