Ken Moelis Wants Your Money, Not Your Input

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Moelis & Co. is a boutique investment bank founded by former UBS and Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette executive Kenneth Moelis, but its public filings ahead of a planned IPO appear suggest an ownership structure that has more in common with publicly-traded private equity firms.

Moelis & Co. is offering 7.3 million Class A shares and said in a Friday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. it expects that the IPO will price at between $26 and $29 a share. At the midpoint of Moelis & Co.'s range, the company would be valued at $1.4 billion. Shareholders in Moelis & Co., however, will have limited voting rights.

Due to a dual class structure, 96.6% of those rights will go to Ken Moelis, Chairman & CEO.

Moelis & Co. Seeks to Avoid Activists in IPO

In that sense, the best comparison for Moelis & Co.'s shares may be the publicly traded units in private equity firms such as Apollo Global Management (APO), Blackstone Group (BX), Carlyle Group (CG), and KKR & Co. (KKR), and not the investment banking boutique's primary competitors such as Greenhill & Co. (GHL), Evercore Partners (EVR) and Lazard (LAZ), or larger full service firms such as Goldman Sachs (GS) and Morgan Stanley (MS).

The distinction comes down to the voting structure of each respective firm.

Normally, corporations offer investors one vote for each share, meaning it is investors who effectively control a company. Publicly traded partnerships, in contrast, give founders autonomy to run their business but offer public investors distributions of the profits from those businesses and a limited ability to influence strategy.

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