WSJ: Macquarie In Talks To Buy Fox-Pitt Kelton

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Australia’s Macquarie Group Ltd (MQG.AX) is in “serious discussions” about acquiring Fox-Pitt Kelton Cochran Caronia Waller, a small investment bank partly owned by private equity firm J.C. Flowers & Co LLC, the Wall Street Journal reported on its Deal Journal blog Thursday.

Citing people familiar with the talks, the Journal said Fox-Pitt could fetch as much as $150 million, though no agreement has been completed and many hurdles remain. At that price, J.C. Flowers would receive twice what it paid Swiss Reinsurance Co (RUKN.VX) to acquire Fox-Pitt in 2006.

Officials from London-based Fox-Pitt Kelton and Macquarie were not immediately available to comment.

Macquarie, Australia’s largest investment bank, has recently been on a buying and hiring binge. The company is eager to extend its reach into new regions and wants to lessen its dependence on infrastructure investing.

On Wednesday, Macquarie agreed to buy U.S. money manager Delaware Investments from Lincoln National Corp (LNC.N) for $428 million. Earlier this year, Macquarie bought Tristone Capital, an energy investment bank, and a gas-trading business from Constellation Energy (CEG.N).

Fox-Pitt, partly owned by its management, provides M&A advice, underwriting and research focused on banks, insurers and other financial services firms. Fox-Pitt merged with insurance industry boutique Cochran Caronia Waller in 2007. (Reporting by Joseph A. Giannone, editing by Maureen Bavdek)