Lazard Climbs as Record Revenue Boosts

Lazard Ltd., the largest independent merger-advisory firm, gained the most since May after reporting profit that beat analysts’ estimates on record revenue from asset management and advising.

Lazard rose 2.4 percent to $52.08 at 10:20 a.m. in New York after climbing as much as 3.7 percent, the most intraday since May 1. The shares returned 15 percent this year, compared with the 4.9 percent advance of the 228-company Russell 1000 Financial Services Index.

Deal activity has improved following an extended slump precipitated by the global credit crisis. The value of announced mergers and acquisitions worldwide jumped about 75 percent to $2.1 trillion this year through June 30, the most in seven years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“It’s the best it’s been since before the crisis and probably at this point, the most sustainable,” Chief Executive Officer Ken Jacobs, 55, said in a phone interview. “The question now is whether it accelerates.”

Second-quarter net income more than doubled to $85.2 million, or 64 cents a share, from a year earlier, the Bermuda-based firm said today in a statement. The average estimate of 14 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for adjusted profit of 57 cents.

Financial-advisory revenue rose 7 percent to $281 million from a year earlier, while asset management climbed 18 percent to $286 million, the firm said. Total operating revenue for the quarter was a record $571 million, up 12 percent from a year earlier, according to the statement.

Deals Completed

Among the second-quarter deals that Lazard advised on were Anheuser-Busch InBev NV’s $5.8 billion acquisition of South Korea’s Oriental Brewery Co. and Oil States International Inc.’s $3 billion spinoff of Civeo Corp., according to the statement.

Evercore Partners Inc., the advisory firm founded by former Deputy U.S. Treasury Secretary Roger Altman, reported second-quarter profit yesterday that beat analysts’ estimates as investment-banking revenue increased 4.8 percent to $192.3 million. Greenhill & Co. and Moelis & Co., both independent merger-advisory companies, are scheduled to report results next week.

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