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National Planning Holdings, which is wholly owned by Prudential plc (PUK), announced the sale of its independent broker-dealer network, consisting of INVEST Financial Corporation, Investment Centers of America, Inc., National Planning Corporation and SII Investments, Inc., to LPL Financial (LPLA). The transaction is structured as an asset sale, which includes substantially all of the business of the network, for an initial purchase price of $325M. Following a successful transition of NPH's financial advisors and clients to LPL, the purchase price may increase to a maximum of approximately $448M. The transition period is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2018. Barry Stowe, chairman and chief executive officer of Prudential plc's North American Business Unit, said the industry is in a time of significant regulatory change and consolidation in the independent broker-dealer sector. During the transition period, the NPH firms will continue to maintain all necessary infrastructure of their businesses to ensure uninterrupted support and a smooth transition of all client accounts and their financial advisors. By year-end 2018, and subject to regulatory approval, the NPH firms intend to wind down the operations and withdraw their broker-dealer registrations.
Prudential plc upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank. Deutsche Bank upgraded Prudential plc to Buy citing valuation and the company's above sector growth. The firm has a 1590p price target for the shares.