B. Riley Financial (Nasdaq: RILY) on Tuesday said that it has agreed to acquire FBR & Co. (Nasdaq: FBRC), an Arlington, Va.-based small-cap investment banking and brokerage firm, in an all-stock transaction valued at $160.1 million.

• Why it's the BFD: The small-cap investment banking market is unlikely to ever again reach its pre-millennium heyday, but this deal should at least ensure some added stability for companies that are worried about maintaining coverage. There also isn't too much overlap in terms of business units of clients for this pairing, as B. Riley concentrates on research while FBR is more equity transaction-oriented.

• Bottom line: "We've seen a lot of contraction among firms that provide small-cap research, and we were fortunate in that we successfully diversified around some other businesses. Now we're seeing that high ETF valuations have created a real stock-picker's market. The bet we're making isn't that the whole passive investment theme has necessarily run its course, but that it certainly has created a lot of opportunity." ― B. Riley chairman and CEO Bryant Riley, speaking with Axios

Go deeper

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. EST: 32,135,220 — Total deaths: 981,660 — Total recoveries: 22,149,441Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m EST: 6,975,980 — Total deaths: 202,738 — Total recoveries: 2,710,183 — Total tests: 98,481,026Map.
  3. Politics: House Democrats prepare new $2.4 trillion coronavirus relief package.
  4. Health: Cases are surging again in 22 states — New York will conduct its own review of coronavirus vaccine.
  5. Business: America is closing out its strongest quarter of economic growth.
  6. Technology: 2020 tech solutions may be sapping our resolve to beat the pandemic.
  7. Sports: Pac-12 will play this fall despite ongoing pandemic — Here's what college basketball will look like this season.
  8. Science: Global coronavirus vaccine initiative launches without U.S. or China — During COVID-19 shutdown, a common sparrow changed its song.
8 hours ago - Sports

Pac-12 will play football this fall, reversing course

A view of Levi's Stadium during the 2019 Pac-12 Championship football game. Photo: Alika Jenner/Getty Images

The Pac-12, which includes universities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Washington state, will play football starting Nov. 6, reversing its earlier decision to postpone the season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The conference's about-face follows a similar move by the Big Ten last week and comes as President Trump has publicly pressured sports to resume despite the ongoing pandemic. The Pac-12 will play a seven-game conference football season, according to ESPN.

Dave Lawler, author of World
9 hours ago - World

Global coronavirus vaccine initiative launches without U.S. or China

Data: Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance; Map: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A global initiative to ensure equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines now includes most of the world — but not the U.S., China or Russia.

Why it matters: Assuming one or more vaccines ultimately gain approval, there will be a period of months or even years in which supply lags far behind global demand. The COVAX initiative is an attempt to ensure doses go where they're most needed, rather than simply to countries that can produce or buy them at scale.

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