Banking & Finance

Leucadia Rescues FXCM -- for a Price

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Leucadia National Corp. (NYSE: LUK) has bailed out battered foreign exchange broker FXCM Inc. (NYSE: FXCM) with a $300 million cash investment in exchange for $250 million two-year secured notes that carry a coupon of 10%. If FXCM is sold, Leucadia gets 75% of the proceeds.

For FXCM, it was either take the deal or call on its customers to cough up $225 million in cash in order to avoid breaching capital requirements. If clients couldn’t cover, FXCM had to.

FXCM was the hardest hit U.S. foreign exchange broker following the Swiss National Bank’s decision to remove the Swiss franc’s peg to the euro. The brokerage’s shares dropped to $1.49 in premarket trading Friday and were halted before the opening bell.

CNBC reported that another foreign exchange broker, Alpari UK, entered insolvency as a result of the the Swiss bank’s decision. A New Zealand brokerage, Excel Markets, also went broke.

Reuters reported exclusively Friday that investment bank Jefferies was talking with FXCM about a rescue package. Shares of  Leucadia, Jefferies’ parent, were halted at 12:25 p.m. ET on Friday. As of 3:35 p.m., shares have not been restarted.

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