SYDNEY, Australia - Chase Manhattan Corp. said Monday that it would buy the remaining 54% stake of an Australian investment banking firm, the rest of which it is set to inherit through a previously announced deal to buy Robert Fleming Holdings.
The 54% stake is currently held by Ord Minnett's employees and senior management. Chase agreed to pay about $118 million, of which $19 million will be earmarked for retention packages.
Chase said it would complete the deal when it finalizes its purchase of London-based Robert Fleming, which is expected in early August.
In Ord Minnett, Chase is gaining another equities foothold in a foreign market. In 1997, Ord Minnett was the joint lead manager on a $10 billion first-time offering by Telstra, the Australian telecommunications company, and a joint global coordinator last year for a $335 million New Zealand initial public offering for Australian-based banking company Westpac Banking Corp.
Ord Minnett employs 850 people, including more than 10 people in equities sales offices in New York and San Francisco. It also runs a private client advisory unit with 200 brokers.
Over a century old, Ord Minnett has built up particular expertise in financial institutions, natural resources, telecommunications, and media, and has tried to take advantage of Australia's own booming IPO market. Chase has been expanding its own equity capabilities for telecommunications and media in the United States, aided by its 1999 acquisition of San Francisco investment banking boutique Hambrecht & Quist Group. In addition, Chase's current Australian corporate finance activities include companies in those industries, as well as financial sponsors and project finance.
The deal is a relatively small one for Chase, which has been snapping up Wall Street firms over the last year to bolster its presence in the lucrative worlds of stock underwriting and merger advisory. The company reportedly paid $4.5 billion for Robert Fleming and an estimated $350 million to $450 million for the Beacon Group, a small New York advisory boutique run by former rainmakers from Goldman Sachs & Co.
In Australia, Chase will be jockeying for position against many of the same firms with which it competes at home. Goldman Sachs, Citigroup's Salomon Smith Barney, and Merrill Lynch & Co., have all placed investment bankers in the country.