President Barack Obama nominated Antonio Weiss, head of global investment banking at Lazard Ltd (NYSE:LAZ) to serve as undersecretary for domestic finance of the Treasury Department.
Lazard is an independent financial advisory firm that has been involved in several tax-inversion transactions—a practice wherein companies reduces tax payments by transferring their business address abroad.
Obama nominated Weiss amid efforts to crack down tax-inversion
The White House announced Pres. Obama’s intention to nominate Weiss to the top finance post more than a week after the midterm congressional elections—some Democrats campaigned to oppose corporate tax-inversions. The Obama administration aims to crack down tax-inversion practices.
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Mr. Weiss is one of the top Wall Street donors to the Democratic Party. His nomination is subject to the approval of the Senate. If approved, Weiss will coordinate the policies of the Treasury Department on banking, debt financing, capital markets and regulations. He will also oversee the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection.
Weiss will replace Mary Miller, the former permanent undersecretary for domestic finance, who stepped down last September. Currently, Matthew Rutherford, the assistant secretary for financial markets has been serving as acting undersecretary since Miller’s departure.
Weiss’s notable deals at Lazard
Weiss joined Lazard in 1993 and became managing director in 1996. He served as vice chairman of European investment banking from 2006 to 2009. Subsequently, he became head of mergers and acquisitions of the financial advisory firm.
Over the past six years, Weiss handled many of the largest and high-profile M&A transactions involving consumer companies in the United States.
Weiss provided financial advice to Reynolds American, Inc. (NYSE:RAI) on its $27 billion deal to acquire Lorillard Inc. (NYSE:LO). The transaction was complex because Reynolds needed to obtain funding from British American Tobacco plc (LON:BATS), one of its largest shareholders. At the same time, Reynolds was in talks with Imperial Tobacco Group PLC (LON:IMT) to sell some of its cigarette brands to satisfy regulators and obtain their approval.
Weiss was also the primary adviser in the $52 billion merger deal between InBev and Anheuser-Busch in 2008. He also advised Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (NYSE:BUD) (EBR:ABI) on its $20 billion merger deal with Grupo Modelo SAB de CV (PINK:GPMCF) last year.
He also advised Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) in its transaction to acquire Motorola Mobility Holdings for $12.5 billion.