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US mutual insurer Nationwide has asked Morgan Stanley to conduct a strategic review of Gartmore following weeks of speculation that the latter may be put up for sale.


Nationwide acquired Gartmore from UK's NatWest bank in 2000. Gartmore would only confirm that the strategic review is taking place, but suitors may already be preparing their bids to acquire the fund manager, which includes the UK-based AlphaGen range of single strategy funds.


Lehman Brothers, which has made no secret of its desire to acquire a European fund manager and hedge fund assets, and giant UK fund manager Schroders are being mooted as possible buyers, but the list will be much longer if the strategic review of Gartmore concludes with a decision to sell.


Gartmore's AlphaGen range of single strategy hedge funds, developed under Martin Phipps, currently has USD 6.25 billion in assets under management.


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