Peter Hall, a partner at investment banking boutique The Valence Group, highlights the fact that running an investment bank and a holding company could stretch Handler's talents. Meanwhile, he raises the question of whether Leucadia's stock will be attractive as bonus compensation for investment bankers, who might want to see a direct payoff from their Wall Street efforts.
Sachin Shah, a special situations strategist for Tullet Prebon, questions whether there is any synergy to the merger of Jefferies and Leucadia National, as both companies stressed on an analyst call.
"From my perspective, they weren't able to quantify the synergies," says Shah, after participating in the call. He sees the merger as evidence of the uncertainty surrounding the investment banking industry, amid regulatory reform and an uncertain global economic outlook. "No one really knows what is going to happen in the industry in the next 12 months," adds Shah.
KBW analyst Joel Jeffrey called the deal "defensive" in a note to clients and highlighted that while Leucadia's support and NOLs are likely to bolster Jefferies' balance sheet, the firm is unlikely to grow assets far beyond present levels, in fear of new regulatory scrutiny.
As CEO Handler takes the reins of what's likely to be a stabilized investment bank and a corporate conglomerate, Wall Street might do better to dwell on whether he can perform like the next Buffett rather than whether Leucadia continues to be a "Baby Berkshire."