Credit Suisse First Boston has never been one to let its highly paid bankers go without a fight, so it came as little surprise Wednesday when word filtered out that the more than 30 corporate bond professionals who were reportedly ready to walk out the door are now negotiating to stay put.

By midday, company insiders were saying that the group - headed by John Walsh, global head of investment-grade capital markets; Jack DiMaio, head of developed-markets credit; Donald Devine, head of U.S. debt syndication; and Mark Landis, head of investment-grade bond sales - would not leave after all. The defection of the bond group to Barclays Capital had been reported by several news organizations Tuesday.

The executives involved did not return calls seeking comment, and a spokeswoman for the firm declined to comment.

Likewise, Peter Krijgsman, Barclays' London-based global head of corporate communications who was in New York this week, declined to comment on the firm's recruitment efforts. But he said, "We're on a pretty aggressive growth path across most of our product lines."

Credit Suisse First Boston has been known to lobby hard when a team is at stake. In a previous skirmish after the Swiss-American banking company's $12 billion acquisition of the U.S. investment banking firm Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette in October, Credit Suisse said it had stymied rival UBS Warburg's poaching effort by retaining more than 26 senior Los Angeles bankers.

Still, many - including veteran DLJ banker and Los Angeles office head Kenneth Moelis - got away, and UBS Warburg clearly viewed its hiring success as a coup.

Barclays has already - since the DLJ deal closed - brought on at least two executives from Credit Suisse First Boston to fill out the debt team in its London headquarters. Barclays has hired Ed Brown to be a director in its global loan team and John Navin to be a director in its high-yield capital markets group.

Since it quit the European equities and mergers advisory business in 1998 with the sale of its BZW unit to Credit Suisse First Boston, Barclays Capital has concentrated on debt products and specialty products like equity derivatives. The firm, the investment banking arm of Barclays PLC, employs 1,200 people in the United States, mainly in New York.

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