Brown to split stock 3-2 Rumored takeover target's shares up 5%

December 19, 1996|By Bill Atkinson | Bill Atkinson,SUN STAFF

Alex. Brown Inc.'s board of directors approved a 3-for-2 stock split yesterday, and shares jumped by more than $3 in heavy trading.

nTC The split, payable Jan. 15, will increase the number of shares outstanding to about 24 million.

Alex. Brown's stock closed yesterday at $65.25 a share, up 5 percent from $62.125 a share Tuesday.

The company announced the stock split after the market closed. Executives were traveling and could not be reached for comment.

The Baltimore-based investment banking and brokerage firm has been the subject of takeover rumors, which have helped pump shares to new highs. The stock hit a 1996 high of $69.375 Dec. 10 on speculation that the firm might be bought.

But rumors that Alex. Brown is an acquisition target have persisted for months. Last year, industry experts speculated that the company might be in merger talks with large, foreign-based financial companies.

Alex. Brown has consistently said it wants to remain independent.

The firm is experiencing one of its best years ever. It earned $26.3 million in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with earnings of $22.9 million a year earlier. Primary earnings per share were $1.61 for the quarter, compared with $1.45 for the 1995 period.

The 1996 results are the best third-quarter earnings in the company's 196-year history.

Alex. Brown earned a record $116.8 million for the first nine months of the year, up 87 percent over the 1995 period.

Pub Date: 12/19/96

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