Mediobanca has acquired London-based financial advisory Arma Partners as the Italian bank pushes deeper into the UK and attempts to win more tech clients across Europe and the US.
The deal for Arma Partners, which advises clients across industries including software, underlines how Mediobanca is trying to expand its role beyond corporate Italy, where it has been a powerbroker for decades.
Mediobanca chief executive Alberto Nagel said Arma Partners’ geographic spread was a “perfect fit” that would allow it to build a presence in the US.
Over the past five years, Arma Partners has advised on deals worth a combined $85bn across the software and cloud computing sectors as well as fintechs. It has annual revenue of more than $100mn. The deal values Arma Partners at more than twice its revenue, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Following the acquisition, Arma Partners’ founder and managing partner Paul-Noël Guély, a former head of European technology investments at Lehman Brothers and Goldman Sachs, will continue to lead its team of 100 bankers across offices in London, Munich and the US.
Guély said selling the business would allow Arma Partners to “expand globally while remaining an independent firm.” Guély and his team will work closely with Mediobanca’s co-heads of investment banking Francisco Bachiller and Giuseppe Baldelli.
The purchase is the latest by Mediobanca that takes it beyond its domestic market. In 2015, the Milan-based lender struck its first foreign deal with the acquisition of Cairn Capital, a London-based investment manager.
Two years ago, Cairn Capital bought distressed debt specialist Bybrook Capital, creating a group with about $8bn in assets under management.
Mediobanca said that Arma Partners would benefit its existing “investment banking and wealth management client base.”
The Italian bank did not disclose the price, but said it would pay 40 per cent of it in cash when the deal closes and the remaining 60 per cent over the next four years, depending in part on the performance of Arma Partners.
The deal comes amid mounting speculation that Mediobanca’s next target could be Banca Generali, the private banking arm of Italian insurer Generali. A potential deal with Mediobanca, which is the largest shareholder in Generali, was derailed a couple of years ago because of disagreements over price.