So, those two old ferrets over at Lazard seem to be content to fight in that sack for a while longer. Head of Lazard, Bruce Wasserstein and firm chairman Michel David-Weill still appear to be at loggerheads. And some of the staff are beginning to mutter that this huge turf war is not good for business. In fact, it's just not tennis, is it ?
Bruce thought that he'd got the chairman's blessing (at last) for his IPO. David-Weill is said to have now confirmed in writing to Wasserstein that the board had 'decided not to oppose your IPO project, subject to your undertaking to resign from Lazard in case the IPO isn't completed by 30th June, 2005'. Over the net to you, Bruce.
Wasserstein replied that he intended to continue heading Lazard at least until his contract expired in December, 2006. He is quoted as saying that 'I was very pleased to learn of your decision not to oppose an IPO on the financial terms we had previously agreed....As you know, a decision to commence an underwriting will only be made under the then prevailing market conditions and will only be done then if it is in the best interest of the firm and its partners'. Excellent return!
It's just a pity that this struggle is being played out against the background of an investment bank trying hard to break into the big league and not on the lower stakes grass courts of Wimbledon. At least then it would be a bit of fun. As it is, it's just a mess.