* First-qtr adj. profit 83 cents/shr vs est 79 cents/shr
* Financial advisory revenue up 26.2 pct
* Asset management revenue up 16.2 pct
* Shares rise 2.3 pct
(Adds Breakingviews link, updates share price)
By Nikhil Subba
April 27 Lazard Ltd reported a
higher-than-expected quarterly profit, mainly driven by growth
in its financial advisory business as cross-border mergers and
acquisitions got off to the strongest start in a decade.
Lazard was involved in several big cross-border deals in
2017, including Johnson & Johnson's $30 billion acquisition of
Swiss biotechnology company Actelion and Harman's $8.7 billion
buyout by Samsung.
Optimism over U.S. President Donald Trump's economic agenda
buoyed the stock market and the dollar, making foreign
acquisitions cheaper than some U.S. targets.
Cross-border M&As totaled $323.1 billion as of March end
this year, the highest level since 2007, accounting for 45
percent of total M&A activity, according to preliminary Thomson
"We've increased our market share in M&A globally, with
especially high levels of activity in Europe," Chief Executive
Kenneth Jacobs said on a post-earnings call with analysts.
The first half of 2017 continues to look strong relative to
last year, he said.
Lazard, often seen as a bellwether for the M&A advisory
industry, said earnings from its financial advisory business
surged 26.2 percent to $335.8 million in the first quarter ended
The company's shares fell 2.9 percent to $43 late Thursday
Lazard also benefited from a strong performance in its asset
management business, which the company has been building up to
diversify its revenue stream.
Revenue from the asset management business rose 16.2 percent
to $278.4 million, accounting for about 40 percent of the total
Major U.S. banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co,
Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, also reported a
jump in investment banking fees for the most recent quarter.
Global investment banking fees reached a 10-year high in the
first quarter of 2017 with more than half of the $24 billion in
total takings coming from North America, according to Thomson
Net income attributable to Lazard rose to $107.6 million, or
81 cents per share, in the quarter, from $66.8 million, or 50
cents per share, a year earlier.
On an adjusted basis, the company earned 83 cents per share,
beating the average analyst estimate of 79 cents, according to
Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Total revenue rose nearly 25 percent to $637.4 million.
(Reporting by Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb
Chakrabarty and Sriraj Kalluvila)