EUROPE - Henderson Global Investors (HGI) is to acquire the French arm of Horizon Investment Management in an effort to expand its footprint in the country, with the company's president being retained by the new owners.

Under the terms of the deal, Peter Winstanley, whose company Winstanley & Associates acts as president of Horizon France, will retain his position alongside five other employees.

Thibault Ancely, current country head for France, will become head of Henderson Property France, as HGI aims to double its assets under management in the country by 2015.

The price of the deal was not disclosed.

HGI said in a statement that the companies' individual skills were "complementary" due to one focusing mostly on business, while the other concentrated on the retail property market.

The transaction will see Henderson's French team almost double to 13, taking over advisory services for a €250m closed-end property fund in Luxembourg, as well as seven contracts to manage 25 properties.

Commenting on the deal, Henderson property's chief investment officer Mike Sales said: "We are optimistic about the medium-term outlook for the French property market, and this acquisition represents a good opportunity to capitalise on the expected value shift in French property in the near term."

Director of research at Henderson Property Andy Schofield meanwhile highlighted the "defensive" qualities of French property as one of the reasons the company was looking to expand into the market despite "ongoing sovereign risks" associated with Southern Europe.

Scott Morgan, chairman at Horizon Investment Management, said he wished his former colleagues the best for the future and that the sale would allow Horizon to focus on attracting Asian capital going forward.

Henderson's property business currently manages assets totalling €15bn.