Indexing and fund-management giant (and a unit of Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance), Russell Investments could fetch about $3B in a sale, and Blackstone (BX) and Bain Capital are among those sniffing around, reports Bloomberg. Goldman is piloting the sales effort.
Founded in 1936, Russell consists of an index business and a money manager with $257B in assets, and Northwestern has indicated it's not interested in splitting them up. Other major index creators like S&P Dow Jones, MSCI, and FTSE - not tied to asset managers - are more pure-plays in indexing.
Selling high: Russell isn't publicly traded, but indexing rival MSCI gained 41% last year and a gauge of asset managers climbed 45%.