Consulting and law firm MJ Hudson has sold its data and analytics, and business outsourcing divisions to fund administrator Apex Group as it winds down its operations.
As part of the $49 million deal, Apex will acquire MJ Hudson’s business divisions, which offer ESG solutions, management company services, quantitative solutions, investment advisory, custodian bank benchmarking, and its investor relations and marketing solutions services.
MJ Hudson’s ManCo services in Ireland and Luxembourg will add approximately $87 billion of assets under management to Apex’s FundRock subsidiary. MJ Hudson’s Irish ManCo team will join Apex Group in Dublin.
MJ Hudson’s data and analytics business, which includes its ESG services, will add to Apex Group’s existing ESG ratings & advisory offering, which was launched in 2019.
As part of the deal, Apex will also expand its presence in the Channel Islands with the addition of MJ Hudson’s Channel Islands fiduciary and fund administration businesses, as well as its investor relations and marketing solutions business.
MJ Hudson shareholders will vote on the deal on May 3. If the deal is approved, MJ Hudson will be delisted on May 12.
The consulting firm has been working with auditors on adjustments to its year-end reporting for its 2022 financial year, and suspended trading in its ordinary shares in December. It also said it was aware of “additional issues, including in relation to the reporting of the historical trading of the business to FY 2022”.
Matthew Craig-Greene, CMO and managing director of MJ Hudson’s IR and marketing solutions team, said the group’s shareholders and lenders were “quite motivated to find a buyer” so the shareholder vote is expected to be a formality.
The deal also needs regulatory approval. MJ Hudson said it intends to give notice to Britain’s Solicitors Regulation Authority for the proposed closure of its legal business.
If the deal is approved by shareholders and regulators, a new legal entity will be created, headquartered in the Netherlands and with a new brand identity, under the Apex Group banner. A new board will also be appointed.
In a regulatory filing, MJ Hudson said it would not have sufficient funds to continue operations if the deal failed. A majority of the consideration from the sale will be used to repay debt owed to its senior lender Santander UK. MJ Hudson added that it was “highly unlikely” that there would be any money left for shareholders after paying all creditors and costs.