Lazard CEO: M&A rebound still in the distance

July 29, 2009

Bruce Wasserstein

Those anticipating a quick return to the heyday of mergers & acquisitions may have a wait a little while longer. 

Lazard CEO Bruce Wasserstein told investors in a conference call that it would be four years before traditional M&A activity picks back up to earlier highs. 

“We are planning for a gradual increase in traditional M&A activity, reaching the prior period highs in about four years,” Wasserstein said.

Lazard, which reported earnings on Wednesday, saw a bounce in M&A from the first quarter, but is still well behind the year-ago quarter. 

In the meantime, the restructuring business is taking up some of the slack. The restructuring unit posted a record quarter with $93 million in operating revenues. 

“The advisory business at Lazard is now much broader than M&A,” Wasserstein said.

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