Russell Investments Draws Private Equity Suitors, Says Report

Russell Investments, the investment management firm and index provider for some of the world’s largest exchange traded funds, is reportedly drawing interest as a takeover target from private equity firms Blackstone (NYSE: BX) and Bain Capital.

Russell, a unit of Northwestern Mutual, could be worth $3 billion in a sale, report Matthew Monks, Matthew Leising and David Carey for Bloomberg. The news agency reported that Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) is looking for buyers for Russell and that Bain and Blackstone are among the possible suitors.

In January, it was reported that Northwestern Mutual was mulling a sale of Russell. Although not mentioned in connection with Russell, it has also been reported that Nasdaq OMX Group (NasdaqGM: NDAQ) and S&P Dow Jones Indices are shopping for acquisitions to bolster their index offerings. [Nasdaq, S&P Hunt for Index Acquisitions]

The list of ETFs that track Russell indices is extensive with indices constructed by the firm used by ETF sponsors such as BlackRock’s (NYSE: BLK) iShares, State Street Global Advisors, Vanguard, ProShars and Direxion.

Well-known ETFs tracking Russell indices include the iShares Russell 2000 ETF (NYSEArca: IWM), iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF (NYSEArca: IWF) and the iShares Microcap ETF (NYSEArca: IWC).