Outlook: Goldman Sachs

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TALK ABOUT the luck of the devil. Just six months ago, Goldman Sachs seemed to be out for the count, its planned IPO floored by the turmoil in equity markets and its profits all but wiped out by a mountain of proprietary trading losses. Now everything's fine again, so much so that the price of the IPO is to be upped from the initial range of $40 to $50 a share to perhaps as high as $45 to $55.

Taking the mid point, that would value the investment bank at about $25bn. So great are the spoils that partners have agreed to cascade more than 20 per cent of the stock down through the bank's 13,000 staff, with everyone guaranteed stock worth at least a half their annual salary. Some will do much better.

Meanwhile, the bank is taking on extra office space in London like it was going out of fashion, certain in its view that the European investment banking market will become as big as that of the US, that London will be its centre, and that Goldman Sachs will be one of its dominant forces. Quite a turnaround.