Officials of Russell Investments' parent, Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., confirmed Tuesday that the life insurer is exploring strategic alternatives, including a possible sale, for the consulting and investment management firm.
“Northwestern Mutual is exploring strategic alternatives, including a possible sale, for its majority ownership in Russell Investments,” according to a news release from the company.
The news release does not specify what other strategic alternatives would be considered, besides a sale, for Seattle-based Russell. Northwestern spokeswoman Betsy Hoylman said in a phone call that the company would have no additional comment beyond the news release.
The release says Russell's business is experiencing dramatic growth and development. “As a result, Northwestern Mutual believes this is a good time to evaluate strategic alternatives including a sale that could produce attractive returns for the company's policy owners.”
Russell's assets under management as of Dec. 31 totaled $257 billion, an increase of $52 billion over the past two years, spokeswoman Kate Stouffer said in an e-mail. She also said operating profit had doubled in that period but she was not authorized to give specifics.
Russell has retrenched some of its business operations over the last several years including closing most of its ETF business and selling alternatives units.
The Northwestern Mutual release said the life insurer “is at an early stage of evaluation” in exploring alternatives for Russell and that the process could take months.