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Awards for Excellence 2002
Bankers need to be much more sure of themselves these days if they want to take an internet company public - especially one that doesn't make any money. But that is precisely what Citigroup was preparing to do in February for online payments firm Paypal. One extra sticking point was that the firm faced lawsuits for potential copyright infringement. Then, one day before the scheduled launch, Paypal's major competitor upped the ante by seeking a cease-and-desist order. "We stuck with our due diligence, held the book together, and managed to price the deal at the mid-point of the range," says Rick Bartlett, head of US equity capital markets at Citigroup. "It's now the best-performing IPO of the year, and is up over 100%."
It's unlikely that Citigroup would have been able to pull that off had it been the same firm as two or three years ago. Now, though, the equity division at Salomon - or Citigroup, as it is now known - has a much more confident air about it. And so it should. After gradually creeping up into the top four last year, the firm stands at the top of the US IPO league table.