Smith Barney's bid to become a major player in the lucrative world of bank merger advisory work got a big boost this week via a pair of credit card deals.

The investment banking unit of Travelers Group advised Chase Manhattan Corp., which announced Tuesday it would acquire most of Bank of New York Co.'s $4.2 billion credit card portfolio. And the firm won the plum assignment of finding a buyer for AT&T Corp.'s $14.2 billion credit card business.

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