The founders of FBC Mortgage have agreed to take over the mortgage lender as part of Stifel Financial's purchase of Sterne, Agee & Leach.

Joe Nunziata, Sterne Agee's chief executive, and a group of FBC executives will buy the business for an undisclosed amount in a sale expected to close next month.

Stifel also said it is considering strategic options for Sterne Agee's institutional equity and investment banking business, which could include selling or spinning off the operation.

Stifel said it had already received inquiries from "a number of suitable partners" about the business, which will operate as a standalone entity until a decision is made.

Stifel in St. Louis agreed Monday to buy Sterne, Agee in Birmingham, Ala., for $150 million, or $51.55 a share, in cash and stock. The deal is expected to close in late spring.

Sterne Agee acquired FBC Mortgage in October 2012. FBC saw the deal as an opportunity to ramp up its servicing and securitization operations.

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