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Rating:The Wooing of First Financial Turns Hostile Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Thursday, January 9, 2003

The Wooing of First Financial Turns Hostile

by: Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

St. Louis-based Trident Investment Partners reaffirmed its interest in acquiring First Financial Planners, the nation's thirteen largest independent financial planning firm headquartered in Chesterfield, Missouri.

Trident is an affiliate of Castle Hill Holdings, a privately held investment firm. Ronald F. Saverin, Trident's managing member, confirmed that it is attempting to acquire a controlling stake in the planning firm. He added that Trident's entreaties were rebuffed by First Financial executives.

Trident has a history of interest in the planning firm. It has been acquiring First Financial stock since 2000 and in 2001 it joined forces with Pacific Mutual Life and Jefferson Pilot Insurance to review a possible takeover.

"We have retained our financial interest in FFP" Saverin stated. "In late 2000 we offered to buy a controlling interest for $32 per share. The board told us they wanted at least $48. Some suggested $72 per share. Today, after 18 months of substantial financial reversals, I doubt the shares of FFP are worth even $8 per share" Saverin said. "FFP like many other financial services firms is stuck in the mud. We believe we can help them use this time as an opportunity to gain market share, and be poised for the return of the markets".  

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