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Merrion Capital Executives Said Poised to Buy Securities Firm

April 8 (Bloomberg) -- Merrion Capital Group Head of Private Clients Shane Nolan is preparing a management-led buyout of the Dublin-based securities firm, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

A group, which also includes Ivan Fox, chairman of the company’s fund management unit, is in talks to take control of Merrion in an accord that will involve Chief Executive Officer John Conroy selling his stake, said the people, who asked not to be identified, as the talks are private.

Conroy may leave the firm he co-founded in 1999, the people said. Allen & Co. LLC, the New York-based investment firm, will also sell its minority stake, said the people, who declined to give financial details.

Billy Murphy, a spokesman for Merrion with Drury Porter Novelli, Nolan and Fox didn’t immediately respond to calls seeking comment. Officials at Allen & Co. weren’t immediately in a position to comment. Conroy declined to comment.

The Sunday Independent reported on March 2 that the executives, as well New York-based securities firm Cantor Fitzgerald LP, were contenders to buy Merrion, put up for sale for about 10 million euros ($13.8 million). Ronan Reid, head of Cantor’s Irish unit, declined to comment today.

The sale will result in Merrion’s fourth ownership change in a decade. In 2005, Iceland’s Landsbanki acquired control of the company before management bought it back four years later, after Icelandic authorities seized the lender. Conroy and Nolan led an shareholder restructuring in 2010, which resulted in a number of top executives leaving the firm.

Merrion Capital Group Ltd. had about 8 million euros of net assets at the end of 2012, according to the firm’s most recent set of accounts filed with Ireland’s company’s office.

The firm has advised on corporate finance deals such as Aer Lingus Group Plc’s initial public offering in 2006 and the 2009 takeover of Eircom Group by Singapore Technologies Telemedia Pte.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Brennan in Dublin at jbrennan29@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Heather Harris at hharris5@bloomberg.net Dara Doyle, Steve Bailey

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