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Marsh to Take Offers for Putnam Investments

Markets | WALL ST. ROUNDUP

September 20, 2006|From Bloomberg News

Marsh & McLennan Cos., the world's largest insurance brokerage, will solicit offers for Putnam Investments after managed assets at the mutual-fund unit dropped to their lowest level in more than nine years.

"Over the past few months, there have been repeated inquiries from parties interested in either acquiring or partnering with Putnam," Chief Executive Michael Cherkasky said in a statement Tuesday. "I decided it was in the interest of our shareholders to do a market check to determine the value others would put on Putnam."

Cherkasky this year said the company had no plans to sell the flagging Boston-based firm and may even add to it through acquisitions.

Clients withdrew $12.6 billion more than they deposited in the six months through June.

"It's a positive," said Steve Roukis, a managing director at New York-based Matrix Asset Advisors, which owned 1.58 million Marsh shares as of June. "They're proactively addressing the shortfalls of the share price and the operations."

Putnam may fetch $3 billion, according to a Sept. 12 research report by Marc Serafin, an analyst at Morgan Stanley.

Shares of Marsh & McLennan rose $1.19, or 4% to $29.

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