Edward De La Rosa

Edward De La Rosa Photo by Courtesy Photo

The partners at Century City investment bank and bond underwriter De La Rosa & Co. had wanted to sell to a bigger firm for a few years, and they’d had offers.

The decision late last month to be acquired by St. Louis brokerage Stifel Nicolaus & Co. was motivated in large part by a deal Stifel did back in 2011: its purchase of San Francisco bond underwriter Stone & Youngberg.

Namesake founder Edward De La Rosa said he and other partners wanted to sell to a buyer committed to the California market. The firm, founded 25 years ago, has been one of the largest underwriters of public bonds in the state.

“When we looked at who to partner with, we liked that Stifel had already made a long-term commitment to California,” he said. “It made it easier to join this team.”

Stifel and De La Rosa announced the deal, which is expected to close by the end of next month, on Jan. 31. Financial terms were not disclosed.

In a press release, Stifel said the acquisition would make it one of the biggest issuers of several kinds of public bonds in the state, including school construction bonds.

De La Rosa said he and other partners had been looking to sell for some time because of limited prospects for growth.

“We looked at our competitors and realized they were all major financial corporations with billions and billions in capital,” he said. “That’s when we started thinking we needed to find a way to grow by leaps and bounds, not just person by person.”

Most of De La Rosa’s 45 employees will remain with Stifel after the deal closes, and the firm will retain its sales and trading offices in Century City.

Feeling Mutual

West L.A. stock brokerage and investment bank B. Riley & Co. has always been focused on servicing institutional investors, but it made a move last week to open up to smaller retail investors as well.

The company launched an affiliated registered investment adviser, B. Riley Asset Management, which offers a new product, the B. Riley Diversified Equity Fund. The mutual fund holds stocks rated as “buys” by B. Riley’s research department, mirroring another new item at the firm, an index called the B. Riley Diversified Equity Composite.

Bryant Riley, chairman of B. Riley, said the goal is to give individual investors access to research and stock picks that have only been available to institutional investors.

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