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MassMutual to buy part of Barings business

AMSTERDAM -- Dutch bank and insurer ING Group said it will sell the activities of Baring Asset Management nearly a decade after it purchased the remains of the bankrupt British bank Barings, brought down by the Nick Leeson trading scandal in 1995.

Springfield, Mass.-based MassMutual Financial Group will purchase the investment management activities of Baring Asset Management and the rights to the Barings name. The activities to be divested include about $32 billion in assets under management and includes the transfer of 600 staff members.

Northern Trust Corp., based in Chicago, will purchase Baring Asset Management's Financial Services Group, which offers fund administration, custody and trust services. Northern Trust and ING said the deal was worth about $480 million and includes the transfer of 770 staff.

ING said it expects a net gain of about $325 million on the sales.

ING spokeswoman Dorothy Hillenius said ING is effectively selling off the last activities that operated under the Barings name, with other activities having been integrated in 2002.

The business had about $66 billion in funds under administration, $30 billion in custody and $33.8 billion held in trust as of Sept. 30.

David Brennan, the chairman and chief executive of Baring Asset Management, will retain his responsibilities for the investment management activities to be acquired by MassMutual.

The transactions are subject to regulatory approvals and are expected to be completed before the end of 2005's first quarter.

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