Franklin Templeton buys $4.5bn Legg Mason

Franklin Templeton CEO Jenny Johnson

Asset management giant Franklin Templeton said on Monday it agreed to acquire rival Legg Mason — which includes Edinburgh-based affiliate Martin Currie — for $4.5 billion in cash.

Franklin Templeton will also assume $2 billion of Legg Mason’s outstanding debt.

“The acquisition of Legg Mason and its multiple investment affiliates, which collectively manage over $806 billion in assets as of January 31, 2020, will establish Franklin Templeton as one of the world’s largest independent, specialized global investment managers with a combined $1.5 trillion in assets under management (AUM) across one of the broadest ranges of high-quality investment teams in the industry,” said Franklin Templeton.

“The combined footprint of the organization will significantly deepen Franklin Templeton’s presence in key geographies and create an expansive investment platform that is well balanced between institutional and retail client AUM …”

Franklin Templeton CEO Jenny Johnson said: “This acquisition will add differentiated capabilities to our existing investment strategies with modest overlap across multiple world-class affiliates, investment teams and distribution channels, bringing notable added leadership and strength in core fixed income, active equities and alternatives.

“We will also expand our multi-asset solutions, a key growth area for the firm amid increasing client demand for comprehensive, outcome-oriented investment solutions.”

Legg Mason CEO Joseph Sullivan said: “The incredibly strong fit between our two organizations gives me the utmost confidence that this transaction will create meaningful long-term benefits for our clients and provide our shareholders with a compelling valuation for their investment.

“By preserving the autonomy of each investment organization, the combination of Legg Mason and Franklin Templeton will quickly leverage our collective strengths, while minimizing the risk of disruption.”

Franklin Templeton added: “With this acquisition, Franklin Templeton will preserve the autonomy of Legg Mason’s affiliates, ensuring that their investment philosophies, processes and brands remain unchanged.

“As with any acquisition, the pending integration of Legg Mason’s parent company into Franklin Templeton’s, including the global distribution operations at the parent company level, will take time and only commence after careful and deliberate consideration.

“Following the closing of the transaction, Jenny Johnson will continue to serve as president and CEO, and Greg Johnson will continue to serve as executive chairman of the Board of Franklin Resources, Inc.

“There will be no changes to the senior management teams of Legg Mason’s investment affiliates.

“Global headquarters will remain in San Mateo, CA and the combined firm will operate as Franklin Templeton.”