The transaction is scheduled to close during the fourth quarter of 2014. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Martin Currie will become an independent investment affiliate of Legg Mason, along with Brandywine Global, ClearBridge Investments, The Permal Group, QS Investors, Royce & Associates and Western Asset Management.
Martin Currie has $9.8 billion in AUM, which would bring Legg Mason’s total to $713.8 billion.
Also as part of this transaction, Legg Mason Australian Equities, an active Australian equities manager, will become part of Martin Currie. LMAE’s strategies include small cap, property/infrastructure, income and large-cap value. LMAE’s investment teams will continue to manage these strategies.
The acquisition of Martin Currie will expand Legg Mason’s active equity capabilities including global equity, global emerging markets, Asian equity, European equity and strategies specifically focused on Japan and China, a news release said.
“We had been looking for a non-U.S. equity platform,” said Joe Sullivan, president and CEO of Legg Mason in a phone interview. “Martin Currie had everything we were looking for. They have a solid track record and a great culture that would be a good fit for us.”
Willie Watt, CEO of Martin Currie, added in the same conversation: “What attracted me to the opportunity was Legg Mason’s approach of having distinctive affiliates. This is not really about assimilation, it’s about growing our footprint.” He also noted the partnership gives Martin Currie operational autonomy, which means its client proposition remains unchanged.Both Messrs. Sullivan and Watt said they expect no reduction in staff at Martin Currie, which has approximately 200 employees in six offices. With the addition of LMAE, the firm will gain 14 new employees.
“This is a growth transaction. We’re in talks about how to add to the platform. As I look forward, I see Martin Currie getting bigger, not smaller,” Mr. Sullivan added.