Bryant Riley, co-chief executive and chairman, B. Riley Financial Inc.

Bryant Riley, co-chief executive and chairman, B. Riley Financial Inc.

Santa Monica-based B. Riley Financial Inc. reported profit of $252.9 million on revenue of $600.2 million in the first quarter, driven largely by investment gains and results for its investment banking group.

During the quarter, B. Riley Financial completed the acquisition of New York-based National Holdings Corp., an investment banking and asset management firm which became a wholly owned subsidiary of B. Riley Financial and an affiliate of B. Riley Wealth Management.

National Holdings added nearly 700 registered representatives and assets of roughly $20 billion. B. Riley Financial now has a combined $31 billion in assets as of March 31 and nearly 900 representatives.

The investment banking firm said the acquisition enhances wealth management and its capital markets business.

Tom Kelleher, co-chief executive officer of B. Riley Financial, said the addition of National Holdings "creates meaningful scale and distribution for our overall platform."

The company also realigned its segment reporting structure as a result of the National Holdings acquisition. Under the new structure, results for wealth management are now reported as a standalone segment. Wealth management was previously reported in the Capital Markets segment.

In 2018, B. Riley Financial announced it was purchasing about 49% in National Holdings from Fortress Biotech Inc., which had acquired a 56% stake in the brokerage in 2016.

For the quarter, B. Riley Financial reported investment gains of $266.9 million with cash and investments totaling about $1.9 billion.

"This has been one of the strongest periods in B. Riley's history," said Bryant Riley, chairman and co-chief executive officer of B. Riley Financial, on a conference call with Wall Street analysts.

B. Riley Financial also announced a quarterly dividend of $3 per share, which includes the regular 50 cent a share dividend and a special dividend of $2.50 per share. The dividend is payable on or about May 28 to common stockholders of record as of May 17.

On Tuesday, B. Riley's stock closed at $67.40, down $4.19, or 5.9%. 

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