NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As was previously announced on February 19, 2020, Franklin Resources, Inc. (“Franklin Resources”) and Legg Mason, Inc. (“Legg Mason”) announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement for Franklin Resources to acquire Legg Mason in an all-cash transaction. Each Fund is administered by Legg Mason Partners Fund Advisor, LLC (“LMPFA”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Legg Mason, and managed by Western Asset Management Company, LLC (“Western Asset”) and other affiliates of Legg Mason. The Funds’ investment manager, Western Asset, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Legg Mason and would become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Franklin Resources as a result of the transaction. The Funds are sub-advised by other affiliates of Western Asset that also would be acquired by Franklin Resources as a result of the transaction. The transaction is subject to approval by Legg Mason’s shareholders and customary closing conditions, including receipt of applicable regulatory approvals. Subject to such approvals and the satisfaction of the other conditions, the transaction is expected to be consummated in the latter part of 2020.
Under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, consummation of the transaction will result in the automatic termination of the Funds’ agreements with Western Asset and its affiliates. Therefore, each Fund’s Board of Trustees has approved new management and subadvisory agreements that will be presented to the shareholders of the applicable Fund for their approval. Additional informational materials will be mailed to shareholders. In connection with the proposal to approve the new investment management and subadvisory agreements for each Fund, each Fund intends to file a definitive proxy statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). Shareholders are advised to read their Fund’s proxy statement when it becomes available because it will contain important information. When filed with the SEC, the proxy statement and other documents filed by the Funds will become available for free on the SEC website, www.sec.gov. Copies of the proxy statement will also be mailed to each shareholder of record as of the record date for the special shareholder meeting.
An investment in a Fund involves risk, including loss of principal. Investment return and the value of shares will fluctuate. The rapid and global spread of a highly contagious novel coronavirus respiratory disease, designated COVID-19, first detected in China in December 2019, has resulted in extreme volatility in the financial markets and severe losses; reduced liquidity of many instruments; restrictions on international and, in some cases, local travel, significant disruptions to business operations (including business closures); strained healthcare systems; disruptions to supply chains, consumer demand and employee availability; and widespread uncertainty regarding the duration and long-term effects of this pandemic. Some sectors of the economy and individual issuers have experienced particularly large losses. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic may result in a sustained economic downturn or a global recession, domestic and foreign political and social instability, damage to diplomatic and international trade relations and increased volatility and/or decreased liquidity in the securities markets. The ultimate economic fallout from the pandemic, and the long-term impact on economies, markets, industries and individual issuers, are not known. The U.S. government and the Federal Reserve, as well as certain foreign governments and central banks, are taking extraordinary actions to support local and global economies and the financial markets in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including by pushing interest rates to very low levels. This and other government intervention into the economy and financial markets to address the COVID-19 pandemic may not work as intended, particularly if the efforts are perceived by investors as being unlikely to achieve the desired results. The COVID-19 pandemic could adversely affect the value and liquidity of a Fund’s investments, and negatively impact the Fund’s performance. In addition, the outbreak of COVID-19, and measures taken to mitigate its effects, could result in disruptions to the services provided to a Fund by its service providers.
Any data and commentary provided in this press release are for informational purposes only. This press release may contain statements regarding plans and expectations for the future that constitute forward-looking statements within the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements are based on each Fund’s current plans and expectations, and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements. Additional information concerning such risks and uncertainties are contained in each Fund’s filings with the SEC.
For more information, please call Investor Relations: 1-888-777-0102, or consult the Funds’ web site at www.lmcef.com. Hard copies of the Funds’ complete audited financial statements are available free of charge upon request.