With so many broker-dealers like Securities America and Morgan Keegan putting themselves up for sale, analysts are having to dig deep to uncover just who might emerge to buy them.
St. Louis-based Stifel, parent of Stifel Nicolaus and buyer of close to $500 million in assets over the last 12 years, has emerged as the strongest candidate to take over Morgan Keegan, they say.
Stifel has previously made its name as an acquirer of part of Legg Mason and, recently, Thomas Wiesel. Normally the company has swooped in when sale valuations are at their lows, so the timing here could be tricky.
If Morgan Keegan sells at a year's revenue, that would entail roughly a $1 billion price tag.
But as for Securities America, which is also up for sale, the list of buyers on the table is pretty short, with Ladenburg Thalmann at the top.