Legg Mason Still Not For Sale
From Wall Street Journal
Earnings at Legg Mason are growing at a 34% a year clip for the past five years while the firm's assets under management have risen for 37 consecutive quarters -- yet the firm was not a target during this year's acquisition fury wonders the paper. The reason for the lack of bids is CEO Raymond "Chip" Mason's unwillingness to hang out a "for sale" sign, says the article. "Hopefully, I'm not stupid and just sitting here saying 'no' for the sake of saying 'no.'," it quotes him as saying. The article points out that the firm's stock trades at a 45 percent premium to other regional brokers' and Mason has not yet found a successor.
Investor Force Sits Among ICG's Top Prospects
From Philadelphia Inquirer
Internet Capital Group (ICG) is still a believer in Investor Force, a dot-com startup that is attempting to make a market place for institutional investors. ICG is the largest investor in Investor Force. The stock of ICG is down 97 percent from its height, but the firm remains confident in what it is building. In a speech last week, Ken Fox, ICG's managing director, named six of the 15 portfolio companies that ICG believes are most promising. InvestorForce was on that list. ICG has invested $3.4 billion in 80 business-to-business Web companies since 1996. "Our objective hasn't changed," Fox is quoted as saying, adding that its tactics continue to evolve and that it intends to create greater visibility for these companies which are "reaching an inflection point" in gaining market share. He also laid out six criteria for these companies: 1) They must be ranked first or second in their industries; 2) have revenue of at least $500 million; 3) be in markets valued at $50 billion or more; 4) have a top-notch management team; 5) reach cash-flow break even in 18 months; and 6) generate pre-tax profits of $100 million in three to five years.