J.P. Morgan & Co., a bank long envied for its ties to blue-chip corporations, is looking to add a decidedly scrappier group of customers to its client list: leveraged buyout shops.

Over the past year, the bank has been building a unit to cater to financial sponsor firms like Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. Among the most active users of high-yield bonds, merger and acquisition advisory services, leveraged loans, and equities securities, these firms are heavily courted by commercial and investment banks alike.

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