Exclusive: Stifel in lead to buy Barclays' U.S. wealth unit - sources

Fri May 29, 2015 6:51pm EDT
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By Lauren Tara LaCapra and Jessica Toonkel

(Reuters) - Investment bank Stifel Financial Corp (SF.N: Quote) is in advanced negotiations to acquire Barclays Plc's (BARC.L: Quote) U.S wealth management unit, according to three people familiar with the situation.

Stifel is now negotiating key aspects with Barclays, although a deal is not certain and Barclays could go back to other bidders that have made offers, the people said this week.

A deal for the business - the former brokerage arm of Lehman Brothers - could come as early as next week, the people said.

The price being discussed could not be learned.

The sources requested anonymity because the matter is not public, and a spokeswoman for Stifel and a spokesman for Barclays declined to comment.

Barclays has been reaching out to potential acquirers for the business for several weeks because it views it as non-core, sources told Reuters.

Stifel Chairman and Chief Executive Ron Kruszewski has acquired several, mostly troubled retail brokerage and investment banking firms since 2005. The once low-key St. Louis firm that specialized in municipal bonds is now a national presence serving individual investors and middle-market companies.  

Kruszewski, a fireman’s son who became CEO in 1997, has paid relatively low prices for the acquisitions, but often provides generous pay packages to retain employees of the firms.   Continued...

A view of the exterior of the Barclays U.S. Corporate headquarters in the Manhattan borough of New York City, May 20, 2015.  REUTERS/Mike Segar