LSE in talks with six bidders for Russell Investment-FT

(Reuters) – London Stock Exchange Group Plc is in talks with at least six parties interested in buying Russell Investment Management, the investment arm of LSE-owned Frank Russell Co, the Financial Times reported, citing people close to the process.

LSE bought Seattle-based Frank Russell Co last year for $2.7 billion primarily for its large index business and said it would conduct a “comprehensive review” of the company’s asset management business.

Frank Russell is the owner of the Russell 2000 stock market index, which measures the performance of small-cap U.S. stocks.

LSE declined to comment on the FT story, other than to refer to its statement earlier on Wednesday that the sale was “on track” with “a good number of indications of interest”.

The Financial Times said the auction process was in the second round, with strategic and private-equity bidders including U.S. risk management consultancy Towers Watson and financial services group Ameriprise Financial Inc expressing interest. (on.ft.com/1DJrrPT)

The interest from Towers Watson may mean that other risk managers such as insurance brokers Aon Plc and Marsh and McLennan Cos Inc are also following the process closely, the FT said, citing the people near the process.

The FT said other bidders were believed to include at least one China-based group and a small number of private equity firms.

Towers Watson and Aon declined to comment on the FT story. Ameriprise could not be immediately reached outside regular U.S. business hours