B. Riley Closes Purchase of Wunderlich for About $72 Million
B. Riley Financial, a publicly traded investment bank in Woodland Hills, Calif., has closed its deal to buy Memphis-based Wunderlich Securities for about $72 million in stock and cash.
The acquisition adds about 200 Wunderlich brokers, employees and independent contractors, to the publicly traded Riley’s business, along with the management expertise of firm founder Gary Wunderlich, according to an announcement from RIley this week.
“We believe this increased scale positions B. Riley Capital Management as one of the most comprehensive wealth management platforms in the industry, ideally positioned to capitalize on what we believe will be the eventual shift from passive investing back towards active management,” Chairman and Chief Executive Bryan Riley said in a prepared statement. The Wunderlich brokers have about $10 billion of assets under administration, it said.
As part of the deal, Gary Wunderlich signed a three-year employment agreement guaranteeing him a base salary of $500,000 a year, restricted stock units valued at $1.5 million that vest over five years if he remains employed and another $1 million of restricted shares between 2020 and 2022 if he leads Wunderlich to hit certain gross revenue goals, according to Riley’s regulatory disclosure filing on the deal.
B. Riley also has paid Wunderlich shareholders $36.6 million in cash, 1.97 million shares of its common stock and .82 million warrants to buy additional shares at $17.50 each. The company’s stock was trading Friday morning on Nasdaq at about $18.20 a share.
Wunderlich Investment, which used some of the cash to retire debt, itself expanded its retail brokerage operations in 2015 by buying New York City-based regional Dominick & Dominick in January 2015. That deal added about 45 brokers to Wunderlich’s roster of 165 employee advisors and 45 independent contractors.
In June, B. Riley purchased FBR & Co., the parent of Friedman, Billings & Ramsey, a mid-market investment bank with a speciality in raising capital for mortgage banks.
As part of the Wunderlich acquisition, the firm’s founder joined B. Riley’s board and retained his title as CEO of Wunderlich Securities. B. Riley also appointed Michael J. Sheldon to its board as an independent director. Sheldon is CEO of advertising agency Deutsch North America. Bryant Riley and firm president Tom Kelleher serve as co-CEOs of the combined investment banking and brokerage business.