Boyd Watterson, Amber Infrastructure announce merger

The Cleveland-based real estate and fixed income manager and London-based infrastructure firm will have about $35.7bn in total AUM.

Boyd Watterson Asset Management, a Cleveland-based real estate and fixed income manager, and London’s Amber Infrastructure Group Holdings Limited have announced the merger of the two businesses to create a global alternative investment firm focused on the three asset classes.

Upon closing, the combined entity will comprise 300 investment personnel across offices in eight US cities and 12 countries. The firm will have approximately $35.7 billion in total assets under management. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Brian Gevry, chief executive of Boyd Watterson, will serve as chairman and CEO of the combined entity. Gavin Tait, Amber’s current CEO, will continue to act as head of Amber and oversee the infrastructure business globally, reporting to Gevry. After the deal closes, the company’s shareholders will comprise the existing shareholders in Boyd Watterson and Amber.

“With the combination of Amber Infrastructure Group, we are broadening our scope and opening up exciting new investment opportunities for our clients,” said Gevry in a release. “Now we will have greater reach and ability to build on each team’s respective expertise to deliver products and performance to a global client base.”

Commenting on the transaction, Tait added: “Both firms have a keen focus on delivering outstanding client service and proven expertise in partnering with governments around the world. The planned combination will create greater scale for Amber to grow its global infrastructure business, including US infrastructure opportunities, while bringing new opportunities for Boyd Watterson’s clients.”

Hunt Companies, a Texas-based principal investment firm with interests in the real estate, infrastructure and financial services sectors, acquired a 50 percent ownership interest in Amber in 2015. The firm also purchased a minority stake in Boyd in 2022. Boyd, Hunt Companies and Amber shareholders will retain their investment holdings with no plans to exit.

Founded in 1928 by its predecessor firm, Boyd Watterson has $18.2 billion in total assets under management, of which $10.6 billion is in real estate and $7.6 billion is in fixed-income investment strategies. The firm primarily invests in office, warehouse and flex properties leased to high credit-quality tenants.

The manager, which has 130 employees in seven offices across the US, launched its first open-end real estate fund in 2013. Boyd formed a closed-end real estate separate account for a private bank in 2019 and launched a second program focused on the same strategy a year later.

Established in 2009, Amber oversees approximately $17.5 billion in AUM. The firm holds the 82nd spot on affiliate title Infrastructure Investor’s Infrastructure Investor 100 ranking of the largest infrastructure managers by capital raised. Amber currently manages or advises over $6 billion in funds under management across nine vehicles. In addition to its London headquarters, the firm has offices in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand, with more than 180 professionals globally.

New York-based investment bank Berkshire Global Advisors acted as financial adviser and Boston-based law firm Goodwin Procter served as legal adviser to Boyd Watterson. London-based law firm Dechert advised Amber and Hunt, while New York-based Milbank represented Amber’s minority shareholders.

The transaction is subject to consent from Boyd Watterson’s and Amber’s respective clients and investors as well as the UK Financial Conduct Authority, along with other customary regulatory approvals.

The expected combination of the two firms follows other mergers and acquisitions deals involving real estate and infrastructure managers over the past several years. They include CBRE IM’s 2017 acquisition of Caledon Capital Management and Patrizia’s purchase of Whitehelm Capital in 2022.