When Aryeh Bourkoff resigned as head of Americas investment banking at sinking ship UBS last April, the deal-starved banking community predicted he would succeed someplace else. Nevertheless, the stunning speed with which he moved forward shocked those on Wall Street. Mr. Bourkoff, 40, quickly formed his own investment bank, LionTree, and teamed up with former UBS mergers and acquisitions co-head Ehren Stenzler. LionTree, right out of the gate, had experience, loads of contacts and an intuitive understanding of the evolving media-technology marketplace.
Last month, Liberty Global dropped a bomb on the business world with the announcement of its $23.3 billion acquisition of Virgin Media. The deal extends John Malone’s empire into Europe, where he can now fight for dominance with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Liberty Global used Mr. Bourkoff and LionTree as its lead advisors. More important: $23.3 billion? That’s Barbarians at the Gate money. The deal turned Mr. Bourkoff and his new firm into made men in the biggest takeover in six years. Granted, LionTree’s place on the summit lasted less than a day, thanks to the $24.4 billion Dell buyout. But that’s of little concern to Mr. Bourkoff, who keeps a low profile and didn’t even comment on his role when the Liberty-Virgin deal made news.