In a move that allows the founders to diversify their holdings and appraises one of the largest U.S. independent broker/dealers at $2.5 billion, Linsco/Private Ledger (LPL Financial Services) is selling a majority equity interest in the company, about 60%, to two private equity shops. Hellman & Friedman LLC, and Texas Pacific Group (TPG) will share equally in the majority stake, with the deal slated to close by the end of the year.
“It is a very elegant solution to [issues regarding] both succession and liquidity for financial planning reasons, says Mark Casady, president and CEO of Boston and San Diego-based LPL. “Much like our advisors, our founders have really all of their assets in the company’s stock, and this allows us to give them diversification by having the private equity investors step into their shoes, so to speak. Each of the three founders who are receiving some cash in this deal will also continue to be shareholders in the company. In fact, Todd Robinson was the largest individual shareholder before this transaction and he’ll be the largest individual shareholder after the transaction, so it’s not a complete cash-out by any means.” The move will also help LPL “institutionalize” the firm, according to Casady, taking it “from individual ownership to corporate ownership. What was an entrepreneurially, individually-owned company has become a bit more corporate in the last few years. This transaction lets us preserve what’s best about our culture and our way of life for our clients, the advisors and the employees.”
San Francisco-based Hellman & Friedman invests in financial services and other industries. Among the firm’s financial holdings is a stake in the Nasdaq Stock Market, and through Nasdaq, Instinet’s ECN (electronic communication network). Former NASD Chairman Frank Zarb is a Hellman & Friedman senior advisor and managing director.