Allen & Co. the Invisible Investment Bank

Wilson1823's picture
Rank: Orangutan | 312

Allen & Co. now stands at number 9 in the M&A league tables after advising on both the Time Warner - Comcast, and the WhatsApp - Facebook deals.

They do not maintain a website and what I've dragged up online suggests that they actively try to maintain a low profile. But casually, these guys are killing it.

Anyone know more about them or how to get in touch? Seems like they might be looking for some more analyst help given the killer deal flow at the moment...

Allen & Company Investment Bank Overview

Allen & Company has 180 employees split among M&A, Capital Markets, Wealth Management, and Venture Capital. The M&A group consists of approximately 35 bankers and hires both summer interns and sometimes fresh college graduates.

Some well-known Managing Directors include George Tenet (former Director of the CIA), Bob Kerrey (former Senator), Bill Bradley (former Senator), and Dan Lufkin (founder of DLJ). Ian Smith (based in San Francisco) is the most important banker at the firm: he brings in the vast majority of the firm's deal flow and IBD revenues.

The entire firm is located in New York with two Managing Directors in San Francisco.

Allen and Company Investment Bank Website

The firm does not have a website.

Office Location

Located at the Coca-Cola Building on 711 Fifth Avenue in New York, the firm's offices have a very "old-school" vibe: dark wooden furniture, framed wall photos, expensive art, sculptures. The firm also has a full kitchen and butler staff, whose responsibilities are to serve clients and Managing Directors.

Bank Deal Flow

The M&A group is known to work on high-profile transactions in Technology and Media. However, Allen & Company will often slip into a deal more because of its relationships rather than its ability to execute. As a result, the firm is rarely, if ever, the sole advisor in large deals: it will usually co-advise with other banks (sometimes swooping in last minute) and allow them to do the heavy lifting.

Many of the firm's transactions are not publicly disclosed, so league tables underestimate the firm's true deal volume. Clients often come to Allen & Company for its discretion, since they can be certain that the deal will not be leaked before closing.

The firm does little pitching. On a revenue per employee basis, Allen & Company ranks near the top and very competitive with Qatalyst. The firm's transaction size "sweet spot" is between $200 million and $1 billion.

Allen & Co Culture

The firm is known to have a good culture. People are extremely accommodating, supportive, and respectful of each other's time. There is little busy work, and senior banker exposure is excellent. However, there is a lack of junior banker camaraderie given the lack of "home-grown analysts" (most of the junior bankers are lateral hires) and the conservative nature of the firm.

The firm has earned a reputation for being extremely secretive, but not in a good way. The firm is effectively a "black box": internal decisions are made behind strictly closed doors, and there is little communication within the office regarding high-level matters. When a large deal closes, or when a new senior banker joins the firm, or when someone retires, an employee will often first hear about it online.

The firm claims to have an "entrepreneurial" environment, but in reality the culture is very stuffy and traditional. The firm is incredibly bureaucratic, as every decision must go through the CEO. The entrepreneurial part refers to the fact that MDs are paid 100% on revenues they bring in (30% cut), though other firms may employ a similar structure.

Compensation

Compensation is in line with other banks, likely at the higher end.

Exit Opportunities

Analysts do not get many looks from headhunters as a BB/EB/MM because of the small analyst classes and lack of name brand. However, a few Analysts have gone into growth equity, though these candidates were extraordinary. Most end up in corporate development, startups, and business school. This is not the firm to join if you are set on buy-side opportunities.

While the firm claims that it wants to hire career bankers at the Analyst level, essentially all of its Analysts exit. The majority of the firm's Associates and above are BB/EB/MM lateral Analysts who knew they wanted to stay in IB long-term, which is the same case at any other bank.

The junior bankers are very bright, but not ridiculously impressive. Many of the best undergraduate candidates will often leverage an offer at Allen & Company for something else (see below for reason).

Allen & Company Careers and Recruiting

The firm will conduct OCR at a handful of schools and offer resume drops at others. These schools are not consistent year over year, nor do they have true "target" schools. The firm is open to recruiting from non-core schools.

The surest way to get a job at Allen & Company is to cold-email (see bottom for email format). Expect 1-3 phone screens before being invited to a superday in New York. Superday questions are a split between behavioral and standard M&I technical questions. For relationship hires, expect an easier interview process, or none at all. Recently, 1/4 of the class has been composed of relationship hires, and the rest normal hires.

Each summer class consists of 13-15 interns split among sophomores and juniors (overwhelmingly juniors). About 2/3 are placed in the M&A group and the rest into Capital Markets and Wealth Management. Sophomore interns have historically landed top-notch junior summer internships (BX, JPM, Lazard). Note that sophomore interns who return to Allen & Company for their junior year are not guaranteed full-time offers.

All junior interns in M&A are eligible for one of three full-time spots in M&A, while junior interns in Capital Markets and Wealth Management do not have an opportunity to return full-time (the firm does not hire out of college for these divisions). The firm will also consider external candidates for full-time spots in M&A.

Converting a summer internship into a full-time position is extremely risky because most banks fill their full-time positions with summer interns. As a result, many top candidates will leverage an offer at Allen & Co. for something more secure. Overall, it is not recommended to intern there as a junior as the odds are not good (the firm prides itself on hiring based on relationships). But this all depends on your risk appetite.

For lateral hires, going through a headhunter is the best way, though you'll need to work in a TMT group or TMT focused firm. Otherwise, cold emailing would probably work best.

The trend is that most of Allen & Cos candidates are from OCR and networking, with a few relationship hires sprinkled in. As a result, interns are very qualified and get quality work. Because of the low return rate, only the best and most confident interns will accept an SA position there. However, the number of full-time spots (three per year) hasn't changed, and with the increased quality of the SA pool, the full-time conversion rate becomes even more difficult. Furthermore, family connections will come into play here.

While Allen & Company does do resume drops on a number of campuses, be clear about the role you're applying for. One of my sources interviewed for IBD and, after he accepted the offer for IBD, they placed him into Wealth Management on the first day of work.

Allen & Company LLC Contact Info

While the firm does not have a website, you can still email employees there. For example, John Smith's email would be [email protected]. Use that email template along with LinkedIn to find employees at the firm. Both of the female Vice Presidents handle recruiting.

Conclusion

Allen & Company is a great firm for those interested in a long-term career in TMT investment banking. Many senior bankers joined as lateral hires from BB/EB/MM, and this is the recommended path.

Junior summer interns should be wary of the firm given the extremely low return offer rates, which are by far the lowest on Wall Street. Sophomore summer interns can easily leverage their experience at Allen & Company for a top junior summer internship elsewhere.

Overall, there is inconsistent brand quality among the firm. For those interested in a more well-rounded experience, better brand name, and better exit opportunities, a BB/EB tends to be a better bet.

This post was adapted from an in-depth review of Allen & Co posted in a separate thread.

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Comments (63)

Feb 20, 2014

Unless you personally know a BSD who works there or are the kid of a client, there is literally no chance of you working there.

Feb 20, 2014

I'd be interested to hear about this too. What's their employee size?

Feb 20, 2014

Did you go to Wharton? If not, chances are close to zero but they recruit at a few other targets, too.

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Feb 20, 2014

So I'm really glad I'm generating so much positive energy here - lots of can-do attitude on this board.

Anyone want to chime in with something constructive? Names of bankers at the firm would be a great start.

    • 2
Feb 20, 2014

You can't do a LinkedIn search on it yourself? Allen & Co is not some magical secret boutique you found... people know about it and it's been discussed on this forum quite a bit.

    • 4
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Feb 20, 2014

Reach out to Herbert Allen Jr, I wouldn't want to post again without a can-do attitude like you said.

    • 1
Feb 20, 2014

You want people to give you names of bankers at Allen? Lazy.

Feb 20, 2014

The only professionals listed in CapIQ:

Mr. Herbert Anthony Allen, III

Mr. Herbert Anthony Allen, III serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer at Allen & Company, Inc. , and Allen Holding Inc. He is President of Allen & Company LLC. Mr. Allen Allen & Company joined in 1993, focusing on the investment business sector. Mr. Allen serves as the President at Allen Investment Management, LLC. He served as an Executive Vice President and Managing Director at Allen & Company, Inc. Prior to 1993, Mr. Allen was employed at T. Rowe Price. From 1990 to 1992, he served at Botts & Company Ltd. in London. Mr. Allen has been a Director of Convera Corp. since January 2002. He serves as a Director of Allen & Company LLC and Business Executives at National Security. Mr. Allen served as a Director of Coca Cola FEMSA SA De CV since 2001. He serves as a Trustee of Prep for Prep. Mr. Allen holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from the Yale University.

Mr. Richard L. Fields, J.D.

Mr. Richard L. Fields, J.D. serves as Managing Director of Allen & Company LLC. Mr. Fields is active in mergers and acquisitions, principal investments, and private and public financings. Prior to joining Allen & Company in 1986, he served as Chief Executive Officer of Delma Studios, Inc. He serves as a Director of MusicGremlin, Inc., Nabbr.com and the CCP, LLC and served on the board of Omnipoint Corporation and its successor, VoiceStream Wireless Corporation. He served as a Director of MusicGremlin, Inc. He served as a Director of T-Mobile US, Inc.(alternate name VoiceStream Wireless Corp./T-Mobile USA Inc.) since February 2000. He received his J.D. from Harvard Law School, an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business (Arjay Miller Scholar), and a B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Mr. J. Phil Buchanan

Mr. J. Phil Buchanan serves as the President at Argent Financial Group, Inc. Mr. Buchanan has more than 25 years of experience in leading, advising and consulting financial services firms on a global basis. Mr. Buchanan is a part of the executive management team and is responsible for leading the relationship management and marketing teams. He plays a critical role in managing Argent's brand and growth strategies and expanding its base. Mr. Buchanan is a Director, and previously served as the Chief Executive Officer at Cannon Financial Institute, a financial services educational and professional development firm. He is also an active Advisor to several companies including Allen & Company and Laurus Principal Group, LLC. Mr. Buchanan holds an Economics Degree from the University of Georgia.

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Feb 20, 2014

I know an analyst there. He was pretty average, and struck out on most BBs and EBs during recruiting. They recruit at plenty of non wharton places so idk why the above posters are saying that.

"Look, you're my best friend, so don't take this the wrong way. In twenty years, if you're still livin' here, comin' over to my house to watch the Patriots games, still workin' construction, I'll fuckin' kill you. That's not a threat, that's a fact.

    • 1
Feb 20, 2014

They are doing well currently but as said above they don't recruit exclusively from Wharton and their analysts are not ridiculously impressive. Have 2 friends there (both non-ivies)

Feb 20, 2014

They do on campus recruiting at Wharton, Harvard, and University of Michigan - Ross

Feb 20, 2014

I interviewed there years ago through a headhunter. Very old school offices (think dark wood furniture and butlers everywhere). Nice people though and surprisingly down to earth.

Feb 20, 2014

I knew a SA there who struck out at the EB & top BBs from a few years ago. He joined one of MBB for f/t and is now in PE.

Feb 21, 2014

I heard they took a sophomore from Cornell this year. I would be shocked if they are trying to expand at all, as the firm prides itself on extremely lean deal teams.

Aug 23, 2016

does the extreme lean mentality transfer into more brutal working hours? Curious since seeing that they have a good deal flow going on and bit of secretive image, would assume that they have a different atmosphere, either more brutal than your usual TMT group or then the word lean is assumed in some other way in the company.

Dec 30, 2016

The latter definition. These guys don't execute as much as you would think. Their primarily value-add to their clients is the ability to get in front of pretty much anyone. They are strictly a relationship shop. I've seen them directly pass on presentations made by their client's corp dev team along to potential buyers in numerous occasions. Also, they were added to the LinkedIn-Microsoft deal two weeks before announcement to do a fairness opinion, confirmed from inside contact. Lots of prestige working there but very little actual work or experience gained. Things might be different now but who knows. Talk so some current employees or former interns for more color.

Feb 22, 2014

WSJ just wrote up a profile on Allen & Co if anyone is interested: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB100014240527...

Jul 29, 2014

Does anyone know the email format for this company? Do they even have one?

Best Response
Jul 29, 2014

nah they use pigeons

You need to understand that a good firm, a profitable firm, and an attractive stock investment can be 3 unrelated things. -Epicurean Dealmaker

    • 6
Jul 29, 2014
ytinifni:

nah they use pigeons

Can confirm, however a recent informational interview w/ an MD there revealed they would be modernizing to telegraph within a few moons.

    • 1
Aug 22, 2016

Thought I'd give back a little. Allen & Co is recruiting OCR and info sessions at my non ivy league target/top tier semi target school which I find odd given its mystique on these boards. Their email structure is: (first name initial)(whole last name)@allenco.com so John Smith would be [email protected]

"In selecting candidates, Allen looks for well-rounded individuals with outstanding academic records, proven analytical skills and a genuine interest in or understanding of finance. Top candidates often demonstrate strong oral and written communication skills, initiative, proven leadership capabilities and the ability to play a key role as a team member in a fast-paced and challenging work environment.
Documents Required
Cover Letter, Unofficial Transcript"

Aug 23, 2016

These guys hire from Northwestern.

Aug 23, 2016

There's very little consistency in the schools they hire from each year.

Aug 23, 2016

just noticed on linkedin some alums that worked there listed research and investment management like responsiblities. Allen & Co. also listed Wealth Management so I think it may have been for that.

Sep 2, 2016

.

Sep 2, 2016

I know kids who've interned for them, it's a joke

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Sep 2, 2016

Can you explain what he did?

Sep 2, 2016

From prev threads I know you and Gametheory don't have high regards for Allen&Co internships

Sep 2, 2016

PM me with any specific questions. Did you interview already? Do you have a connection of some sort?

Sep 2, 2016

hey ny23, I know this thread is a couple years old but I was wondering, did you ever intern for Allen&Co? if you did or even got an interview, can I know how? I would pm you separately but I dont have enough banana points loll

Sep 2, 2016

I seem to remember that the internships weren't incredibly interesting, but that doesn't change the fact that Allen & Co has a fantastic reputation. If you are able to get in, I'd think hard before turning it down.

Sep 2, 2016

They are getting a bad rep for the recent coke transaction... can anyone comment on this?

Sep 2, 2016

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-03-05/coca-c...
http://www.thestreet.com/story/10696910/1/pepsis-d...
""Either he (Herb Allen) should be a director or an adviser to the company. I don't think the two roles should mix," said Charles M. Elson, director of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. "The relationship from a governance standpoint interferes with your ability to be independent of management and be an objective monitor.'

Sep 2, 2016

See, most ppl who say that allen&co don't have good internships read the 2 posts by Gametheory and Drexel, one of whom prbly got the perception by reading the post of the other. Therefore, the actual opinion on this is only by one person. I was wondering if anyone who know about this from somewhere else can provide some details.

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Sep 2, 2016

[email protected]

first name initial last name @allenco.com

I'm making it up as I go along.

Sep 2, 2016

Are you planning on blitzing their emails?

Sep 2, 2016

yes. and thanks cornelius

Sep 2, 2016

?? Anyone have a friend working there or know some of the details?

Sep 2, 2016

i dont know about for full-time, but a buddy of mine interned there recently. His parents are ridiculously connected though (ie if i said his dad's name there's a good chance you'd recognize it)

im pretty sure you basically have to have some sort of connections to get in at the lower levels

email structure is [email protected] though if you want to try your luck at coldcalling/cold-emailing

Sep 2, 2016

Thanks a lot, that's hugely appreciated.

Sep 2, 2016

mergerab15, Allen & Co. just put a posting on Doostang today, unfortunately, they specify that only Wharton alumni should apply.

Sep 2, 2016

If you want, I can pm you the hiring manager's name. Let me know.

Sep 2, 2016

.

Sep 2, 2016

I interviewed there and also later did a deal with Allen as co-manager when I was at a BB. They only take analysts from a few universities. Interns are mostly children of bankers or family friends - the internship program is basically a joke. They also used to take laterals - don't know if they do in this environment.

Sep 2, 2016

for networking purposes.

you can take the email structure and apply it to the names you find via linkedin.

The world has changed. And we must change with it.

I'm making it up as I go along.

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Sep 2, 2016

Not related, but do you need to have a subscription to LinkedIn to see names? Whenever I do a search, only about four or five names actually pop up - the rest have a basic profile, but it blocks the name. Why?

Sep 2, 2016
jimbrowngoU:

Not related, but do you need to have a subscription to LinkedIn to see names? Whenever I do a search, only about four or five names actually pop up - the rest have a basic profile, but it blocks the name. Why?

Privacy

Sep 2, 2016

Yeah if they are within two degrees of you (connection of a connection) then the name shows up. Otherwise it just shows a basic description.

Sep 2, 2016

I see - wasn't sure if upgrading would give you more access.

Cornelius, the four or five names that were not hidden were people I have already contacted via my alumni network. I'm not exactly looking right now for someone to hook me up, as I have a job, but it would be nice to keep the network growing.

I'm only a senior, so what's the generally accepted LinkedIn behavior? Should you speak with someone before requesting their connection on LinkedIn? Or can you add them simply due to a connection you have (place of employment, school)?

Sep 2, 2016

Did you try Cap IQ? Here's a sampling:

Schneider, John - MD
Morris, Terry
Senior Hernandez, Enrique F. - MD
Philip Scaturro - MD
O'Hara, Walter - MD
John M. Simon

There are 14 people listed. I wouldn't try contacting Herb Allen, Donald Keough, or former Sen. Bill Bradley, but the rest seem fair game.

Sep 2, 2016

.

Sep 2, 2016

gametheory, you mind sharing more detail on your interview with them? what they look for in a junior guy?

Sep 2, 2016

PM me

Sep 2, 2016
Comment
Dec 30, 2016