Friday, September 17, 2021

International advisers unite to capitalize on the M&A boom

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A group of Europe deal advisers led by former Big Four accounting partners has announced a partnership with an American rival to try to capitalize on the boom in transatlantic mergers and acquisitions.

EOS Deal Advisory, EKEM Partners and AC Christes & Partner, advisory firms based in the UK, France and Germany respectively, will join forces with Virtas Partners, a 30-person company based in Chicago.

The alliance is designed to help them compete with bigger rivals, such as Deloitte’s Big Four, EY, KPMG, and PwC, and consultants such as McKinsey and the Boston Consulting Group.

“This alliance immediately puts us in a position to support our clients who enter into cross-border deals in Europe and North America,” said Neal McNamara, co-founder of Virtas and former director of KPMG’s US accounting advisory practice.

Ina Kjaer, who co-founded EOS after resigning from KPMG over its handling of the bullying allegations in the UK, said the union would give the company “credibility” by coming forward to work on international deals.

An increase in corporate transactions has led to a growing demand for M&A advice, as well as bonuses and salary increases to attract and retain staff.

Deloitte announced last week that its financial advisory division increased revenue by 12.9 percent in the 12 months to May, driven in part by M&A activity since late 2020. and EY transactions increased 14.6 percent to $ 4.8 billion globally. .

The deal frenzy has also increased opportunities for smaller companies to get jobs. EOS advised aerospace and defense group Ultra Electronics after receiving a £ 2.6 billion takeover offer from US-owned Cobham and life sciences group Abcam on the integration of BioVision, which it agreed to buy for £ 340 million. dollars last month.

The partnership with Virtas, which also operates in New York, Atalanta, and San Diego, joins an alliance formed in June when Yannick de Kerhor, EY’s lead deal advisor in France, resigned to form EKEM and immediately partnered with EOS. and AC Christes. Subsequently, De Kerhor has hired two more partners from EY France.

Rather than enter into a full-blown merger, the companies have agreed to operate as informal partners. The four have not committed to working exclusively, but other EOS co-founder Maggie Brereton said the partnership will still bring advantages.

“As the world opens up again, that local market presence is becoming important again,” said Brereton. The partnership with local firms would help to work in different time zones and deal with regulatory problems in different countries, he added.

Teaming up with a company in Australasia would be the next step in expanding the network, Kjaer said.

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