The Daily Record: Legg Mason to be bought by Franklin Resources for $4.5B

Legg Mason, one of Baltimore’s most recognizable and widely known companies, is being sold.

The venerable asset management company is being bought by San Mateo, California-based Franklin Resources Inc. for $4.5 billion.

Franklin Resources, which operates as Franklin Templeton, said Feb. 18  it will pay $50 for each Legg Mason Inc. share. It will also assume about $2 billion in outstanding debt. The deal will create a financial company with a combined $1.5 trillion in assets under management.

The deal, which was approved by both companies’ boards, is expected to close no later than 2020’s third quarter. It still needs approval from Legg Mason shareholders.

Legg Mason, whose roots in Baltimore go back to the 1890s, was one of only a handful of major publicly traded companies headquartered in Baltimore.

The deal comes at a time when a handful of large index fund managers increasingly dominate the personal investment industry. Many traditional asset management companies, like Legg Mason, have struggled.

One Baltimore regional business leader expressed notes of regret and optimism about the deal’s impact on Baltimore.

“As is often the case in the business world, including in the banking and finance sectors, companies consolidate,” said Donald C. Fry, president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee. “It’s unfortunate that an iconic hometown company such as Legg Mason, which was founded in Baltimore and has been headquartered here for decades, is being acquired. Franklin Templeton has indicated the transition will take some time and that it intends to keep a presence in Baltimore. It’s hopeful that the company’s presence will remain a strong contributor to the state and regional economy.”

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Source: The Daily Record