Sandler O'Neill Announces Minority Investment by Kelso & Company and The Carlyle Group Investment to Support Strategy and Growth Initiatives

Sandler Management Team to Remain in Place

NEW YORK, Nov. 4, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Sandler O'Neill + Partners, L.P., a full-service investment banking firm specializing in financial services companies, today announced that it has reached an agreement with Kelso & Company and The Carlyle Group under which Kelso and Carlyle will make a substantial minority equity investment in Sandler O'Neill.  Sandler O'Neill, Kelso and Carlyle expect the transaction to close at the end of the year.  Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The investment will help support the next level of growth and expansion of Sandler O'Neill and the accelerated development and enhancement of its client services.  Sandler O'Neill's current management team, led by James J. Dunne III and Jonathan Doyle, will remain in place and continue to make all strategic and management decisions for the firm.  All the existing partners of Sandler O'Neill are participating in the proposed transaction and, in addition to retaining a majority of their partnership interests, have agreed to a multi-year non-compete allowing for even greater stability amongst the partners.

"As we near the completion of one of the strongest years in Sandler O'Neill's history, we are very pleased and excited to welcome Kelso and Carlyle as investors.  It is a tremendous vote of confidence in what we have built at Sandler and will help us as we move our business to the next level," said Mr. Dunne, Senior Managing Principal of Sandler O'Neill.  

Mr. Doyle, Managing Principal of Sandler O'Neill, added, "In Kelso and Carlyle, we have found sophisticated, experienced partners who understand and appreciate our business and unique culture.  With this investment, we will be in an even stronger position to build long-term relationships with our clients and help them in meeting their objectives.  We look forward to a long and successful collaboration with our new investors."

Olivier Sarkozy, Managing Director and Head of Global Financial Services for The Carlyle Group, said, "Sandler O'Neill has built an impressive franchise over the last two decades.  We look forward to supporting the continued growth of the firm as it seeks to strengthen and expand its position as a trusted advisor to financial institutions.  We are pleased to have this unique opportunity to invest in such a powerful platform and are excited to begin this partnership."

"Sandler O'Neill's reputation as an investment bank for financial companies is unsurpassed.  It is a highly successful firm with a consistent history of profitable growth and exceptional prospects," said Thomas R. Wall IV, Principal of Kelso & Company.  "We have worked very closely with the Sandler team for some time to thoroughly understand the franchise and its business opportunities, and we came away very enthusiastic.  We look forward to partnering with Jimmy Dunne, Jon Doyle and their talented team of Principals and colleagues at Sandler O'Neill, as well as with Carlyle, for many years to come."

In equity capital raising, Sandler O'Neill managed more public offerings for depository institutions to date in 2010 than any other investment bank, with 26 transactions that raised approximately $8.5 billion for clients.(1)

Sandler O'Neill is the No. 1 advisor on bank & thrift mergers this year as measured by aggregate deal value.(2)  The firm has advised on 21 mergers worth an aggregate of $2.4 billion.

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is legal advisor to Sandler O'Neill in connection with the transaction.  Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is legal advisor to Kelso and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is legal advisor to Carlyle.

(1)  Source: SNL Financial, includes book run and co-managed public common equity offerings in 2009 for banks and thrifts.

(2)  Source: SNL Financial LC, data since 01/01/10.  Sandler O'Neill ranks first in aggregate deal value and second in number of transactions.

About Sandler O'Neill + Partners, L.P.

Founded in 1988, Sandler O'Neill + Partners is a full-service investment banking firm dedicated to providing comprehensive, innovative advisory and transaction execution services to the financial industry. The firm specializes in strategic business planning, mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, mutual-to-stock conversions, investment portfolio and interest rate risk management, fixed income securities transactions and mortgage finance restructurings. Sandler O'Neill also is a market maker in hundreds of financial stocks and publishes equity and fixed income research focused on selected banks, thrifts and insurance companies, credit card companies, investment banks, asset managers, specialty finance companies, e-finance companies, real estate investment trusts and transaction execution companies. Additional information about Sandler O'Neill can be found on the firm's website at www.sandleroneill.com.


Steve Frankel / Nick Lamplough

Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher

212-355-4449


David Franecki

Sandler O'Neill

212-466-8071




SOURCE Sandler O'Neill + Partners, L.P.



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