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Lazard results top Street on gains from M&A unit

NEW YORK (AP) -- Lazard Inc. posted a flat second-quarter profit Thursday, but its adjusted results topped analyst estimates as it saw strong gains from its corporate merger and advisory business, including deals involving the buyouts of MetroPCS by T-Mobile and H.J. Heinz by Berkshire Hathaway.

The Bermuda-based investment bank reported net income of $31 million, or 24 cents per share, for the three months ended June 30. That compares with $30.8 million, or 24 cents per share, a year ago.

Adjusted for restructuring costs, tax benefits and other one-time items, Lazard said its profit was 45 cents for the quarter. Adjusted profit in the 2012 second quarter was 25 cents per share.

Revenue rose 12 percent to $510.7 million, from $457.2 million in the 2012 second quarter.

Analysts, on average, were expecting profit of 33 cents per share, on revenue of $450.6 million, according to FactSet.

Financial advisory revenue increased 9 percent to $263 million, with several manager deals involving global sovereign clients and gains from advising General Motors and Ally Financial on asset sales involving the U.S. Treasury. Lazard also provided advisory services in several high-profile bankruptcies, including Eastman Kodak and the Allied Pilots Association with respect to American Airlines.

Merger and acquisition advisory revenue jumped 12 percent to $218 million. Other big deals Lazard worked on were the purchase of portions of Grupo Modelo by Anheuser-Busch InBev and Constellation Brands and the combination of Glencore International PLC, one of the world's biggest commodity traders, with Anglo-Swiss mining company Xstrata PLC.

Asset management revenue rose 18 percent to $243 million, helped by the market rally. Assets under management were $163.29 billion as of June 30, up 10 percent from last year's $148.44 billion, but were down 5 percent from the March quarter's $171.97 billion. Lazard said its clients pulled $413 billion out in the quarter.

In morning trading, Lazard shares rose $1.44, or 4.2 percent, to $35.97. The stock has traded between $23.52 and $38.35 in the past 52 weeks, and started the session up about 16 percent since the beginning of the year.