Raymond James announced that the antitrust division of the U.S. Department of Justice has granted early termination of the waiting period in connection with the firm’s proposed acquisition of Morgan Keegan & Co. and MK Holding, Inc.
Raymond James agreed to buy Memphis, Tenn.-based Morgan Keegan on January 11 from Regions Financial Corp. in a stock deal worth $930 million. The acquisition is expected to close in April, subject to other pending regulatory approvals.
Last month, Raymond James announced that it sent letters to Morgan Keegan’s 1,000-plus financial advisor force notifying them of retention offers to eligible Morgan Keegan financial advisors with $300,000 and more in gross production. The firm said those retention offers would have five graduated levels. Financial advisors with less than $300,000 in gross production were excluded. At the time, Raymond James said its retention bonuses are set to be paid within to weeks of the transaction’s close, or around April 1. The retention period will total seven years with vesting scheduled to begin at the end of the second year, the firm stated. Terms of those retention offers will include a cash award. Eligible financial advisors can decide to take part of that award in Raymond James Financial restricted stock units, the firm said.
The package also includes participation in Raymond James’s employee benefits program, which includes 401(k), stock purchase plans, employee stock ownership and profit sharing. Advisors who qualify will also have access to stock option awards, long-term incentives and other retention bonus programs.
Also at the time that the retention offers were announced, Raymond James Chief Operating Officer Dennis Zank said in a statement: “We believe that the retention being offered to Morgan Keegan advisors is similar to retention offers in recent industry transactions of this type.” Zank, in that statement added: “While industry norms suggest that retention offers are made only to advisors with more than $500,000 in production, Raymond James and Morgan Keegan managements have determined to offer retention to advisors with $300,000 or more in gross production.”
Raymond James also said in a recent quarterly earnings call that it plans to continue to focus on recruiting and organic growth for both its employee and independent wealth advisory channels while the acquisition is pending.
The early termination of the waiting period falls under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.