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Banking

Ondra: In their shoes

Boutiques come in many shapes and sizes. Ondra, more a capital markets adviser than an M&A shop, has adopted an unusual business model where it is a retained adviser, practically becoming part of the management team when events arise. It keeps a select client list, and a growing number of fans see an awful lot of value in what the firm has to offer.

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Jean Raby is a rare breed: a successful investment banker who has reached the upper echelons of the corporate world. He spent 16 years at Goldman Sachs, which included not only a partnership but stints as CEO of investment banking in France and Russia. He understands investment banking.

Since last year he has been CFO of Alcatel Lucent, one of France’s leading industrial companies, which had fallen on difficult times. Raby had thought of going into private equity, but joined Alcatel in 2013 when it realised that if the balance sheet was not overhauled it might impede the shift to a new operating business.

Raby knew that the key was to re-engage providers of bank credit lines. He decided that the best way to incentivize the banks was to hold out a large potential fee pool from a multi-faceted reworking of the capital structure, including new equity and bond deals. The key was to get the share price moving up, use that to secure a new capital raise of roughly €1 billion and then quickly revamp the liability structure.

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