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Gleacher Investor Urges ‘Rebirth’ as Asset Manager

Gleacher & Co., the brokerage that closed its fixed-income business, should seek a “rapid rebirth” as an asset manager, according to activist shareholder Clinton Group Inc.

Clinton Group, part of a coalition with a 7.7 percent stake in the brokerage, urged stockholders in a regulatory filing today to vote for its slate of directors, who would then use Gleacher’s brand to build a money-management business. Other investors favor liquidating the firm, Clinton Group said.

“We believe that new, objective and highly qualified directors can help the company execute a rapid rebirth, driving profitability through a fast turnaround plan that focuses on new areas of financial services,” Clinton Group wrote. A rebuilt firm could also engage in proprietary investing with some related investment banking, according to the filing.

Gleacher said April 10 that it’s closing the fixed-income business, which generated most of the New York-based firm’s revenue, as salesmen defected and customers suspended trading. The brokerage was in talks to combine with Sterne Agee Group Inc., people familiar with the matter said at the time. Gleacher’s stock, which has dropped 63 percent in the past two years, was little changed at 72 cents at 11:18 a.m. in New York.

Thomas Hughes, Gleacher’s chief executive officer, and Lee Fensterstock, a former CEO, are among Clinton’s nominees for the board, according to the filing. New York-based MatlinPatterson Global Advisers LLC, a private-equity firm, holds about 29 percent of Gleacher, and Eric Gleacher, the merger banker who founded the company and resigned in January, owns 12 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Gleacher said today in a regulatory filing that it will hold its annual meeting on May 23. The firm said it expects Clinton Group and MatlinPatterson to nominate directors and that it has no recommendation how stockholders should vote.

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