Lazard Buys Remaining Stake in Latin America Advisory Venture

  • Matias Eliaschev will head team outside Brazil, Mexico
  • M&A transactions have surged 30% this year in the region

Lazard Ltd. bought the stake it didn’t already own in its Latin America advisory group, MBA Lazard, to take advantage of a more business-friendly environment and a surge in deals in countries such as Argentina.

Lazard will now solely operate offices in Buenos Aires, Santiago, Bogota, Lima and Panama City, with Matias Eliaschev assuming the role of chief executive officer for Lazard Latin America investment banking outside of Brazil and Mexico, the Bermuda-based firm said Tuesday in an e-mailed statement. No financial details were released.

“Any time you have a 50-50 partnership like we did, this is something that’s always left open as a possibility,” Eliaschev said in a telephone interview from Buenos Aires. “This is the right moment after the venture matured well. We have a regional operation that is well established and the recovery of Argentina will give us the chance to capitalize on the growth in that country.”

Mergers and acquisitions have surged 30 percent this year in Latin America as commodity prices dropped and opportunistic buyers wade back into the region, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Divestitures by large state-run energy companies such as Petroleo Brasileiro SA and international banks selling some of their retail assets in Latin America have contributed to the growth.

Talks with Lazard to complete the transaction began about six months ago, Eliaschev said. The new structure will help streamline what was previously MBA Lazard staff and offices with the rest of the firm, he said.

Also joining Lazard full time from the MBA Lazard venture will be Gregorio Charnas and Santiago Alsina in Argentina, Jose Luis Jeria in Chile, Jaime Bermudez and Natalia Ramirez in Colombia, Maria Jesus Hume in Peru and Julianne Canavaggio in Panama.

Alejandro Reynal, who founded MBA in 1981, will become a senior adviser to Lazard.

— With assistance by Jonathan Levin

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