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Pacific Crest Said to Plan Buyout of Goldman-Backed Research Arm

Pacific Crest Securities, an investment bank focused on technology deals, is close to an agreement to buy China research firm Pacific Epoch from investors including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), two people familiar with the matter said.

The people, who declined to provide financial terms of the deal, asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. Pacific Crest is interested in acquiring all of Shanghai-based Pacific Epoch, which also has offices in New York and Hong Kong, said one of the people.

Pacific Crest, which helped manage last week’s $855 million initial public offering of Beijing-based Renren Inc., is expanding in China to win business from companies in the world’s biggest Internet market. In 2008, a research arm of Goldman Sachs called Hudson Street acquired a stake in Pacific Epoch, a researcher covering industries including technology, retail and alternative energy.

Jen McBee, an assistant of Pacific Crest Chief Executive Officer Scott Sandbo, didn’t immediately respond to messages on her office phone and e-mail seeking comment. Connie Ling, a spokeswoman at Goldman Sachs in Hong Kong, declined to comment, as did Pacific Epoch's head of research.

Pacific Epoch received a $7 million investment from Goldman Sachs in 2008. The closely held Chinese firm employs more than 90 people in China, the United States and Hong Kong, according to its website.

China Internet Deals

Renren’s IPO saw the owner of China’s biggest social- networking site by page views raise funds at a valuation more than twice that of Facebook Inc. Pacific Crest also co-managed the listing of Youku.com Inc. (YOKU), the operator of China’s most- popular video website, in December.

Fundraising by Chinese Internet companies is expected to climb to a record this year as investors aim to benefit from the growth of Web services in the country, Lee Kai-fu, the former head of China at Google Inc. (GOOG), said last month. Lee now runs a venture fund that invests in technology startups.

Pacific Crest said last month it plans to hire more bankers and analysts in China as part of expectations that it will win more business this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Lee in Hong Kong at wlee37@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net

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