Wells Fargo has agreed to sell Wells Fargo Asset Management (WFAM) to private-equity firms – GTCR and Reverence Capital Partners – for $2.1 billion.
WFAM is the asset management unit of the bank, with $603 billion in assets under management and specialized investment teams with more than 450 investment professionals.
The deal is anticipated to close in the second half of 2021. Per the terms of the transaction, Wells Fargo (WFC) will continue to serve as a client and distribution partner, holding a 9.9% equity interest.
Wells Fargo’s Wealth & Investment Management division CEO Barry Sommers said, “Operating as an independent firm as a portfolio company of GTCR and Reverence Capital will provide numerous benefits to WFAM’s clients, employees, and strategic partners — including Wells Fargo.” (See Wells Fargo stock analysis on TipRanks)
“At the same time, this transaction reflects Wells Fargo’s strategy to focus on businesses that serve our core consumer and corporate clients, and will allow us to focus even more on growing our wealth and brokerage businesses,” he added.
On Feb.18, J.P. Morgan analyst Vivek Juneja upgraded the stock to Hold from Sell and increased the price target to $37 from $31.50 following “news reports that the Federal Reserve accepted the company’s plan to overhaul its risk management and compliance, which is a critical step on the path to eventual lifting of the asset cap.”
Juneja believes the company’s “valuation is appropriate after factoring in potential earnings benefit from lifting of the asset cap plus sizable cost savings from its restructuring.”
However, the analyst said, “there is still much uncertainty about the full earnings run rate and profitability once the restructuring is completed.”
The rest of the Street is cautiously optimistic about the stock with a Moderate Buy consensus rating. That’s based on 11 analysts suggesting a Buy and 8 analysts recommending a Hold. The average analyst price target of $36.63 implies 1% downside potential to current levels. Shares have gained 58.3% over the past six months.
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