XP Is in Talks for Stake in Azimut’s Brazil Asset Manager

XP Inc., Brazil’s largest brokerage, is in discussions to buy a minority stake in asset manager AZ Quest Investimentos Ltda, according to people familiar with the matter.

AZ Quest is based in Sao Paulo and has about 16.5 billion reais ($2.88 billion) under management. It’s majority-owned by Italy’s Azimut Holding SpA, which has a stake of about 81%, while the rest is owned by executives at the Brazilian firm, according to regulatory filings.

Talks are preliminary and no agreement has been reached yet, the people said, asking not to be named because the negotiations are private. The company has also reached out to other potential investors, the people said.

AZ Quest didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. XP and Azimut declined to comment.

Earlier this month, AZ Quest announced the acquisition of rival hedge fund manager MZK Investimentos, co-founded by former HSBC Holdings Plc trader Marco Antonio Mecchi. Once the transaction is approved, Mecchi will become the head of AZ Quest’s macro department, the company said in a filing. One of the reasons behind the acquisition was to beef up AZ Quest ahead of the potential stake sale, the people said.

Firms including XP, Banco BTG Pactual SA and Itau Unibanco Holding SA have been scooping up minority stakes in local independent asset managers -- grabbing a share of the profits while helping with distribution, infrastructure and development. XP took a stake in Grimper Capital, a new hedge fund firm founded by former private-banking executives from Credit Suisse Group AG.

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