Pitching bankers Ulaan Battered in Irish pub punch-up
Investment bankers are often described in the financial media as being in combat with each other, battling for deals, fighting for market share and warring for promotion. It is of course not unheard of for this metaphorical fighting to become real, and this alas appears to have been the case when seasoned bankers from two top Wall Street banks squared up at the Grand Khaan Irish Pub in Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia’s capital. The scrap arose during the early stages of the pitching process for the IPO of Mongolia’s Tavan Tolgoi mining assets, a deal that is expected to raise more than $2 billion and has lured senior Asia bankers from at least 18 global firms to the city. Reports as to the ferocity of the encounter vary. One source who was in town at the time tells Euromoney that blows were exchanged; a banker from another firm not involved in the incident tells us that it was "not much more than boozy insults and posturing". The deal has certainly led global banks to employ every trick in the book to try to win favour: Morgan Stanley, which ultimately failed in its bid, attracted much controversy in Mongolia for hiring the son of prime minister Sükhbaatar Batbold to help its cause. With the banks to be involved in the deal now selected (see Asia news section), most of the combatants have left the arena, but with billions more dollars-worth of deals expected to come out of Mongolia in the next couple of years the beleaguered staff at the Grand Khaan might have to brace themselves for more incursions by beer-fuelled, BlackBerry-armed pugilists.