CHICAGO -- Bob Van Kampen confirmed Friday that his new firm, Nike Securities, is negotiating with Clayton Brown & Associates Inc. to buy its packaged products division.
He said that while the deal has not yet been finalized, he expected the matter to be resolved by Oct. 1.
"We've been in discussions working with them and trying to come to an agreement," Mr. Van Kampen stated. "I believe we are moving to a resolution, but it's not a deal yet."
Mr. Brown, the firm's chairman, could not be reached for comment.
Clayton Brown has sold about $6.5 billion of unit investment trusts cince 1974, and employs 40 to 45 people in its packaged products division, according to the firm's marketing department.
Clayton Brown was once a part of a firm -- Van Kampen Wauterlek & Co. -- that Mr. Van Kampen started in 1967. Seven years later the firm was divided into two separate companies -- Van Kampen Merritt and Clayton Brown & Associates.
Mr. Van Kampen said he was "very saddened" that the confidentiality of the negotiations was "breached" when Clayton Brown sent an internal memo to its packaged product employees saying they would continue to be employed either at Clayton Brown or at Nike.
Mr. Van Kampen started Nike in May, less than a month after Van Kampen Merritt Inc., the firm he formed in 1974 and sold to Xerox Financial Services in 1984, announced it was dropping its investment banking business to concentrate on its asset management business that includes mutual funds and unit investment trusts.
One municipal finance source said, "He's coming back in a big way to compete with Van Kampen Merritt."
A spokesman for Van Kampen Merritt did not return phone calls.
As of April, the firm had sole $19 billion of unti investment trusts and was the alrgest U.S. sponsor of insured tax-free unit trust investments.
Mr. Van Kampen said that all "non-compete" agreements that he made with Xerox at the time he sold the firm had since expired. He explained that the idea to acquire Clayton Brown's unit trust business occurred when Nike acquired "a key" packaged product employee from Clayton Brown who "felt there would be a possibility Clayton Brown would be interested in selling the whole department."
Mr. Van Kampen said Nike, which is operating out of temporary quarters in West Chicago, Ill., employs 20 people -- including some former Van Kampen Merritt employees -- involved in the trading, underwriting and sale of tax-exempt and taxable bonds to institutional investors.
The sale of its packaged products division would not have a great effect on Clayton Brown's business, according to one public finance official.
"They haven't been among the majors in that area," the source said. "They've been focusing on public finance, doing a lot of work as a co-manager."