Former star investment banker Frank Quattrone, who just ended a deferred prosecution agreement that essentially prevented him from working on Wall Street for the past year, may be teaming up with two prominent Wall Street executives in a new venture, CNBC has learned.
Quattrone was spotted Friday afternoon in the Midtown Manhattan offices of Invemed Securities, a brokerage firm run by billionaire financier Ken Langone. Quattrone met with Langone and former New York Stock Exchange Chairman Richard Grasso, CNBC has learned. Later the trio had lunch at a local restaurant.
The meeting fueled speculation that the group may be forming a business venture. Langone seemed to confirm that when he issued a statement: "When we're ready to announce our joint venture, (CNBC) will be the first to know."
Quattrone, whose conviction on obstruction of justice charges was reversed in March 2006, had not worked since that time. Under the agreement, he needed to stay clear of any legal trouble for a period of one year, which made it difficult for him to to get back into the deal making business.
Earned $100 Million
It's not like he needed the money: At the height of his career, Quattrone earned around $100 million in just one year. Quattrone has stayed busy through charitable activities, however. He is chairman of the Tech Museum of Innovation, and works for an advocacy group that represents jailed individuals believed to be convicted wrongfully.
Grasso didn't return telephone calls seeking comment. A spokesman for Quattrone had no comment.
An assistant to Langone added that Quattrone was in Langone's office because Langone "wanted to show him an airplane model." She declined to elaborate.
Grasso and Langone are still facing civil charges filed by the New York Attorney General's office over Grasso's $140 million pay package. Like Langone, Grasso hasn't been working regularly amid his legal woes, though he does spend some time aiding former UBS PaineWebber chairman Joseph Grano with his private equity firm.
Grasso has appealed a summary judgment from a state supreme court judge that ordered him to return most of the money. He has said that he won't begin work until the case is over, but that may now be changing.
Quattrone, on the other hand, can get back to work anytime now. Quattrone was known for having some of the best contacts in Silicon Valley, where reigned as Wall Street's most prolific bankers during the 1990s technology bubble, including the 1995 IPO of Netscape Communications, which is considered the launching point for the tech financing boom.
Many people on Wall Street believe he will open up shop out there, possibly starting a private equity firm. Langone, the co founder of HomeDepot, is always looking for new business opportunities.