Ryan Beck, getting a case of the market jitters, has become the first boutique investment firm to back away from a planned IPO. BankAtlantic ( BBX), the parent company of Ryan Beck, said Thursday in its earnings release that the company has decided to postpone the New Jersey-based brokerage's initial public offering. Citing weakening market conditions and the recent poor performance of the investment firm, the Florida-based lender said it would delay the offering until the environment turns around. "While we remain intent on monetizing some portion of our investment in Ryan Beck, we have postponed the previously announced initial public offering due to a combination of current equity market conditions and Ryan Beck's weak recent financial performance," the company said. "At this point, we anticipate proceeding with the offering when market conditions permit and results at Ryan Beck improve." BankAtlantic said Thursday that Ryan Beck recorded a net loss of $2.1 million, or 3 cents a share, in the second quarter compared with earnings of $13 million, or 21 cents per share, in the second quarter last year. The investment banking revenue at Ryan Beck, which also has a retail brokerage and capital markets business, was a thin $3.4 million, compared with $30.3 million in the same quarter last year. "We believe the loss was largely due to continued weakness in its capital markets and investment banking activities, as well as the compensation costs and direct expenses associated with the expansion of those activities, including expansion of municipal finance and trading areas, principally in late 2005," the company said. TheStreet.com
first reported that Ryan Beck was likely to postpone its IPO last week, after boutique investment bank Cowen ( COWN) disappointed the market last week when it priced an IPO 16% below the expected range and shares dropped as much as 4.7% in the first day of trading. Even before Cowen's lackluster performance, sources say jittery executives at BankAtlantic, which owns virtually all of Ryan Beck's shares, were rethinking their options. Market sources said last week that BankAtlantic was considering delaying the IPO, which was being led by JPMorgan ( JPM), and was also looking at the possibility of simply putting Ryan Beck up for sale.