Frontline – August 2008

FRONTLINE 2008-08-01 Staff Writer <b>BNP Paribas promotes Waters in the Gulf region</b><br />European bank BNP Paribas has promoted Mark Waters to head of debt capital markets in the Gulf region, a newly created position. Waters previously led the corporate and financial institution syndica

BNP Paribas promotes Waters in the Gulf region
European bank BNP Paribas has promoted Mark Waters to head of debt capital markets in the Gulf region, a newly created position. Waters previously led the corporate and financial institution syndicated loan business for the region within the bank’s structured finance division.

The new position will bring together the bank’s structured finance/loan syndication and fixed income units in the region, allowing BNP to build a leading position in the market. Waters will liaise with the bank’s corporate and investment bank and retail coverage teams in the region in order to act as a point of access for borrowers in the region for the raising of funds in the public and private debt markets. Waters will be based in Bahrain as of September.

Lazard buys Goldsmith Agio Helms
Boutique investment bank Lazard has acquired Minneapolis, Minnesota-based financial services boutique Goldsmith Agio Helms. Terms were not disclosed. With the acquisition, Lazard launches its new middle-market financial advisory business. The new division will offer financial advice, enhance liquidity and optimize liquidity for middle market companies through mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings and recapitalizations. ?The acquisition of Goldsmith Agio Helms will allow Lazard to extend our reach to the vibrant middle market for our existing client base,? Lazard’s North America chief executive officer Kenneth Jacobs said in a statement. The new division is part of Lazard’s larger plan to expand its financial advisory business by industry and geography. Lazard also recently agreed to acquire 50 percent of financial advisory firm MBA, thereby expand its business into Central and South America. Additionally, the firm also signed a joint cooperation agreement with Raiffeisen Investment, growing its mergers and acquisition advisory services in Russia and Central and Eastern Europe.

Piper Jaffray expands Hong kong operations
Piper Jaffray recently strengthened its Asian platform with an agreement to acquire Hong Kong investment bank Goldbond Capital Holdings for $50 million. Goldbond raises capital and provides financial advisory services for companies listed or preparing to list on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. With the acquisition of Goldbond, Piper Jaffray gains capital markets capabilities in Hong Kong and furthers its goal of becoming ?the leading international middle market investment bank and institutional securities firm,? Piper Jaffray said in a statement. ?Hong Kong is a major center of institutional capital raising and securities trading internationally,? Piper Jaffray chairman and chief executive officer Andrew Duff said in the statement. ?In order to serve as the primary financial advisor to middle market companies in Greater China, we need to provide access to capital in Hong Kong as well as in the United States and Europe. Likewise, we want to offer top-quality growth investment opportunities to our Asian-based buyside clients.?

E&Y promotes execs in Los Angeles
Ernst & Young recently promoted seven in its Los Angeles office. Among them is Dan Buchler, who was promoted to partner from senior manager. Buchler provides transaction advisory services, working with corporate and private equity clients on buy-side and sell-side due diligence. He focuses on the media and entertainment industries. Buchler is both a certified public accountant and a chartered financial analyst, and was one of the few candidates to receive a Governor General’s Award for his performance on the Uniform Final Exam in Canada.

Mourant and Cayman law firm complete merger
Specialist professional services group Mourant has completed its first merger with a law firm. Cayman law firm Quin & Hampson will now operate under the Mourant Brand, effective October 1. Mourant owns offshore law firm, Mourant du Feu & Jeune, which also recently opened its first stateside office in New York. ?The merger is very much a part of our aligned strategy for international expansion,? Mourant du Feu & Jeune chief executive officer Stephen Ball said in a statement. ?It brings critical mass and enhanced capability to our Cayman offering. Cayman is the foundation on which we launched our legal hub in the US, where many of our Cayman clients are based ? hence the opening of our legal practice in New York this year. We go where our clients need us.? Mourant chief executive Nicola Davies added that the merger is part of the firm’s larger goal to ?build a world class legal and administration business spanning the world’s major financial centers.?

EYEMAXX Corporate Finance GmbH hires new managing partner
Vienna-based real estate development and investment group EYEMAXX-Group has hired Christian Kunzl to managing partner in its corporate finance division. Kunzl joins the firm after 12 years with the Bank of Austria Creditanstalk Group, most recently as a board member of Mezzanin Finanzierungs AG. Kunzl will be particularly involved with setting up private equity developer funds.

Crowe Chizek combines practices with financial consulting group
Oakbrook, Illinois-based public accounting and consulting firm Crowe Chizek has combined practices with New Jersey-based Enterprise Financial Consulting Group. The two firms will operate under the Crowe name. EFC provides risk consulting, governance and compliance advisory services for East Coast businesses. ?The combination of practices with EFC provides us with an extraordinary opportunity to better serve the expanding needs of our East Coast clients,? said Crowe chief executive officer Chuck Allen in a statement.

Signal Hill adds private equity specialist
Baltimore-based specialty investment banking firm Signal Hill has hired Marc Cali to its investment banking team. Cali will be vice president responsible for private placements and private investments in public equity. Before joining Signal Hill, Cali was a vice president in the private finance and financial sponsors group at Stifel, Nicolaus & Company (formerly Legg Mason) in Baltimore. Prior to that he worked at Credit Suisse First Boston, where he helped raise private equity and debt financing for late stage, pre-IPO companies.

New Deutsche Bank MD to focus on private equity
Deutsche Bank Securities has brought on board a new managing director for its global banking division, Justin Abelow. Abelow will be a managing director in the bank’s financial sponsors group, where he will focus on middle market private equity clients. Abelow most recently worked at Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin, where he was a managing director leading the firm’s East Coast private equity business. ?We are excited about [Abelow’s] arrival and believe his addition reflects our continued commitment to the rapidly growing middle market financial sponsors space,? Mark Epley, head of the financial sponsors group, said in statement.

CMF adds preparation for sale services
Berwyn, Pennsylvania-based CMF Associates, which provides financial consulting services to private equity-backed middle market companies, has launched a new business. CMF’s preparation for sale services will be offered in three modules: strategic business and financial planning, EBITDA maximization, and financial reporting and due diligence preparation. CMF said in a statement that its focus on maximizing EBITDA and preparing for intensive due diligence is its key service differentiator. ?Our enhanced preparation for sale offering is designed to manage a value creation, business transition, and exit process, in tandem with outside auditors, tax advisors, and investment bankers, so the internal management team can stay focused on operations,? CMF managing director Thomas Bonney said in the statement. The firm said it will draw on its private equity and buyout lender perspective to help clients explore exit options.

neoIT publishes global sourcing brief
In its June research brief, services globalization consulting firm neoIT analyzed the trend of private equity firms leveraging global sourcing to drive additional returns from their investments. The brief, ?Private Equity Firms Turn to Global Sourcing for Returns,? examines the practice, and concludes that although global sourcing has inherent risks, with enough planning that risk can be calculated and managed. The brief also looks at the benefits of global sourcing, which neoIT says can help firms improve savings and enhance company value, as well as streamline the operating model. The brief also claims that predictable cash flows and the ability to finance the investment make global sourcing attractive to private equity portfolio companies, especially during the divestiture phase.

CTPartners expands to Latin America
New York-based executive search firm CTPartners is expanding to Latin America. The firm recently opened offices in Bogota, Colombia; Caracas, Venezuela; and Lima, Peru, in addition to a new regional office in Miami, Florida. Heading the new offices are the hiring of five partners. Nestor D’Angelo will join the Miami office as managing partner Latin America and Jorge Caridad will join the Caracas office as regional managing partner. Maria Mejia will join the firm’s technology, media and telecom practice in Bogota. Karin Brandes and Ricardo Nugent will join the Lima office. ?Two years ago we committed to clients that we would make our firm the alternative to the search industry’s oligopoly,? CTPartners’ chairman and chief executive officer Brian Sullivan said in the statement. ?Since that time we have expanded to cover all major industry sectors throughout the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East ? and now Latin America.?

SunGard acquires IT infrastructure firm
Financial software and processing firm SunGard has agreed to acquire VeriCenter, a provider of managed hosting, collocation and infrastructure services. VeriCenter will become part of SunGard Availability Services, a division that focuses on information availability and business continuity services. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. SunGard said in a statement that the acquisition will allow it to increase its economies of scale and broaden its service offerings. ?The powerful blend of SunGard’s deep portfolio of information availability services, VeriCenter’s strong facility footprint and the world class expertise of our combined team will further enhance the ability to help protect customers’ mission-critical people, systems and applications,? said SunGard Availability Services chief executive officer Ted Gaasche, in a statement.