Frank Quattrone 2.0
He's reputed to be developing a new, $5 billion venture - and he stands to collect $120 million in back pay from CSFB.
(Fortune Magazine) -- It looks as if Frank Quattrone is putting his old band back together.
"I plan to resume my business career," he read from a prepared statement on the steps of the federal courthouse in Manhattan in late August, after prosecutors agreed to drop obstruction of justice charges - as long as he does not run afoul of the law for a year. ("Time to clean up those files," Quattrone told the investment-banking staff at Credit Suisse First Boston in a 2000 e-mail; investigators thought the timing was suspect, since the bank's allocation of shares in hot IPO deals was under regulatory scrutiny. But that's ancient history now!)
Quattrone, who helped birth 175 tech IPOs (including Netscape, Amazon (Charts), and Cisco Systems (Charts)) during the Internet boom, is free to return to Wall Street - and when the charges are finally dismissed, he stands to collect $120 million in back pay from his old employer.
He may take more than that from Credit Suisse (Charts). The word going around Silicon Valley is that Quattrone is already interviewing potential hires and will reunite with George Boutros and Bill Brady, his pals from the early 1990s at Morgan Stanley (Charts).
For years the three men were by far the most powerful bankers in Silicon Valley. Both Boutros and Brady now occupy top positions at Credit Suisse - Boutros represented Pixar in its $7.4 billion sale to Disney - but it's thought that they would jump at the chance to join Quattrone in a new venture. And Quattrone may seek to recruit other former colleagues from Credit Suisse and elsewhere.
One story making the rounds is that someone asked Eric Varvel, co-head of investment banking at Credit Suisse, whether he was concerned about Quattrone's luring away talent. Varvel, famously unflappable, feigned indifference - but a vein on his neck throbbed noticeably. Quattrone and Credit Suisse declined to comment.
The assumption is that Quattrone's new enterprise - quite possibly with his name on it - will be a combination private-equity and advisory firm, most closely resembling Blackstone Group and Evercore Partners but also vying for deals against the likes of Silver Lake Partners and Texas Pacific Group. He's said to be aiming to raise $5 billion, and no one believes he'll have any trouble.
Will Quattrone be able to compete at the same level after his three-year hiatus? It would be silly to count him out. He ruled this domain for 20 years and is genuinely passionate about technology companies - and he has a reputation to revive. Finally, you can bet that every one of his old investment banking competitors will be delighted to show him deals. After all, he won't be competing with them anymore.