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Friday, July 11, 2003

Speculation Starts on AMR Bidders

by: Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

Dallas-based AMR Corp., the parent to American Airlines, put its AMR Investment Management unit on the block last October. Since that time you could say that things have been all quiet on the Texas front. Now, though, word is starting to flow that there may be interested buyers.

AMR puts the funds on the block in reaction to its financial woes as an airline operator. The cash-strapped company is hoping that the unit will be able to generate funds it can use to fix its core operational problems.

AMR Funds started out as the captive manager of the airline's retirement plans. It then broadened its client base by registering its funds and courting other investors, including other corporate plan sponsors. All told, the manager has roughly 60 employees and $27 billion in assets under management.

The leading buyer candidate may be Affiliated Managers Group (AMG). That the Boston-based firm may be interested in AMR was first reported in Pensions & Investments this week. The firm has made no statement about the press reports. A second name to surface his that of TA Associates, a Boston-based private-equity firm.

AMG would seem be a logical buyer of the funds. The firm is a collection of fund managers and has been willing to act as a hands-off owner of asset management shops.  

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