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Lightyear Capital Founder Reportedly Eyeing Cetera

March 26, 2018

Donald Marron, founder and chairman of private equity firm Lightyear Capital, is seriously considering buying Cetera Financial Group, sources tell InvestmentNews.

Cetera — a network of the broker-dealer firms Cetera Advisor Networks, Cetera Advisors, Cetera Financial Institutions, Cetera Financial Specialists, First Allied Securities and Summit Financial Services Group — is reportedly mulling a potential sale valued at up to $1.5 billion, although the company would not confirm it. Marron did not return InvestmentNews’ calls for comment but sources tell the publication he might be the right buyer for Cetera: after all, he once owned it.

Lightyear Capital acquired a broker-dealer network from the Dutch firm ING in 2010 and renamed it Cetera, according to the publication. Lightyear sold Cetera four years later for $1.1 billion to RCS Capital Corp., InvestmentNews writes. RCS Capital filed for bankruptcy reorganization in 2016, and Cetera is now owned by the lien holders of RCS Capital.

In response to InvestmentNews’ request for comment, Joseph Kuo, a Cetera spokesman, tells the publication that the company doesn’t comment on “hearsay, gossip or any other kind of speculative chatter.”

“What we can say is this: Cetera has only recently initiated a capital structure review,” Kuo tells the publication. “Our goals are to lower our cost of capital and increase our continued investments in the business.”

LPL Financial and the independent broker-dealer Advisor Group have been floated as possible contenders for Cetera as well. As it happens, Lightyear and PSP Investments, a Canadian pension manager, bought Advisor Group from American International Group Inc. in 2016, InvestmentNews writes. And Valerie Brown, Advisor Group’s executive chair, was Cetera Financial’s CEO until 2014, according to the publication.

An LPL spokesman tells InvestmentNews that the company also doesn’t discuss rumors or speculation.

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the InvestmentNews article cited in this story, click here.