Thomas Weisel Partners LLC is expected to issue its first equity research reports today, backed by a roster of analysts well known to observers of NationsBanc Montgomery Securities Inc.

David Readerman, a highly regarded Internet analyst, is expected to initiate coverage today of Microsoft Corp. and AOL Inc. And John Weiss is expected to report on six big restaurant chains - Foodmaker Inc., Sonic Corp., PJ America Inc., Papa John's International Inc., O'Charley's Inc., and Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp.

Both men were among the first to follow the partnership's founder, Thomas Weisel, when he left NationsBanc Montgomery in September because of a dispute over control.

Mr. Weisel sold Montgomery Securities in 1997 to Charlotte, N.C.-based NationsBank Corp., which merged in September with the old BankAmerica Corp.

The equity analyst group at the new San Francisco-based merchant bank is led by Ned Zacher, who was a Montgomery senior managing director and high- yield and emerging-markets analyst.

Though Thomas Weisel Partners has no plans to venture into high-yield, Mr. Zacher, who covered media and telecommunications, will cover the same sector in the equities market.

"Clearly it's a different product and new set of customers for me to cover," he said. "But we will bring the same principles of quality of research and a forward-looking style that we adopted in high-yield" at Montgomery.

The firm has 12 senior research analysts and plans to hire at least three more soon. Half the analysts are former Montgomery employees, closely mirroring Thomas Weisel Partners as a whole.

Mr. Zacher said he expects the group will cover about 200 companies by May. Many of the analysts will begin by covering the same companies they did at their previous firms.

The three other Montgomery veterans are Keith Gay, an education analyst; David Grossman, a technology services analyst; and Gordon Hodge, a media and entertainment analyst.

Electronics manufacturing analyst Jim Savage, business services analyst Perry Boyle, and Internet commerce analyst Chris Vroom joined the firm from BT Alex. Brown Inc., the securities unit of New York-based Bankers Trust Corp.

Paul Knight, an applied technology analyst, and Faye Landes, an apparel analyst, joined the firm from the Citigroup unit Salomon Smith Barney.

Doug van Dorsten, a computer analyst, was hired from Hambrecht & Quist, an independent San Francisco investment bank.

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