PE to bid for Russell, again

Expect private equity to make a play for Russell Investments, several buyout and banking sources said.

The London Stock Exchange Group said Thursday it concluded its review of Russell Investments, the asset management arm of Frank Russell Co.. The LSE said it received “a number of expressions of interest” for Russell. “A sale process of the business will now commence,” the LSE said in the statement.

J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs are advising on the process. Barclays is the corporate broker, the LSE said.

The asset management unit has $275.09 billion in assets under management as of Sept. 30. Russell Investments produces $125 million EBITDA and is expected to fetch from $1.3 billion to $1.4 billion, one private equity executive said.

Interested parties could include TA Associates, Hellman & Friedman, GTCR, Lovell Minnick Partners and Crestview Partners, sources said. Larger PE firms, like the Carlyle Group or the Blackstone Group, could also be involved.

Last year, Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. put Frank Russell, including the investment management and index businesses, up for sale. The Russell sale was limited to large buyout shops, peHUB reported. The LSE, which mainly wanted Russell’s large index business, in June beat out a handful of PE firms and bidders such as the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce to buy the company, Reuters said.

The LSE at the time said it was conducting a “comprehensive review” of Russell’s asset management business, Reuters said. The LSE completed its $2.7 billion buy of Frank Russell in December.

Executives for TA, GTCR, Hellman & Friedman, Blackstone and Crestview declined comment.