Jefferies Financial Group Inc. plans to shed two of the remaining pieces of Leucadia National Corp.’s merchant-banking operation to focus on investment banking and simplify its corporate structure.
The firm will spin off Vitesse Energy to shareholders and sell Idaho Timber, Jefferies said in a statement Tuesday. The Idaho Timber deal will involve two transactions with a combined sale price of $239 million, generating a pretax gain of $140 million.
“Today’s announcement is yet another milestone in our long-term plan to focus Jefferies on its core businesses — investment banking and capital markets,” Jefferies CEO Rich Handler said in the statement.
Leucadia agreed in late 2012 to purchase Jefferies for $2.8 billion and install Jefferies management as its top executives. Leucadia had owned the biggest stake in Jefferies prior to the acquisition, having boosted its holdings a year earlier as the investment bank’s stock slid during Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis.
In 2018, Leucadia said it would change its name to Jefferies Financial Group Inc. as it sold off most of its meatpacking and auto-dealer businesses. The moves would transform a “highly diversified, but relatively random, group of assets” into a financial-services firm, Jefferies said at the time.
Leucadia agreed the same year to sell a majority stake in National Beef Packing Co., then the fourth-largest American beef-packing company and biggest U.S. beef exporter, to Sao Paulo-based Marfrig Global Foods SA.
The merchant-banking portfolio, which had a net book value of $1.6 billion as of May 31, will no longer report results separately starting next year. As part of the streamlining strategy, the company is also planning to merge Jefferies Group LLC into Jefferies Financial Group Inc. by the end of this fiscal year, eliminating duplicative reporting requirements. Jefferies Financial will assume the debt of Jefferies Group, according to the statement.
Chief Financial Officer Teri Gendron and Chief Accounting Officer John Dalton will remain at the company through the first half of 2023, then “pursue opportunities outside Jefferies,” the company said. Matt Larson, Jefferies Group’s CFO, will have the same role at the simplified company after Gendron departs.