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January 1, 2000

Small Firm Swallowed By Prudential Securities

By Staff Reports

One of the few remaining independent investment banks, 235-employee Volpe Brown Whelan, has been acquired by brokerage behemoth Prudential Securities.

San Francisco-based Volpe Brown, which specializes in emerging growth companies, has been reinvented as the Prudential Volpe Technology Group at Prudential Securities, a subsidiary of the Prudential Insurance Company of America. Terms of the cash deal were not disclosed.

About 15 percent, or 38 of Volpe Brown's staff, most of them institutional sales and trading pros, were fired or left voluntarily.

Volpe Brown has offices in Boston and Seattle.

The new group is managed by Thomas Volpe and Robert Whelan, Volpe Brown's founder and chief executive, respectively. Both will report to Paul Scura, executive vice president and head of investment banking at Prudential Securities.

New Entity

The newly-created entity is part of Prudential Securities' Capital Finance Group, which is run by Vincent T. Pica, II. This group houses investment banking, institutional equity trading and sales and global equity research business.

"The Volpe Brown Whelan acquisition establishes us a key player in the vital technology business," said Hardwick Simmons, president and chief executive of Prudential Securities, which is based in New York "It also greatly expands our presence in northern California, which is critical for any investment bank competing for technology."

Thomas Volpe said Volpe Brown, "will be able to maintain and expand our focus on emerging technology companies, preserve our entrepreneurial operating style and deliver superior global distribution, after-market support and expanded product opportunities to our clients."

Prudential Securities has reported average daily volume of about 19 million OTC shares and 24 million listed shares. Volpe Brown has reported average daily volume of about 3. 5 million OTC shares and 439,000 listed shares.