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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Fink Wants to Buy

by: Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

Larry Fink is looking for a deal. Reuters' Joseph Giannone reports that the BlackRock CEO revealed that he wants to buy mutual fund firms.
"We are mindful that we need to grow our retail platform in the United States," Fink reportedly said on an earnings conference call on Tuesday. "Our strategy team is overwhelmed with the amount of institutions that are approaching us in terms of opportunities and in terms of acquisitions for BlackRock or some form of mergers."

What might Fink buy? Fink reportedly declined to talk about specific acquisition targets while expressing "extreme disappointment" that BlackRock "did not aggressively build [its] bond retail platform fast enough."

Reuters also cites ongoing speculation that Bank of America, which now owns 49.5 percent of BlackRock thanks to the Merrill Lynch deal, has put another asset manager, Columbia Management, on the block (see MFWire, 4/1/2009). An industry insider previously told MFWire that BlackRock might bid for Columbia.

Pittsburgh-based bank PNC also owns 33 percent of BlackRock, though it has 47 percent of the voting power, while BofA only has 4.9 percent of the BlackRock votes. 

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