NEWSMAKER-Quattrone rises as tech bidding war escalates

* Legal troubles behind him, Quattrone advising 3PAR

* Data storage company subject of fierce bidding war

* Deal a reminder of Quattrone’s influence in tech circles

By Paul Thomasch and Megan Davies

NEW YORK, Aug 27 (BestGrowthStock) – It’s beginning to feel a lot
like the 1990s — at least as far as technology mergers and
acquisitions are concerned.

You have headline-grabbing takeovers such as Intel
Corp-McAfee Inc (INTC.O: )(MFE.N: ), ambitious Internet IPOs such
as Skype and, of course, there’s the amazing comeback of Frank
Quattrone.

A superstar investment banker in the 1990s, Quattrone led
some of the biggest tech initial public offerings of the era,
including Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O: ) and Cisco Systems Inc
(CSCO.O: ). His time at the top of the tech banking world,
however, was short-circuited by charges he blocked an
investigation into IPO kickbacks.

If there were any questions about whether Quattrone, 54,
could successfully return to the frontline of investment
banking after his five-year legal fight, they have been put to
rest by his role in advising 3PAR Inc (PAR.N: ).

A once obscure data storage firm, 3PAR is now at the center
of a $2 billion bidding war between powerhouses Hewlett-Packard
Co (HPQ.N: ) and Dell Inc (DELL.O: ). [ID:nN27239050]

Quattrone has helped bring in bids that started at $18 a
share last week, then rapidly progressed to $30 a share, a
stunning three times 3PAR’s share price before the war began.

Bidding wars are extremely rare in the technology sector.
The last notable one was when EMC Corp (EMC.N: ) outbid NetApp
Inc (NTAP.O: ) last year to buy Data Domain for $2.4 billion.

Data Domain’s adviser? Frank Quattrone.

“Frank is a tech guy. His passion is tech. So I’m not
surprised he’s coming back; it’s what makes him tick,” Marc
Odendall, who was head of Credit Suisse First Boston’s European
Technology group under Quattrone, told Reuters.

“He’s very calm, he’s very thorough, he substantiates
everything that underlines his recommendation,” added Odendall,
who, since leaving CSFB, has worked in microfinance and served
on the board of several nonprofit foundations.

THE BEST ROLODEX IN TOWN

Quattrone returned to the world of investment banking in
2008 after two trials failed to resolve his case and he
ultimately reached a deal with prosecutors that allowed him to
avoid a third.

He founded tech boutique Qatalyst Group in San Francisco
two years ago and has since worked with Google Inc (Read more about Google Stock Analysis) (GOOG.O: ),
Brocade Communications Systems Inc (BRCD.O: ) and Palm Inc, among
others.

But it has been the 3PAR fight that has drawn Quattrone —
known for his bushy mustache, garish sweaters and love for jazz
and karaoke — back into the spotlight.

“Failing a total collapse of the deal, and that’s highly
unlikely given the fervent interest and rising price, the only
sure winner appears to be Frank Quattrone,” David Weidner, a
columnist for MarketWatch and The Wall Street Journal, wrote on
Friday.

Dubbed “The Prince of Silicon Valley” in a recent biography
by Randall Smith, Quattrone grew up in blue-collar South
Philadelphia. He graduated summa cum laude from the University
of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and later from Stanford
University’s business school.

He became a star banker at Morgan Stanley, moved to
Deutsche Bank in 1996, and to Credit Suisse in 1998.

At Credit Suisse, his group racked up huge fees for
underwriting IPOs and earned him $120 million in compensation
one year. Bankers said Quattrone was known for promising to
work personally on deals — an approach that is still
benefiting him today.

“He has tremendous relationships. I don’t think there is
anybody in technology banking who can match him page for page
in the Rolodex,” said Brenon Daly, a financial analyst with The
451 Group, who knows Quattrone and works in the same San
Francisco neighborhood.

“He’s quick to smile. He knows how to negotiate.”

TIMING IS EVERYTHING

Quattrone’s close business relationships have also caused
trouble. Federal prosecutors alleged he dished out hot IPO
shares to top executives known as “Friends of Frank,” in return
for new business.

They later charged him with blocking a federal
investigation, alleging he knew of probes into Credit Suisse’s
IPO share allocations when he instructed colleagues in a Dec.
5, 2000 e-mail that it was “time to clean up those files.”

After Quattrone’s first trial ended in 2003 with a
deadlocked jury, he was tried for a second time and convicted
of obstruction and witness tampering. An appeals court later
threw out the conviction.

In August 2006, Quattrone reached a deferred prosecution
deal that meant there would be no third trial and, after
abiding by the terms of the agreement for a year, he was
allowed to rejoin the securities industry.

In March 2008, he established Qatalyst with Jonathan
Turner, formerly global head of Credit Suisse’s Internet
banking group; Adrian Dollard, former general counsel of Credit
Suisse’s technology group; and Neil Chalasani, an investment
banker at Evercore’s technology, media and telecom group.

Since then, it has steadily built its business and brought
aboard other big-name technology bankers.

Earlier this year, for instance, Quattrone hired friend
George Boutros, a Credit Suisse veteran who advised Sun
Microsystems on its $7.4 billion sale to Oracle Corp (ORCL.O: )
and Google on its $1.65 billion acquisition of YouTube.

Quattrone’s bank appears to be winning influence at just
the right moment, with the tech industry experiencing a
surprising rush of deal making. [ID:nN23195576]

Gene Hodges, CEO of Websense Inc (WBSN.O: ) — a security
software company seen as an acquisition target following
Intel’s deal for McAfee — said Quattrone has an excellent
reputation for knowing how to position a company.

“Mr Quattrone would be high on the list for anyone,
especially after seeing the magic that he’s working here. He is
doing himself a good favor for sure,” Hodges told Reuters.
(Reporting by Paul Thomasch and Megan Davies; additional
reporting by Quentin Webb in London and Soyoung Kim and
Paritosh Bansal in New York; editing by Tiffany Wu and Andre
Grenon)

NEWSMAKER-Quattrone rises as tech bidding war escalates