Robert W. Baird & Co.: Baird and Northwestern Mutual Agree on an Independent, Associate-Owned Baird
For additional information, contact:
John Rumpf, Marketing & Communications
Robert W. Baird & Co.
Deanna L. Tillisch, Public Relations
Purchase of Northwestern Mutual’s Equity Interest Expected in May
MILWAUKEE, April 21, 2004 – Robert W. Baird & Co. (Baird) and Northwestern Mutual announced today that they have reached an agreement that enables Baird to purchase all of Northwestern Mutual’s interest in Baird. Northwestern Mutual is currently majority shareholder in Baird, owning approximately 57% of the financial services firm, with Baird associates owning approximately 43%. The agreement, which is expected to take effect in May following a vote by Baird shareholders, will mean that after 22 years, Baird will again become an independent, associate-owned business. As part of the agreement, Northwestern Mutual will retain the option to acquire up to a 7% equity interest in Baird in the future, and, thus, will have a continued interest in Baird’s long-term success.
“Baird has been a good investment for our policyowners,” said Ed Zore, President and Chief Executive Officer of Northwestern Mutual. “They’ve built themselves into a very successful, multi-faceted investment services business. It’s the right moment for us to realize the value that has accumulated over the 22 years we’ve invested in Baird.”
“This agreement and our resulting ownership of Baird is a great step for Baird and the communities in which we operate,” said Paul E. Purcell, Baird President and Chief Executive Officer. “It empowers us to more readily pursue our strategic objectives.”
“This agreement sets the stage for the next chapter in Baird’s more than 80-year history of success,” Purcell said. “Associate ownership of the firm creates new opportunities for Baird to invest in the business as part of our ongoing quest to provide the best financial advice and service to our clients. It also provides additional equity ownership opportunities for current and future Baird associates, which will be an enormous boost to our efforts to provide a great workplace and to recruit and retain the best people.”
“This move allows Baird to attain full ownership and direction over their future. It provides them with the additional equity so vital to their continued growth and success,” Zore added. “We are especially pleased that Baird will retain its local ownership and maintain its place as one of Milwaukee’s top corporate citizens.”
Northwestern Mutual is providing the majority of the financing for the transaction. “This agreement could not have been reached without the cooperation and support of Northwestern Mutual. For this, and our more than 20-year association with them, we are extremely grateful,” Purcell added.
Baird, established in 1919, is an international wealth management, investment banking, asset management and private equity firm with offices in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany. Baird’s principal operating subsidiaries are Robert W. Baird & Co. in the United States and Robert W. Baird Group Ltd. in Europe.
Committed to being a great place to work, in 2004 Robert W. Baird & Co. was included on FORTUNE magazine’s annual list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For.” Robert W. Baird & Co. is a member of the New York Stock Exchange and other principal exchanges and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). Robert W. Baird Ltd., a member of the London Stock Exchange, and Granville Baird Capital Partners Ltd. are authorized and regulated in the United Kingdom by the Financial Services Authority. For more information, please visit Baird’s Web site at www.rwbaird.com.
About Northwestern Mutual
Northwestern Mutual, the nation’s largest direct provider of individual life insurance according to A. M. Best, has always received the highest possible ratings for financial strength from Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, Fitch, and A. M. Best. FORTUNE magazine has voted Northwestern Mutual “Most Admired” in its industry for 21 years, and ranked it one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” two consecutive years. The company, its subsidiaries and affiliates are also providers of annuities, mutual funds, long-term care insurance and disability income insurance. These products and services are distributed through the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network and its 7,900 financial representatives. Among its affiliated companies are the Frank Russell Company, the investment management and advisory firm; Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC (NMIS), the securities brokerage firm; and Northwestern Mutual Trust Company, a special purpose federal savings bank. Further information on Northwestern Mutual, based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, can be found at: www.nmfn.com.