Seymour in US deal talks

LONDON broker Seymour Pierce may be finalising a £40m takeover deal that will see it merge with at least one other US company, reports suggested yesterday.

Seymour Pierce’s executive chairman, Keith Harris, is reportedly in discussions with Gerova Financial Group, a US reinsurance firm, to engineer a reverse takeover-type transaction with a third company, Ticonderoga Securities.

Gerova would buy Ticonderoga, a New York-based equities trader founded by ex-Collins Stewart executives Joel Plasco and Shawn McLoughlin, and Seymour Pierce, then merge the two brokers into one with Harris appointed chairman of the Gerova group, the Sky News report said.

The combined group would then be renamed Seymour Pierce, the report said, and could be valued at up to £400m, with a NYSE listing. Plasco would become chief executive of the new firm’s investment banking arm.

Harris, the former Football League chairman involved in takeover deals at clubs such as Chelsea and Aston Villa, reputedly owns about 25 per cent of Seymour Pierce, leaving him eligible to make up to £10m if this deal goes ahead. It is not yet finalised but an announcement is expected. this week, the report said.