The London Stock Exchange, which earlier this week announced it was in exclusive talks to acquire Russell Investments, may only want that company’s indexing business.

Russell’s parent company, Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance, reportedly does not want to sell Russell in pieces. Some potential suitors did not make it past the first round of bidding for Russell because they only want the indexing business and Northwestern Mutual would prefer not to break up Russell’s asset management and indexing unit. [Private Equity Suitors Eye Russell Investments]

Analysts believe LSE only wants Russell’s index business and that it is “less clear is what use LSE Group has for Russell’s other key business, managing billions in assets for other investors. It’s not a specialty of the group,” reports Angel Gonzalez for the Seattle Times.

LSE’s designs on Russell’s index business, which provides indices for some of the largest U.S. exchange traded funds, jibes with previous acquisitions. In 2011, LSE “bought the 50 percent it didn’t already own of FTSE International, which produces the FTSE 100 Index,” according to the Seattle Times.

FTSE is the index provider for over 100 U.S.-listed ETFs.

If LSE does proceed with Russell in the latter’s entirety, the price tag could stretch to $3 billion, making it LSE’s largest acquisition in its more than 200-year history. [LSE Talks With Russell Advance]

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