Bonus season got a little better for some senior investment bankers at Lazard the other day. They’re going to get to sell some of the stock they got in the firm’s IPO early, in an attempt to make up for smaller bonsues that had some grumbling, especially since chief executive Bruce Wasserstein was getting ricer than ever.
After hearing his troops grouse about paltry pay deals, Lazard boss Bruce Wasserstein is letting a select group of wealthy investment bankers sell some of its stock in the firm sooner than originally planned.
Lazard is allowing some current and former managing directors, who have been with the firm since before its initial public offering, to sell about 10 percent of their total holdings in an upcoming secondary offering that was announced yesterday.
Before the offering, most Lazard bankers couldn’t begin selling their shares until 2008, but sources inside the firm as well as former bankers said bonuses have gone down since the IPO, and the firm has gone through several rounds of layoffs.
Since the IPO, Lazard’s overall compensation has gone up along with the firm’s revenues, but that hasn’t stopped some senior bankers from grumbling about getting paid less than the rest of Wall Street.
Currently, Lazard’s compensation is about 57 percent of its total revenue, on par with other investment banks, but down from 70 percent before the firm’s IPO last year.
Reports of Bruce Wasserstein’s allegedly deteriorating health continue to come in to Peter Cohan following up on his July 27th post.
Claims that Wasserstein’s health is “fine” are at odds with reports I’ve received since July 27. For instance, on August 11, a person who has seen Wasserstein recently said, “He has a prior heart condition and this may have been a recurrence. He looks like he lost 75 pounds and his voice sounds different.”
Another person mentioned that Wasserstein had received quadruple bypass surgery prior to joining Lazard. On August 9th, without prompting, a former Wasserstein Perella & Co. banker said, “I saw Bruce Wasserstein two weeks ago and decided he must be sick because he looks like s–t.” One who met with him around the same time said that Wasserstein, who did not look well, commented “it’s just the pneumonia” — the same ailment from which he suffered in December 2005 as reported in a January 15, 2006 New York Times profile. (I’ve had pneumonia in the past and it didn’t cause me to lose weight.) In sum, at least five people who have seen him in recent weeks have wondered about his health.
Just to be clear about our interest in this. We don’t think posting about this is senselessly morbid or invasive. In fact, we hope that the worries of the people talking to Cohan are misplaced. And normally we wouldn’t encourage speculation about the health of an individual. We have a good deal of respect for the privacy of individuals here at DealBreaker. But as Cohan points out in his post, Wasserstein is the CEO of a public company and so his health is a matter of concern not just to his family and friends but to his company’s shareholders as well. Emails to Lazard seeking information about Wasserstein’s health went unreturned at the time we posted this item. Is Lazard CEO Bruce Wasserstein really “fine”? [BloggingStocks]
Lazard earnings are out and takeover revenue from the last quarter was he highest it’s been since 2000. Earnings are up 68%. And the musak on the conference call to which we’re currently listening is 39% better than the musak on the Overstock call. At any rate, business is good and we imagine Bruce Wasserstein thinking of Michel David-Weill, rubbing his hands together and laughing manaically.
We’ll let you know if anything interesting happens. (We’re not holding our breath. Update: Nor should we have. Not a single measly question from a single mildly insane shareholder.) Lazard’s Profit Rises 68 Percent on Takeover Advice [Bloomberg]
Per our earlier post, private equity anonyblogger Equity Private re-values GE based on Michael Idov’s assumptions about how Daily Candy gets to a $100 million valuation**:
General Electric trailing twelve months of revenue: $144.4 billion.
GE market cap (April 24, 2006): $358.8 billion.
Control premium for acquisition of GE (2005 average): 30%
Optimism factor applied to control premium: 20%
Resulting control premium: 36%
Theoretical acquisition cost of GE with control premium: $487.9 billion.
Cost of restructuring GE to an “internet focused firm”: 15% of enterprise value.
Restructuring time frame: 1 year.
Dollar cost of restructuring: $53.8 billion.
Total cost of GE acquisition and restructuring: $541.72 billion. Potential sale price via “Idov Valuation Methodology” (patent pending): $1,444 trillion.
Gains from sale: $902.3 billion.
Time period: 1 year.
IRR on transaction: 66.56%
Cash on Cash: 1.67x
Our net worth went up just reading that.
**Idov asserts that “most companies” sell for 10x revenue. Incidentally, if that were the case, it would mean that New York mag was sold to Bruce Wasserstein at roughly 56%*** of market value.
***Then again, the more we think about the Lazard IPO, Wasserstein getting away with paying 56% of market for anything else would be par for the course. Subjectively Objective [Going Private]