Monday 21 May 2018

Cantor Fitzgerald finally seals Merrion deal

Cantor Fitzgerald is known to be targeting growth in Ireland, after the US brokerage acquired the former Dolmen Securities in 2012. Stock Image: Bloomberg
Cantor Fitzgerald is known to be targeting growth in Ireland, after the US brokerage acquired the former Dolmen Securities in 2012. Stock Image: Bloomberg
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

US brokerage Cantor Fitzgerald has agreed a takeover deal for Dublin-based stockbroker Merrion Capital.

It ends years of will-they-won't-they speculation about the two firms. The Irish Independent reported last Saturday that a deal was imminent.

Terms of a deal are understood to have been circulated in recent days to Merrion shareholders and to value the business north of €13m. The tie-up will still require approval from the Central Bank.

US-owned Cantor Fitzgerald lost out four years ago in an earlier takeover play for Merrion.

Instead, the stand-alone business was acquired in a management buyout (MBO) led by Patrick O'Neill, with backing from Dublin-based private-equity firm Tetrarch Capital.

That deal valued the firm at €12m.

Merrion has since rebranded its main customer arm as Merrion Private in a shift from pure stockbroking to wealth management, where it has around €2bn in assets under management.

In August last year, this newspaper reported that senior managers at Cantor Fitzgerald and Merrion had again discussed the potential for consolidation as a response to rising regulatory costs, but did not advance to detailed merger talks.

Cantor Fitzgerald is known to be targeting growth in Ireland, after the US brokerage acquired the former Dolmen Securities in 2012.

The chief executive of Cantor Fitzgerald Ireland, Ronan Reid, previously warned that the regulatory environment would force firms to scale up.

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