June 15: Doubts over Perella’s timing

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June 15: Joe Perella is in London today, at last launching his new investment banking boutique. His timing looks worse and worse by the week. The firm will be called Perella Weinberg Partners and has managed to raise an impressive $1bn from investors such as Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ, Kuwait-based Gulf Investment Corporation and Dubai’s Istithmar.

Its staff includes some of the industry’s biggest names, but it is starting life when equity markets are in turmoil and as the cheap money which has driven much of the recent M&A activity threatens to become more expensive. Perella has assembled quite a troupe: it includes Peter Weinberg, Tarek Meguid, Philip Yates, Julio Garcia, William Kourakos, Paulo Pereira and Dietrich Becker. However, some are better at drumming up new business than others. It’s hard not to laugh a little at the thought of these big hitters sitting out the M&A boom of the last few months while they took their gardening leave, only to jump in just as it begins to end.

The main event today, however, is the fantastic battle for Associated British Ports. Goldman Sachs raised its offer this morning from 810p to 840p, only for Macquarie’s consortium to say it would be prepared to offer “at least 840p”. Macquarie & co went back into the market for a second attempt to pick up stock but the price (up 6 per cent at 875p) seems to have moved against them again. One reason this is such a good story is that neither Goldman nor Macquarie – sometimes rivals, sometimes partners on infrastructure deals – can really afford to lose. Both have been humiliated on their most recent public deals: Goldman on BAA and Macquarie on the LSE. Lex, online now, makes more serious points about infrastructure investments, as will we in the paper tomorrow.

The other important story is Standard Life being forced to lower the range of its flotation price by just over 10 per cent.

Finally, there is still time to tell us all what you think about the great email from HSBC’s global head of equity research, who said that what his analysts produced was often “worthless”. Have your say through our online poll and discussion page. You can also read the email in full on FT.com.

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