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Rating:Want to Buy iShares? Barclays Will Lend You Most of the Money Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Sunday, March 22, 2009

Want to Buy iShares? Barclays Will Lend You Most of the Money

by: Armie Margaret Lee

Barclays has offered to lend bidders for its exchange-traded fund business as much as 80 percent of the sale price, The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday. The auction, run by Barclays' Middle East chief Roger Jenkins, is now down to two or three bidding groups, with private equity firm Hellman & Friedman LLC leading one consortium, the report stated, citing unnamed sources.

Analysts have estimated that U.K.-headquartered Barclays could get as much as $4.5 billion for the iShares business, which is based out of San Francisco. That amount represents 2 percent of iShares' $215 billion of AUM at the end of February.

Hellman, which last year teamed with Bain Capital in what was ultimately a failed bid for Neuberger Berman, may have an advantage over the others since it is also San Francisco-based and it made an attempt in the past to purchase an iShares predecessor, a source told the Journal.

According to the report, Boston-based Bain and rival private equity firms Fort Worth, Texas-headquartered TPG and London-based Apax Partners are also eyeing iShares. Another private equity firm that has taken a look is Washington, D.C.-based Carlyle Group.

Barclays' offer to finance most of the sale price underscores the tough situation is in, the Journal noted. The bank has until the end of the month to make up its mind on whether to take part in a UK government insurance plan. If it is unable to sell assets to raise money to pay for the insurance, the bank may have to sell as much as a 40 percent stake to the government, analysts say.

A Barclays spokesperson declined comment to the Journal. 

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