Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services’ shareholders voted Thursday to approve a deal with Advisor Group to acquire and merge the two broker/dealer networks. The news comes about a month after several shareholders, including biotech billionaire and former Ladenburg Chairman Dr. Phillip Frost, filed suits against the company to block the deal.
The firm also received approval from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority to merge, and Ladenburg expects the deal to be finalized in mid-February.
Advisor Group penned the deal in November to acquire Ladenburg and its five broker/dealers through a cash merger, creating a b/d network with 11,500 advisors and over $450 billion in assets. Ladenburg’s b/ds will not be merged with Advisor Group’s.
Frost filed suit against his old company late last year, claiming that the merger agreement "disregards obligations owed to them as holders of certain notes issued by the company."
He stepped down from position as chairman of Ladenburg in September 2018, after he was charged by the SEC in two of three pump-and-dump schemes that fleeced investors out of over $27 million, allegations said. He settled those charges without admitting or denying the allegations, paying $5.5 million in penalties.
In mid-December, some shareholders of Ladenburg filed two individual lawsuits and one class action suit to block the acquisition, or force the firm to disclose certain financial projections left out of the proxy statement filed on Dec. 6, claiming the acquisition price undervalues Ladenburg Thalmann. Since then, there have been other suits filed. Shareholder Richard Liebman filed another individual complaint against the firm, and shareholder Morris Akerman filed a second proposed class action. The case brought by shareholder Harold Bonnikson was voluntarily dismissed in early January.