Killing two birds with one stone, Evercore is making good on its promises to expand its capital raising capabilities and strengthen its European advisory business this year.
Evercore has purchased the London-based fund placement business of Neuberger Berman writes Financial News today. NB is the former asset management arm of Lehman Brothers that was reborn as an independent firm last May after it was bought out by its management.
Fund placement agents mainly raise funds for fund sponsors, like private equity funds or hedge funds, by matching them with potential investors. The business will operate as Evercore private funds group and will be led by Richard Anthony. There are plans to increase the group from its current staff of eight, with five currently based in London and the rest in the U.S., as it strengthens its presence in the U.S. and the Middle East, according to a firm statement.
"The addition of this group reflects the continued expansion of our global platform," said Ralph Schlosstein, Evercore's president and CEO, in the statement.
The acquisition follows the strategic alliance the advisory boutique struck with Trilantic Capital Partners earlier this month. The moves reflect the New York-based firm's intent to strengthen its asset management business this year, with a particular focus on bolstering its European operations, which turned in a limp performance compared to its U.S. counterpart, according to the company's 2009 earnings report.
In an interview with Financial News Bernard Taylor, vice chairman of Evercore Partners and chief executive of the firm's European operation, said: "Our focus is on M&A so the last year has clearly been a challenging period. However, it is also a good time to expand and attract the right people. We intend to continue to build the European business via acquisitions and organically so that we are well positioned to take advantage of the normalisation of the markets."
Company headcount increased in 2009 to 443 employees, up 32% from 335 the previous year, according to its annual earnings results. And more growth is on the way – Barron's magazine included the firm in its list of 10 of Wall Street's Rising Stars worth watching this year.
Write to Yoree Koh