Fink Aspires to No. 1 Fund Manager With Barclays Unit

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June 8, 2009 9:36am ETF BASIC NEWS

laurencefinkBlackRock Inc., the bond boutique co- founded in a one-room office by Laurence Fink in 1988, is a step closer to becoming the world’s biggest money manager after emerging as the leading bidder for Barclays Plc’s fund unit.

Fink has moved ahead of contenders for Barclays Global Investors including Bank of New York Mellon Corp., three people familiar with the talks said June 6. London-based Barclays, the U.K.’s third-largest bank, is seeking more than $12 billion for BGI, and may keep a 20 percent stake in the combined company, one of the people said.

Barclays Global, which oversees $1.5 trillion, would be Fink’s biggest acquisition, building on his 2006 takeover of Merrill Lynch & Co.’s asset-management business. That deal pushed the New York-based company deeper into actively managed stock funds. BGI would add passive investments where rivals such as Pacific Investment Management Co. aren’t as competitive.

“This could be a transformational deal,” Burton Greenwald, a mutual-fund consultant based in Philadelphia, said in an interview.

The talks between Barclays and BlackRock aren’t exclusive, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the auction is private. An agreement could be announced this week. BlackRock is in contact with Mideast investors about providing equity financing for the deal, one of the people said.

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