Citigroup, Goldman Bankers Violated The Sanctity Of Toys 'R Us Research: Finra

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The investment banks promised favorable research to Toys “R” Us Inc. and its private-equity owners to win roles in its initial public offering, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority said today in a statement. The regulator fined the firms a total of $43.5 million, faulting them for “implicitly or explicitly” making promises that their analysts would give positive coverage. Six of the 10 firms didn’t have adequate supervisory procedures to prevent the practice...In May 2010, Citigroup’s investment bankers hosted a chaperoned call with the firm’s research analyst, who then e-mailed a supervisor. “I so want the bank to get this deal!” the analyst said in the e-mail, according to Finra. Days later, bankers told the retailer that they could “count on Citi’s firm-wide support and advocacy for the Toys story and valuation.” Other firms contacted Toys “R” Us after making their pitches, expressing enthusiasm about the firm’s prospects and providing assurances that the views of bankers and analysts were aligned, Finra said. Toys “R” Us and investors, including KKR & Co., withdrew the IPO filing last year. [Bloomberg]

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