Leucadia will continue to operate in its current form, except that the merger agreement contemplates that Leucadia’s Crimson Wine Group, with a book value of $197 million, will be spun out in a distribution that is intended to be tax-free to current Leucadia shareholders prior to the completion of the merger.
Jefferies, which will be the largest business of Leucadia, will continue to operate as a full-service global investment banking firm in its current form. Jefferies will retain a credit rating that is separate from Leucadia’s. Jefferies’ existing long-term debt will remain outstanding and Jefferies intends to remain an SEC reporting company, regularly filing annual, quarterly, and periodic financial reports.
Following the transaction, 35.3% of Leucadia’s common stock will be owned by Jefferies’ shareholders (excluding the Jefferies shares owned today by Leucadia and including Jefferies vested restricted stock units). Leucadia’s Board of Directors has approved a new share repurchase program authorizing the repurchase from time to time of up to an aggregate of 25 million Leucadia common shares, inclusive of prior authorizations. Leucadia’s Board also has indicated its intention to continue to pay dividends at the annual rate of $0.25 per common share, but on a quarterly basis following the merger.
Mr. Cumming observed: “Joe and I have been partners for 34 years. He will be Chairman of the Board of the combined enterprise. His role as Chairman of the Board, along with other Leucadia and Jefferies Directors, will ensure continuity and propel our continued success. Rich and Brian managing the company will bring to fruition the abundant and profitable opportunities that will be realized by this merger. My relationship with Rich and Brian, both as advisors and, more recently, as business partners and Jefferies Directors, showed me they can manage Leucadia profitably long into the future. Their ability to manage and grow Jefferies through the elongated financial bubble, successfully navigate the crises that followed where others could not, and protect the firm from the attacks based on false information exactly one year ago with deftness and grace, should comfort all!”
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