Barclays and BlackRock: Passive-Aggressive

Barrons – A big question surrounding BlackRock’s $13.5 billion purchase of Barclays Global Investors, including its iShares exchange-traded-funds business, is how effectively a passive management group can work with an active one.

The combined firm will have more than 9,000 employees in 24 countries. Barclays will retain a 19.9% stake in the firm, which will manage a combined total of $2.7 trillion in assets.

"For two large, successful asset managers, it’s never an easy task to integrate," says Charles Rauch, analyst at Standard & Poor’s, which lowered its long-term credit rating on BlackRock  a notch, to single-A-plus, citing "real" integration risk, among other things. However, some of the risk is mitigated by the fact that BlackRock and BGI have few overlapping operations, he adds.

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