IRISH stocks and bonds brokers Dolmen Securities and NCB are the takeover targets being looked at by US banking giant Cantor Fitzgerald, the Irish Independent learned last night.
Cantor Fitzgerald, one of the world's biggest brokers, is believed to have held meetings in recent days with Dublin's Dolmen Securities and other Irish brokers about a possible investment in the future. It is understood the US firm is most likely to progress talks with Dolmen and NCB, but not both.
Cantor Fitzgerald chief executive Shawn Matthews visited Ireland this week to hold talks with the potential takeover targets. A source said the fact that Mr Matthews was in Dublin showed that the exercise is more than just "tyre kicking".
A spokesperson for Cantor Fitzgerald said they do not comment on meetings held, or not held, by executives during the course of business.
Davy and Bloxham are not expected to emerge as bid targets and Goodbody has recently been purchased by Kerry-based Fexco.
Sources in Dublin said Cantor Fitzgerald is not interested in setting up from scratch in Ireland, preferring to buy an existing business.
Capital requirements for stockbrokers are set to increase, putting them under additional financial pressure. Because they hold client money the Financial Regulator Matthew Elderfield wants to ensure that the brokers are able to meet potential losses. It means there is a demand among Irish brokerage firms for fresh investment.
The US firm is looking to increase its presence in Europe through bolt-on deals and is looking at Ireland and Spain in particular.
Unlike more high-profile Wall Street banks that mostly serve large corporate clients, Cantor's focus is on building up a European network selling bonds and shares to middle-class investors.