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Thursday, June 11, 2015

And Then There Were Three ... Russell Bidders

News summary by MFWire's editors

Russell Investments [profile] might end up with an owner on the other side of the Pacific.

Jessica Toonkel and Mike Stone of Reuters report, citing unnamed sources, that the three remaining bidders for the Russell asset management business are: Arlington, Virgina-based consulting giant Towers Watson; China-based online game developer Shanda Games, which unveiled a deal in April for Capitalhold Limited (whose backers include the Chinese government) to take Shanda private; and Beijing-based CITIC Group, a Chinese government-owned investment company.

The wire service's sources expect the price tag on the deal to be $1.5 billion, which works out to 0.55 percent of Russell's $272 billion AUM (as of 12/31/2015). That price also translates into 56 percent of the $2.7 billion that the London Stock Exchange (LSE) paid (reportedly by issuing $1.6 billion in new stock and using $1.1 billion from existing bank debt facilities) last year to buy all of Russell. The LSE bought Russell mainly for the latter's index business, which is not part of the current sale.

Of the three bidders mentioned in the new Reuters article, only one, Towers Watson, has come up in previous reports. Other possible bidders mentioned in prior coverage include Columbia Threadneedle parent Ameriprise, American Century backer CIBC, and a host of private equity bidders

Edited by: Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

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