It’s been months since Regions Financial Corp. announced this summer it’s putting its Memphis-based investment banking unit Morgan Keegan on the auction block. And still, no deal has been reached.
That’s not a good sign. One reason why: Morgan Keegan producers are starting to depart, potentially eroding the value of the franchise if the exodus picks up steam, and thus complicating a sale even further.
“The vast majority of the Morgan Keegan advisors I’m working with (in excess of a dozen at the moment) are leaving because they are tiring of reading the stories about the uncertainty surrounding the company and their own situation as a result of that uncertainty,” said recruiter Ron Edde of Armstrong Financial Group Inc.
On the other hand, buyers are reportedly still in the hunt.
Stifel Financial is working with Bank of America Merrill Lynch in its bid for Morgan Keegan, according to the news service dealReporter.
Raymond James Financial Inc. is interested in the possibility of scooping up Morgan Keegan’s retail advisory business separate from the rest of the company, according to InvestmentNews.
“I have great respect for Morgan Keegan,” said Chet Helck, chief operating officer of Raymond James and head of the firm’s private-client-services unit, told InvestmentNews. “It would be a great strategic fit with our firm, but it has a lot of overlap on the fixed-income side of the business. We have some of the same businesses and clients on that side of things.”