Are We in a Golden Era for Boutique Firms?

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April 21 (Bloomberg) -- Greenhill & Co. CEO Scott Bok discusses recent pickup in M&A activity, the value of going public and activist investing with Cory Johnson and William Cohan on Bloomberg Television's "Taking Stock." (Source: Bloomberg)


It's great to have you on.

There is always this talk about when m&a happens from the market . it doesn't happen from the top or the bottom, why are we seeing it now?

Lex the reason it took so long to get here is probably a better question.

You have seven rate did years of them in day and into her three years that were soft and then things bounced back after a time of indigestion.

A couple of times, it looked like things were picking up but didn't. this first quarter field material -- materially better and hopefully will turn in some completions over the course of the year.

We have heard a lot about the emerging golden era of boutique firms like greenhill or ever core.

Is this in fact the start of a golden era or does it feel that way because there are more stock deals and the balance sheet firms cannot lord that over the smaller firms like they had done?


I think it's a great time for firms like ours.

10 years ago, when we went public, this market it and really exist.

There were a few small, private boutiques.

Lazard has been there a long time.

You've got the four of us all public and we've had quite a lot of success will stop part of that is companies saying we don't only want to go to big banks who have all kinds of conflicts and products they're trying to sell.

We want someone who is a pure advisor.

Do they really look for pure advice question mark qe1 something in our hot portfolio?

Or do they ask you to scan the waterfront to see what's out there?

It is something in between.

I wish it was as easy as the first part of your question.

Clearly, companies know what they want to own in some cases.

It's where you walk into an office and you think i've never thought of that.

They did the best targets are out there.

What is the right time, when would they target be amenable to an approach, when are you in a better business -- a better position as opposed to being outbid by another party.

When is your stock price at the right level, those kinds of things.

We have to talk about the ipo.

When you went public, you set the next wave of all the other firms going public.

Does that mean we will hear from others that will start?

What does it mean for him and for you guys?

For us, it's a net positive.

The more you establish the concept of it company going to a very small firm and on a giant alan sheet with tens of thousands of employees, that's a good aim for us.

As far as these companies as investments, if you go back 10 years ago, it didn't exist.

We were first and lazard followed.

These are proven entities.

It's a good investment.

Anybody out there who has old one of these is saying can i do what greenhill did, can i create that kind of value, so i suspect there will be more.

We've seen a lot of increasing activist activity, i don't know if it's because they're getting more attention, what is the role of boutique investment banking in those kinds of deals?

First, it's a huge and growing phenomenon.

We've done a chart for some clients and if you go back even seven years, the typical activist deal, they needed to buy it at stake to have influence.

It could be apple, microsoft, the biggest companies.

Lex carl icahn's stake in apple and the number of the countries has -- in a number of the companies has been miniscule, but he's gotten results.

They have gotten results, sometimes 1% or even smaller.

Do they come to companies like yours for advice?

Some of them do.

We have a policy and we don't advise activists on anything.

The point of view of a major corporate board on the one hand or an activist shareholder is so dramatically different and it's very hard to advise folks will stop we work only with the companies.

It's only a rumored deal.

We do get quite involved in a lot of clients didn't realize for some time is what is called the rhyme brokerage department at the big banks is really the hedge fund service part of their business.

It is a huge moneymaker and some of those are the top clients at the bank am so why would you want to go to them for device question mark the activist maybe one of their top clients will stop i'm curious up elbow role of the tech focused in san francisco and it was so dominant in the last bubble.

All gone, all acquired by the other companies.

The collapse of those businesses is part of the spread.

Certainly firms like ours can be very helpful in technology situations.

The reason is because we've had such a cash balances that the main focus was pay as out that cash.

Microsoft, apple, it wasn't a very complicated message.

It was you have huge amounts of cash you are not going to use.

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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