MAN to Sell Brokerage Unit By Julia Werdigier MAN Group, the world's largest publicly traded hedge fund firm, said Friday that it would finally spin off its brokerage division in an initial public offering on the New York Stock exchange in order to focus on its asset management business. The step had been in the works for years but was put on hold to give MAN time to integrate into its brokerage operation some customer accounts and assets it acquired in 2005 from Refco, the American futures broker that went bankrupt. MAN, based in London, said it planned to list a majority stake in the brokerage unit, which is based in the United States and will be renamed MF Global, on the stock exchange in the third quarter of this year. The proceeds of the deal will be returned to shareholders. The business, which focuses on derivatives and generates about 15 percent of the company's profits, may be worth about $5 billion, analysts estimated. The IPO will give investors the chance to benefit from the explosive growth of the derivatives market, said Geoff Miller, an analyst at Bridgewell Securities in London. "Separation will allow each business to focus even more effectively on their separate growth strategies and take advantage of the significant business development opportunities in each of their industries," said Peter Clarke, the chief executive at the firm. (c) 2007 International Herald Tribune. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.