Close Brothers Acquires Atlas Capital

Close Brothers has acquired the remaining 55% stake in Spanish affiliate Atlas Capital, from firm management. The business will be renamed Atlas Capital Close Brothers, and will continue to focus on Iberian M&A advisory services.



Close Brothers, one of Europe’s leading independent corporate finance houses, has acquired the remaining 55% equity stake in its Spanish associate, Atlas Capital, from the management shareholders for an undisclosed sum. The business will be renamed Atlas Capital Close Brothers from today.

Atlas Capital was formed in September 2000 with Close Brothers as a seed investor.  Since its inception it has rapidly built a market leading position in the Iberian market.  In 2007 and the first half of 2008, Atlas Capital was ranked by Mergermarket as the leading Spanish mergers and acquisitions adviser by the volume of transactions it advised on.

Close Brothers’ acquisition of the remaining stake has been timed to take advantage of the increased demand for debt advice and restructuring advice that Close Brothers has already seen and is further expecting in the Spanish market – advisory disciplines in which Close Brothers has built a market leading practice across Europe.

Close Brothers and Atlas Capital are already working together on a number of Spanish restructuring mandates.  One joint mandate recently completed was the restructuring of Afirma Grupo Inmobiliario SA, a real estate business.  Atlas Capital and Close Brothers were engaged to renegotiate the entire debt, comprising a €754m syndicate loan renegotiation and the renegotiation of €758m of bilateral loans.

Atlas Capital has also built a market leading position advising on Spanish bancassurance transactions.  It recently advised Caixa Sabadell on its bancassurance agreement with Zurich Financial Services, following a competitive sell-side process.

The acquisition of the remaining equity stake in Atlas Capital demonstrates Close Brothers’ continued commitment to building its international business based around market leading local teams, and its emphasis on the importance of sourcing and executing cross-border transactions for its clients.

Commenting on the acquisition, Stephen Aulsebrook, CEO of Close Brothers Corporate Finance, said:
“The combination of Atlas Capital’s leading expertise in the Iberian market and our expertise in debt advice and restructuring ideally positions us to take advantage of the wave of restructuring situations that are already presenting themselves in the Spanish market.  Furthermore, Atlas Capital’s leadership in transactions in the bancassurance market provides a solid platform on which to expand our European financial services sector coverage.

“Our acquisition of Atlas Capital is the logical next step in an eight year successful relationship.  We are excited by the timing of this transaction and look forward to working closely with the Atlas Capital team in the pursuit of many of the opportunities that exist in the Spanish market.”

León Benelbas, Chairman of Atlas Capital, said:

“We are delighted to be joining Close Brothers and see this as the next stage in the development of our business.  The Close Brothers investment will not only allow us to further penetrate the Spanish market but it also gives us and our clients better access to international markets.”