Frontline – October 2006

FRONTLINE 2006-10-01 Staff Writer <b>Wells Fargo to buy Barrington Associates</b><br />Wells Fargo & Co. has agreed to buy Los Angeles-based Barrington Associates, which provides merger and acquisition advisory services to private equity firms and entrepreneurowned companies. Financial

Wells Fargo to buy Barrington Associates
Wells Fargo & Co. has agreed to buy Los Angeles-based Barrington Associates, which provides merger and acquisition advisory services to private equity firms and entrepreneurowned companies. Financial details were not disclosed. Barrington Associateswas established in 1982 and provides M&A and corporate finance advisory services to companies with revenues between $25 million and $1 billion. The firm completes transactions in industries such as consumer products, business services, food and beverage, building products, home furnishings, industrial equipment and healthcare. Barrington will continue to operate under its existing name as a division of Wells Fargo Securities, the investment banking subsidiary of Wells Fargo.

New investment bank focuses on mid-market M&A
VRH Partners has been launched as an independent investment banking firm based in Atlanta. The firm offers M&A services to companies and private equity firms within the middle market space. The transactions VRH anticipates engaging in will range from $50 million to $500 million. Sectors to be targeted by VRH include business services, consumer and retail, healthcare, industrial, media and technology. VRH was founded by Bill Sherman, Mark Loeffler, Andy Mason, Doug McCartney and Brock Matthias – all of whom were previously senior executives at debt and equity financing provider SunTrust Robinson Humphrey. The firm currently has 11 employees and plans to grow to over 20 investment bankers in the upcoming two to three years.

SVB launches valuation and administration business
Santa Clara, California-based SVB Financial Group has created a new business called SVB Analytics. The new entity provides fair market valuations, corporate equity tracking and administration services primarily to venture firms and their portfolio companies. The services provided by SVB Analytics have been expanded following the acquisition of eProsper Inc, which offers corporate equity administration services via its CapMX? web-based software. Included among eProsper’s products are solutions for facilitating standardized reporting by portfolio companies to their investors of operating metrics. Heading up SVB Analytics is Jim Anderson as president of the new business. Anderson is a founder and former president of SVB Asset Management.

CIT adds new talent to sponsor finance group
Commercial and consumer finance company CIT Group has appointed three directors and two vice presidents to its Sponsor Finance group. Elise Chowdry, Rick Cohen and Mark Hindson have joined the firm as directors, while Jay Baldinelli and Susan Chan have joined as vice presidents. ?They will be responsible for developing and managing relationships with financial sponsors and private equity firms engaged in leveraged buyouts, recapitalizations and other leveraged transactions,? said Tim Eichenlaub, senior managing director and head of CIT Sponsor Finance, in a company statement. ?We expect their networks and experience in working with these companies will help us expand our presence in key regions across the country,? Eichenlaub added. Chowdhry and Baldinelli will be based at CIT’s Boston office, while Chan and Cohen are stationed in New York, and Hindson in Chicago.

Houlihan names head of European corporate finance
Brian McKay has been appointed head of the European corporate finance practice of Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin, an international investment bank. McKay’s responsibilities include widening the scope of Houlihan’s industry sector coverage, product offering and global client base. He was most recently at CIBC World Markets, where McKay founded the European M&A team and headed up CIBC’s European investment banking activities. McKay has accumulated over 15 years of experience in investment banking, including a stint at Morgan Stanley before joining CIBC. He will be based at Houlihan’s London office, which was opened in 2001 to provide transactional and restructuring advisory services in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Norway. Since then, the firm has opened up an office in Paris (2005) and Frankfurt (2006). Houlihan was founded in 1970 and now has more than 700 employees across 11 offices in the US and Europe.

Four receive promotions at Harris Williams
Harris Williams, a US mid-market M&A advisory firm, has named three new vice presidents and one new associate in a recent spate of promotions. John Beveridge (Boston), Michael Bor (London) and John Bresnahan (Richmond) now enjoy the title of vice president, and Brent Spiller (Richmond) that of associate. All three of the newly promoted VPs joined Harris Williams in 2003 as associates, with Beveridge formerly at the M&A group of Robertson Stephens, while Bor and Bresnahan joined the firm after earning MBAs at Harvard Business School and Darden Graduate School of Business Administration (University of Virginia) respectively. Spiller also joined the firm in 2003, when he was hired as an analyst. Harris Williams advises private equity groups and publicly- and privately-held companies.

Alvarez & Marsal’s biz improvement group gets a boost
Malcolm McKenzie and Eric Benedict have joined Alvarez & Marsal as managing directors in the firm’s ?business performance improvement? activities, according to a press statement. The duo will be involved with A&M’s European business improvement programs. Both McKenzie and Benedict were previously partners at RSM Robson Rhodes in London where they established a business consulting unit focused on helping underperforming companies institute ?fundamental change.? Prior to RSM, McKenzie was a partner at consulting firms Ernst & Young and Cap Gemini. His areas of expertise include advising boards on improving business performance, across a spectrum of industries, as well as advising operational improvement of public entities in Europe. Benedict’s experience includes a stint at Ernst & Young where he focused on pre- and post-acquisition transaction services, advising the likes of P&O Ferries, BP, Boots and Telewest.

Financial Dynamics leaves Advent fold
Advent International-backed portfolio company Financial Dynamics has been acquired for $260 million by FTI Consulting, a consulting and technology services provider to corporations, financial institutions and law firms. Financial Dynamics is a London-based global business communications consulting firm that counts a number of private equity firms and financial institutions among its clients. Through the transaction, Boston-based private equity firm Advent will receive cash for its entire stake in Financial Dynamics. FTI anticipates operating Financial Dynamics as a ?separate business segment run by the existing management team,? according to a press statement. Financial Dynamics is headed by London-based group chief executive Charles Watson and US chief executive Declan Kelly.

Kelting to head European leverage finance at Barclays
Barclays Capital, the investment arm of the UK’s Barclays Bank, has appointed John Kelting as head of European leveraged finance. Kelting is currently joint head of Barclays Capital’s sponsor origination team, having joined the bank in 1998. He replaces Chris Coles, who took a sabbatical at the end of September to complete a master’s degree in international development. John Leach will become sole head of the sponsor origination team as part of the move. In his new role, Kelting will also work closely with the bank’s US and Asia operations in order to service clients looking for global coverage.

IPES plans for succession, appoints new chief exec
Private equity fund administrator and outsourcing provider International Private Equity Services has appointed Dominic Jones as executive director and chief executive officer designate. He will become CEO of the firm as of January 1, 2007, when current IPES chief executive Connie Helyar takes on the role of chairman. As part of the leadership transition, Jones and Helyar will work closely together till the end of 2006. Jones will concentrate on expanding the IPES group, including the firm’s newly-opened UK office. Jones will also focus on launching IPES operations in other jurisdictions, including Jersey and Luxembourg. From 1996 to 2005, Jones was at Mourant, where he was a partner and founder shareholder. During his time there, Jones launched Mourant’s London office, as well as promoted and managed the Jersey trust company. Jones was most recently involved in Mourant’s equity compensation practice, but was also previously active in the firm’s SPV, fund and corporate administration businesses.

IPES has also brought on board John Luff, who joined the firm as finance director on September 18. He was previously with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Guernsey, where he had been senior manager for the last decade. While at PwC, Luff advised private equity funds on audits, structuring, accounting, and investment valuations. Luff has also been IPES’s audit manager for the last six years.