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Lending Group May Take Biggest Hit in Dresdner/Wasserstein Marriage

28 Jan 2001

Dresdner Kleinwort Benson's union with Wasserstein Perella & Co has commercial bankers at Dresdner expecting to bear the brunt of cuts. A Dresdner insider said North American operations can expect to undergo the most structural changes, with the lending group being the hardest hit. Traditional lending will become more selective and disciplined, whereas historically, lending was more arbitrary, he added. "I think bankers in commercial banking would have a little problem" more than anyone else, he said.

On the flip side, some M&A bankers at Wasserstein Perella are reportedly wary of potential changes that may be in store for them, namely a push for them to focus on more traditional industry-focused investment banking deals, such as IPOs. Officials at the bank deny that there is any strife or a move to make big changes in this area. Dresdner and Wasserstein officials declined to comment. Calls to a Dresdner spokesman were not returned by press time.

Some Wasserstein bankers "are mad because they are M&A bankers. M&A bankers are more like specialists and for some becoming a coverage banker is a step down," said one Street observer who has spoken with Wasserstein bankers. According to another insider familiar with the matter, some M&A bankers fear being stuck doing cookie-cutter IPO deals.

"There is a lot of speculation going on right now concerning the structure of the bank," said one Street pro. "What happens with a big merger is that you have a huge organization that cannot do the small boutique deals it used to do. Everyone is chasing the big white elephant [and] the bankers are now under pressure to do larger deals, which are cookie-cutter IPO transactions."

28 Jan 2001