LONDON (Reuters) – Close Brothers Corporate Finance, (CBCF), one of Britain’s busiest outfits advising on so-called “mid-market” dealmaking, is cutting its ties to former parent Close Brothers, renaming itself DC Advisory Partners.
The unit ranked third by dollar value and seventh by number of deals for UK M&A worth less than $500 million, according to first-quarter data from Thomson Reuters. Across Europe, it ranks just outside the top 10 on both measures.
Richard Madden, UK chief executive of the renamed DC, told Reuters the firm would hold off making fresh senior hires, after appointing managing directors last year in sectors such as healthcare, chemicals and financial services. The unit has nine European offices.
It has recently advised on private equity deals including Triton’s 850 million euros ($1.1 billion) purchase of Nordic hospital group Ambea from rival 3i Group Plc (III.L), and Advent International’s sale of British discount chain Poundland to Warburg Pincus [WP.UL].
At present private equity firms were only selling businesses that had “done really well in terrible markets”, Madden said, but he predicted 2011-2012 could be “the vintage years for corporate finance that we’ve been waiting for since 2007”, as buyout firms settle for solid prices to hive off old portfolio companies.
Madden said a tougher mergers and acquisitions (M&A) environment drove more clients to seek out independent advisers rather than full-service banks.
“If you think back to 2007, we were basically glorified estate agents, because anyone could sell anything. You just put up a sign, said something was up for sale, and two weeks later you got fully financed offers. It’s now more difficult,” Madden said.
CBCF is also known as a pioneer of European restructuring but endured a string of senior defections in recent years to Blackstone, Moelis & Co, Rothschild and elsewhere as rivals moved in on its territory.
Still, DC said it was working on at least 21 mandates for restructuring and in the related field of debt advisory, where it advises clients on debt funding.
By Quintin Webb
(Editing by David Holmes) ($1=.7453 Euro)