Wall Street rainmaker Michael Klein no longer a one-man show

Wed Jan 13, 2016 10:58am EST
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By Olivia Oran

(Reuters) - Star dealmaker and former Citigroup Inc executive Michael Klein, the lead adviser to Dow Chemical Co on its $130 billion merger with DuPont, has quietly tripled the size of his advisory firm in the last 18 months.

His New York-based shop, M. Klein & Co, has no website or marketing materials, and does not even list a phone number for its office. Yet the firm has been taking bold steps in expanding to 20 employees and has extended its presence to London and Beijing.

The secretive firm's expansion drive, revealed by Klein in an interview with Reuters this week, illustrates the scope of its ambitions after it was started in 2012 as a one-man advisory boutique.

Klein said this week he had engaged Mike Eck, former global head of consumer and retail investment banking at Morgan Stanley, as a senior adviser. He joins a handful of other high-profile appointments, including former treasury secretary Larry Summers, who works with the firm on a project-by-project basis.

While the firm would not provide a comprehensive list of employees or advisers that it works with, Klein has a big network of Wall Street contacts he can tap. He worked at Citigroup for 23 years and ran the bank's institutional clients business, where he was responsible for its advisory and financing practice.

Klein's new firm bills itself as less of a traditional boutique bank focused solely on providing advice on transactions for large companies, and more of an "embedded adviser" to CEOs, boards of directors, institutional investors and governments. The firm advises on a wide range of issues apart from mergers, including corporate governance, activism, crisis management, litigation and arbitration.

"There are several organizations who are very good at giving M&A advice," Klein said. "We think of our firm as, of course, doing that at the highest level, but being a different type of model more aligned to what senior bankers used to do for their clients when I grew up in this business.

"For any one client, we'll provide a range of strategic activities that adds value, from advising on a multi-billion-dollar acquisition, to resolving a dispute with a critical customer to negotiating with a government in order to ensure payment of a multi-billion-dollar arbitration award."   Continued...

People walk past the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street, February 10, 2009. REUTERS/Eric Thayer