Daily News: January 9, 2013

Houlihan Lokey Acquires Milestone Advisors


International investment bank Houlihan Lokey announced that it has acquired Milestone Advisors, an independent investment banking firm which provides mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, and asset valuation and sale advisory services to clients in the financial services industry.
The transaction closed on December 31, 2012.

Milestone’s team will be combined with Houlihan Lokey’s existing Financial Institutions Group, with most of the former Milestone employees being located in Houlihan Lokey’s McLean, VA offices.

Eugene Weil, co-founder and CEO of Milestone, will join Michael McMahon, managing director and currently head of Financial Institutions within Corporate Finance. They will jointly co-head the expanded group, reporting to Bob Hotz and Scott Adelson, senior managing directors and co-heads of Corporate Finance. Milestone’s other three partners, John Nelligan, Jeffrey Levine and Timothy Stute, will continue their managing director roles in the combined organization; all of Milestone’s other employees will join Houlihan Lokey as well.

The transaction will leverage both firms’ existing relationships in the depository, insurance, broker-dealer, asset management and government sectors, including ongoing mandates for the FDIC and GSEs.

Founded in 2001, Milestone exclusively focuses on financial services clients across the depository institution, specialty finance (including mortgage, commercial and consumer finance), distressed real estate, and financial technology sectors. Milestone has been ranked the No. 1 advisor for all U.S. specialty finance M&A transactions for 2004-2012 (based on number of transactions, excluding self-advised deals) and ranked within the top 10 M&A advisors to the U.S. bank and thrift sector based on 2012 deal volume, according to SNL Financial.

“Milestone’s core competencies, comprising M&A advisory, capital raising, restructuring and asset sales and valuation, could not be a more perfect complement to Houlihan Lokey’s business platform and our approach to client service,” said Hotz. “Together, we have closed nearly 500 transactions valued at more than $400 billion since 2001. I’m confident that the Milestone team will have a significant impact as we continue to expand our business, not only in Corporate Finance but across Financial Restructuring and Financial Advisory Services as well,” he continued.

“Combining Houlihan Lokey’s global footprint, capital markets products, restructuring and valuation capabilities and financial sponsor relationships with Milestone’s extensive financial institutions expertise will deliver significant benefits and opportunities for clients of both firms. We’re extremely excited to join Houlihan Lokey as we enter what we expect will be a robust period in financial services M&A and capital formation activity,” said Weil.

“The financial services industry is a substantial and integral component of the broader U.S. economy, with its own unique challenges that require dedicated sector expertise. This acquisition more than triples the number of professionals focused on providing advisory services to financial institutions for Houlihan Lokey and significantly expands our ability to serve our clients across the sector,” said McMahon.

The transaction was structured as an acquisition of specified assets and liabilities. Both Houlihan Lokey and Milestone advised themselves on the transaction. Manatt, Phelps & Phillips served as legal counsel to Houlihan Lokey and Baker Botts was legal counsel to Milestone.