JPM Cazenove tie-up created a force to be reckoned with

WHEN US investment bank JP Morgan struck a deal to buy out half of Cazenove back in November 2004, many in the City felt it would be the beginning of the end, with the Queen&rsquo;s stockbroker losing its reputation as a consummately professional independent dealmaker.<br /><br />In fact, quite the opposite has proved the case; despite rumblings about a culture clash between the conservative Cazenovers and their brasher American counterparts, the joint venture has gone from strength to strength, causing the competition to quiver in their boots.<br /><br />JPMorgan Cazenove has been involved with virtually every high-profile City deal of the past few years. It advised Barclays on last year&rsquo;s lucrative&nbsp; acquisition of the US operations of failed Lehman Brothers, and has blazed a trail this year on some of the largest rights issues the London market has ever seen, including <br />HSBC, Rio Tinto &ndash; where its chairman Sir David Mayhew is a director &ndash; and now Lloyds Banking Group&rsquo;s planned &pound;13.5bn rights issue.<br /><br />Its dominance in corporate broking remains unchallenged, with the latest figures showing it advises 36 FTSE 100 clients, five more than either UBS or Merrill Lynch in joint second place.<br /><br />Last year, JPMorgan Cazenove posted pre-tax profits of &pound;134.5m, a fall of just 15 per cent on 2007 in one of the toughest years on record. And this year, after a bumper crop of deals, the the firm expects to do even better. <br /><br />With such golden prospects, is it any wonder JP Morgan is keen to crystallise its involvement before February&rsquo;s deadline?