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Thomas Weisel Plans Initial Stock Offering

October 20, 2005|From Bloomberg News

Thomas Weisel Partners Group Inc., the investment bank founded by the former chief executive of Montgomery Securities, said it planned to raise as much as $65 million in an initial public offering.

The San Francisco-based firm founded seven years ago by Thomas W. Weisel is managing its IPO together with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Keefe Bruyette & Woods Inc., a Securities and Exchange Commission filing said. The company didn't say how many shares or at what price it planned to sell stock.

Weisel is the third U.S. investment bank to sell stock in an IPO since May 2004. Greenhill & Co., a New York-based firm founded by Robert F. Greenhill, raised $100.6 million last year, and Lazard Ltd., the firm headed by Bruce Wasserstein, raised $854.6 million in May.

"Boutique investment banks are gaining market share in mergers and acquisitions, trading and research," said Ivan Feinseth, director of research at New York-based Matrix USA. "Companies with good names such as Thomas Weisel will see interest."

Greenhill's share price has more than doubled since its initial stock sale while Lazard's shares have gained 5.3%. Greenhill is ranked No. 32 among advisors on announced global mergers this year, while closely held Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin, based in Los Angeles, is ranked No. 20 and New York-based advisory and private equity firm Evercore Partners Inc. is ranked No. 17.

Evercore Chairman Roger Altman said this month that his firm won't hold an initial public stock sale this year.

Weisel, which focuses on technology, healthcare and consumer companies, has offices in Silicon Valley, Boston and New York. Its research analysts follow about 545 companies, and the firm has helped manage 333 IPOs and secondary share sales, according to the SEC filing. Weisel has advised on 132 mergers.

The company has 544 employees compared with 130 at Greenhill. Lazard employs about 2,250.

Weisel had net income of $20.4 million on revenue of $31.4 million in the six months that ended June 30, compared with net income of $13.5 million on revenue of $54.7 million for the same period a year earlier.

Thomas Weisel, 64, founded the firm in October 1998 after serving as CEO of Montgomery Securities for 20 years.

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