JPMorgan wows Wall Street with Facebook IPO win

Wed Feb 1, 2012 9:08pm EST
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By Nadia Damouni

NEW YORK (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co surprised Wall Street by winning a leading role in Facebook's much anticipated public offering, besting other banks that have competed for months for the coveted position.

Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs Group Inc got the lead roles in the IPO, while Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays Capital and Allen & Co also landed underwriting roles.

The banks were told that they had all made the cut during a commitment meeting on Tuesday, two sources familiar with the situation said. Generally, banks assuming these roles are told months in advance of a company filing for an initial public offering.

Facebook submitted its IPO documents to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday. The company expects to raise targeted $5 billion.

Two other sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday that JPMorgan's months of schmoozing with Facebook executives paid off in the end. JPMorgan is ranked No. 4 among banks that advised on U.S. technology IPOs in 2011.

JPMorgan's Chief Executive Jamie Dimon, veteran rainmaker Jimmy Lee and other senior executives courted Facebook's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman over the last year to help pave the way for the offering. Ebersman is leading the IPO process, one of the sources said.

As recently as December, Dimon visited Facebook's headquarters in Palo Alto, California, to establish its position within the team of bookrunners, the sources said.

Lee has had a business relationship with Sandberg for years, which has allowed him to learn about Facebook's culture among senior executives, one of the sources said.   Continued...