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JP Morgan Agrees To Sell Metal Concentrates Unit To Freepoint

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Connecticut-based futures firm Freepoint Commodities LLC agreed to acquire part of JP Morgan Chase & Co.'s (JPM) metal-trading business for an undisclosed sum, giving it another piece of the sprawling trading outfit once run by Royal Bank of Scotland PLC (RBS) and Sempra Energy (SRE). Freepoint said the unit, which trades physical base metal concentrates and copper cathodes, will be renamed Freepoint Metals & Concentrates LLC on the deal's closing. Its employees in Stamford, Conn., and Asia will join Freepoint's growing commodities staff, which also trades coal, oil and oil products as well as North American natural gas and electricity futures. The concentrates unit is among the business lines that JP Morgan acquired in 2010 from RBS and Sempra. JP Morgan paid about $1.7 billion for the European and Asian parts of their energy-trading joint venture. Freepoint was formed in February 2011 after the joint venture's founders left to form their own commodity trading business, starting with money from private-equity firm Stone Point Capital LLC. "We are a talent-focused company and the business we are acquiring has one of the deepest, most experienced teams in the industry," Freepoint Chief Executive David A. Messer said Wednesday. "We know this from personal experience: most of those joining us are our former colleagues and we're extremely happy to have them on the Freepoint team." J.P. Morgan Securities acted as the exclusive financial adviser to its concentrates unit in the deal. Shares of the bank were recently up 6 cents at $43.34 Wednesday, in line with the broader market. The stock has climbed 15% over the past three months. -By Drew FitzGerald, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2909; Andrew.FitzGerald@dowjones.com

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