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Star Bear Bankers to Fly Solo

Two top Bear Stearns investment bankers are opening an advisory boutique and plan to split with JPMorgan Chase (JPM) the fee they expect to earn on a $5.2 billion buyout deal, sources close to the deal say.

Denis Bovin and Mike Urfirer were not offered positions at JPMorgan following its acquisition of Bear Stearns, which closed last week, according to a JPMorgan source and a former Bear Stearns colleague. The chief reason for their departure appears to be that they were accustomed to calling on a wide range of companies in the defense and technology industries, and they would have clashed with other bankers who had some of the same clients, the sources said.

Bovin and Urfirer, however, will split the fee they expect to earn from the sale of defense contractor DRS Technologies (DRS) to Italian defense company Finmeccanica for about $5.2 billion. The deal was agreed to last month and is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

Bovin could not be reached, and Ufirer did not return a call placed to his home.

A spokeswoman for DRS explained that the company has been highly acquisitive over the past decade and that Bear has usually been the "key" bank on "pretty much all" of its deals. "In the midst of Bear Stearns being sold, it wasn't immediately clear to us what was going to be happening or where people were going to be going, but we already had the established relationships with Bovin and Urfirer and so just continued along that same path," she said.

Though Bear Stearns typically served mid-cap clients, Bovin and Urfirer regularly advise large-cap companies. Current clients include Nortel Networks (NT), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), IBM (IBM) and General Dynamics (GD), according to a former colleague of the two executives.

The former colleague says Bovin was close to receiving an offer to become secretary of the Navy in 2005, but told then-Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace that he was not interested. The former colleague says Bovin turned down the opportunity because he was making too much money at the time.

Bovin's name was regularly floated as a candidate for the post in military trade publications at the time.

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