Cantor Acquires Seymour Pierce Units

Cantor Fitzgerald LP, the U.S. brokerage led by Howard Lutnick, agreed to buy parts of Seymour Pierce Ltd., a 168-year-old British stockbroker, out of administration. Terms weren’t disclosed.

The sale includes the broker’s corporate finance team, New York-based Cantor said in an e-mailed statement. Seymour Pierce had sought protection from creditors earlier today, according to a statement from the London Stock Exchange.

The purchase adds to Cantor’s expansion in Europe. The company said in July it would hire 17 people from the capital markets division of Canaccord Financial Inc. in London to start a corporate advisory business in Europe. In December, the firm bought Ireland’s Dolmen Stockbrokers. Cantor said today’s deal will add more than 70 European clients and increase market coverage by 250 stocks.

The deal helps “accelerate our strategy to provide full-service corporate finance and advisory services for clients, and to expand the reach and product specialization of our established European equities business,” said James Rowsell, chief executive officer of Cantor Fitzgerald Europe.

The market-making business will be open on Feb. 11, the next trading day, Sheryl Lee, a spokeswoman for Cantor, said in an e-mail. She declined to say how much Cantor paid.

Revenue Squeeze

Like other small British stockbrokers, London-based Seymour Pierce has faced a squeeze on revenue and fees amid Europe’s debt crisis and competition from international firms. In the past three years, U.K. brokerages including Evolution Group Plc have been acquired by larger competitors. Canadian broker Canaccord completed its 253 million-pound ($399 million) takeover of Collins Stewart Hawkpoint last year.

Seymour Pierce CEO Tom Forcier will become chief operating officer of Cantor Fitzgerald Europe, Cantor said. The U.K. firm traces its origins on the London Stock Exchange to 1845, with the name Seymour Pierce & Co. being adopted in 1883, according to its website. It also provides equity capital markets and advisory services to its clients.

In Britain, companies can file for administration to gain protection from creditors and lawsuits, allowing them time to find a buyer.