Rodman & Renshaw Offers To Buy Cowen Group

NEW YORK, Dec 8 (Reuters) – Rodman & Renshaw Capital Group Inc., a small U.S. investment bank, on Monday made an unsolicited offer to acquire rival Cowen Group Inc. for $7 a share, 17 percent above the New York firm’s Friday closing price.

Cowen, a venerable Wall Street name that has struggled in the past year, quickly rejected the proposal. Cowen in a statement said a combination with Rodman would not boost the value of the company, had no strategic benefit and could prove to be distracting.

In an open letter to Cowen Chairman John Toffolon, Rodman said that last Tuesday it had delivered to Cowen’s board an offer to pay $7 a share, or nearly $100 million, half in cash and half in Rodman stock.

Rodman Chief Executive Michael Lacovara, in the letter, said he had been holding informal talks with Cowen Chief Executive Officer Greg Malcolm for the past few months before presenting a formal offer.

Cowen shares are down 37 percent this year, outperforming Rodman’s 68 percent decline over the same period.

By Joseph A. Giannone
(Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Maureen Bavdek)