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Guggenheim lures oil and gas bankers from Citigroup -sources

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·2 min read
FILE PHOTO: The Citigroup Inc logo is seen at a conference in Toronto, Canada
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By David French

(Reuters) - Guggenheim Securities has hired three investment bankers from Citigroup Inc's oil and gas team, people familiar with the matter said, as competition for talent in the sector intensifies amid a surge in energy prices that favors dealmaking.

The trio includes Muhammad Laghari, who had been head of North American upstream investment banking at Citigroup and will be tasked with leading Guggenheim's push into advising oil and gas exploration and production companies on mergers and acquisitions and capital markets transactions, the sources said.

All three Houston-based bankers are set to start at Guggenheim in the fall after a period of gardening leave, added the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential information.

Guggenheim did not respond to a comment request. Citigroup declined comment.

Guggenheim's push into oil and gas dealmaking comes as U.S. crude and natural gas prices remain elevated after earlier this year hitting their highest levels since 2008, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine disrupted energy supply markets.

This backdrop has encouraged energy companies and private investors to try and sell oil and gas assets, with the aim of locking in bumper valuations. Transaction levels have been blunted though by commodity price volatility, with the value of U.S. upstream M&A in the second quarter down two-thirds on the same period a year earlier, according to energy consultants Enverus.

The departures from Citigroup come as Stephen Trauber, the bank's global co-head of natural resources and clean energy transition investment banking, announced this week he was retiring.

Trauber is one of the most prominent energy investment bankers in the United States, having put together hundreds of oil and gas transactions in his career.

(Reporting by David French in New York; Editing by Nick Zieminski)