Lightyear Capital Sells Kepler Equities to Landsbanki Íslands.
Transaction Valued at €94 Million
NEW YORK, NY (September 6, 2005) – Lightyear Capital, LLC, a private equity firm that focuses on financial services, today announced that it has entered into a definitive purchase agreement to sell Kepler Equities S.A. (“Kepler”), a leading pan European brokerage business and provider of independent equity research, to Landsbanki Íslands hf., Iceland's oldest full-service commercial bank with total assets of ISK 730 billion (€9.4 billion) in a transaction valued at €94 million. The transaction is subject to approval by the Banque de France and other regulatory authorities and is expected to close in October 2005.

“We are very pleased with this investment. We originally purchased Kepler after identifying growing trends for high quality advice on European equities. We worked with the management team to build the organization and position it for growth in new markets and new products,” said Donald B. Marron, chairman and chief executive officer of Lightyear Capital, LLC. “We believe that Landsbanki Íslands is the right partner to support Kepler through the next phase of its growth.”

“Lightyear is an excellent partner, providing resources, experience and management expertise that were essential to the continuing success of Kepler’s business model,” said Stéphane Michel, chief executive officer of Kepler Equities. “Lightyear’s focus on research excellence, employee ownership and growth helped us to improve our positioning in our respective markets. We are proud of the achievements we made with their help and confident that Kepler’s platform will continue to strength and grow with Landsbanki.”

Kepler is a leading pan European broker with local presence that provides high quality fundamental research and agency brokerage services to institutional investor clients worldwide. Kepler has strong market share in European equities, and its research is ranked in the top 10 by Institutional Investor and Extel within each of its six principal local markets. Kepler has achieved its competitive position against many global full-service brokerage firms through its multi-local research platform which delivers superior local knowledge and intelligence in continental European equities.

Lightyear’s financial adviser is Merrill Lynch with legal counsel from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP. Landsbanki acted without a financial adviser with legal counsel from Allen & Overy LLP.

Lightyear is a private equity investment firm providing buyout and growth capital to companies in the financial services industry. Based in New York, Lightyear, through its affiliated funds, has managed approximately $3 billion of committed capital with investments across the financial services spectrum, including asset management, banking, brokerage, financial technology, insurance, leasing and related business services, and other sectors within financial services. Lightyear brings unique strengths and discipline to its investment process, as well as operating, transaction, and strategic management experience, along with significant contacts and resources beyond capital. The senior team of professionals has an average of 20 years of financial services-related experience and includes David Glenn, Stewart Gross, Donald Marron, Richard Sterne, and Mark Vassallo.

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