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Cowan weds Bannon

Purchase pushes SocGen more into media

SG Cowan Securities Corp., the Wall Street arm of French bank Societe Generale, acquired Beverly Hills media investment bank Bannon & Co. for an undisclosed sum, Cowan announced Friday.

The acquisition highlights SocGen’s push to beef up Cowan’s investment banking effort in several major industries, including media and entertainment, since the French bank bought Cowan last year.

SocGen and Bannon formed a joint venture in late 1996, but this deal brings Bannon into the bank completely. Bannon’s two principals, Steve Bannon and Scot Vorse, will join SG Cowan as co-heads of the firm’s investment banking media and entertainment group, Cowan said.

Nuptials

Cowan’s head of investment banking, Kim Fennebresque, said Friday that after 18 months of the joint venture, both sides had to “either get married or get divorced, and everybody wanted to get married.”

He declined to comment on the terms of the acquisition other than to say “obviously it was something that made everybody economically happy. We have compensated (Vorse and Bannon) generously.”

Bannon will relocate to Cowan’s Gotham headquarters, while Vorse will continue to hold down the fort at the firm’s Beverly Hills office.

Additionally, Cowan media investment banker Stephanie Young moved into the firm’s equity capital markets group to focus on media and entertainment capital-raisings.

Opened for Hatch

SG Cowan also confirmed the hiring of research analyst Ed Hatch from Warburg Dillon Read to head up the firm’s media research effort (Daily Variety, 10/2). Hatch, who replaces Harold Vogel, will work alongside Cowan’s location-based entertainment analyst Paul Marsh and cable analyst Gary Farber.

Bannon & Co. have built a franchise since its founding in 1990, representing such clients as Polygram, Westinghouse and MGM. The firm advised Polygram Holdings during the negotiations on its sale to Seagram Co. earlier this year and has been representing Polygram Filmed Entertainment during the auction of PFE over the past few months.

“Adding the successful and highly focused advisory practice of Bannon & Co. to SG’s significant financial resources and global reach … will make us an even stronger provider of integrated financial solutions to the entertainment and media industries,” said SG Cowan CEO Curtis Welling.

Vorse said in a statement that “SG’s global platform … will give our team of bankers a unique opportunity to assist both emerging growth and large capitalization companies in the entertainment and media industries.”