European TMT dealmakers lured by US Investment Banks

An increasing number of US-based investment banks and boutiques are headhunting experienced Europe-focused TMT bankers to lead newly created teams or boost existing ones, in London and other European finance centres, and thereby tap into the explosion of dealmaking in the region and the increase of cross-border M&A.

Many of those firms setting sights across the Atlantic can rely on a strong US presence and balance sheets to back transatlantic acquisitions and take a greater slice of deals across the pond, competing with well known European outfits.

Wisconsin-based investment bank Baird recently secured a major coup, hiring two TMT co-heads from consulting giant EY. Simon Pearson and Justin Prichard will join Baird’s global investment banking team, based in London and headed by David M. Silver who is head of European M&A and European Investment Banking. The double hire of Pearson and Prichard will take Baird’s European investing banking team up to 20, bolstering the firm’s European tech and TMT coverage for the region.

Meanwhile, also this month, TMT Finance exclusively reported that US banking giant Bank of America Merrill Lynch poached key UBS TMT banker Thomas Koehrer, in a move to strengthen BAML’s European technology practice. Koehrer will add to BAML’s London team, currently led by Alexandre Gafsi and Emmanuel Hibou, co-heads of the bank’s EMEA TMT investment practice, while Antonin Baladi, is Head of EMEA Media and Internet Investment Banking.

Koehrer’s departure marked the latest for UBS after tech director Julien Oussadon left the bank over a year earlier to join US boutique Harris Williams & Co, where the European team is led by managing director Thierry Monjauze.

In April this year, US investment bank Stifel Financial acquired the M&A advisory firm Mooreland Partners in a move to bolsters its European presence, particularly within the technology sector. The move made the bank the latest US firm to move to target mid-market advisory business in the region, challenging the likes of boutiques William Blair, Baird and Harris Williams.

Stepping a little further back, several other US firms such as Raymond James, LionTree, FT Partners, Wells Fargo and TAP Advisors have also set up TMT investment banking teams in Europe over the past few years, hiring key personnel and in some cases winning significant mandates and building formidable reputations in short amounts of time.

In 2017, Florida-based Raymond James made a big push into the European market, launching its London office with two ex-Deloitte TMT heads at the helm. Joel Greenwood and Stuart Sparkes were both hired by the US boutique to lead the practise, with the firm, at the time, looking to build a 15-strong team of bankers to cover the region. Since it’s launch in September 2017, Raymond James has secured sale side mandates on several European technology deals, many of which have been, and continue to be, exclusively reported by TMT Finance (see archives).

Boutique bank LionTree opened its London office in 2015, bringing in ex-BNP Paribas banker Louis Kenna to help build the practice. LionTree Europe was further cemented when the boutique poached JP Morgan TMT veteran Jake Donavan, who become president of LionTree Europe, reporting to Aryeh Bourkoff, founder and CEO of LionTree. In 2017, the boutique bank opened a Paris office with former Oddo chariman Fatine Layt at the helm. Since its launch, LionTree has successful led a number of bumper deals in the region, including Liberty Global’s US$6.3bn sale of UPC Switzerland to Sunrise Communications, with Donavan winning the prestigious TMT M&A Adviser of the Year 2018 award at TMT M&A Awards 2018.

Investment bank Wells Fargo cemented it’s push into Europe at the start of 2018 by hiring Julien Pajot as head of EMEA TMT, charged with developing the bank’s TMT activities in the region, across M&A and debt financing. Pajot joined the bank after nine years at Japanese peer Nomura, where he led coverage of European TMT. His move marked the second director-level departure at Nomura, with technology director Suraj Badlani also leaving to join US investment firm Houlihan Lokey.

Fintech-focused investment bank FT Partners made the move to expand outside San Francisco in 2017, opening a London office to launch its first foray into Europe, Middle East and Africa, led by former Morgan Stanley fintech banker Timm Schipporeit.

These recent hires come as US investment banks continue to gain ground on the global stage, while European rivals in general are finding it tougher. In 2007, US banks captured 46% of global investment banking revenue, while European banks earned 39%, according to Dealogic data. By 2018, US investment banks had increased their market share to 52%, while European firms captured only 26%.

Meanwhile, stepping further back, New York-based investment bank TAP Advisors opened a London office in 2014, hiring former-Macquarie Capital EMEA TMT head William C. Kennish to lead the effort. Kennish has since left the firm to join ING, but the bank more recently hired Toby Pearce from Houlihan Lokey as MD in London. The firm also opened its first Nordic office in Stockholm, appointing Patrik S. Nelson to lead the team.

Outside of TMT investment banking and advisory, the macro picture also underlines an increasing dominance from US firms, and a period of downsizing for European banks. Clearly, Deutsche Bank is one example, earlier in July announcing that it would cut 18,000 jobs and close its global equities sales-and-trading business. Meanwhile, UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti warned the bank would delay hiring and investment in a bid to save US$300m in costs, while Societe Generale announced 1,200 investment banking job cuts to save E500m in costs, while BNP Paribas and Barclays also under pressure to cut costs across the bank.