Lazard Limited is one of the top financial advisers on global mergers and acquisitions. Its businesses also encompass restructuring, capital raising and asset management. With main offices in London, New York and Paris, it operates in 39 cities in 24 countries across North America, Europe, Australia, Asia and Central and South America. Its headquarters is in Hamilton, Bermuda.
Lazard was founded in New Orleans to meet the needs of the California Gold Rush. The firm was moved to San Francisco, and later opened offices in London and Paris. The death of Lazard chief executive Bruce Wasserstein, a Wall Street legend, has left a huge hole not only in the company but also in the industry's deal-making ranks. Steven J. Golub has been named interim chief executive officer. While it's still unclear who will succeed Wasserstein, it's unlikely that his replacement would be hired from outside the firm, according to The Wall Street Journal.
While Lazard is an independent shop, it's larger than its boutique rivals. The company is known for its collaborative culture and shabby carpeting. Having mostly avoided the credit-crisis problems plaguing larger competitors, the firm is expected to capitalize on its relative strength to win new M&A business. It has one of the largest reorganization businesses in the world. The bankruptcy at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. is among its current projects. Its advisory business recently has grown internationally, and it now advises banks, companies and governments in far-flung parts of the world, including Kazakhstan and Ivory Coast. The company has laid off staff in some areas, but has also been hiring in restructuring ranks, adding specialists in bankruptcy and debt advisory both in the U.S. and Europe. It also has added emmployees in such sectors as oil and gas, Australian M&A and European health care. It is also looking to expand its operations in Asia.