Posted inBusiness moves

Legg Mason to deepen ties with Chinese shareholder

Shanda Group, Legg Mason's largest shareholder, plans to boost its stake in the US-listed asset manager by 5% and appoint two board members as part of a long-term strategic investment agreement.

Shanda Group currently owns about 10% stake of Legg Mason, the US fund house said in a statement. The Singapore-based private investment firm became a strategic investor of Legg Mason in April 2016 when Trian Fund Management sold substantially all of its shares.

Shanda chairman and CEO, Tianqiao Chen, and group president Robert Chiu will join Legg Mason as vice chairman and member of the board of directors respectively, effective June 1 next year.

“Chen will lead Shanda’s efforts to assist Legg Mason in technology innovation, as well as business development and brand building in Asia, and China in particular,” according to the statement.

“Legg Mason will continue to work closely with Shanda Group to leverage its expertise in technology and to access retail and institutional markets in Asia, two important focus areas of growth.”

The Shanda Group, which bills itself as one of the largest privately-owned investment groups in the world, will also invest at least $500 million in investment products with Legg Mason affiliates.

Founded in 1999, Shanda began investing in China’s online game industry, and has now moved into private equity, public investments as well as real estate, including Lending Club and some US and Israeli virtual realtiy technology companies, according to its website. 

Chen has been a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference since 2008, the statement said.

Chiu joined Shanda in 2012 from Bank of America Merrill Lynch as managing director and head of Asia Pacific technology, media and telecom investment banking. 

Legg Mason has $707bn of assets under management at the end of November, 2016.

Part of the Mark Allen Group.