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Lehman Sports Advisory Star Sets Up One-Stop Shop

Sal Galatioto, a former Lehman Brothers managing director and head of the bank's sports advisory and finance group, left the company last week to start Galatioto Sports Partners.

Sal Galatioto, a former Lehman Brothers managing director and head of the bank's sports advisory and finance group, left the company last week to start Galatioto Sports Partners. The new outfit will serve the same function Galatioto's team had at Lehman as advisors to sports franchises, but now it will also be able to lend. At Lehman, the group did not have access to a balance sheet. Now, Galatioto said one of his partners is providing start-up capital and the group has secured bank lines. Past clients had told them they would have liked it if there was a one-stop shop. The group thinks that being able to tell clients that not only can they advise them, but they also can provide capital is important.

Joining him at the new venture, headquartered at 335 Madison Avenue just blocks from Lehman, are his former senior team members, Brent Johnston, Phil Landolphi and Brad Catcher. Galatioto will serve as the president of the new group, with the other three taking the title of managing director.

He has had offers in the past but now was just the right time for him and his team. "My clients are the same clients," Galatioto said. "There are a limited number of sports franchises. They are all excited about the prospects." At Lehman the team worked with Jerry Colangelo and his sale of the Phoenix Suns, the Walt Disney Co. and the NY Mets. It also represented the YankeeNets in its sale of the N.J. Nets.

"I think it is important to have a full service operation and the lending component, in many cases, is very important," said Colangelo. "Now that [Galatioto] is in business for himself and has the full capacity to lend, I think he'll do well." The Suns' Chairman and CEO said he has known Galatioto for about eight years, when he was still at SG Cowen Securities Corp.  Stressing the importance of relationships, Colangelo said he had heard of Galatioto and his reputation within business long before he met him. Disgruntled with his own bank, Colangelo called Galatioto up, explained his situation, and within three minutes, the pair had made a deal.

"You base where you conduct business or where you recommend one to do there's, with people you trust, that have a proven track record," Colangelo said. "I feel Sal is at the top of his class, I would never hesitate to recommend him."

Prior to joining Lehman in April 2001, Galatioto was a managing director and head of SG's sports advisory group. He joined SG in 1993 and established its sports advisory group in 1997.

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