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Huizenga Chooses Allen & Co. as Banker

Times Staff and Wire Reports

H. Wayne Huizenga is on an acquisition tear, and he’s relying on Allen & Co. rather than his traditional banker, Merrill Lynch & Co. Huizenga, the billionaire owner of Republic Industries Inc. and the Florida Panthers hockey team, Florida Marlins baseball team and Miami Dolphins football team, used Allen for more than $1 billion of private stock sales in the last six weeks. Since May 1995, the investment bank reaped an estimated $75 million in fees from Republic. Allen displaced Merrill after Jack Schneider, an Allen managing director, met Huizenga at a fund-raising event a few years ago and introduced him to his boss, Herbert Allen Jr. Huizenga became a regular at Allen’s annual conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, where media moguls often strike multibillion-dollar alliances. Merrill still has ties to Huizenga: It represented Republic in giving a fairness opinion to its board on the acquisition of AutoNation. Still, Allen & Co. has grabbed the lion’s share of Republic’s recent banking business. A Merrill spokesman said Huizenga “remains an important and valued client of the firm.” Shares of Republic rose 37.5 cents to close at $36.375 in Nasdaq trading.


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