Daily Briefing

DAILY BRIEFING

December 23, 2009

Peltz owns 5.3% of Legg after stock purchase

Activist investor Nelson Peltz has increased his stake in Legg Mason Inc. again, becoming the Baltimore money manager's second-largest stockholder - at least according to the most recent ownership records. Peltz's nearly $23.4 million in purchases Thursday and Friday, disclosed this week, come after other purchases earlier last week and bring his Legg holdings to almost 8.5 million shares. That's about 5.3 percent of the company, close behind the No. 1 holder, San Francisco fund manager Dodge & Cox. Peltz - who joined Legg's board this fall - is known for targeting good but underperforming brands. Legg insists Peltz is not aiming to sell or break up the company, and said his Trian Fund Management LP has agreed not to acquire more than 9.9 percent of Legg stock in the next two years.

- Jamie Smith Hopkins

1st Mariner parent to seek reverse stock split

The parent of 1st Mariner Bank, Baltimore's largest independent bank, will ask stockholders in a special meeting next year to give the board the authority to conduct a reverse stock spit, a move intended to increase the company's stock price, according to a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday. First Mariner earlier this month was warned by the Nasdaq Stock Market that the bank holding company would be de-listed unless it increased its market value and stock price. Additionally, shareholders will be asked to approve an increase in the number of common shares as well as the sale of new shares as part of an effort to raise up to $20 million in capital. Without shareholder approval, the company said it likely won't be able to raise the capital being required by regulators, and the bank could be forced to liquidate or merge with another financial institution.

- Eileen Ambrose

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