Ladenburg Thalmann Buys Highland Capital Brokerage

Proquest LLC

Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services reported that it has acquired Highland Capital Brokerage.

Highland provides specialized point-of-sale support along with marketing and creative estate and business planning techniques, delivering customized insurance solutions to both institutional clients and independent producers.

According to a release from the company, Ladenburg acquired Highland for approximately $42 million. The purchase price for the common stock of Highland was $12.7 million, consisting of approximately $3.6 million in cash and 2,540,762 shares of Ladenburg common stock. In addition, Ladenburg repaid Highland's bank facility of $22.3 million and $7 million of Highland's promissory notes remain outstanding.

"The acquisition of Highland marks Ladenburg's entrance into the wholesale life insurance marketplace and reflects our commitment to building a strong, diversified financial services organization," stated Dr. Phillip Frost, Ladenburg's Chairman of the Board and principal shareholder. "We are excited to welcome Highland's management, principals and associates to the Ladenburg Thalmann family and look forward to their continued success."

"We have tremendous respect and admiration for the business that Highland has built and the caliber of professional that makes up their outstanding management team and principals," said Ladenburg President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Lampen. "This deal reflects Ladenburg's confidence in Highland's leadership in the wholesale insurance industry based on its respected brand, exemplary point-of-sale support, strong insurance company and client relationships, and unwavering values and integrity. We are committed to building a partnership with Highland's management and principals to accelerate the firm's growth and amplify their culture. This acquisition marks an important step in our expansion into this higher-margin, attractive wholesale distribution channel."

Highland's CEO Jim Gelder, CLU, and his senior management team will continue to operate Highland as a standalone business.

"Ladenburg's commitment to preserving the management and culture of the firms it acquires affords us the flexibility to continue operating our business with no disruption to our firm principals, employees, clients or customers and presents exciting opportunities for all of our stakeholders," Gelder said. "With the support of a publicly-traded parent company, we will be better positioned to deliver a greater breadth and quality of services, particularly to our institutional clients and independent insurance producer partners."

Graubard Miller served as legal counsel for Ladenburg in the transaction, and Sirote & Permutt, PC served as legal counsel for Highland.

Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services is a financial services company.

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Highland Capital Brokerage is a company focused on insurance solutions.

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