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Gleacher Faces Delisting Amid Wall Street Survival Scramble

Tickers in this article: C EVR GHL GLCH LAZ

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- For some on Wall Street, the world may end not with a bang but a whimper.

Struggling independent investment bank Gleacher & Co. (GLCH) said in an 8-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday it faces a delisting on Nasdaq(NDAQ) after trading for sub-dollar prices for most of the last six months.

In an age where regulators push for rules to govern the wind-down of 'too big to fail' investment banks, Gleacher's fate appears to have little consequence for financial markets.

Still, there may be hope for the investment bank, which advises on M&A, restructuring and recapitalization deals, and is also known on Wall Street for a specialty in trading complex fixed income products like mortgage and asset backed securities, in addition to interest rate swaps.

In late August, the company said it had hired an investment bank to explore strategic alternatives, which could lead to asset sales, an equity infusion or even put the firm in the hands of a more stable financial partner.

Meanwhile, the company may yet have time and options to fall into compliance with Nasdaq's listing requirements.

Gleacher said on Friday that its board of directors has approved a reverse stock split, which still faces shareholder approval. The proposed split, either 1 for 10 shares or 1 for 20 shares, would put Gleacher's share prices in the $8-to$16 range, according to KBW analyst Joel Jeffrey.

Given Gleacher's imminent delisting - it has roughly 180 days to regain compliance -- and longer term strategic goals, Jeffrey sees a stock split as Gleacher's best immediate alternative.

"While we continue to believe that a sale of the company is a possibility, Friday's announcement does not give us confidence that any deal is immanent or that a tender offer by the company for its shares is likely in the near term," writes Jeffrey, in a Monday note to clients.

Gleacher said in its 8-K filing, it will ask for a hearing with Nasdaq to approve a proposed stock split that would face shareholder approval in May. " We believe that this resolution, pending approval from the NASDAQ panel, could give the firm additional time to find alternatives to the reverse split," writes Jeffrey.

Such a move would be similar to Citigroup's(C) 1 for 10 reverse split announced in 2011, which pushed shares from the $4 level to the mid-$40's.

Gleacher's prospective delisting reflects Wall Street's struggles, amid a tepid M&A and trading environment. Earlier in 2012, Kaufman Brothers and Ticonderoga Securities shuttered their doors.

Meanwhile, activist investors have called for big compensation change at Lazard(LAZ) and Jefferies(JEF) recently wound up in the arms of a more financially stable partner, Leucadia National (LUK) .