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Poll: Blackrock-Barclays Merger Most Likely to Succeed

Published in Ignites – An Information Service of Money-Media, a Financial Times Company
By Gregory Shulas

The BlackRock-Barclays Global Investors combination is the merger most likely to generate the most success when compared to the other big industry deals. That’s according to a plurality of Ignites poll respondents.

Roughly 47%, or 308 voters, said BlackRock-BGI has the greatest business opportunities ahead of it. That made it the top choice in the Ignites survey, which polled readers on which industry M&A deal will collect the most new assets and retain the most existing clients over time.

Voters said the deal with the second most growth potential is Invesco-Van Kampen Investments, which received 19% of the vote, or 125 votes.

Meanwhile, the Ameriprise Financial-Columbia Management deal garnered 15% or 98 votes putting it in third place. The Wells Fargo-Evergreen Investments deal collected 14%, or 89 voters, to finish in fourth place.

Macquarie Group-Delaware Investments finished last, with roughly 5%, or 32 votes.

Andy Klausner, founder of strategic consultancy AK Advisory Partners, says the high confidence in the BlackRock-BGI deal reflects the name recognition of the New York-based acquirer as well as the respect the firm’s risk management prowess commands.

“The Ameriprise-Columbia Management deal dragged on for quite awhile and that probably left some readers with questions. The other deals are recognizable names, but overall I think the quality of the BlackRock franchise is probably what influenced people the most,” Klausner says. Further, lack of name recognition probably hurt Macquarie Group-Delaware Investments’showing in the poll, he adds.

BlackRock announced in June that it would acquire Barclays Global Investors for $13.5 billion. The transaction gives New York-based BlackRock access to iShares, an ETF market leader.

Industry observers have described BlackRock-BGI as the future model of success in asset management, noting BlackRock’s strong active management capabilities and BGI’s rich passive product mix.

The most recent major deal was Invesco’s purchase of Morgan Stanley’s retail asset management business, including the Van Kampen Investments unit. Under the $1.5 billion deal, Invesco pays $500 million in cash and gives Morgan Stanley a 9.4% stake. The end result will create a fund complex with roughly $536 billion in assets.

That deal came within weeks of Ameriprise Financial’s announcement that it will pay between $900 million and $1.2 billion for the long-only mutual fund unit of Bank of America’s Columbia Management.

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