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Merger, Buyout Seen as Putnam Spinoff Possibilities

Speculation that Marsh & McLennan might spin off its scandal-plagued Putnam Investments unit continues, with a report last week that a sale, merger or management buyout are all possibilities. The fact that MMC has been caught up in an $850 million settlement makes a sale even more likely, because Putnam would probably fetch that amount or even far more. According to one analyst, Putnam accounts for nearly half of MMC's $32 stock value, which could put its price tag as high as $8 billion. However, if management were to buy the firm, it would probably cost between $4 billion and $6 billion, based on traditional valuations of 2% to 3% of assets.