The companies will form leading multi-custodial and multi-clearing network of firms, supporting financial advisors through multiple distinct brands and culturesHighly Complementary Capabilities and Talent to Drive Enhancements in Technology, Practice Management and Service for Advisors Across Both Companies Ladenburg Firms Will Not Be Merged with Advisor Group Firms, Reflecting Both Companies’ Shared Commitment to Multi-Brand Network Model
PHOENIX, Nov. 11, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Advisor Group, one of the nation’s largest networks of independent wealth management firms, and Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. (NYSE American: LTS, LTS PrA, LTSL, LTSF, LTSK, LTSH) (“Ladenburg”), a publicly-traded diversified financial services company, today announced that both companies have entered into a definitive merger agreement to join the two companies.
Under the terms of the transaction, Ladenburg has agreed to be acquired by Advisor Group through a cash merger, in which each outstanding share of Ladenburg’s common stock will be converted into a cash payment of $3.50 per share. The total enterprise value of the transaction is approximately $1.3 billion, taking into account Ladenburg’s common stock, preferred stock and outstanding debt. The definitive merger agreement and the transactions contemplated were unanimously approved by Ladenburg’s Board of Directors.
The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, including the approval of Ladenburg’s shareholders, and receipt of required regulatory clearances and approvals, is expected to close in the first half of 2020.
Following the completion of this transaction, the expanded Advisor Group organization will continue to be led by its current CEO and President, Jamie Price. When the transaction is completed, Advisor Group’s leadership team will include senior executives from both Advisor Group and Ladenburg. Ladenburg’s firms will not be merged with Advisor Group’s firms, reflecting both companies’ commitment to a multi-brand network model.
Advisor Group’s network of firms consists of FSC Securities Corporation, Royal Alliance Associates, SagePoint Financial and Woodbury Financial. Ladenburg’s independent advisory and brokerage firms include Securities America, Triad Advisors, Investacorp, KMS Financial Services and Securities Service Network (SSN).
Additional Ladenburg subsidiaries include Highland Capital Brokerage, a leading insurance solutions brokerage; Premier Trust, a financial advisor-focused trust services company; and Ladenburg Thalmann & Co., a middle market investment bank. Each of these subsidiaries has played a role in delivering unique, value-add solutions to Ladenburg-affiliated financial advisors.
Maximizes Value For Shareholders
Ladenburg Thalmann Chairman, President and CEO Richard Lampen said, “This is a transaction that maximizes value for our shareholders, while positioning our financial advisors for continued growth and success. We have always been impressed with Advisor Group’s platform, offerings and leadership. Advisor Group’s CEO, Jamie Price, and his management team offer a mature shared services model and a demonstrated ability to innovate and invest in ways that help advisors grow. We are confident this transaction will help our advisors accelerate the growth of their businesses, while enabling them to benefit from the highly personalized service experience they have always enjoyed, under a very similar multi-custodial, multi-clearing and multi-brand structure.”
Advisor Group President and CEO Jamie Price said, “This acquisition brings together the best of two industry leaders, to the benefit of the financial advisors we collectively serve. We believe that the investments necessary for competitively differentiated technology, practice management, products and service excellence require a greater level of scale than either of our companies can achieve on a stand-alone basis. In fact, as our two organizations learned more about each other’s platforms, it became obvious that our strengths rounded out each other’s offerings, and combined, we will have one of the most comprehensive and best-in-class platforms for financial advisors in the industry. Equally important, Advisor Group and Ladenburg have a shared commitment to the flexibility of third-party clearing, together with maintaining a ‘small firm feel’ delivered through the distinct management teams and cultures of a multi-brand network model. In today’s fast-consolidating marketplace, where advisors fear becoming just another number in the crowd, the more intimate service culture and sense of community that our multi-brand approach offers is increasingly in demand.”
Milton Berlinski, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Reverence Capital Partners, a leading financial services-focused private equity firm and majority equity owner of Advisor Group, said, “Ladenburg Thalmann and Advisor Group are highly complementary businesses, with nationwide footprints, technology capabilities and senior management talent that represent the best of what the wealth management industry has to offer for financial advisors and their clients. By combining these two firms, we have created one of the most robust platforms in the country to support advisors’ growth, with the scale, resources and intellectual capital to position them for success, no matter their business model or client focus.”
Giving Advisors the Best of the Best in Platforms, Tools and Expertise
Following the completion of this transaction, Advisor Group will continue to operate under a multi-brand network model of firms, enabling the delivery of industry-leading tools and expertise through distinct firms with unique brands that each offer a sense of community and personalized service for affiliated financial advisors.
Financial advisors affiliated with Ladenburg’s subsidiary firms are expected to benefit from Advisor Group’s recent investments in cutting-edge enterprise-level service offerings, including eQuipt, the firm’s fully-digital client onboarding system; MyCMO, its personalized advisor marketing platform; MySuccessionPlan.com, its suite of bundled succession planning resources; and its integrated CyberGuard Program for cybersecurity.
For advisors affiliated with Advisor Group, the transaction brings access to Ladenburg Thalmann’s industry-leading practice management capabilities, wealth management resources, advisor-client portal technologies and expanded national scale.
The two companies also feature strong cultural similarities, including a shared commitment to supporting greater diversity across the industry, including advancing career opportunities for women financial advisors and women executives, as evidenced by Advisor Group’s Women Forward initiative and the Ladenburg Institute of Women & Finance.
Multi-Custodial, Multi-Clearing Approach Minimizes Disruption and Maximizes Flexibility; Positions Company for Future Leadership in RIA Segment
Upon the transaction’s completion, Advisor Group will be one of the industry’s leading providers of a multi-custodial, multi-clearing model that drives maximum choice and flexibility for financial advisors.
Because both Advisor Group and Ladenburg use Pershing and National Financial (part of Fidelity Custody & Clearing Solutions) as their largest clearing providers, no repapering of client accounts will be necessary in connection with this transaction and its closing.
As one of the largest multi-custodial and multi-clearing networks of firms in the country, the company will be even better positioned to redefine the RIA segment of the wealth management space. The combined company will be able to support all financial advisor business models, including the hybrid advisor doing both securities and advisory business, as well as the “investment advisor only” professional who is either utilizing a corporate RIA platform, or has an independent RIA.
Adam Malamed, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Ladenburg, said, “The ongoing evolution of our industry validates the importance of Ladenburg and Advisor Group’s respective roles as the leading innovators of the network model of firms approach within our industry. The appeal of bringing Ladenburg and Advisor Group together is driven in large part by our shared vision for driving a transformative and innovative approach to the wealth management space. For example, among the many advantages of our multi-custodial, multi-clearing capabilities are the expertise and leadership we can further build in the RIA space. The combination of Ladenburg and Advisor Group creates a unique offering for financial advisors who are primarily fee-based, or fee-only, whether they want to have their own RIA under a turnkey level of back and middle office support, or would prefer to do fee-only work through a corporate RIA, without having to also hold securities licenses on the brokerage side of our industry.”
Financial and Legal Advisors to the Transaction
Jefferies LLC is acting as financial advisor to Ladenburg, with Sullivan & Cromwell LLP serving as Ladenburg’s legal counsel. Eversheds Sutherland, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, and Greenberg Traurig LLP are serving as legal counsel to Advisor Group and Reverence Capital.
Committed financing for this transaction has been provided by Bank of America, UBS Securities, Barclays, Deutsche Bank Securities and Goldman, Sachs & Co.
About Advisor Group
Advisor Group, Inc. is one of the nation’s largest networks of independent financial advisors serving over 7,000 advisors and overseeing $271 billion in client assets. Headquartered in Phoenix, AZ, the firm is mission-driven to support the heroic role that advisors can play in the lives of their clients, offering securities and investment advisory services through its subsidiaries FSC Securities Corp., Royal Alliance Associates Inc., SagePoint Financial, Inc. and Woodbury Financial Services, Inc., as broker/dealers, registered investment advisors and members of FINRA and SIPC. Cultivating a spirit of entrepreneurship and independence, Advisor Group champions the enduring value of financial advisors and is committed to being in their corner every step of the way. For more information visit https://www.advisorgroup.com.
About Ladenburg Thalmann
Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. (NYSE American: LTS, LTS PrA, LTSL, LTSF, LTSK, LTSH) is a publicly-traded diversified financial services company based in Miami, Florida. Ladenburg’s subsidiaries include industry-leading independent advisory and brokerage (IAB) firms Securities America, Triad Advisors, Securities Service Network, Investacorp and KMS Financial Services, as well as Premier Trust, Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management, Highland Capital Brokerage, a leading independent life insurance brokerage company and full-service annuity processing and marketing company, and Ladenburg Thalmann & Co. Inc., an investment bank which has been a member of the New York Stock Exchange for over 135 years. The company is committed to investing in the growth of its subsidiaries while respecting and maintaining their individual business identities, cultures, and leadership. For more information, please visit www.ladenburg.com.
About Reverence Capital Partners
Reverence Capital Partners is a private investment firm focused on thematic investing in leading global, middle-market Financial Services businesses through control and influence oriented investments in 5 sectors: (1) Depositories and Finance Companies, (2) Asset and Wealth Management, (3) Insurance, (4) Capital Markets and (5) Financial Technology/Payments. The firm was founded in 2013, by Milton Berlinski, Peter Aberg and Alex Chulack, after distinguished careers advising and investing in a broad array of financial services businesses. The Partners collectively bring over 90 years of advisory and investing experience across a wide range of financial services sectors. For more information visit www.reverencecapital.com.