On Thursday, the venerable but still spry London Stock Exchange announced that it was putting the investment management division of Russell Investments up for sale. Many analysts had speculated that the asset management arm might end up on the auction block after the LSE bought the owner of the Russell 2000 stock market index a few months ago.
Earlier this summer, the LSE agreed to merge with Russell in a $2.7 billion cash deal. At that time, the exchange noted it was planning a comprehensive review of the asset management arm following. Russell’s asset management division was managing around $275 billion as of late 2014.
Reuters reported last week that LSE was planning to sell the investment management unit for close to $1.4 billion.
Statement from LSE about Russell Asset Management
The LSE noted in its statement that it “has already received a number of expressions of interest in a potential acquisition of Russell Investment Management reflecting the high quality of its business and market leading positions. A sale process of the business will now commence.”
More on Russell Asset Management sale
LSE bought Frank Russell from insurer Northwestern Mutual mainly for its large index fund business. According to Reuters sources, the LSE beat out a number of interested buyers, including the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and a several well-known private equity firms.
The decision to go ahead and run a formal sales process came after undertaking informal conversations with at least three interested buyers the sources also noted.
With the acquisition, the exchange was looking to grow its intellectual property platform and get their foot in the door in the U.S.
LSE already owns the FTSE Group, which operates several indexes including the FTSE 100, which tracks the largest 100 stocks on the London exchange.
Frank Russell was founded all the way back in 1936, and owns both an equity market indexing business (including the popular Russell 2000 index) and an asset management firm. The company claims that close to $5.2 trillion in assets are referenced against Russell’s United States indexes.