LSE lead bidder for Russell Investments in deal worth about $3 bln -FT

Mon May 19, 2014 8:24pm EDT

May 20 (Reuters) - The London Stock Exchange Group Plc has emerged as the preferred bidder for asset management group Russell Investments, the Financial Times reported, citing people familiar with the discussions.

The newspaper reported late Monday that LSE is in exclusive talks with Russell, which is being spun off by its parent company Northwestern Mutual, for a deal potentially worth around $3 billion.

A potential deal, which is being advised by Goldman Sachs, is still weeks away, one of these people told the FT.

Northwestern Mutual and LSE could not be reached outside of normal business hours.

The bourse, which owns FTSE International financial indices, said last week that it was eyeing the Seattle-based stock index firm, and that the United States represented a "unique growth opportunity."

Several people familiar with the matter told Reuters in April that the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), and two private equity consortia were exploring offers for Russell Investments.

The two private equity consortia included CVC Capital Partners Ltd teaming with Silver Lake, and Warburg Pincus LLC with TPG Capital LP.

Seattle-based Russell provides pension consulting, investment management, transition management services and indexes such as the Russell 1000 Global Index. It has more than $259 billion in assets under management, according to its website.

Reuters first reported in January that Milwaukee-based insurer Northwestern Mutual is discussing selling the Russell subsidiary because it has decided it is not a core part of its business. (Reporting by Aashika Jain in Bangalore; Editing by Ken Wills)

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