Will Warren and AOC Delay This Mega Merger?
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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Will Warren and AOC Delay This Mega Merger?

A mega merger of asset managers faces a new threat: two high-profile Democratic members of Congress.

Elizabeth Ann Warren (nee Herring)
United States Senate
Senator (D-Massachusetts)
Franklin Templeton is poised to buy Legg Mason next quarter in $6.5-billion cash and debt assumption deal, unveiled back in February shortly before the coronavirus crisis began hitting U.S. markets and the economy in a big way. Yet now Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) want to put a moratorium on a host of deals, including those with companies with upwards of $100 million in revenue, Reuters reports.

(The Legg deal appears to fit the bill, as this morning the team at the multi-boutique asset manager reported $2.9 billion in operating revenues for its fiscal 2020, which ended on March 31, 2020.)

The moratorium, which would also cover any deals that would normally be reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and many private equity and hedge fund deals, is part of a bill, the Pandemic Anti-Monopoly Act, that the two politicians say they plan to introduce. If passed by the House and Senate and signed into law by President Trump, the moratorium would last until the FTC's five members all agree "that small businesses, workers, and consumers are no longer under severe financial distress," i.e. until the end of the coronavirus crisis.

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