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The Cowen Group Sells Stake to Chinese Firm

March 31, 2017

On Wednesday, CEFC China Energy, a Chinese conglomerate said it had agreed to buy a 20% stake in the Cowen Group, a U.S. financial services firm. Besides injecting some needed cash into Cowen, CEFC will provide Cowen with $175 million in debt financing. Under the deal, which is expected to close in Q3 of 2017, CEFC will get the right to appoint 3 directors to Cowen’s board.


"This partnership will accelerate growth in Cowen's core areas of expertise: investment banking, equities, research and investment management," Cowen Chief Executive Peter Cohen said.


The deal is the latest in a series of investments by Chinese firms in U.S. companies. On Tuesday, U.S. electric car maker Tesla said China's Tencent Holdings had acquired a 5% stake in the company for $1.78 billion, and earlier this year Anthony ‘The Mooch’ Scaramucci sold his firm, SkyBridge Capital, to a consortium led by RON Transatlantic and HNA Capital of China. That deal was to have paved the way for Mr. Scaramucci to join the Trump administration as a public liaison and adviser – but that never happened.


In 2016, Chinese firms were busy, with 173 deals targeting American businesses. Those deals were valued at $68 billion, which is more than the total for the 6 previous years.


One deal involving China that has been stymied, however, is the proposed acquisition of the struggling Chicago Stock Exchange by China's Chongqing Casin Enterprise Group. The SEC has yet to approve the deal and some lawmakers have raised security concerns about Chinese investors buying into the U.S. equity market.


ABOUT THE COWEN GROUP.    Cowen is a diversified financial services firm and, together with its consolidated subsidiaries, provides alternative investment management, investment banking, research, and sales and trading services through its two business segments: Ramius LLC and its affiliates makes up the Company’s alternative investment management segment, while Cowen and Company, LLC and its affiliates make up its broker-dealer segment.


Ramius provides alternative asset management solutions to a global client base and manages a significant portion of Cowen’s proprietary capital. Cowen and Company offers industry focused investment banking for growth-oriented companies, domain knowledge-driven research, a sales and trading platform for institutional investors and a comprehensive suite of prime brokerage services. Founded in 1918, the firm is headquartered in New York and has offices located worldwide.