Close Brothers trims advisory arm

The European investment bank’s corporate finance advisory business, which has advised on recent private equity deals including Hg's £126m exit of Boosey & Hawkes, has pruned its London team by 11 bankers as the slowdown in M&A activity takes its toll.

Close Brothers Corporate Finance, the European investment bank's advisory division frequently involved in mid-market private equity deals, is to cut 11 jobs in response to market conditions, a source at the bank has confirmed with PEO.
 
Designed to reposition Close for the current slowdown in M&A activity, the cuts do not concentrate on any specific sector teams, but include three of the operation’s 15 managing directors, Michael Dubois, Tim Leach and David Bezem.

Michael Dubois was co-head of the leisure and retail team, and advised clients such as Alchemy Partners, Bridgepoint Capital, LGV Capital and Phoenix Equity Partners.

Tim Leach headed the food and consumer goods practice and most recently advised Hg Capital on its £75 million (€95 million; $140 million) sale of the Sanctuary Spa products business in January.

David Bezem focuses on support services and media deals and has considerable experience advising on private equity-backed transactions, according to a previous post on the Close Brothers website.
 
Recent deals on which Close advised include Phoenix Equity Partners’ £96 million acquisition of Ashtead Technology Rentals and Hg Capital's disposal of Boosey & Hawkes to Imagem Music for £126 million.
 
Last year the bank experienced a succession of senior departures including that of Martin Gudgeon, then head of corporate finance, who left to become European head of restructuring at private equity giant, The Blackstone Group.
 
While global institutions such as Merrill Lynch, UBS and Citigroup have all announced large scale job losses in their investment banking divisions this year, the mid-market investment banks have proved more resilient.
 
“Many boutiques are treating the current job market turbulence as an opportunity to recruit talented bankers,” said one City recruitment specialist.
 
In the current environment Close's debt advisory and restructuring teams are the most active, and resources are being shifted to these areas.
 
Close made a series of senior hires earlier this year, including that of managing director Christopher Clayton, to head up the bank’s pensions advisory unit.
 
Other senior hires included Richard Pulford, brought in as managing director to spearhead the corporate finance practice in the North West of England, and Gwénaël de Sagazan, managing director in the French office.
 
Close has also recently hired 11 new analysts.