Word is that Stifel has dropped out of talks to buy Morgan Keegan from increasingly desperate owner Regions Financial. This means Raymond James -- who initially didn't want the firm at all -- is the only bidder left at the table.
Raymond James would admittedly be a nice fit culturally for the 1,200-advisor firm without being so big that Morgan Keegan gets completely swallowed.
However, just a few months ago, Chet Helck considered a merger pointless because the two firms were too similar. Raymond James would be buying scale -- advisors and AUM -- but not much in the way of new businesses or capabilities.
Now that he's willing to talk, it seems that Regions has dropped the asking price.
The question is how low the final bid can go if Stifel executives think Morgan Keegan is getting too expensive as reps jump ship.
Securities America found a buyer. Was it the last big deal at anything but fire-sale levels in the increasingly troubled independent broker-dealer market?