When SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg wanted to buy out investors from his Internet company and attract new ones who wouldn’t balk at his aim to stay private, he steered clear of traditional start-up financiers in the venture-capital community.
Bloomberg reports that instead, Goldberg turned to an entirely different adviser: JPMorgan.
Jimmy Lee, vice chairman of the investment bank who normally works on multibillion dollar deals, travelled from New York to SurveyMonkey’s headquarters in Palo Alto, California, to brainstorm Goldberg’s options. Goldberg later hired JPMorgan to lead a $350m syndicated loan for SurveyMonkey as part of an $800m recapitalization of the closely held company completed last year.
'Considering what a small company we are, SurveyMonkey isn’t something Jimmy would usually spend time on,' Goldberg, who is married to Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, said in an interview. The recapitalization, which also involved selling $444m in equity to Goldberg, Tiger Global Management and Google, valued SurveyMonkey at $1.35bn.
Wall Street investment banks - from JPMorgan to Bank of America and Credit Suisse - are increasingly catering to closely held technology start-ups, especially in Silicon Valley. While firms led by Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs have long cultivated relationships with venture capitalists and entrepreneurs to later earn fees managing initial public offerings and advising on acquisitions, many banks have expanded the roster of services in recent years.
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