Citi Talks Takeover, Top Job With Old Lane’s Pandit

Apr 9 2007 | 10:10am ET

Citigroup is hoping to lure a high-profile ex-Wall Street executive to head its struggling alternative investments business, but he reportedly won’t come cheap.

Vikram Pandit, who headed Morgan Stanley’s institutional securities business before quitting in 2005 after then-CEO Philip Purcell named Zoe Cruz and Stephen Crawford co-presidents, is in talks with the banking giant about the alternatives post, which has been vacant since last spring. But in order to get Pandit, The Wall Street Journal reports, Citigroup may have to pony up as much as $600 million for his hedge fund, Old Lane, which he founded after leaving Morgan Stanley.

But that may be the going rate for Pandit who, if he joins Citi, would immediately be considered a contender for the top job at the firm when current CEO Charles Prince eventually steps down. Pandit was considered a potential successor to Purcell before his departure from Morgan Stanley.

But Citi would be killing two birds with one stone in acquiring Old Lane and, with it, Pandit. In addition to a highly-regard leader for Citi Alternative Investments, it would also add a $4 billion India-focused shop to its relatively small stable of hedge funds. CAI is the smallest of Citigroup’s four main business areas and is smaller than many of its Wall Street competitors. The division manages $49.2 billion in assets, but one-fifth of that is Citigroup’s own capital.

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