Chase Manhattan Corp. has hired yet another heavy hitter with strong connections on Wall Street - takeover lawyer Robert Kindler - in a continuing bid to build its investment banking business, it announced Tuesday.
Mr. Kindler, 46, has been a partner in New York's Cravath Swaine & Moore. He is to join Chase in two weeks as managing director and senior investment banker in the mergers and acquisitions advisory group, focusing on telecommunications. He is to report to Douglas Braunstein, managing director and head of global mergers and acquisitions.
Chase is aiming to grab a share of the megamerger business for which Mr. Kindler is known. The 20-year veteran of Cravath has represented Time Warner Inc. in its pending acquisition by America Online Inc., Worldcom Inc. in its deal with MCI Communications Corp. and in its planned merger with Sprint Corp., and Lucent Technologies in its deal to buy Ascend Communications.
In an interview, Mr. Braunstein said Mr. Kindler's ability to forge strong, long-term client relationships would be "critical" to Chase's own effort to develop a client list that could "build and grow over time." To be transaction-focused "will help you get a deal done once, but it won't help you do more than one assignment," Mr. Braunstein said.
Analysts said Chase has been courting prominent outsiders to join the company in a bid to raise its profile and hasten the buildup of its underwriting and advisory groups. Just last month, it hired a well-known former Goldman, Sachs & Co. executive, Geoffrey T. Boisi, to take charge of its investment banking operations.
"These are big hires that lend an enormous amount of credibility to not only Chase's strategy but to the likelihood of them achieving top-tier status," said Susan L. Roth, an analyst at Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette Inc.
Mr. Boisi was hired as part of Chase's planned acquisition of boutique investment banking firm Beacon Group LLP, whose partners include former Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen and former Bank of America Corp. president David A. Coulter.
Other prominent hirings included those of Neal S. Garonzik, a former Morgan Stanley & Co. executive who was recruited last year to coordinate strategies for investment banking and asset management, and Steven D. Black, the former head of equities at Salomon Smith Barney who joined as managing director and head of Chase's institutional equities group this year.
Chase "would love to have the luxury of - over a 10-year period - building this thing up internally, but the world's changing too fast," said George A. Bicher, an analyst at Deutsche Banc Alex Brown. "There's a tremendous amount of corporate restructuring taking place in Europe, [and] it may not be taking place five years from now, so you need to get the business and establish your market position today."
Mr. Kindler could probably have gotten a job at Goldman, Ms. Roth said, but "I think there are people who find comfort in established top-tier companies, and I think there are other people who enjoy the building process."
Chase recently announced that Michael Defelice, a managing director at Merrill Lynch & Co., and Lisa Price, a senior managing director at Bear, Stearns & Co., have joined the M&A group as managing directors. Mr. Defelice will work in Chase H&Q's technology group in San Francisco for a year before returning to New York. Ms. Price is to focus on new-media opportunities at Chase.