LSE in ‘exclusive’ talks to buy Russell Investments

The London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) has said it is in exclusive talks to buy Russell Investments.

Russell, which is both an index provider and an asset manager, is currently owned by the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company.

The LSE had announced a week ago that it was “evaluating” a bid for Russell, which is best known for its American indices, such as the small and mid-cap focused Russell 2000 index.

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The LSE has today said in a stock exchange announcement it is in “exclusive” talks to buy the firm but emphasised there was “no certainty that a transaction will be forthcoming”.

Russell currently has a range of six funds available to retail investors in the UK, including four multi-asset funds, a global equity fund and a UK equity fund.

The asset management branch of the firm is best known globally for its multi-asset team, which is overseen by chief investment officer Christophe Caspar and manages more than £46.2bn worldwide.

Broker Numis Securities put its recommendation and price target for LSE under review following the announcement.

It noted that the acquisition could be “transformational” in terms of the LSE’s index provider business but said it could “not see the strategic logic of purchasing the asset management business of Russell and would need to be convinced”.