Rumors Have BlackRock Buying Man Group

Feb 17 2010 | 11:14am ET

BlackRock, the world’s largest money-manager, has taken a big stake in the Man Group, sparking speculation that the New York-based firm is preparing a take-over of the world’s largest publicly-listed hedge fund group.

A regulatory filing shows that BlackRock, which manages US$3.35 trillion, now owns a 10% stake in Man, which manages US$40 billion. That news, couple with market whispers, sent Man shares to their biggest gain in four months.

Britain’s Daily Mail reports that market rumors suggest BlackRock is interested in acquiring London-based Man. The tabloid notes that BlackRock, which in December bought Barclays Global Investors, the world’s 10th-largest hedge fund manager, lacks a big fund of hedge funds business, which Man would provide, along with a network of 1,400 private banks for distribution.

“The value in Man Group, apart from the US$2 billion of cash sitting on its balance sheet, is its distribution business,” one fund manager told the Daily Mail.

Man has a market value of about £4.1 billion.

Neither Man nor BlackRock would comment on the rumors. But a source told that the talk is “1,000% untrue.”

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