Raymond James Clears Hurdle in Morgan Keegan Merger

A stipulated period for certain antitrust procedures has ended early, the company says

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Raymond James (RJF) said Tuesday that the Department of Justice had allowed it to wrap up one regulatory process ahead of schedule in connection with its purchase of Morgan Keegan.

“Accordingly, the condition to the proposed acquisition relating to the expiration or termination of the Hart-Scott-Rodino [Antitrust Improvement] Act waiting period has been satisfied,” said the company, which is led by CEO Paul Reilly (left), in a press release.

Both Raymond James and the Department of Justice said they could offer no further information or clarification.

The Hart-Scott-Rodino Act of 1976 requires that parties involved in mergers file certain reports with the Department of Justice and then typically wait 30 days to allow for regulators to request further information if needed regarding antitrust issues.

Raymond James announced that it planned to buy Morgan Keegan from Regions Financial (RF) on Jan. 11 through a $930 million stock transaction. The company says it expects the deal to close on or near April 2.

On Feb. 17, Raymond James said its executives had met with more than 550 Morgan Keegan advisors and employees as part of its efforts to retain them. In addition, the company said Feb. 21 that it raised nearly $360 million for the Morgan Keegan deal through its recent public offering.

In January, securities commissions and fees generated by Raymond James’ 5,400 financial advisors, both private client and institutional, totaled $182 million, down 2% from January 2011 but up 6% from December 2011. “January showed significant improvement in the stock market as the S&P 500 was up 4.4% for the month. This had a positive impact on our operating statistics, especially in the Private Client Group segment,” said Reilly in a statement last week.

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