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B. Riley acquires Caris to add research as other brokers close

B. Riley & Co., the Los Angeles-based investment bank, bought San Diego-based stock-research firm Caris & Co. to increase its sales and trading business amid a slowdown in the brokerage industry.

B. Riley, founded in 1997, is adding nine analysts, 12 salesmen and four traders in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, San Diego and Atlanta, Chairman Bryant Riley said Monday. Darren Caris, who was president of Caris & Co., will run research, sales and trading, the company said in a statement.

Small brokerages including ThinkEquity LLC, Rodman & Renshaw LLC and WJB Capital Group Inc. closed this year as institutional investors turn to computerized stock trading and the pace of activity on U.S. markets declines. Avian Securities LLC shut after failing to find a firm willing to take on its employees, founder Avi Cohen said last month.

"We've always expanded when it's difficult," said Riley, who declined to say how much he paid for Caris. "This will add to the research and sales side at a time when there's less and less firms out there servicing the institutional investor."

Caris specializes in providing advice on trading the stocks of technology and consumer companies, Riley said.

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