Londoner lands at ABN

Vet analyst will look to hire team to track media trends

NEW YORK — Veteran Wall Streeter David Londoner has ankled Schroder & Co. to launch aU.S. Media and Entertainment Group for giant Dutch investment bank ABN Amro.

A major global player, ABN Amro has a team of six analysts that tracks the European media biz from London headquarters. The bank is hoping to recreate that on Wall Street.

Londoner, 63, built a reputation at Schroder as a top-rated analyst adept at spotting long-term trends, like the erosion of the big three broadcast networks to upstart nets and cable. While it seems obvious now, it wasn’t in the 1980s.

He’d been at the company for nearly 28 years, an impressive run in an industry where a string of mergers and strong financial markets have led to frenetic firm hopping. Londoner himself exited Schroder after it was bought by Citigroup’s Salomon Smith Barney.

He says he’s looking to hire about six people in New York to follow cable, broadcasting (TV and radio), advertising, publishing and music. He plans to pick up coverage of the big entertainment congloms including Time Warner, Walt Disney, Viacom and Seagram directly and will join Internet analyst Arthur Newman, also from Schroder, in researching America Online/Time Warner, the proposed merger that’s pushed entertainment and online analysts at most firms to put their heads together.

One of Londoner’s major achievements has been to help draft new accounting rules for film studios aimed at making Hollywood’s balance sheets easier to understand and analyze — and at having the numbers more accurately reflect costs and revenues.

The regs were approved and should be published in final form within a week. As a result, studios will be taking hefty write-downs in coming quarters.

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