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Lazard restructures in Australia amid M&A sector shake-up, hands advisory business to 'affiliated' firm

Stock Markets Feb 05, 2021 12:36
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© Reuters.

By Paulina Duran

SYDNEY, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Investment bank Lazard Ltd LAZ.N said on Friday it is reorganising its Australia operations, retaining its wealth management arm in the country in-house but handing over mergers and acquisitions advisory services to a new, "affiliated" firm.

A person with direct knowledge of the situation said a number of redundancies were announced at the firm on Thursday, without disclosing how many jobs were affected. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the details were private.

A Lazard spokeswoman said in an emailed statement that the new advisory firm in Australia will retain an "affiliation" with Lazard and be headed by Melbourne-based Andrew Leyden, a seasoned infrastructure and energy banker who currently heads the firm in the country.

The move comes amid a shake-up in the investment banking market in Australia, with South Africa's Investec INLJ.J announcing plans to exit from the country in December, while newcomers such Barrenjoey -backed by Barclays Plc BARC.L - and local firm Jarden, raid competitors for talent.

Lazard "regularly reviews our global footprint; assessing local office productivity and potential for future growth," the spokeswoman said in an emailed statement. There would be "no impact on Lazard Asset Management in Australia", she added.

"We have good visibility on the Australian financial advisory business and decided this was the right time."

Australian investment banking revenue for the first nine months of 2020 was 3.2% lower at $1.5 billion as activity volume halved, according to Refinitiv data, with the global coronavirus pandemic disrupting economies and hurting business confidence around the world.

Lazard was 10th in target advisory rankings, according to Refinitiv, while Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) GS.N topped the same league table.

Last year Lazard acted as defence advisor for wind and solar firm Infigen Energy IFN.AX , and is currently advising New Zealand's takeover target Tilt Renewables Ltd TLT.NZ , on condition of anonymity.

"A core team will continue to work on all current mandates," the spokeswoman added.

The person with direct knowledge of the matter said the new firm was expected to operate in a similar partnership model to Lazard's operations in South Korea, where in 2013 it established a "strategic alliance" instead of a fully owned office.

Lazard restructures in Australia amid M&A sector shake-up, hands advisory business to 'affiliated' firm
 

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