Mizuho buys M&A advisory firm Greenhill in $550M deal

abdelaziz Fathi

Mizuho Financial Group Inc (8411.T), the third-largest lender in Japan, has agreed to buy US-based M boutique investment bank Greenhill & Co Inc (GHL.N) in a $550 million all-cash deal, which includes debt. Under the agreement, Mizuho will pay $15 per share for Greenhill, more than double the stock’s closing price on Friday.

Mizuho not off the hook

The acquisition is part of the Japanese banking giant’s strategic plan to increase its presence in the global investment-banking fee market, aiming for a larger share.

Following the announcement, Greenhill shares experienced a significant rise, more than doubling in value and closing at $14.66. The surge in share price also helped the company recover from the losses it had accumulated over the past year due to the impact of higher interest rates on deal-making.

Greenhill, one of the pioneering M&A advisory firms, has also faced increasing competition in recent years from the likes of Moelis, PJT Partners, and Centerview Partners. Notably, the company’s stock had been priced at $20 during its initial public offering in 2004.

“Greenhill is a proven industry leader, and its team has led many of the largest and most complex transactions for clients globally, across a wide range of sectors,” said Jerry Rizzieri, President and CEO, Mizuho Securities USA. “Mizuho is committed to the expansion of its investment banking platform, and we are excited for the Greenhill team and brand to become a core pillar of this strategy.”

“Our clients will continue to receive the same high quality advice from the same team, operating under the same brand, overseen by the same management. In addition, those clients will now benefit from access to the wide range of financing, capital markets and other products offered by Mizuho, one of the world’s leading banks. Our employees will see little change in their day-to-day work and will benefit from access to Mizuho’s vast global client base as well as its broad range of products,” said Scott Bok, Chairman & CEO, Greenhill.

“Our firm was a pioneer in the concept of the publicly traded independent investment bank, and that format served us well for many years. Now, given the evolution of markets, we believe our clients and employees will benefit from our team becoming part of a larger, more diversified financial institution.” he added.

The acquisition aligns with Mizuho’s ongoing efforts to establish itself in the fiercely competitive US investment banking landscape. Mizuho plans to integrate Greenhill into its existing banking division, with Michal Katz, the current head of banking in the Americas, leading the acquired firm. Mizuho intends to preserve Greenhill’s brand and retain its management team. As part of the transaction, Mizuho will be also incorporating Greenhill’s 370 employees into its organization.

The completion of the transaction is anticipated to take place by the end of the year, pending approval from Greenhill stockholders, as well as satisfying the necessary regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

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