Northwestern Mutual completes sale of formerly Tacoma-based Russell Investments

Russell Investments, a company that called Tacoma home for 74 years before moving to Seattle four years ago, has been sold to the London Stock Exchange Group.

Milwaukee’s Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., which acquired Russell in 1999 for $1.2 billion, said the sale, first announced last summer, has closed at a sale price of $2.7 billion.

“Russell has been a good investment for us,” John Schlifske, chairman and chief executive of Northwestern Mutual, said in a statement. “Russell’s operating results have made significant contributions to our financial results over the years. When you look at this sale price and the income produced for us since we bought Russell in 1999, you get a rate of return well in excess of equity indices over that period.”

The life insurance company also made a handsome profit two years ago on the 42-story Russell Investments Center building in downtown Seattle, which it acquired as part of the headquarters move. Northwestern sold the building, which it had bought from Chase Bank in 2009, for $480 million to Common-Wealth Partners. That price was more than four times the $115 million it paid for the building.

The skyscraper had been the headquarters of Washington Mutual Savings Bank, which collapsed during the onset of the recession.

Russell Investments operates an asset management business and a stock market indexing service. The company has about $256 billion in assets under management. It is perhaps best known for its Russell 2000 small-cap stock index.