Jefferies raises $490 million in stock offering

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Jefferies Group Inc <JEF.N> said on Friday it raised $490 million in a stock offering that analysts expect to be used to finance a large acquisition announced the previous day.

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The New York-based investment bank priced 20.6 million shares at $24.25 each, a 3.5 percent discount to its closing price on Wednesday.

Jefferies said late Thursday afternoon that it planned to raise $500 million in the offering. It was not immediately clear why the company did not raise the full amount.

Jefferies is preparing to purchase a large trading operation from Prudential Financial Inc <PRU.N>. The company said Thursday that it will pay $430 million for the business, to be called Jefferies Bache, which trades commodities and derivatives on and off exchanges.

After the deal was announced, Jefferies shares came under pressure, dropping as much as 2.9 percent and finishing down 1.6 percent at $24.71. The shares were off 0.7 percent at $24.55 Friday morning.

Ticonderoga Securities analyst Douglas Sipkin estimates the equity raise and acquisition will dilute Jefferies shareholders by 1 percent to 7 percent, depending on the earnings Bache can deliver.

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Bache reported pre-tax earnings of $17 million in 2010 on revenue of $220 million.

Though Sipkin expects Jefferies shares to remain under pressure in the near term, he thinks the equity raise is a good move because it de-levers Jefferies' balance sheet and increases book value.

(Reporting by Lauren Tara LaCapra; editing by John Wallace)