Piper Jaffray Jumps on Report China Firm May Take Over

Piper Jaffray Cos., the investment bank and asset manager founded in 1895, jumped the most in four months after Mergermarket said the company may be sold to a Chinese securities firm.

Piper Jaffray advanced 5 percent to $25.82 at 12:05 p.m. in New York after rising as much as 9.8 percent earlier in the session for its biggest gain since Oct. 27. The Minneapolis-based firm is in exclusive discussions with the Chinese company, according to Mergermarket, citing a person familiar with the matter. The report didn’t name the bidder.

A deal could include a takeover, buying a stake or forming a joint venture, Mergermarket said. Jennifer Olson-Goude, a spokeswoman for Piper Jaffray, didn’t respond to messages seeking comment.

Piper Jaffray reported a net loss last year of $102 million, or $6.51 per diluted common share, as revenue dropped 14 percent to $458 million. The firm, run by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Andrew S. Duff, 54, cited lower investment banking and institutional brokerage revenue.

The stock dropped 39 percent in 12 months through yesterday’s close, leaving the firm with a market value of about $490 million and trading for about 83 percent of tangible book value. Piper Jaffray employed 1,011 people at the end of last year.

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