The Company is a diversified holding company engaged through its consolidated subsidiaries in a variety of businesses, including beef processing, manufacturing, gaming entertainment, real estate activities, medical product development and winery operations. The Company also owns approximately 28% of the outstanding common stock of Jefferies Group, Inc. ("Jefferies"), a full-service investment bank listed on the New York Stock Exchange ("NYSE") (Symbol: JEF), that is accounted for at fair value. The Company owns equity interests in operating businesses which are accounted for under the equity method of accounting, including a commercial mortgage origination and servicing business and, in partnership with Jefferies, an equity investment in Jefferies High Yield Holdings, LLC ("JHYH"), a broker-dealer engaged in making markets and trading of high yield and special situation securities. The Company concentrates on return on investment and cash flow to maximize long-term shareholder value. Additionally, the Company continuously evaluates the retention and disposition of its existing operations and investigates possible acquisitions of new businesses. Changes in the mix of the Company's businesses and investments should be expected.
Shareholders' equity has grown from a deficit of $7,657,000 at December 31, 1978 (prior to the acquisition of a controlling interest in the Company by the Company's Chairman and President), to a positive shareholders' equity of $6,767,268,000 at December 31, 2012, equal to a book value per common share of the Company (a "common share") of negative $.04 at December 31, 1978 and $27.67 at December 31, 2012. Shareholders' equity and book value per share amounts have been reduced by the $811,925,000 special cash dividend paid in 1999.
In November 2012, the Company entered into an agreement and plan of merger with Jefferies pursuant to which Jefferies will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company (the "Jefferies Merger"). Each share of Jefferies common stock will be converted into the right to receive 0.81 of a Company common share (the "Exchange Ratio"), and the exchange is intended to be tax-free to Jefferies' shareholders. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval to effect the merger by shareholders of both companies, and if approved is expected to close promptly following the Leucadia and Jefferies shareholder meetings, which are scheduled to occur on February 28, 2013. In connection with the Merger, Jefferies current Chief Executive Officer and current Executive Committee Chairman will become the new Chief Executive Officer and new President, respectively, of the Company. For more information about the Merger see Item 7, Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Liquidity and Financial Resources.