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Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Sullivan and Walker Each Do Deals

News summary by MFWire's editors

A pair of big fund firms' CEOs are making acquisitions.

Joe Sullivan and his team have started the process to increase Legg Mason's minority stake in Precidian Investments to a majority stake, Citywire and Pensions & Investments report. Separately, yesterday George Walker, CEO of Neuberger Berman, confirmed that the New York City-based fund firm has purchased a nearby, real estate-focused shop, Almanac Realty Investors.

Sullivan, chairman and CEO of Baltimore-based, publicly-traded Legg, was already at the helm four years ago when Legg bought a 19.9-percent stake in Precidian, with an option to increase that to a majority stake down the line. Precidian has been developing a special type of active ETF structure, called ActiveShares, that uses mutual funds' less frequent disclosure requirements. The SEC blessed ActiveShares last year, and word is that the first ETFs using the new structure should hit the market soon.

Sullivan's latest move is no-surprise to Legg watchers, as Legg had a January deadline to notify Precidian of interest in exercising the option. Now a nine-month due diligence process is underway.

Meanwhile, the Neuberger Berman deal is completely done. Almanac is a 39-year-old business that started within Rothschild and spun out in 2007. The whole Almanac team is expected to stay on. It will remain "a distinct investment platform at Neuberger Berman," according to the Neuberger team, with Almanac managing partner Matthew Kaplan and the rest of the partners and investment committee staying at the helm (along with a new investment committee addition, managing director David Haltiner.

Berkshire Global Advisors advised Almanac on the deal. Ardea Partners advised Neuberger. Pricing and terms were not disclosed.

"Private real estate is an important asset class," Walker states. "We've looked for a decade for the right partner here and are thrilled with the outcome." 

Edited by: Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

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