Putnam Investments is getting some interest from would be suitors. Marsh & McClennan ( MCC), the mutual fund family's parent company, says it has received inquires from companies interested in buying Putnam over the past several months. In light of those inquiries, the New York-based insurance broker says it has begun exploring various options for the Boston-based fund family. "I decided it was in the interest of our shareholders to do a market check to determine the value others would put on Putnam,'' says Marsh CEO and Chairman Michael Cherkasky, in a press release. "We have just commenced this process and have not decided to take any specific action in regard to Putnam at this time." Cherkasky issued that statement after The Wall Street Journal reported that Marsh had hired Goldman Sachs ( GS) to look for a possible buyer for Putnam. In the now three-year-old mutual fund trading scandal, Putnam took a big hit to its reputation after regulators discovered that some of the firm's portfolio managers had been making inappropriate trades in the funds they managed. Putnam ultimately paid a $110 million penalty in a settlement with securities regulators over its role in the mutual fund trading scandal. The fund company was one of the first to be charged in the far-reaching scandal. News of Marsh's decision to shop Putnam comes as another mutual fund family also is on the block.
On Monday, Sun Life ( SLF), the partner of MFS Funds said it had hired investment bankers to find a buyer for the Massachusetts-based mutual fund family. The potential sale of the two mutual fund giants comes at a time of big changes in the asset-management business, with even some private equity funds showing interest in the sector Earlier this year, BlackRock ( BLK), a big asset-manager, and Merrill Lynch ( MER) struck a deal to combine their mutual fund businesses into a firm with $1 trillion in assets. Last month, Comerica ( CMA) sold its stake in asset-management firm Munder Capital Management for $302 million. In the Munder deal, Crestview Partners, a two-year-old New York private-equity firm with $1.5 billion in funding, is helping finance the management led buyout.