Jefferies Seeks $4 Million Fee in Suit Against BGC, Gooch

  • Case grows out of CME's 2014 plan to sell itself off
  • Jersey Partners, others won't say who owes, suit claims

Jefferies Finance LLC says it’s owed $4 million, and it wants broker BGC Partners Inc. and Michael “Mickey” Gooch to pay.

In a lawsuit filed Monday, Jefferies demanded fees it claims it earned after agreeing to provide financing for GFI Group Inc.’s 2014 plan to sell itself. According to the complaint, Gooch’s investment vehicle first said it would pay the fees and later refused.

The case is at least the sixth growing out of the GFI transaction. In lawsuits that settled last year, GFI investors claimed board members, including Chairman Gooch and Chief Executive Officer Colin Heffron, pushed to sell the firm to CME Group Inc. for $4.55 a share while hiding the fact that Howard Lutnick’s BGC made a better offer. Directors agreed to a $10.75 million settlement.

In the new complaint, Jefferies says it agreed to provide financing connected to GFI’s plan to sell part of itself to CME and the rest to Gooch’s group. BGC won the bidding war that ensued last year.

Jefferies, a unit of Leucadia National Corp.’s Jefferies Group, now says Gooch’s investment vehicle, Jersey Partners, agreed to pay $4 million if the CME deal fell through. Instead, Jersey Partners executed a complicated reorganization and refused to tell Jefferies who would pay the fee, according to the complaint.

Jefferies’s efforts to collect the $4 million fee “have been rebuffed by the defendants, who have evasively refused to identify which entity bears the legal responsibility,” according to the complaint in state court in Manhattan.

Karen Laureano-Rikardsen, a spokeswoman for BGC and GFI, declined to comment on the suit.

The case is Jefferies Finance v. BGC Partners, 651507/2016, New York State Supreme Court, Manhattan.

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