Magazine article American Banker

J.P. Morgan to Lead $3B-$4B Swiss Telecom Underwriting

Magazine article American Banker

J.P. Morgan to Lead $3B-$4B Swiss Telecom Underwriting

Article excerpt

J.P. Morgan & Co., in its largest underwriting of equity, has won a spot as co-lead manager for Swiss Telecom's $3 billion to $4 billion privatization.

Morgan, which will work with SBC Warburg Inc., surprised the market by beating out a long list of top Wall Street firms. Traditionally, big privatizations in telecommunications have been led by Goldman, Sachs & Co., Morgan Stanley & Co., and Merrill Lynch & Co., experts said.

"It's a flagship type of deal," said an equity syndicate manager at a securities firm. "If you are going to be in the investment banking business, you want to do deals like that."

J.P. Morgan, the top commercial bank in investment banking, has been actively mining overseas markets, including Europe and Latin America. Last year, for example, it advised on two big pharmaceutical company mergers in Switzerland. It also has been taking some foreign telecommunications companies public in the United States.

Morgan, observers said, was well positioned to nab the Swiss Telecom deal because it had signed on as adviser to the Swiss government in the early planning for the project.

Swiss Telecom, which will be named Swisscom as of October, is the latest in the flood of European telecommunications companies to privatize. A number of banks and Wall Street firms had been hoping to snag the deal because of its high profile. The government-owned company is the main provider of phone service in Switzerland.

The privatization easily eclipses Morgan's previous record for lead underwriting of equity and stands as the biggest equity underwriting by any commercial bank. …

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