The purchase underscored mounting competitive pressures on medium-sized managers to find powerful backers with international reach. It also pointed up the attractiveness of London, notably for Continental banks, which have traditionally operated in a bond culture, to acquire expertise in international equity management.
"This is a business in which the middle ground is increasingly uncomfortable. You need critical mass, and a big, resourceful partner," said John Duffield, chief executive of Jupiter.
Commerzbank insisted on a deal that leaves Jupiter Tyndall's management with a 25 per cent stake in the business. "Jupiter's main assets all have two legs, and we want them to stay," said Heinz Hockmann, head of asset management at Commerzbank. "We do not want civil servants, we want entrepreneurs."
Obliged under the deal to exercise all share options, Mr Duffield and his number two, Leonard Licht, stand to receive the lion's share of a £15m payout to be divided among 40 staff.
Jupiter yesterday reported 1994 profits of £4.6m compared with £9.4m in the previous year. Mr Duffield said it had been helped by the fact that its involvement in Latin America was small compared with its activities in the Far East.
Invesco, a bigger fund manager, reported an 18 per cent rise in pre-tax profits last year. Funds under management were £42bn at the end of 1994, down from £45bn a year earlier, mainly because of the weaker dollar and market depreciation.
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