Lazard Capital Markets LLC, the brokerage spun out from from Lazard Ltd. (LAZ:US) nine years ago, is winding down, people with knowledge of the matter said.
The firm, controlled by current and former Lazard employees, is reviewing options that could include a sale of its prime brokerage, securities lending, and convertible bonds units, said the people, asking not to be identified because the matter is not public. Lazard Capital isn’t going to shut the businesses, which are still profitable, one of the people said.
After failing to find a buyer for the whole business, the New York-based firm has been selling off pieces, including its fixed-income business, which was acquired by Guggenheim Partners LLC, one person said. In October, FBR & Co. said it acquired some research, sales and trading operations -- totaling about 29 staff -- from Lazard Capital.
Small brokerages are closing or selling as tougher competition from larger banks hurts trading profits. Gleacher & Co. shut its fixed-income unit last year and Knight Capital Group Inc. agreed to sell its debt brokerage unit to Stifel Financial Corp. In May, Lazard Capital said it would explore options including a sale or the creation of a joint venture.
Scott McLaughlin, Lazard Capital’s co-chief executive officer, didn’t respond to phone calls and an e-mail seeking comment on the wind-down plan. The Wall Street Journal reported the sale of the fixed-income unit to Guggenheim Partners earlier this month.
Lazard Capital was spun out by Hamilton, Bermuda based merger-advisory firm Lazard ahead of its 2005 initial public offering. It has 50 registered brokers in the New York area, according to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
It had more than $1 billion in assets and $73 million in equity at the end of 2012, according to its last annual report with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
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