Close Brothers to open in Manchester

The UK bank is putting its recent takeover trials behind it to expand its UK operations into the regions and capture some of the healthy dealflow around the North West of England.

Close Brothers, an independent corporate finance boutique, is opening an office in Manchester and has recruited Richard Pulford to head the office and its North West regional operations.

The firm hopes Pulford’s arrival from accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers will help it capture a greater share of the advisory mandates which last year amounted to 328 transactions valued at over £9 billion in 2007.

At PwC Pulford has been a director in both Manchester and London corporate finance businesses since 2004. Before that he worked two years on secondment to the Takeover Panel, dealing with cases such as the £6 billion hostile bid for pub chain 6 Continents and the contested takeover of Pizza Express, the restaurant group.

He has also advised on some high profile local and national transactions, including the sale of Liverpool Football Club; the public-to-private both of retailer Matalan; as well as the demutualisation of Interflora, the UK florist.

Close Brothers has already advised a number of clients in the region, including Enterprise on its £486 million sale to 3i.

The boutique bank recently lost its head of European private equity coverage Darren Redmayne to US rival Lincoln International, the latest in a flurry of senior defections since the bank rebuffed a take over approach from securities firm Cenkos. US firm The Blackstone Group is said to be interested in acquiring Close.