Wells Fargo to buy Barrington Associates

In another example of consolidation, the fifth largest bank in the US will take the M&A advisory firm under its umbrella.

Wells Fargo & Co. has agreed to buy Los Angeles-based Barrington Associates, which provides merger and acquisition advisory services to private equity firms and entrepreneur-owned companies. Financial details were not disclosed.

Barrington Associates was established in 1982 and provides M&A and corporate finance advisory services to companies with revenues between $25 million and $1 billion. The firm completes transactions in industries such as consumer products, business services, food and beverage, building products, home furnishings, industrial equipment and healthcare. Barrington will continue to operate under its existing name as a division of Wells Fargo Securities, the investment banking subsidiary of Wells Fargo.

The deal is yet another example of a large financial institution acquiring an M&A advisory firm in an effort to expand its advisory activity. In 2005, PNC Financial Services Group acquired Harris Williams, a Richmond, Virginia investment bank that provides M&A services to middle-market companies. The move was seen as a big step for PNC because of Harris Williams’ major influence with middle-market buyout firms. PNC Financial also owns a 71 percent stake in BlackRock, a diversified financial services company.

Wells Fargo Wholesale Banking has $97 billion in assets and more than 600 locations throughout the US. The unit includes middle market banking, corporate banking, commercial real estate, treasury management, asset-based lending, insurance brokerage, foreign exchange, trade secrets, specialized lending, equipment finance, capital market activities and asset management.