Big interest in a discarded toy
When WestLB put the venerable but slightly dishevelled corporate broker Panmure Gordon up for sale in January 2004 it was probably rather surprised to find 35 bidders competing for the toy it had got bored with.
Lazard, which successfully closed the deal with WestLB in January 2004 sensed an opportunity.
"It was an opportunistic deal in the sense that we reached our decision at a time when WestLB wanted to exit," says Marcus Agius, chairman of Lazard in London.
"But we had been inclining in that direction in any event. And the reason for that is that it is a fundamental need of our business to have good knowledge of what's going on in the market and to be able to advise clients on how any deal might be received by the market. Traditionally we've always had access to that part of the advisory spectrum by working alongside an independent corporate broker. In the past there was a lot of choice as to who to work with but our former partners have now all moved beyond broking and are part of integrated firms, so our paths have converged and our options have been reduced."