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Legg Mason acquires Martin Currie

Legg Mason has acquired Martin Currie, expanding its product capabilities in active equity strategies including Global Equity, Global Emerging Markets, Asian Equity, and European Equity, as well as Japan and China. 

The transaction is expected to be slightly accretive to Legg Mason’s earnings in the first year and is scheduled to close during the fourth quarter of 2014. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The firm will become a core independent investment affiliate of Legg Mason, along with Brandywine Global, ClearBridge Investments, The Permal Group, QS Investors, Royce & Associates and Western Asset Management. 

Also as part of this transaction, Legg Mason Australian Equities (LMAE) with USD2.5 billion in AUM and a 14-person team led by Reece Birtles, will become part of Martin Currie, consistent with Legg Mason’s strategy of creating fewer and larger investment affiliates. LMAE is an active Australian equities manager, offering clients strategies that include Small Cap, Property/Infrastructure, Income and Large Cap Value. These strategies will continue to be managed by the LMAE investment teams, while the combined business will benefit from an expanded global institutional reach. 

With over 130 years of history and as an active international equity specialist, Martin Currie is focused on alpha generation alongside building superior client relationships. 

Joe Sullivan, President and CEO of Legg Mason, says: “Martin Currie’s active international equity capabilities fill our largest product gap and are a perfect complement to our existing investment capabilities. The Martin Currie management team shares our passion for innovation, our commitment to delivering compelling investment results and our singular focus on the needs of our clients. Martin Currie is a perfect strategic fit for our growing equity business in Australia, where we see meaningful opportunity. We believe that, over time, our global retail distribution platform will be able to meaningfully leverage Martin Currie’s broad based investment capabilities. We are delighted to be the partner of choice for great investors such as Martin Currie.” 

Willie Watt, Chief Executive of Martin Currie, says: “We believe Legg Mason is the ideal strategic partner to grow our business further and will position us as the strategic international equities specialist in one of the most powerful independent investment management companies globally. Most importantly for our clients, the partnership gives us investment and operational autonomy, and this means our client proposition remains unchanged. 

“In partnership with Legg Mason we will have efficient access to new markets and client segments through their market-leading and sizeable retail distribution network as well as valuable seed capital which will allow us to be at the forefront of new product innovation”. 

The senior management team at Martin Currie has signed new long term contracts in conjunction with the transaction providing continued strength and stability. 

Legg Mason was advised by JP Morgan and Dechert LLP; Martin Currie was advised by UBS; and the Institutional Selling Group was advised by Herbert Smith Freehills CIS LLP. 

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