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Rochdale Said to Be in Rescue Talks After Apple Trades

Rochdale Said to Be in Advanced Rescue Talks After Apple Trades
Apple Inc. employees welcome customers as they enter the company's store to purchase the Apple Inc. iPad mini in Hong Kong. Photographer: Jerome Favre/Bloomberg

Rochdale Securities LLC, the brokerage that employs bank analyst Dick Bove, is in advanced talks to save the firm after unauthorized trades in Apple Inc. went sour, said two people with knowledge of the negotiations.

Rochdale may announce a merger or investment as early as today, said the people, who asked for anonymity because the negotiations are private. The deal to prop up the 37-year-old company could still fall apart, one of the people said.

Top Rochdale executives told potential investors that a trader bought $750 million to $1 billion in Apple shares last month without permission, the people said. The stock then dropped in value by a few million dollars and depleted the firm’s cushion against losses, the people said. Closely held Rochdale had $3.44 million of capital at the end of last year, according to a regulatory filing.

The Apple trade is the focus of an FBI investigation as an “alleged market-manipulation scheme,” the New York Post reported, without saying where it got the information. The newspaper said the U.S. Securities and Exchange Administration and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority joined the investigation.

Rochdale has identified David Miller as the employee responsible for the transactions, according to two people informed of the matter. Miller didn’t respond to phone calls seeking comment. The New York Post named Miller in its report.

Trader’s Purchase

The trader worked at Rochdale’s Stamford, Connecticut, headquarters and bought Apple’s stock around the time of the technology company’s Oct. 25 earnings report, said two people with knowledge of the transaction.

The firm has approached investors including brokerages such as BNY ConvergEx Group LLC, the people said. Rochdale President Daniel J. Crowley didn’t return calls seeking comment on the status of his firm and on Miller.

Rochdale has provided trading and research for institutional clients since 1975, according to the company’s website. Its most visible analysts include Bove, 71, who covers the biggest U.S. banks. The firm has 26 registered representatives in Stamford and six in New York, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority records show.

John Nester, a spokesman at the SEC, declined to comment. Michelle Ong, a spokeswoman at Finra, didn’t respond to a request for comment after business hours.

Jim Margolin, a Federal Bureau of Investigation spokesman in New York, declined to comment on Rochdale. Barbara Woodruff, an FBI spokeswoman in Newark, New Jersey, and Tom Carson, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney in Connecticut, didn’t immediately return phone messages.

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