Daily News: March 21, 2013

Berenson Names Ex-Sprint Exec Senior Advisor

Independent merchant-banking firm Berenson & Company said that it appointed Keith Cowan as a senior advisor. Cowan was most recently president of strategic planning and corporate initiatives at Sprint Nextel.

Prior to his departure from Sprint in early January 2013, Cowan negotiated the sale of control of Sprint to Softbank for $20.1 billion (reflecting both an $8.1 billion equity infusion and the $12 billion purchase of 55% of the outstanding shares), and the $10 billion acquisition of control of Clearwire Corporation (both transactions are awaiting shareholder and regulatory approvals).

Previously he had led the acquisitions of Virgin Mobile and iPCS, and the restructuring of Clearwire into a joint venture that included Google, Intel, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks as lead investors. Prior to joining Sprint in 2007, Cowan was with BellSouth for eleven years in various senior executive capacities, including chief development officer, following fourteen years as a mergers and acquisitions lawyer with Alston & Bird in Atlanta.

“We are thrilled to have such a talented person as Keith joining our firm,” said Jeffrey Sechrest, president of Berenson & Company. “It is particularly exciting to me personally as Keith and I have known each other for over 30 years, and have worked together frequently in the past. His knowledge of the rapidly changing telecommunications industry, and its impact on other industries and business models, is unparalleled. It will substantially deepen our commitment and enhance our capabilities in the Media, Entertainment, Telecom and Technology sectors.”

“This is definitely the most exciting time in telecommunications that I have seen in my long career in the industry,” said Cowan. “The disruption that is taking place due to the convergent advances in wireless network and device technologies, data storage and analytics, and access to current customer information, not to mention changes in the regulatory environment, is creating opportunities for new partnerships and revolutionary business models. I came to Berenson because it is well-positioned to help its clients take advantage of these new opportunities, and I look forward to leveraging my experience and knowledge to that end.”