Barclays Said to Lose Consumer M&A Bankers to Rothschild

Barclays Plc lost three senior mergers and acquisitions bankers to Rothschild in recent weeks, according to people with knowledge of the matter, the latest in a series of departures as the U.K. bank reorganizes and faces more stringent compensation rules.

James Ben, Peter “P.J.” Moses and David Baron each left Barclays for Paris-based Rothschild, said the people, who asked not to be named because the departures haven’t been announced. Andrew Taussig, formerly head of retail M&A at London-based Barclays, left in February and later joined Guggenheim Partners LLC, with at least four colleagues following.

Some Barclays employees have departed as it reorganizes and attempts to navigate concerns tied to compensation and tougher regulatory scrutiny of European lenders. Barclays almost lost several U.S. energy investment bankers this year because of those issues, people familiar with the matter said this month.

Representatives for Barclays and Rothschild declined to comment. Barclays sank 0.4 percent to 284.30 pence in London trading.

Ben was head of consumer and retail M&A at Barclays and had spent 14 years at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Barclays. He advised Hormel Foods Corp. on its $700 million purchase of Skippy peanut butter this year and Anheuser-Busch InBev NV on its sale of Central European operations to CVC Capital Partners Ltd.

Biggest Deals

Moses also worked in consumer banking, according to one person. He was singled out by Delaware Chancery Court Judge J. Travis Laster in a February 2011 decision criticizing Barclays for its dual role of advising and financing the buyout of Del Monte Foods Co. for roughly $5 billion. Moses also was involved in General Mills Inc.’s purchase of a controlling stake in yogurt maker Yoplait SAS in 2011. Moses didn’t reply to a request for comment.

Baron worked in the bank’s Los Angeles office and advised on deals in multiple industries and in private equity, said one person. He was involved on deals such as Roper Industries Inc.’s acquisition of Sunquest Information Systems Inc. for about $1.4 billion last year.

Barclays’s consumer and retail team, which has eight managing directors and four directors after the departures, worked on some of the biggest consumer deals of the past year. The consumer and retail teams merged this year, so some departures were expected, said a person familiar with the matter.

Smithfield Deal

That group advised Smithfield Foods Inc. on its proposed $4.7 billion sale in May to Hong Kong’s Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd. The bankers will earn about $30 million in fees from that sale, said a person familiar with the matter. Barclays also advised Ralcorp Holdings Inc. on its $5 billion sale to ConAgra Foods Inc., completed in January. Barclays will earn fees of $22 million on that deal, the person said.

Ben, Moses and Baron will start at Rothschild in the next few weeks, according to two of the people.

The Barclays group is joining Rothschild following the departure of Lawrence Portman, a managing director in consumer products since September 2009. Portman left Rothschild in May and joined New York-based Jefferies Group LLC this month, said a person familiar with the matter.

While at Rothschild, Portman advised Nestle SA on its $12 billion acquisition of Pfizer Inc.’s infant-nutrition business, completed last year, said this person. A spokesman for Jefferies didn’t return a call seeking comment.

As of yesterday, Barclays ranked sixth among takeover advisers globally this year based on combined value, working on 100 deals valued at more than $143 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Rothschild is ranked 13th, advising on more than 100 transactions worth $65.6 billion, the data show. Jefferies ranks 26th.

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