February 6, 2015 / 11:31 PM / 5 years ago

MOVES-Morgan Stanley M&A co-head for EMEA to join Taubman M&A firm

LONDON, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Morgan Stanley co-head of mergers and acquisitions for EMEA Johannes Groeller is to join Paul Taubman’s advisory boutique, a source familiar with the move said.

Groeller’s decision to work with Taubman after 22 years at the Wall Street investment bank was finalised this week, said the source, who asked not to be named.

Groeller and a spokesman for Morgan Stanley declined to comment. Representatives at PJT Partners, an independent financial advisory firm led by Paul J. Taubman, were not available for comment.

Groeller, who previously served as Morgan Stanley’s co-head of investment banking in Germany and Austria, is the latest managing director to leave the “bulge bracket” bank and join Taubman’s firm, as seasoned bankers are keen to spend more time on key clients or sectors in which they have expertise.

Taubman, 53, a former Morgan Stanley president who left the bank in 2012 after 30 years, has frequently poached former colleagues who moved up the ranks.

In June he hired Scott Matlock, formerly chairman of international mergers and acquisitions at Morgan Stanley, who found some familiar faces in Robert Friedsam and James Murray, both former managing directors at the bank.

Taubman last year merged his boutique, which focuses on deal-making in telecoms, media and technology (TMT), with Blackstone’s advisory business, which includes mergers and acquisitions, restructuring and private equity fundraising.

The decision to hire Groeller comes at a critical time for European telecom consolidation. A frenzy of deals is shifting the competitive landscape, such as in Britain where Hutchison is trying to form the country’s biggest mobile market player by acquiring Telefonica’s UK O2 unit for 10.25 billion pounds.

Taubman was behind some of the major TMT deals over the past few years, advising Verizon Communications on its $130 billion takeover of its wireless joint venture with Vodafone Group Plc and Comcast Corp’s agreed $42 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable.

The appointment of Groeller could help Taubman’s firm win key mandates in Europe where Vodafone is reviewing potential acquisitions, including that of Europe’s leading cable operator Liberty Global.

Vodafone was recently advised by former Morgan Stanley bankers Simon Robey and Simon Robertson, who joined forces in 2013 to form a boutique before subsequently splitting. Robey has since been joined by Simon Warshaw, who formerly worked at UBS. (Additional reporting by Arno Schuetze in Frankfurt and Greg Roumeliotis in New York)

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