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Former Citigroup Star Internet Analyst Mahaney Joins RBC

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01/07/2013 | 07:49pm CEST

--Star Internet analyst moves to RBC after Citigroup dismissal

--RBC looks to ramp up Internet sector coverage with Mark Mahaney at helm

--Citigroup in October admitted to allegations against Mahaney for violating disclosure laws

(Updates with additional comment from RBC in third paragraph.)

   By Kaitlyn Kiernan and Alexandra Scaggs 

NEW YORK--Veteran tech analyst Mark Mahaney has been hired by RBC Capital Markets less than three months after his dismissal from Citigroup Inc. (C) for violating disclosure rules.

Mr. Mahaney will join RBC Capital Markets as a managing director, leading the bank's Internet-sector coverage from San Francisco, as he did for Citigroup.

An RBC spokeswoman said Mr. Mahaney wasn't available for comment and declined to comment on the disclosures violation. A spokeswoman for Citi declined to comment.

Citi dismissed Mr. Mahaney--who had worked for the bank for seven years and was among its most high-profile analysts--in October after he and another analyst were accused by Massachusetts regulators of breaking rules covering disclosures to the media about Facebook Inc. (>> Facebook Inc) and Google Inc. (>> Google Inc), two companies he covered.

Massachusetts fined Citi for failing to supervise Mr. Mahaney and a junior analyst he oversaw. Massachusetts found that Mr. Mahaney e-mailed a magazine reporter unpublished revenue estimates for Google's YouTube business without proper clearance and tried to cover it up.

Massachusetts also alleged the junior analyst shared nonpublic information about Citigroup's opinion on Facebook's investment risks and revenue estimates with employees of Techcrunch.com, an online media company. At the time, there was a ban on communication between employees of banks underwriting Facebook's initial public offering and the public about the social network's prospects.

Citigroup Global Markets Inc., the bank's investment-banking arm, admitted to the regulator's statement of facts and agreed to permanently cease and desist from violating state securities laws.

Mr. Mahaney's move comes as the conduct of analysts employed by firms underwriting Facebook's initial public offering has faced increased scrutiny. Morgan Stanley last month agreed to pay $5 million to settle allegations from Massachusetts regulators that one of its prominent investment bankers, Michael Grimes, tried to improperly influence research analysts days before Facebook went public in May. Morgan Stanley didn't admit or deny the allegations.

Mr. Mahaney produced research that was held in high regard by many investors, and his star power helped Citi land work with technology companies heading to market. During his time with Citi, the firm led Zillow Inc.'s (Z) offering, as well as those of Bankrate Inc. (>> Bankrate Inc) and Active Network Inc. (>> Active Network Inc).

In his new position, Mr. Mahaney will report to Marc Harris, RBC Capital Markets' co-head of global research, RBC said Monday in a release announcing his hiring.

"We are excited to add Mark's talents to our strong global research team," said Mr. Harris. His "insightful analysis of the Internet sector is second to none. His arrival underscores RBC's strong research platform and will provide our clients with unparalleled insight and expertise of the Internet sector."

Toronto-based RBC has been expanding in the U.S. and has made several notable hires in its investment-banking business, part of a five-year push to become an elite American bank. But the lender has spent heavily, and some analysts have criticized its results. In 2012, the bank wasn't among the top 10 global leaders in mergers-and-acquisitions advising. But it ranked No. 10 in equity-capital-markets business, which includes work related to IPOs and share sales, according to data provider Dealogic.

RBC shares in New York slipped 39 cents, or 0.6%, to $61.47, while Citigroup shares lost 18 cents, or 0.4%, to $42.25.

-David Benoit contributed to this article

Write to Kaitlyn Kiernan at kaitlyn.kiernan@dowjones.com

Corrections & Amplifications

This item was corrected at 3:07 p.m. ET to reflect that Massachusetts regulators alleged that a junior analyst Mahaney oversaw shared nonpublic information with Techcrunch.com. The original version misstated that Mahaney was also also alleged with sharing nonpublic information with Techcrunch.com.

Stocks mentioned in the article : Facebook Inc, Active Network Inc, Google Inc, Bankrate Inc
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