In announcing the highest-profile hires to date for his fledgling advisory firm, Qatalyst Partners, Frank Quattrone is getting the band back together for a reunion tour of sorts.
Quattrone, who established the San Francisco tech boutique two years ago, on April 21 announced he was hiring George Boutros, chairman of Credit Suisse Group's global technology and healthcare groups, to be a Qatalyst senior partner and senior director. Also joining Qatalyst will be Jason DiLullo, a Credit Suisse managing director and co-head of the bank's Americas tech M&A practice. The 38-year-old will become a Qatalyst senior partner.
Boutros, 49, led a team of technology bankers with Quattrone for more than a decade as they jumped from one firm to another: first Morgan Stanley, then, in 1996, Deutsche Morgan Grenfell. While there, the tech team led Amazon.com Inc.'s 1997 initial public offering as the rush of technology IPOs began to take off. A year later, Quattrone and Boutros, along with Deutsche's corporate finance chief and Quattrone deputy Bill Brady, defected once again, this time to what was then Credit Suisse First Boston, and took a team of tech bankers along with them. Boutros stayed on at Credit Suisse after Quattrone departed in 2003 to deal with, and ultimately beat, obstruction of justice charges related to legal battles over share allocations of IPOs during the tech boom.
Boutros, who is also vice chairman of Credit Suisse's corporate and investment banking unit, has played a hand in some of the biggest tech transactions over the past decade. He advised Sun Microsystems Inc. in its $7.4 billion purchase this year by Oracle Corp., and Google Inc. on its $1.7 billion acquisition of YouTube Inc. back in 2006.Quattrone described Boutros' hiring as a reunion, calling him one of his closest partners during his tenures at Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and CSFB. Of Boutros, Quattrone once was quoted as saying: "He is to M&A what Tiger Woods is to golf" (said well before Woods' fall from grace). A Qatalyst representative did not respond to a request for comment.
DiLullo also was a member of the group that defected from Morgan Stanley with Quattrone in 1996 and found its way to CSFB in 1998. He was made a managing director in 2004. He's well known as a semiconductor deal specialist, but DiLullo also notched some major deals outside the chip sector. For example, he and Boutros advised Pixar Animation Studios Inc. in its $6.3 billion acquisition by Walt Disney Co. in 2006.
In its two years of existence, Qatalyst, thanks in part to Quattrone's countless connections among the companies he helped take public, (Google, Cisco Systems Inc. and Amazon, to name a few) has already landed some big-time advisory roles. The firm represented Google during Microsoft Corp.'s attempted Yahoo! Inc. takeover, and storage technology company Data Domain Inc. last year as it became the center of a bidding war between EMC Corp. and NetApp Inc. EMC won the day with a $2.2 billion takeover. Struggling smartphone maker Palm Inc. also reportedly has hired Qatalyst (alongside Goldman, Sachs & Co.) to help it manage a sale.
DiLullo's co-chair of tech M&A at Credit Suisse, Storm Duncan, will be sole head of that practice for now. But the bank is unlikely to fill Boutros' posts anytime soon, as his role was largely that of a rainmaker.