Duff & Phelps Forms Distressed M&A Practice

Duff & Phelps Corp. has formed a special situations M&A practice, focused on middle-market companies.



Duff & Phelps Corporation (NYSE: DUF), a leading provider of independent financial advisory and investment banking services, today announced the formation of a Special Situations Mergers & Acquisitions practice. In response to client needs and evolving capital markets conditions, this group formalizes Duff & Phelps' long-standing expertise advising middle market companies, lenders, and private equity sponsors on transactions occurring in challenging operating and financial environments.


“Unprecedented credit conditions in the marketplace are impacting a significant number of middle market companies, even those without stress on the balance sheet,” said Steve Burt, Managing Director and Head of Mergers & Acquisitions at Duff & Phelps. “Our Special Situations M&A practice brings together bankers with expertise in restructuring and M&A who possess intimate knowledge of the debt markets, bankruptcy procedures, as well as the ability to manage a sale process in the midst of contentious parties. Moreover, with offices across the US, Europe and Asia, we are well-positioned to offer counsel in key markets around the world. ”


In 2007, private equity fundraising designated specifically for distressed investments topped $48 billion — a 300% increase in funds raised for distressed over the previous year, according to Dow Jones. As these investors look for opportunities to put their capital to work, Duff & Phelps' Special Situations M&A practice expects a corresponding need for sophisticated advisory services.


“Hedge funds, sponsors and institutions are amassing large pools of capital for distressed investing, and they are scouring the market for investment opportunities,” added Russell Belinsky, Senior Managing Director of Restructuring and co-founder of Chanin Capital Partners, which was acquired by Duff & Phelps in November 2006. “Meanwhile, the credit crunch is putting a strain on companies and their ability to borrow. As a result, some of these companies will look to sell underperforming operations or assets to raise capital. This puts our Special Situations M&A practice in an ideal position to leverage our relationships and find natural buyers for these assets.”


The announcement of a Special Situations M&A practice formalizes an existing service offering of Duff & Phelps, which brings decades of experience advising on hundreds of distressed transactions. The specific services offered include merger and acquisition advisory services in situations where the target company or its owner is significantly underperforming or experiencing financial distress, including out-of court divestitures and Chapter 11 Section 363 asset sales, and private capital raising for refinancing or recapitalization in times of financial distress.