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Timing is everything. Just ask Melbourne-based banker John Wylie.

Timing is everything. Just ask Melbourne-based banker John Wylie. On July 31 the 46-year-old announced the sale of his jointly owned boutique advisory business, Carnegie, Wylie & Co., to Lazard for an estimated A$150 million to A$200 million ($120 million to $160 million), just a day before the subprime mortgage woes reached Australian shores. "We didn't look to time the deal," he says. "But it was a good transaction for both us and Lazard."

Wylie says he and partner Mark Carnegie had not contemplated a sale before being approached by Lazard. But he had worked for Lazard chairman and CEO Bruce Wasserstein during a stint at Credit Suisse First Boston in the late 1980s, and Lazard's model as an independent adviser was similar to his. "It's a fantastic fit with our business model, culture and ethos," he says, "Now we can offer an international career path for our young employees."