Legg Mason Inc. has acquired Berkshire Asset Management Inc., a Wilkes-Barre, Pa.-based company with $600 million of assets under management.
Berkshire caters to high-net-worth individuals and institutions, offering stock accounts, bond accounts, and accounts that are balanced between the two. The acquisition is part of an effort to increase the high-net-worth and wealth management business at Legg Mason.
Legg Mason has $93 billion of assets under management. It also has brokerage and capital markets businesses. In buying Berkshire, Legg Mason followed its pattern of seeking out smaller companies that are big players in their regions.
In 1994 the company acquired Gray, Seifert & Co., a New York-based asset manager, and in 1996 it bought Bartlett & Co., of Cincinnati. Targeting the high-net-worth market, it started a trust company in 1993 and earlier this year obtained a federal thrift license that will give it national trust powers.
-- Stephen Garmhausen