Houlihan Lokey Hires Winningham to Expand Corporate Finance Team

Houlihan Lokey, a closely held investment bank, hired Stephen Winningham from Lloyds Banking Group Plc as it plans to expand the corporate finance team in Europe.

Winningham joined the firm’s London office as co-head of European Corporate Finance, reporting to Scott Adelson and Robert Hotz, global co-heads of the business, New York-based Hotz said in a telephone interview. Winningham will work alongside Brian McKay to expand Houlihan’s merger and acquisition activities as well as financing advisory business.

Last month the Los Angeles-based firm hired Steven Tishman from Rothschild Inc. to head its global mergers and acquisitions group in New York. Houlihan Lokey, founded 40 years ago, is expanding outside of the U.S. to meet growing demand for its advisory services relating to acquisitions and financial restructurings, Hotz said.

“Our goal is to have over 100 professionals in Europe in the near term, with a significant increase in the corporate finance team,” Hotz said. “We are also planning to establish a new office in Madrid to meet growing demand for our services, including in particular debt restructuring advisory.”

The firm currently has about 75 bankers in Europe, according to Hotz. Winningham was most recently head of major corporates at Lloyds Banking Group, managing coverage of U.K. and U.S. investment-grade companies. Before that, he headed Lloyds’ financial institutions business

Companies worldwide have announced $141.5 billion of cross-border acquisitions this year, led by the merger between Glencore International Plc, the world’s largest publicly traded commodities supplier, and Xstrata Plc. That’s the highest since 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

European Expansion

Houlihan Lokey also plans additional hires in Europe to increase its coverage in areas such as energy, business services, consumer food and retail, and industrial-related sectors, according to Hotz.

“The firm’s revenue from outside of the U.S. has grown more rapidly than revenues from our core U.S. market over the last decade, and we expect this trend to continue, with Europe accounting for a significant portion of the increase,” Hotz said.

The firm recently enhanced its financial institutions coverage in Europe by hiring Oliver d’Oelsnitz from WestLB AG as a managing director to advise financial institutions on asset valuation, regulatory risk management and balance sheet management.

“Europe is undergoing significant change and financial institutions realize they need to pursue additional approaches to strengthening their balance sheets, including potentially monetizing certain of their assets,” Hotz said.

Banking Focus

Houlihan Lokey is a financial adviser to the official committee of unsecured creditors of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. It also acted as a strategic adviser last year to the Bank of Ireland. In January, Marfin Popular Bank Pcl, the second-largest lender in Cyprus, said it hired JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Houlihan Lokey to help it raise capital.

Europe’s lenders have pledged to cut more than 950 billion euros ($1.3 trillion) of assets over the next two years to reduce the capital they’d otherwise need to hold against them.

Almost all of the money the European Central Bank lent to banks in the euro area ends up on deposit at the Frankfurt-based central bank. Lenders increased overnight deposits at the ECB to 476 billion euros on Feb. 23, compared with 93.4 billion euros at the beginning of 2011, ECB data show.

“The amount of cash banks are parking at ECB has jumped and that shows banks continue to be highly risk-adverse and remain concerned about the future of the euro and the impact of the new regulations on the financial system,” said Sandy Purcell in London, head of Houlihan’s International Financial Advisory Services business. “Corporate lending is proceeding at a very slow pace and this trend is likely to continue until the uncertainties are resolved.”

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