eFC Briefing: WestLB Bailout, Law Firm's PE Hire

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German bank bailout will cost 1,500 jobs. Citigroup named a global research chief. Cadwalader hired a top private equity lawyer to work on first-tier deals.

A state-backed rescue of troubled German bank WestLB will eliminate 1,500 jobs, or 25 percent of the work force at the Dusseldorf-based institution. WestLB's latest troubles stem from exposure to sub-prime-tainted, asset-backed securities, including assets from two structured investment vehicles originally set up by its U.S. subsidiary, Brightwater Capital Management. There's no word on whether New York-based Brightwater's 31 employees will be affected. The owners of WestLB, including the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and savings banks within the region, agreed to guarantee 5 billion euros ($7.2 billion) for a new, off-balance-sheet vehicle that will take over about 23 billion euros ($33 billion) of risky securities from WestLB.

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Citigroup promoted Andrew Pitt to global director of research for its wealth management division, replacing Bill Kennedy, according to Financial News. Based in London, Pitt was head of Europe-Middle East-Africa research for the division for the past five years. Previously, he headed Citi research offices in Moscow, Dubai and Istanbul.

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Law firm Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft hired a top private equity attorney to boost its presence in the sector, soon after laying off 35 attorneys from its capital markets practice. Ronald Hopkinson joined Cadwalader from Latham & Watkins, where he was a partner for more than a decade, according to The Wall Street Journal. Among other marquee private equity clients, he represented Carlyle Group when it bought stakes in VNU NV in 2006 and Qwest Communications' directory business in 2002. The Journal quotes Chairman Robert Link, Jr., as saying Cadwalader anticipates building "a top tier private-equity practice" and wants to pull in more "A-plus lawyers, so we can operate on first-tier deals."

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Octavian Advisors, a two-year old hedge fund firm, added two professionals to its team specializing in distressed debt investments outside the U.S. Arif Gangat was named managing director. He came from Southpaw Asset Management, where he oversaw distressed debt and special situation equity investments. Before Southpaw, he was a managing director at Sandell Asset Management. Oscar Mockridge joins Octavian as a director, coming out of Sailfish Capital Partners where he was responsible for leveraged finance research and activist investing. Before Sailfish, Mockridge worked for Halcyon Asset and Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin.

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Broadpoint Capital said it's hired 10 professionals to establish a new recapitalization and restructuring group. Tim O'Connor, who joined Broadpoint from Jefferies Group, was named executive managing director. He will lead both the new division and Broadpoint's overall investment banking function. David Reed moves from head of investment banking to head of the mergers and acquisitions practice. Greg Ethridge joined the recapitalization and restructuring group as a principal.

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Hedge fund star Tim Leslie of Moore Capital is set to spin out the Moore Credit fund he runs into an independent management company with a 30-member team in London and New York, according to the Financial Times. Leslie runs four top-performing hedge funds that sidestepped last year's volatility. His new firm, James Caird Asset Management, reportedly will launch in the second quarter with some $2.5 billion under management, including an initial stake from Moore Capital.

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Three-year old boutique investment bank Sagent Advisors hired Adam Reeder from UBS to head a new investment banking practice for the broadly defined building products and construction sector. A managing director, he will work with companies involved in building products and materials, distribution, homebuilding, furniture and furnishings. In 20 years at UBS Investment Bank and its predecessors, Reeder worked on more than 150 merger, restructuring and capital raising deals.

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