Jefferies Saves Miserable Quarter With Financing Package (JEF, LUK)

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Jefferies Group, Inc. (NYSE: JEF) has posted some ugly earnings this morning and it has announced a financing package. 

Jefferies posted a net loss of $60.5 million, or -$0.43 EPS on a 52% drop in revenues to $201.2 million.  First Call had estimates of $0.12 EPS on $313.6 million.  We thought maybe that there was a charge or something in the number, but the quote from Jefferies CEO, Richard Handler says it all: "Despite this quarter’s brutal market conditions and disappointing results…."

The company has also announced that Leucadia National Corporation (NYSE: LUK) has entered into a financing pact with the brokerage and investment banking firm.  Under the agreement, Leucadia will purchase 26,585,310 shares of Jefferies’ common stock.  On a fully diluted basis, this translates to a 13.7% stake in Jefferies.

Unless the board of directors approves any sale differently, Leucadia has agreed to hold these shares for two years.  Leucadia will also agree not to take a stake larger than 30% of the broker and investment banker.

On a Pro forma basis for this share sale, Jefferies’ shareholders equity at March 31, 2008
would have been $433.6 million higher with a new reading of approximately $2.16 billion.

Here is where the deal gets interesting.  Jefferies will purchase 10 million shares of common stock in Leucadia in exchange for the 26,585,310 Jefferies shares and $100,021,353 in cash. But Leucadia will register these shares promptly for discretionary resale by Jefferies from time to time.  In the release Jefferies noted that its balance sheet and liquidity are solid, but they wanted to strengthen their balance sheet in light of recent industry events and to take advantage of the many opportunities currently in the market.

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Jefferies stock had already been cut in more than half, but that revenue shortfall is one of the wider ones we have seen from a broker or financial company this earnings season.  If the firm hadn’t announced this financing package, let’s just say this would have been far uglier of a pre-market reaction.

Shares are down over 4% at $14.30 in pre-market trading, and the 52-week trading range is $13.68 to $33.80.

Jon C. Ogg
April 21, 2008

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