Wells Fargo & Co. in a $2 billion deal sold two private equity investment groups that it has held since its 1998 merger with Minneapolis-based Norwest Corp. bank.
"With this transaction, we are continuing with our strategic efforts to focus on Wells Fargo's core businesses and customers," said Mike Santomassimo, Wells Fargo chief financial officer, in a statement.
Norwest Equity Partners (NEP) and Norwest Mezzanine Partners, the groups sold by Wells Fargo, are both based in Minneapolis.
The Norwest assets are being acquired by a buyer group including Adams Street Partners, Carlyle Group subsidiary AlpInvest Partners, Atalaya Capital Management, Hamilton Lane, Lexington Partners, Pantheon, Pomona Capital and Unigestion.
The two firms will now operate as one combined entity: Norwest Capital Advisors. It will remain based in Minneapolis and also has an office in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Norwest Capital Advisors has 50 employees — 35 in Minneapolis and 15 in Florida.
"We have considerable momentum as we move into the future as Norwest Capital," said Tim DeVries, managing partner for Norwest Capital, in a statement.
Founded in 1961, Norwest Equity Partners is a well-known middle market firm that makes investments in the range of $30 million to $250 million. It's the oldest private investment firm in the Twin Cities.
NEP invests nationally but has held stakes in many Minnesota companies.
In April, NEP sold Minneapolis-based Eyebobs, an eyewear company, to Cleveland-based Blue Point Capital Partners.
In June, NEP announced it struck a deal to sell Little Canada-based Bix Produce, a food distributor, to Houston-based Sysco Corp.
Twenty-five years after the merger, Wells Fargo retains significant operations in Minnesota. The bank has approximately 12,000 employees in the state.
But like many other companies it is consolidating its real estate. Wells Fargo is putting its large home mortgage campus in South Minneapolis up for sale and giving up leased space in St. Louis Park.
Wells Fargo's latest move is consistent with an ongoing review of the bank's portfolio.
In 2021, Wells Fargo sold off Wells Fargo Assessment Management (WFAM) for $2.1 billion to two private equity firms, GTCR and Reverence Capital Partners. WFAM had 24 offices globally, including a Minneapolis location, and more than 1,500 employees.
Also in 2021 the company rebranded its Abbot Downing business under Wells Fargo Private Bank.
Wells Fargo will continue to be involved in Norwest Venture Partners, a venture capital investment firm based in Palo Alto, Calif.