Lazard Profit Beats Estimates on Asset Management, Merger Advice

Lazard Ltd. (LAZ), the biggest independent merger-advisory firm, said second-quarter profit rose 81 percent, beating analysts’ estimates as revenue from asset management and merger advice increased.

Earnings rose to $60 million, or 45 cents a share, from $33 million, or 25 cents, a year earlier, the Hamilton, Bermuda-based firm said today in a statement. The average estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for per-share earnings of 33 cents.

Global merger-and-acquisition volume climbed 4 percent in the second quarter from the first three months of 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, as cheap debt and rising equity markets spurred dealmaking. Lazard Chief Executive Officer Kenneth M. Jacobs said in April that business had picked up in industries including consumer, health-care services and technology.

“The breadth and depth of our advisory services offset the uneven pace of global M&A activity,” Jacobs, 54, said today in the statement. “In asset management, we continue to broaden our investment platforms in anticipation of client needs.”

Lazard rose 1.3 percent yesterday to $34.53 in New York. The shares have gained 16 percent this year, compared with the 18 percent increase in the Russell 1000 Index. (RIY)

Evercore Partners Inc. (EVR), the firm founded by former U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Roger Altman, and Greenhill & Co., founded by Robert Greenhill, each reported higher second-quarter profit when compared with a year earlier as revenue from investment banking and advisory units increased.

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