FB ROUNDUP: Northwood Family Office, Inditex, Alan Howard

By Glen Ferris

CI Financial acquires Canadian multi family office Northwood

Northwood, the privately-owned boutique Canadian family office, has agreed to a sale to investment management firm CI Financial Corp.

One of the first multi-family offices established in Canada, the Toronto-based Northwood, which co-ordinates the financial, investment and personal affairs of Canadian and global families, manages approximately $2.2 billion of investment assets and $9 billion net worth.

“Northwood is a great complement to our Canadian CI Private Wealth business and together they form a strong foundation for building the country’s leading high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth platform,” said Kurt MacAlpine, chief executive officer of CI.

“With the addition of one of Canada’s leading family offices, CI can now seamlessly serve the entire spectrum of wealth management, from beginning investors to the nation’s wealthiest families.”

“CI is an exceptional strategic and cultural fit for our firm as we move to a new stage in Northwood’s growth and development,” said Tom McCullough, Northwood’s chairman and chief executive officer.

“We take a comprehensive, integrated and objective approach to meeting our clients’ needs, an approach that’s shared and valued by CI and its wealth management teams in both Canada and the US.”

Northwood is a founding member of the Wigmore Association, a group of leading family offices from around the world formed in 2011. The acquisition is expected to increase CI’s Canadian wealth management assets to approximately $81 billion and total assets globally to approximately $377 billion.

Inditex founder Amancio Ortega buys Toronto's Royal Bank Plaza

Amancio Ortega, the Spanish billionaire founder of Inditex (the global fashion retailer which counts Zara, Pull&Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, and others amongst its brands), is buying Toronto’s Royal Bank Plaza for around $916.88 million.

Ortega’s family office Pontegadea confirmed the deal to buy the gold-coated Canadian skyscraper from current owners Oxford Properties Group and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. The sale was initially expected to top more than $799.17 million.

Royal Bank Plaza is home to the headquarters of Royal Bank of Canada, as well as other leading banks, law firms and technology companies. The plaza is situated in the heart of Toronto’s financial centre and covers approximately 1.5 million square feet (139,350 square metres) across its two towers.

Pontegadea has historically focused on investing in retail and real-estate assets and textile distribution. Recently, however, the family office became the largest private investor in Spain's electricity grid operator Red Electrica with a 5% stake. The office also bought a 49% stake in a wind farm operated by Spanish energy group Repsol.

Alan Howard and JD Sports line up esports team partnership deal

The family office of billionaire hedge-fund manager Alan Howard - co-founder of Brevan Howard - has joined Britain's biggest sports apparel retailer JD Sports in entering the fast-growing esports arena with a sponsorship deal with Excel Esports.

The deal will see the JD Sports logo worn by the British esports team, who compete in games including FIFA, Fortnite and League Of Legends.

Highlighting increasing interest in esports from youth-facing brands, the deal will include exclusive naming rights to the team’s academy roster and will be rebranded as JDXL.

“[The partnerhip] will unite gaming and sports communities on a level never seen before," said Wouter Sleijffers, Excel’s chief executive.

The deal with JD comes several months after Excel raised approximately $23.5 million in fundraising led by JRJ Group, an investment group set up by former Lehman Brothers executives Jeremy Isaacs and Roger Nagioff.

The deal enhances Mr Howard's hedge fund in addition to the nearly $77 million he accrued last year.