Regions reportedly end Morgan Keegan talks with Stifel

2011-12-31T00:10:00Z 2012-01-11T15:19:23Z Regions reportedly end Morgan Keegan talks with StifelBy Zachary R. Mider and Hugh Son • Bloomberg News stltoday.com

Regions Financial Corp. ended talks Friday to sell its Morgan Keegan brokerage to St. Louis-based Stifel Financial Corp., two people with direct knowledge of discussions said.

The companies failed to reach agreement over the terms of a deal, said the sources, who declined to be identified because the negotiations are private. Regions, based in Birmingham, Ala., also has been in talks with Raymond James Financial Inc., people familiar with the matter said earlier this month.

Regions is seeking a buyer for Morgan Keegan, based in Memphis, Tenn., to improve capital and eventually repay a $3.5 billion U.S. bailout, the largest still outstanding for any institution under the Treasury's bank rescue program.

Morgan Keegan has 1,200 financial advisers to Raymond James' 5,100. Stifel has about 2,000. A period of exclusive negotiations with Stifel had expired, allowing Raymond James to revive discussions, two people said earlier this month.

Regions previously had been in talks with two groups of buyout firms, one composed of Carlyle Group and Blackstone Group LP, and the other made up of Thomas H. Lee Partners LP and Aquiline Capital Partners LLC.

Evelyn Mitchell, a spokeswoman for Regions, declined to comment. Spokeswomen for Raymond James, based in St. Petersburg, Fla., and Stifel didn't immediately return calls seeking comment.

Stifel, led by Ron Kruszewski, co-chairman, chief executive and president, has made several sizable acquisitions in recent years, including its $300 million purchase of Thomas Weisel Partners Group of San Francisco last year.

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