Deals and IPOs

Sterne Agee deal makes us more relevant: Stifel CEO

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The financial crisis created tremendous opportunities for acquisitions, and Stifel Financial is taking advantage of that, Chairman and CEO Ron Kruszewski told CNBC on Tuesday, a day after Stifel announced the buyout of Sterne Agee.

Kruszewski said that while scale and size matter, it is not important to be big for big's sake. Instead, it is more important to be relevant in the markets and to clients, he said.

"We're becoming more relevant, so this is a great deal. I'm very excited about it," he said in a "Squawk Box" interview.

Stifel announced on Monday it would buy rival financial services firm Sterne Agee for $150 million, boosting its presence in money management and fixed income.

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It's the latest move by Stifel, whose other large purchases include the investment advisory unit of Legg Mason last year, the investment bank KBW in 2013 and Thomas Weisel in 2010.

The St. Louis-based company said Monday that buying privately held Sterne Agee will add more than 700 financial advisers and independent representatives overseeing $20 billion in client money. It also wants Birmingham, Alabama-based Sterne Agee's fixed-income business, which includes corporate and government debt.

"It's going to really help our fixed income business," Kruszewski said. "It's a great firm with great people and I couldn't be more excited about that."

Kruszewski sees the acquisition positioning Stifel for success as the economy and markets pick up in the coming years.

—The Associated Press contributed to this story.