Moelis Said to Plan $35 Million Staff, Investor Payouts

Moelis & Co., the advisory firm founded by Kenneth Moelis, told its bankers it will distribute $35 million to investors and employees with a stake in the company, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The money will be disbursed this month and recipients will include managing directors, partners and other employees, said the person, who requested anonymity because the decision wasn’t announced publicly. It will be the first cash distribution for New York-based Moelis, according to the Financial Times, which reported on the payouts yesterday.

The closely held firm has been winning more business. Moelis ranks 11th by market share this year among companies advising on mergers and acquisitions, rising from 24th in 2012, data compiled by Bloomberg show. It advised Life Technologies Corp. on a strategic review that led to a sale and HJ Heinz Co. on its buyout by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and Jorge Paulo Lemann’s 3G Capital.

The move helps reward Moelis employees, whose holdings in the firm aren’t publicly traded. Bankers at competitors including Evercore Partners Inc. are able to profit from their public holdings. Evercore, founded by former U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Roger Altman and run by Ralph Schlosstein, has surged 33 percent this year.

Moelis, which employs about 600 people, dismissed about 20 bankers in New York and London last month as part of a business review, people with knowledge of the matter said at the time.

European Crisis

Kenneth Moelis, 54, who opened the firm in 2007 after resigning as president of UBS AG’s investment bank, said in 2011 that he planned to hire executives from Wall Street firms grappling with investor concerns that the European sovereign-debt crisis would deepen.

In January 2012, he announced plans by Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. to invest $93 million in his company, building on an alliance with the Tokyo-based bank, a Sumitomo spokesman said at the time. The stake amounted to about 5 percent of the U.S. firm.

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