MF Global Collapse Frustrates Would-Be Buyers As Morgan Keegan Negotiations Drag On

 

Insiders say the final offer on the embattled broker-dealer came in at $750 million -- well below the $1.1 billion the industry was expecting a few weeks ago.

 

They're blaming MF Global for chilling the financing markets and making it harder for private equity buyers to raise cash.

 

The good news is there's no rumbling about contagion or surprise liabilities in Morgan Keegan's portfolio or anyone else's.

 

MF Global bet wrong on the European banks and when that bet unraveled, it revealed disturbing problems with the firm's balance sheet.

 

At this point, Morgan Keegan's balance sheet has been crunched every way imaginable, and the private equity firms still want it.

 

If they were really concerned about hidden liabilities, they'd probably just walk away.

 

In any event, whatever the valuation, the deal should close soon unless Morgan Keegan's current owner, Regions Bank, drives its negotiating partners away with demands for more money.

 

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