Natixis Investment Management has reached an agreement to sell its majority stake in embattled H2O Asset Management, following a decision to "unwind" its partnership in November 2020.

Chief executive of Natixis IM, Jean Raby, told Bloomberg an agreement had been reached between the asset management arm of the French bank and H2O AM to "part amicably in total agreement with management buying our stake in the company".

He confirmed the deal remains subject to regulatory approval and it was being conducted with "the interest of [Natixis] clients" at its heart.

The process of unwinding began last November in a joint statement by the firms, following the liquidity crisis that led the French regulator to request H2O AM suspend three of its funds, with the firm suspending a further four.

Although the funds have since been reopened, they were split into core products, which contain liquid securities, and side-pocketed funds, which hold the illiquid assets that forced the funds' suspensions. Investors are unable to sell their shares in the side pockets.

Natixis has backed H2O since its inception, but the relationship has been under threat since the revelation of its ties to German financier Lars Windhorst, which led to outflows of more than €8bn from its funds.

This article was first published by our sister title Investment Week