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Ceres Changes Offering Underwriter Lineup

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NU Online News Service, Nov. 9, 10:48 a.m. – Ceres Group Inc., Cleveland, says the roster of underwriters helping it with a $25 million stock offering has changed.

The lead managers are now Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co. Inc., Arlington, Va., and Sandler O’Neill & Partners L.P., New York

Stifel, Nicolaus & Company Inc., St. Louis, has signed on be the co-manager.

Ceres sells major medical insurance, Medicare supplement insurance, and other life and health insurance products.

Ceres stock already trades on the Nasdaq National Market system. There are 18 million shares outstanding, and 3.5 million shares of stock in the hands of the public. The value of all outstanding shares is about $58 million, according to Inc., New York.

Ceres now wants to sell 5.75 million shares at a maximum price of $4.90 each to increase capital reserve levels, redeem preferred stock, and expand QQLink, its new Web-based agent communications system, according to a registration statement filed in April with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission.

The registration statement listed Sandler O’Neill and Advest Inc., Hartford, as the lead underwriters.

The MONY Group Inc., New York, acquired Advest Jan. 31.