William Blair Investment Management (William Blair), Investment Counselors of Maryland, LLC (ICM), and BrightSphere Investment Group today announced that they have signed a definitive agreement for William Blair to acquire ICM, a $3.2 billion institutional U.S. value equity investment firm.

The addition of ICM further underscores William Blair’s mission to deliver high-quality investment management expertise and specialized value-added strategies to its global clients. 

Founded in 1972, ICM has a deep heritage in value investing. The firm and its eight-person seasoned investment team is led by Bill Heaphy, CFA. Averaging 20 years of industry experience, the investment team has worked together for over a decade, delivering strong results for clients across different market environments.

“We are thrilled to welcome Bill and the ICM investment team to William Blair as our U.S. value franchise,” said Stephanie Braming, CFA, partner, global head of William Blair Investment Management. “ICM’s collaborative, rigorous investment process and client-focused culture aligns well with William Blair’s culture and mission. Moreover, the team has established deep relationships with some of the most sophisticated investors over time and has a well-documented track record of success. This team will broaden and deepen William Blair’s value expertise and will add another strong pillar to our well-known U.S., international, and emerging markets small-cap franchise.”

“William Blair is a perfect strategic fit for ICM and our clients,” said Bill Heaphy, CFA, portfolio manager, and managing principal at ICM. “Its investment-led, client-focused private partnership aligns strongly with ICM’s culture. In addition, its broad distribution resources and infrastructure backbone will support our current investment process and client engagement, while facilitating future growth. By leveraging the full strength of William Blair, we will be well positioned to continue delivering value to our clients prospectively.”

William Blair and ICM will work together on a smooth transition for clients, leveraging the combined expertise of the two firms. As part of this transition, it is expected that members of the current William Blair Small Cap Value team will remain with the firm for a period to assist with the transition to ICM.

Subject to customary closing conditions, the transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of this year; terms will not be disclosed.

About William Blair

William Blair is the premier global boutique with expertise in investment banking, investment management, and private wealth management. We provide advisory services, strategies, and solutions to meet our clients' evolving needs. As an independent and employee-owned firm, together with our strategic partners, we operate in more than 20 offices worldwide.*

William Blair Investment Management is a premier global investment management boutique, with a sole focus on active management across equity, fixed income, currency and multi-asset strategies.  We are a U.N.-Supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) Signatory, Investor Stewardship Group Member (Framework for U.S. Stewardship and Governance), and Signatory to the Japan and Korea Stewardship Codes. We work closely with private and public pension funds, insurance companies, endowments, foundations, and sovereign wealth funds, as well as financial advisors.  As of 31 December 2020, William Blair Investment Management manages approximately $70 billion in assets.

*Includes strategic partnerships with Allier Capital, BDA Partners, and Poalim Capital Markets