Udayan Bose: The affable deal maker of the ‘90s


MUMBAI: Udayan Bose, the affable deal maker of the ‘90s — an era when a rich contact-book and trustworthiness of an investment banker mattered more than financial clout — died in Mumbai on Wednesday. He was 71.

Bose is survived by his wife, daughter, and two sons.

Known for his networking skills and relationships with some of the biggest names of Corporate India, Bose led the Indian arm of Lazard, the international financial services house.

The RPG takeover of HMV, the joint venture between Rediffusion and Dentsu, Young & Rubicam, and Zuari Cement’s bid for Sree Vishnu Cement were among the deals where he acted as advisor.

One of the early names in merchant banking — the term for investment banking in the ‘70s and ‘80s — Bose was part of the merchant banking division of Grindlays, which was then an influential foreign bank and a training ground for many bankers.

He later became the regional director of Grindlays Asia Pacific and director in the Asia operations of Deutsche Bank. In the mid-80s, he ventured out to strike a tie-up with Lazard to set up his own shop — making him the first to rope in a large foreign I-bank as a partner in India.

After 20 years, Bose sold his stake to Lazard amid speculation of differences with Bruce Wasserstein, the American investment banker and writer who became the head of Lazard.

Uday Kotak, who has seen the city’s capital market evolve since the ‘80s, has great memories of Bose. “I met him in the European Asian Bank, which later became Deutsche Bank. After Deutsche, he brought over a broking firm – Merwanji Bomanji and Dalal and partnered with Lazard. An original merchant banker and a professional turned entrepreneur…. Time flies.. will miss him,” said Kotak.

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A raconteur who used to narrate some of the untold stories in a baritone voice, Bose was active in the social media — often noticed for his outspoken tweets on politics. “He was a people’s person.. there was a warm atmosphere in the workplace,” said long-time colleague Ravi Rangachari.

Bose was chairman of the Calcutta Stock Exchange in 2008/09.

A student of Presidency College, Kolkata, Bose, grew up in a middle-class family. He never forgot his roots, though he rarely spoke about his early life. When a journalist got a whiff of his appointment in a senior panel of Lazard Global, Bose requested him if it was possible to carry a small photograph in the Kolkata edition of the newspaper as it would make his mother happy. “Well, I couldn’t say, no. He was a good guy, a great source,” recalls the senior reporter.





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