Jefferies said it walked away from MF offer

JEFFERIES decided not to buy MF Global Holdings because the company’s high leverage and its bets on European debt made it a risky gamble, Jefferies chief financial officer Peregrine Broadbent said yesterday.

Shares in the US bank tumbled as much as 14 per cent as investors feared that the investment bank, another relatively small Wall Street player, could get burned by bad bets on Europe the same way MF Global did, analysts said.

Broadbent said he spent the weekend at MF Global offices examining its financial statements to see whether any of its businesses were worth purchasing.

Meanwhile, trading companies that provided services to MF Global rushed to reassure investors that the demise would not badly affect them.

Fidessa, which sold its trading platform technology to MF Global, played down the loss, saying it would not be materially affected by its closure, though analysts said it could lose up to £2m from its annual revenues.

Software maker Patsystems, which said MF Global was an “important customer”, also admitted it would lose £3m of revenue and £300,000 in unpaid invoices from its collapse.