IMF Bentham to acquire Omni Bridgeway

Combined company will have more than $2.2bn in capital and 145 professionals across 18 offices around the world

IMF Bentham to acquire Omni Bridgeway

IMF Bentham is expanding with the acquisition of an established litigation funder in Europe.

The Australia-headquartered global litigation and dispute financier said this morning that it is acquiring Omni Bridgeway Holding BV for at least at least €55m or about $89m and up to €87.5m or about $141m, contingent on certain performance goals being met. The upfront cash consideration of €35m or about $57m will be funded by IMF Bentham’s recently announced entitlement offer and institutional placement, which seeks to raise about $139m.

The combined company will have more than $2.2bn in capital to fund disputes and enforcement proceedings around the world. It will also have 145 professionals working out of 18 offices across 10 countries in Australia, Asia, North America, Europe, and the Middle East.

The acquisition will add Omni Bridgeway offices in Amsterdam, Cologne, Geneva, and Dubai to the IMF Bentham network. In fiscal 2018, Omni Bridgeway’s capitalised investments in claims portfolio was valued at €34m or about $55m and its claims value under management was valued at more than €2.5bn or about $4bn.

The combined group will take on one global name in the next year in a rebrand that’s currently in the works, IMF Bentham told Australasian Lawyer.

“While the transaction involves IMF Bentham buying Omni Bridgeway’s business, it is a merger of equals,” said Andrew Saker, IMF Bentham managing director and chief executive.

IMF said that the two companies have a 33-year track record of funded and recovered claims globally. It added that the combination unites two pioneers of litigation funding.

IMF Bentham first started funding disputes in Australia in the 1990s. Omni Bridgeway was founded in the Netherlands in 1986. The acquisition includes Omni Bridgeway’s German litigation funder ROLAND ProzessFinanz and its joint venture with the World Bank’s IFC. The IFC joint venture includes a dedicated fund and Dubai-based expertise centre focused on helping banks in matters across the Middle Eastern and African regions.

“We view the merger as a partnership of complementary strengths,” said Raymond van Hulst, Omni Bridgeway managing director. “Together, we have the global scale and local understanding needed for today’s complex multi-jurisdictional and domestic disputes.”

Saker highlighted a history of cooperation between the two companies.

“Since we were introduced by leading global investment bank Houlihan Lokey in March 2018, IMF Bentham and Omni Bridgeway have partnered on numerous projects and have discovered that our two companies, which have evolved on parallel paths, have a like-mindedness and commitment to excellence that distinguishes us from the competition,” He said.

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