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Legg Mason in takeover talks with non-US targets

Legg Mason in takeover talks with non-US targets

Legg Mason's chief executive Joe Sullivan said the firm is in talks to buy two businesses that are both not based in the US.

Now with seven core affiliates Sullivan has said Legg Mason is looking to acquire firms to add to its alternatives capability. Legg Mason's Bill Miller (pictured) features among the firm's best known fund managers and Legg Mason acquired Scottish fund group Martin Currie last year.

'We are still active in discussions with a lot of different parties on the acquisition front. We will do those if and as they make sense.'

Sullivan said he would want to grow into the non-US equities space internationally and grow its non-US assets under management to 50%.

'Having a capability in some of their alternatives is important. There are areas we're not in right now that are natural adjacencies and I'm surprised at how many different variations and twists on strategies there are out there. That we could actually combine or in some cases keep as a stand-alone.'

He said they are talking to people with complementary strategies to what Legg Mason does and will decide if the acquisiton should be made as a stand-alone or into one of the affiliates.

'I think there are more interesting capabilities in more traditional spaces, i.e. equities and fixed. There are newer strategies we don't currently have that we could create. I think those would be around smart beta.

'In this area, Legg Mason has recently hired Rick Genoni and Brandon Clark to head its ETF strategy.

Sullivan said there was also room to grow in Asia ex-Japan as well as Australia.

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