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Morgan Keegan sale update

Buyout firms circling Regions Morgan Keegan brokerage unit lowered bids by at least $200 million after financing markets deteriorated and MF Global Holdings Ltd. filed for bankruptcy, according to people with direct knowledge of the process.

Thomas H. Lee Partners LP and Jeffrey Greenberg’s Aquiline Capital Partners LLC submitted the highest offer at about $750 million, the people said, asking not to be named because the talks are private. The group topped a joint bid from Carlyle Group LP and Blackstone Group LP, according to the people, who said previous offers valued the unit at more than $1 billion.

A deal hasn’t been reached and talks could fall apart as Regions is pushing both groups to raise their price, the people said. Regions, based in Birmingham, Alabama has been planning to use proceeds from the sale to boost capital and pay back a $3.5 billion U.S. bailout. Regions has indicated it plans to collect a $250 million dividend from Morgan Keegan prior to any sale, increasing proceeds from the business, the people said.