Friday, April 11, 2008

Google using Quattrone as merger adviser

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Former star technology investment banker Frank Quattrone is advising Google Inc as the Web search leader mulls its strategy amid Microsoft Corp's move to buy Yahoo Inc, a source familiar with the arrangement said on Thursday.

Quattrone underwrote some of the biggest initial public offerings during the late-1990s technology boom while at Credit Suisse First Boston.

Luattrone announced that he and some former colleagues had started Qatalyst Group, a tech-focused investment banking boutique based in San Francisco, to provide merger and corporate finance advice to technology companies.

"I look forward to working with him again and am very enthusiastic about Qatalyst's prospects for success," Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt was quoted as saying in the press release announcing the opening of Quattrone's new firm.

"He is advising the company," the source said on Thursday of Google's decision to hire him, offering no further details.

A Google spokesman declined to comment.

Yahoo announced on Wednesday it had agreed to a test of whether it should turn over its Web search advertising sales to Google so it can focus on other efforts. Sources say the test is part of a planned three-way alliance to combine Yahoo with Time Warner Inc's AOL to ward off Microsoft Corp's two-month-old, $42 billion takeover bid.

Many antitrust experts and Wall Street analysts wonder if Google's dominant global share of search -- starting point for many people on the Web -- and its lucrative ad business tied to search will prevent it from joining the Web mega-merger boom.


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