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Ira Gluskin, President and Chief Investment Officer of Gluskin Sheff & Assc. Inc. during a panel discussion of the Real Estate Forum, Property Values, 2005 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail)
Ira Gluskin, President and Chief Investment Officer of Gluskin Sheff & Assc. Inc. during a panel discussion of the Real Estate Forum, Property Values, 2005 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail)

Gluskin Sheff co-founders sell partial stake in firm Add to ...

Two of Bay Street’s best-known money managers are selling off large portions of Gluskin Sheff + Associates Inc., the wealth management firm they founded.

Ira Gluskin and Gerald Sheff said Wednesday that they have organized a bought deal worth about $122-million to part ways with 6.4 million subordinate voting shares of the company.

This significantly reduces the founders’ control over the firm – less than a year ago, they controlled 55 per cent of the company’s multiple voting shares according to company filings. Following the deal, the dual share classes will be collapsed and they will be left with just 2 per cent of the votes.

RBC Capital Markets and TD Securities Inc. are lead underwriters on the deal. Gluskin Sheff is not selling any shares as part of the deal, but Mr. Gluskin and Mr. Sheff’s charitable associations are.

The monetary amount isn’t large, but it marks a turning point for the firm, which said earlier this year that it had entertained the possibility of a sale at the request of the co-founders. Gluskin Sheff hired investment bankers to take bids and received submissions, but the firm later said it would hold off on a sale.

“The founders, the Board and management have concluded that the current platform remains an excellent way to serve clients and enhance shareholder value at this time,” the company said at the time.

Along with the sale of the founders’ shares, Gluskin Sheff also said it would eliminate its dual share structure, converting outstanding multiple voting shares to subordinate voting shares. After the conversion there will be about 29.5 million outstanding subordinate voting shares, of which management and employees own 23 per cent, and could increase their position.

The sale marks a pivotal point for both the 29-year-old firm and its septuagenarian co-founders. The two men gave up their management roles as chief executive and chief investment officers in 2009.

Both men said told the company that this sale was “the next logical step” in their transition, according to the release.

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