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Legg Mason earnings edge up even as assets under management slide

Legg Mason reported Wednesday that its earnings in the final quarter of its fiscal year ended March 31 edged up to $76.3 million.

That's up half a percent from $75.9 million in the January-to-March period last year.

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Per share earnings, however, were up a dime to 86 cents, reflecting a sharp reduction in the number of shares of its stock outstanding after the Baltimore money management firm agreed in December to buy back 5.5 million shares from Shanda Asset Management Investment Limited.

Legg Mason's revenue grew 8.4 percent to $785 million in the latest quarter compared to a year earlier, while its assets under management slid to $754 billion as of March 31 — down about $13 billion from Dec. 31.

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Legg Mason Chairman and CEO Joseph Sullivan called the operating results strong in a statement, citing "solid investment performance, a higher operating revenue yield, expense management and long-term inflows."

For the full year fiscal, Legg Mason reported a profit of $352 million, or $3.72 per share, on revenue of $3.1 billion. That's up from $227 million, or $2.18 a share, on revenue of nearly $2.9 billion in the prior year.

Share of Legg Mason stock closed up 24 cents Wednesday at $37.65 a share before the earnings announcement and were trading higher in the after-hours market.

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