Advisor Group Inc. is in talks to buy rival broker-dealer Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.

The companies are in exclusive negotiations about a potential transaction, said the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public. A final decision hasn’t been made and the talks could fall through, they said.

After reports this week that Ladenburg Thalmann has been exploring a sale, its shares rose as much as 9.7% in New York trading Friday, giving the Miami-based company a market value of about $361 million. The shares have fallen 13% in the past year.

Representatives for Ladenburg Thalmann and Advisor Group didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

The talks come as private equity firms have been aggressively buying brokers, which employ advisers who peddle stocks, bonds, annuities and other financial services products. Its a fragmented industry, creating an opportunity to buy-and-build.

Reverence Capital Partners, a New York-based buyout firm, acquired a majority stake this year in Advisor Group, which operates a broker-dealer network in the U.S. that includes more than 7,000 advisers. Reverence Capital declined to comment.

Genstar Capital acquired the brokerage Cetera Financial Group Inc. last year. Earlier this year, Genstar and Advisor Group explored a possible merger but talks fell through and Advisor Group consummated the transaction with Reverence.

Ladenburg Thalmann, which traces its roots back 140 years, has five independent broker-dealers, including Securities America, according to its website.

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.