NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--Shares of Stilwell Financial Inc. (SV, news, msgs) were up Thursday after word that Britain's Prudential PLC (PUK, news, msgs) had bought just under 5% of Stilwell's stock.
Salomon Smith Barney analyst Guy Moszkowski issued a report Thursday noting that Prudential, not related to Prudential Insurance (X.PIC, news, msgs) in the U.S., reported in a recent 13F filing that it held 10.92 million Stilwell shares, or about 4.98% of those outstanding shares as of March 31.
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PUK 22.85 -0.06
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Prudential recently failed in its attempt to acquire American General Corp. (AGC, news, msgs), and investors may be speculating the U.K. insurance company is now targeting Stilwell, which owns mutual fund company Janus Funds.
In his report, Salomon's Moszkowski said it's impossible to guess Pru's intentions, "but there continues to be great interest among European banks and insurers in acquiring U.S. asset management and marketing skills."
A Stilwell spokesperson declined to comment on the company's stock move, and said she knew of no merger talks between the two companies.
Prudential officials weren't immediately available for comment.
Shares of Stilwell recently changed hands at $32.72, up $2.12, or 6.9% on volume of 957,800 compared with average daily volume of 1.6 million.
American depositary shares of Prudential PLC were down 5 cents, or 0.2%, to $22.86.
Salomon's Moszkowski also noted that, according to the 13F filing, Stilwell is Prudential's largest holding, and Jackson National Life, a U.S. Prudential subsidiary, also owns a 1.5% stake in Stilwell as of December.
Stilwell Chief Executive Landon Rowland has also increased his stake in his company, Moszkowski pointed out, by adding 4.7 million shares since his last filing. That brings his total ante up to about 6.2 million, or 2.8% of shares outstanding.