Merrill Hires Seven from Deutsche Bank

LONDON - Merrill Lynch & Co. said it hired seven members of Deutsche Bank AG's structured finance team in London.Michael Donahue will join as managing director, while David Mandel, Michael Jinn, Justin Fox, Rolf Steffens, and Teimuraz Barbakadze will join as directors. Andrew Jarmolkiewicz will become a vice president.

The seven will report to Mike Normile, head of Merrill's structured finance group for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and join Merrill's present team of two dozen.

"The Deutsche Bank team was highly regarded professionally," said Bart Bronselaer, head of debt capital markets for Merrill Lynch Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

The team has "people that have origination and analytic skills. Some of them bring different industry expertise. They're really a complementary team to our existing team."

The group provides securitization of cash flows and will assist in balance sheet management to corporate, institutional and public-sector clients.

B of A Unit Closes $500M Tech Fund

FOSTER CITY, Calif. - Bank of America Corp.'s venture capital unit said Friday it had closed a $500 million fund that will invest in young tech companies.The Charlotte, N.C., banking company has put up close to 100% of the money for the fund, with the remainder put up by the six general partners of BA Venture Partners who will manage the fund's investments.

The fund, BA Venture Partners VI, will focus on four sectors, including broadband and wireless communications, Internet software and services, business e-commerce, and biotechnology.

Bank of America has been increasing its commitment to venture capital investing since last year.

The company's interest in the business is reflected in the size of the half-billion-dollar fund, which is the largest yet for the unit. The firm has been managing funds sized in the range of $75 million.

"In order to remain competitive in this market, you have to be much faster-paced," as an investor, said Kate Mitchell, managing director and general partner at BA Venture Partners.

With new companies developing more rapidly, venture firms are finding they need to provide more money up front with fewer rounds of financing. A larger fund makes this easier, Ms. Mitchell said.

Last week, the venture capital unit launched a Web site that includes descriptions of some of its investments and information about the general partners.

- Laura Mandaro

Dresdner to Separate Investment Bank

FRANKFURT - Dresdner Bank AG, trying to rebuild itself after the failed takeover by Deutsche Bank AG, said Friday that it would make its Kleinwort Benson investment bank a separate - though not legally separate - entity.Dresdner also said it would issue equity to Kleinwort Benson bankers to stanch defections. The announcement came a day after Dresdner named Leonhard Fischer head of investment banking.

Industry observers say Kleinwort Benson will gain more independence within Dresdner but that failing to break it out as a separate legal entity will lessen speculation that the unit may be sold.

Dresdner's move mirrors the organization of UBS AG, whose Warburg Dillon Read unit also functions as a separate unit within the Swiss bank.

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