By Meredith Cohn and Lorranie Mirabella
Feb 18. 2020
Baltimore stands to lose one of its last few remaining large public companies headquartered in the city after a California-based mutual fund giant announced a $4.5 billion deal Feb.18 to acquire Legg Mason, an institution with 121 years of roots in the city.
The loss of Legg Mason’s corporate presence would be just the latest in a long string of big business casualties for Baltimore and another blow to the city’s legacy as a regional financial stronghold. Legg Mason would join a list of tombstoned headquarters that includes Constellation Energy Group, Black & Decker, USF&G, Alex. Brown & Sons and Maryland National Bank.
Franklin Templeton, best known for its consumer-oriented mutual fund business, will pay $50 cash for each share of Legg Mason’s stock, a premium of $9.28 per share over Friday’s closing price. Legg Mason’s stock surged 24% to close at $50.66 a share Tuesday.
By folding in the $806 billion managed by Legg Mason and its multiple affiliates, San Mateo, California-based Franklin Templeton will more than double to $1.5 trillion in assets under management.
Legg Mason is rivaled only by T. Rowe Price Group and Under Armour as a big corporate name based in Baltimore, though such firms as McCormick & Co. and W.R. Grace have home offices in the suburbs.
Local leaders still were taking in the news Feb. 18 and assessing the effects on the city and surrounding area. But the loss of a headquarters is known to hurt a city’s economy and charitable organizations.
Donald C. Fry, president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee, called the acquisition an “unfortunate” byproduct of consolidation in the banking and finance sectors.
“Franklin Templeton has indicated the transition will take some time and that it intends to keep a presence in Baltimore,” Fry said. “It’s hopeful that the company’s presence will remain a strong contributor to the state and regional economy.”
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Source: Baltimore Sun