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Ascalon takes controlling stake in Explorer Group

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Ascalon has become the majority shareholder of Explorer Group, after purchasing a further 40 per cent interest in the group.
Ascalon Capital Managers (Ascalon) has become the majority shareholder of Explorer Group, after purchasing a further 40 per cent interest in the group.

Ascalon now owns 80 per cent of the separately managed accounts (SMA) provider, with Explorer founder John Aldersley retaining a 20 per cent holding.

Following the acquisition, Explorer will change its name to Direct Portfolio Group (DPG).

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Ascalon chief executive Nick Basile said the company increased its stake in DPG as part of its expansion into the direct portfolio market.
 
"It's a bit different to our boutiques, where we're investing as investment managers whereas this is a platform and distribution business for us. So it's probably the only exception where we've gone for a controlling stake," said Nick Basile, CEO of Ascalon.
 
"With John Aldersley continuing as a 20 per cent shareholder, we still retain access to John's knowledge and skills base. John's really a pioneer in the SMA industry, probably the first to do it here in Australia."

Basile said the company's further 40 per cent interest in DPG comes after Ascalon purchased a 40 per cent stake earlier this year from former Explorer shareholder First Capital.

He denied the move was an attempt to position itself for a full takeover of DPG.

"We might have been able to achieve that now if we wanted to but we actually think there's merits in John having a continuing stake, so we certainly do have first rights if John wants to sell down at some point, but we're more than happy for him to remain a 20 per cent holder," Basile said.

Ascalon's increased shareholder interest in DPG comes a week after First Capital Group severed ties with Explorer Group shareholder Aldersley.

After vigorously pursuing Aldersley for his 60 per cent interest in the Explorer Group since June this year, the Queensland-based First Capital announced late last week it had decided to terminate the share sale and purchase deed.

DPG is the parent company of Direct Portfolio Services.

Ascalon is co-owned by St George Bank and Kaplan Equity.

 

Ascalon takes controlling stake in Explorer Group
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