Lazard Ltd. (NYSE: LAZ) is a New York-based, independent investment bank. They employ approximately 2,200 persons internationally. Lazard's origins date back to 1848 when the founders, the Lazard brothers, Alexandre Lazard, Simon Lazard, and Elie Lazard, moved to the United States from France. The Jewish Lazard brothers formed Lazard Frères & Co., a dry goods business in New Orleans, Louisiana. Shortly thereafter, the Lazard brothers moved, with the gold rush, to San Francisco, California, where they opened a business selling imported goods and exporting gold bullion. The business progressively became involved in financial transactions, first with its retail clients and then increasingly with commercial clients. Over time, the business expanded into the banking and foreign exchange businesses. Lazard has advised on several large and significant transactions, such as Microsoft’s 2002 $72 Billion merger of Comcast and AT&T Broadband. In May 2005, Lazard went public under the leadership of Bruce Wasserstein, ending over 150 years of private ownership.
Source: Wikipedia, Lazard.com