May 1, 2015 / 5:30 PM / 4 years ago

Macquarie revives talks with Jefferies on precious metals business -sources

LONDON/NEW YORK, May 1 (Reuters) - Australia’s Macquarie Group Ltd is looking to recruit the precious metals trading team of Jefferies Group LLC’s commodities brokerage, two sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Jefferies, which is owned by Leucadia National Corp, said last month that it would sell most of its Bache unit’s commodities and financial derivatives accounts to Societe Generale.

The deal did not include its precious metals business, which was largely built around Prudential Bache, one of the world’s oldest commodities futures brokers, for which Jefferies paid $430 million in 2011.

The precious metals trading team includes around 15 people in New York and just four in London, a third source said.

“Macquarie is still looking at Jefferies’ precious metals business in London and New York,” one of the two sources familiar with the process said, adding that there had been a meeting this week between executives at the two banks.

Macquarie had been previously named as one of the suitors for the whole of Jefferies’ commodity business, as the Australian bank continues to expand its commodities business while rivals retrench.

The French bank will take a limited number of Jefferies brokers when it acquires the accounts and started interviewing potential candidates in London last week, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

It will only be a small portion of the workforce in London, New York and Singapore, which totals about 450 staff, they said.

In a statutory filing in New York on April 13 known as a WARN notice, the U.S. bank gave notice that it will lay off 120 staff in New York as a result of the SocGen deal from July 8. The time frame for the redundancies was until April next year.

Representatives for Jefferies and Macquarie were not immediately available for comment. (Reporting by Clara Denina in London and Josephine Mason in New York. Additional reporting by Melanie Burton in Melbourne. Editing by Veronica Brown and Ted Botha)

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