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The Prince of Silicon Valley

RISE, FALL AND RETURN

The Prince of Silicon Valley traces the rise of the foremost investment banker of the Internet stock-market bubble, from the back streets of South Philadelphia to the peak of finance as the highest paid banker on Wall Street.

From Cisco to Netscape to Amazon, Frank Quattrone took some of the biggest names in technology public. During the bubble years of 1999 and 2000, his California-based technology banking group led the most hot initial public offerings, which lifted the entire stock market to record heights.

But after the bubble burst, the hot stocks cooled and ordinary investors lost billions. It emerged that brokers in Quattrone’s firm had created lucrative investment accounts, stuffed with hot IPOs, for banking clients who became known as “Friends of Frank.” Some of the brokers, regulators charged, cut off other investors who refused to pay back a share of their IPO profits.

And so Quattrone and his firm became embroiled in no less than four different investigations of bubble-related misconduct, culminating in two criminal trials against Quattrone for obstruction of justice, the first resulting in a mistrial, the second in a conviction in 2004. After his conviction was overturned by an appeals court in 2006, Quattrone returned in triumph to the banking business, advising no less than Internet search giant Google on corporate strategy.

But the story of his fall from grace, however temporary, remains a cautionary tale of ambition gone wrong–of a Wall Street Icarus who flew too close to the sun. ‘The Prince of Silicon Valley’ is an absorbing noir detective story of the investigations and trials that brought him to the brink of disaster.

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