By Ben Dummett
Citigroup Inc. is merging its global media and telecom investment-banking divisions into one group and appointing new leadership to oversee it. The move comes as content and distribution providers in North America and Europe are consolidating in an attempt to create industry juggernauts.
Leadership of the new communications group, along with changes within the bank's global investment-banking practice servicing private equity, pension and sovereign-wealth funds, also point to Citi's commitment to London as a key center for its investment-banking operations.
Citi's communications group will be led by New York-based Gordon Kroft, current head of the investment bank's telecommunications practice in the Americas, Dan Richards, global head of the media group, who is also based in New York, and Wilhelm Schulz, current head of mergers and acquisitions for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Mr. Schulz will also assume the role of chairman of EMEA M&A from his base in London, according to a memo announcing the changes.
The bank expects to announce a new head of EMEA M&A to oversee day-to-day operations, according to the memo.
"Due to the convergence that has occurred with telecom and media companies, and in order to provide greater focus to our business, we are combining media and telecom into a single communications group," Raymond McGuire, global head of corporate and investment banking at Citi, said in announcing the changes.
Creation of the new investment-bankinggroup comes after AT&T Inc. reached a deal in October to acquire Time Warner Inc. for about $85.4 billion. That deal would combine the millions of wireless and pay-television subscribers of AT&T with Time Warner's media lineup to offer customers online video bundles akin to a traditional pay-TV package and more mobile content.
Meanwhile in Europe, the Murdoch family's 21st Century Fox Inc. in December bid $14.6 billion to buy the 61% of British pay-TV operator Sky PLC that it doesn't already own.
Murdoch family members are major shareholders in Fox as well as News Corp., publisher of The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires.
In other changes, Mark Shafir, who heads Citigroup's technology, media and telecom investment-banking practice and is co-head of Global M&A, will now focus on the latter role, according to the memo. In that capacity, Mr. Shafir will continue to serve as the lead M&A banker to the technology and the newly created communications sectors. Citi bankers Herb Yeh and Jan Metzger will co-head the bank's global investment-banking technology franchise.
In Citi's investment banking group that focuses on global asset managers, the bank promoted Christian Anderson, who will be based in New York, and London-based Anthony Diamandakis as co-heads of the group. They will report to Mr. McGuire. Brad Coleman, who has led or co-headed the group for the past nine years will become chairman of the group, according to the memo.
The changes take effect Feb. 1.
Write to Ben Dummett at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 31, 2017 11:23 ET (16:23 GMT)
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