Prince: No 'I' in Citi

The CEO calls the Old Lane buy a team-builder.
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Citi

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bought hedge fund Old Lane last week because the deal offered a rare chance to grab an intact investing team.

CEO Chuck Prince said so Monday in responding to an analyst's question on Citi's first-quarter earnings call. Prince said the opportunity to sign up Old Lane's experienced staff was a big driver in the reported $600 million deal.

"While their performance is relatively young, I think it's very acceptable," Prince said. "I feel very good about buying a team rather than an individual."

Old Lane founder and former

Morgan Stanley

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exec Vikram Pandit will become chief executive of Citi Alternative Investments, where he will oversee $59 billion of assets. The executive is being viewed by some as possible heir apparent to Prince, whose performance has been widely criticized over the last year on Wall Street.

Old Lane manages about $4.5 billion and employs about 120 people in offices in places including India, where Prince has publicly stated he aims to grow. But the firm has not been around long enough to build up a solid track record of returns, one analyst noted during the call.

Citi rose $1.21 Monday to $52.81.