Rumor Mill Has BlackRock Bid For Man

Oct 11 2012 | 1:46pm ET

BlackRock and a group of investors is mulling a £2.5 billion bid for the Man Group, a British tabloid reports.

According to the Daily Mail, BlackRock and "friends" might be readying an offer for the publicly-traded hedge fund giant, which has hit on hard times. BlackRock owns 9.35% of Man and has long been mooted as a possible bidder for the firm.

A £2.5 billion offer would represent a huge premium to Man's current share price. The offer would be about £1.40 per share, Man has been trading at below £0.90 per share and as recently as June was as low as £0.61.

Man shares shot up to as high as £0.96 per share after the Mail's report yesterday, but ended trading today back below £0.90. And while the rumors put some juice in Man shares, some remain skeptical.

"We do not see the logic of acquiring a company whose funds, in our opinion, are underperforming key benchmarks and experiencing net outflows," RBS Capital Markets analyst Peter Lenardos wrote in a note yesterday. "Further, we continued to believe that AHL," Man's flagship strategy, "is priced above competitors despite having weaker performance." Lenardos pronounced a BlackRock bid "unlikely."

"Man will provide the market with a  third-quarter update on Oct. 18," the Mail wrote. "It could possibly be its last as an independent company."

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