Chase Manhattan Corp.'s co-advisory role to American Home Products Corp. in its $72 billion merger deal with Warner-Lambert Co. is one of countless examples of the banking company's ability to capitalize on long-standing relationships.

Now that Pfizer Inc. has responded with a competing hostile bid for Warner-Lambert, the high-profile deal may offer Chase something else: a chance to show it can compete in an M&A heavyweight fight on a deal that does not involve its dominant lending operation.

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