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Legg Mason Buys BNP's Hedge Fund Unit

Legg Mason is buying itself an early Christmas gift.

Legg Mason-affiliated alternatives manager Permal announced today its agreement to buy Fauchier Partners, a European funds of hedge funds manager, from BNP Paribas Investment Partners.

Fauchier will be combined with Permal to create an institutionally focused platform managing approximately $24 billion in assets, with offices in nine locations around the world.

The combined group boasts a global investment team of 60 will be based in New York, London, Paris and Singapore. The team will be led by Permal's Robert Kaplan and Fauchier chief executive officer Clark Fenton.

The group hopes to offer a wider range of alternative investment strategies, thanks to Fauchier's equity hedged and event-driven capabilities, and Permal's fixed income, credit and macro investing expertise.

It also hopes to continue a partnership with BNP Paribas through a global distribution agreement for Fauchier and Permal products, as well as to enhance client service and new business development.

"Strategically, Fauchier Partners meets all of our criteria, for it accelerates the development of our institutional presence, enhances the European and Asian business, and strengthens the Permal employee talent pool. Alongside Legg Mason, we saw significant opportunities from this transaction to further our joint strategic goals and worked closely to bring this to fruition," said Isaac Souede, chief executive officer of Permal, in a press release.

"We maintain our existing investment process, but have the additional benefit of a much wider pool of investment talent and resources. We get the benefits of scale, increasing our buying power and global reach. Crucially our clients will be able to access one of the industry’s largest managed account platforms, which is of particular relevance to our growing customised account offering," Fenton added.