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Moelis & Co. and PJT effectively charging bankers out at $9k and $5k an hour

How much do you earn as a restructuring banker at PJT Partners and Moelis & Co? A lot, but not as much as the $9k and $5k an hour that the two firms effectively charged their bankers out to WeWork for.

Both PJT and Moelis have recently filed fee applications with the US bankruptcy court in New Jersey in relation to the time they devoted to WeWork. The documents state how many hours each boutique's team of bankers spent on WeWork and the fees each firm says it's owed.

PJT for example, says its team of bankers, who included six partners (Paul Sheaffer, Steve Zelin, Jaime Baird, Joe Lenehan, Jacques Brand and Michael O'Donovan), one director (Kevin McDonough), two VPs (Meera Satiani and Chelsea Lim, two associates and two analysts, spent 2,643 hours working on WeWork between November 2023 and June 2024. Excluding out-of-pocket expenses, PJT says it's owed nearly $23m in advisory fees, which works out at nearly $9k an hour.

Moelis & Co. says its team of bankers, who included two managing directors (William Derrough and Adam Keil), an executive director (Milad Sedeh), a VP, an associate and two analysts, spent 1,300 hours working on WeWork over the same period and are now owed $6.1m in advisory fees, which works out at around $5k an hour.

What kind of work were the bankers doing? PJT in particular provides both a high level breakdown of what was occurring and some very, very detailed information on what each of its bankers was doing on a monthly basis. At a high level, PJT says its bankers were busy with all the following tasks, and more:

(a) assisted in negotiating the terms of consensual use of cash collateral; 

(b) assisted in negotiating the terms of the DIP letter of credit facility (the “DIP LC Facility”); 

(c) conducted a third-party marketing process for a new money DIP financing; 

(d) assisted in structuring and negotiating the terms of the DIP Interim New Money Facility and DIP Exit New Money Facility; 

(e) assisted in negotiating the terms of the amended RSA and Plan; 

(f) assisted in negotiating the terms of the Exit LC Facility; 

(g) participated in discussions with, and presented analyses and materials to, management and the Board on various matters, including the impact of proposed transactions;

 (h) provided declarations and in-court testimony in support of various matters, including

 (i) the use of cash collateral, 

(ii) approval of the DIP LC Facility, (iii) extension of exclusivity,

(iv) approval of the DIP New Money Facilities, and (v) confirmation of the Plan; 

(i) prepared the valuation analysis in respect of the reorganized Debtors for purposes of the disclosure statement relative to the Plan

At an individual level, PJT says its partners were talking to external advisors, preparing for court meetings, meeting with management, meeting with SoftBank, and meeting the board. Further down the hierarchy, its more junior bankers were mostly involved in internal meetings, the preparation of materials and a lot of financial analysis. 

Interestingly, the person who worked the most on the WeWork deal at PJT was Meera Satiani, a VP. But the people who spent the longest working on the deal at Moelis were the two analysts. 

The court documentation also provides insights into the out-of-pocket expenses charged by the two firms. Moelis & Co. racked by $51k in expenses, mostly in the form of legal fees. PJT amassed a more modest $11k, which included multiple $35 meals for its associates when they worked "3 hours beyond their regularly scheduled workday," and a $421 private car service to take Paul Sheaffer from his home in New Jersey to the bankruptcy court in Newark. 

Hours worked by person on the WeWork deal at PJT: 

Source: Court filing

Hours worked by person on the WeWork deal at Moelis: 

Source: Court filing

Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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