After years spent battling obstruction of justice charges in an investigation of Credit Suisse First Boston, former investment banker Frank Quattrone is back with an investment firm of his own.
Qatalyst Group, launched Monday by Quattrone and some former colleagues, is a technology-focused merchant banking boutique based in San Francisco. Qatalyst Partners, its investment banking business, will provide high-end advice on mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance to technology companies globally, while Qatalyst Capital Partners, its investing business, will focus on making selective principal investments with leading venture capital and private equity firms.
The company’s founders include Jonathan Turner, formerly global head of Credit Suisse’s Internet group and most recently vice president of corporate development for QuinStreet; Adrian E. Dollard, formerly general counsel of Credit Suisse’s technology group and a lawyer at Shearman & Sterling specializing in mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and venture capital; and Neil Chalasani, most recently a vice president with Evercore’s technology, media and telecom group.
High-Tech Track Record
Among the companies that have been advised by Qatalyst’s founders are Accenture, Adobe, Agilent, AOL, Apple, Amazon.com, Cisco, Google, HP, IBM, Intel, Intuit, Lucent, National Semiconductor, Netscape, Oracle, Orbitz, SynOptics, 3Com and Yahoo.
“The launch of Qatalyst is an important development for the technology industry,” said Eric Schmidt, Google’s chairman and CEO. “Frank and his team bring unparalleled industry knowledge, a unique 25-year market perspective and candid, insightful judgment that CEOs greatly value on important strategic initiatives. I look forward to working with him again and am very enthusiastic about Qatalyst’s prospects for success.”
Qatalyst Partners has applied for regulatory approval with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the securities industry’s self-regulatory authority. In the meantime, Quattrone and his team will operate Qatalyst as a division of JMP Securities.
During Quattrone’s years as a banker at Credit Suisse along with Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank before that, he underwrote some of the most successful initial public offerings (IPOs) in high tech, including those of Amazon.com, Cisco and Netscape.
When Credit Suisse First Boston fell under federal investigation for its allocations of IPO shares, Quattrone was tried for obstruction of justice in 2003, resulting in a hung jury. He was convicted in a second trial in 2004, but that conviction was overturned in 2006.
Following a deferred prosecution agreement, charges against him were dropped last August.
Friends in High Places
Quattrone “clearly does have a public perception problem that he’ll have to recover from, but he was accused of something that was almost impossible for the general public to understand, and he was cleared,” Rob Enderle, president and principal analyst with the Enderle Group, told the E-Commerce Times. “I think he’s in reasonably good shape.”
Quattrone was “instrumental in launching an awful lot of firms during the ’90s, so he has a lot of rich and powerful people as friends, because he helped make them,” Enderle added.
Finally, even Martha Stewart — “who was convicted of something far worse” than Quattrone — has recovered, Enderle pointed out. “This is clearly something you can recover from, and now we’re seeing the first stages of that.”