Jefferies Makes Another Effort to Crack Mideast Market Amid Boom
(Bloomberg) -- Jefferies has applied for a license in Dubai and is recruiting bankers in the region in an effort to return to the Middle East after a multi-year hiatus, according to people familiar with the matter.
The New York-based investment bank has offered jobs to others in the industry after initiating the application process in the emirate’s financial center last year, said the people, who didn’t want to be named because the information isn’t public.
Spokespeople for Jefferies, the Dubai International Financial Centre freezone and the Dubai Financial Services Authority declined to comment.
Jefferies, which has been recruiting globally in an effort to win more business advising financial institutions, is making its latest attempt to establish a presence in the Gulf.
Lured by the region’s deep pools of capital, the firm joined a wave of investment banks that set up in Dubai more than a decade ago. But it decided to leave in 2008 as the global financial crisis forced many advisory firms to slim down and retreat from overseas markets.
It re-entered the region in 2012 but those efforts fizzled and the license was withdrawn in 2018, according to the Dubai Financial Services Authority’s public register.
Recently, deal-flow has picked up again in the wider Middle East led by Saudi Arabia, which has produced a record number of public listings amid an economic overhaul. Abu Dhabi, and now Dubai too, are looking to keep up by offering shares in state entities.
Despite its absence on the ground, Jefferies was involved in some notable regional deals in recent years, including advising ride-hailing app Careem in its sale to Uber Technologies Inc. It also advised Abu Dhabi fund ADQ on its acquisition last year of Swiss pharmaceuticals firm Acino and had a role in the initial public offerings of several Israeli companies.
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