Report: Blackstone, Carlyle Eye Morgan Keegan Acquisition

Private-equity giants Blackstone (NYSE:BX) and Carlyle have reportedly joined forced in an attempt to acquire Regions Financial’s (NYSE:RF) Morgan Keegan brokerage unit.

According to the Financial Times, Blackstone and Carlyle are carrying out due diligence on the unit and are competing against private-equity group Thomas H. Lee. Bids for Memphis-based Morgan Keegan, which has about 1,200 financial advisers, are expected to arrive in the next two to three weeks, the paper reported.

Regions Financial, which is based in Birmingham, Ala., hired Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) in June to explore strategic options for Morgan Keegan, which posted $1.3 billion in revenue last year.

Bids for Morgan Keegan are seen coming in at about the business’s $1.5 billion book value, the FT reported.

There were as many as 10 potential suitors for Morgan Keegan that went through a second round of bidding in early August. However, Regions excluded possible bank buyers like Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) due to concerns from Morgan Keegan about being owned by another institution, the paper reported.

Shares of Regions slipped 0.14% to $3.60 Tuesday morning. They have tumbled almost 50% year-to-date.