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Emerging Markets

Merrill and JP Moran win bid, The battle for Polish copper, Stet stand-off, Telecoms double act.

With 1996 barely under way Merrill Lynch and JP Morgan struck an early blow in the battle for dominance in the Latin American underwriting league tables: they won the mandate to lead the upcoming international equity offering for Telefónica del Perú.

The announcement from the Peruvian government, which is disposing of its remaining 29% stake in the privatized telecoms utility, came on January 30 following several weeks of delay and growing suspense among the mostly US investment banks which were invited to pitch for the deal.

Morgan and Merrill won out with a 2.42% fee after presentations were made in Lima by five investment banks or groups. Their four rivals were CS First Boston, Goldman Sachs, Salomon Brothers together with SBC Warburg, and Morgan Stanley together with ING. The winners will need all their global distribution power and experience in leading underwriting syndicates in order to successfully place the issue, which could top $1 billion, making it one of the largest equity offerings ever to come out of the region. The Telefónica board has already agreed that following the international offering, which it is hoped will come to market some time during the first half of the year, the shares will be listed in New York, London, Madrid and Tokyo.

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