Citco changes hands

The hedge fund administrator has new owners.

The Citco Group, which administers $250 billion of hedge fund assets globally and serves as custodian to $140 billion of hedge fund assets, has announced a new ownership structure.

The previous majority owner, the Sandoz Family Foundation, has sold a controlling stake in the firm to a group of investors including the Smeets Family Trust, Citco managers and "friends of the firm", as a spokesman puts it. The Sandoz family, which made a substantial investment into the firm in 1995, will remain a minority owner and keep a seat on the board.

CEO Christopher Smeets will continue in his role heading the company, and expressed pleasure that the firm remains independent.

Silverpoint Capital led the debt financing for the transaction, while Morgan Stanley served as advisor to the Smeets Family Trust and Goldman Sachs International advised the Sandoz family.

The Sandoz Family Trust was established in 1964 by the sculptor and painter Marcel Edouard Sandoz, the son of the founder of pharmaceutical company SA Sandoz of Basel (now Novartis).

Citco got its start 60 years ago in Curacao and now provides corporate trust and administration in 27 European, Caribbean, Australasian and Indian Ocean districts. It was founded by the predecessor of the Smeets Family Trust.