BMO to Buy Greene Holcomb Fisher to Expand U.S. Dealmaking

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  • Deal adds 30 bankers, doubles dealflow for BMO Capital Markets
  • BMO’s Hoffmeister sees M&A deals improving in second half

Bank of Montreal agreed to buy advisory firm Greene Holcomb Fisher to expand its mergers-and-acquisitions business in the U.S., adding 30 investment bankers and deepening its industry coverage in the country.

GHF, with offices in Minneapolis, Atlanta and Seattle, has worked on more than 100 deals in the past five years, Bank of Montreal said Thursday in a statement that didn’t include terms. The boutique advisory will become part of BMO Capital Markets after the purchase is completed, which is expected to be in the fiscal quarter ending Oct. 31.

“This gives us a lot more people, more deals," Perry Hoffmeister, global head of investment & corporate banking for Toronto-based BMO Capital Markets, said Thursday in a telephone interview. “These guys give us 30 bankers with a great reputation."

GHF, which was founded more than 20 years ago, initially focused on advising family-owned private companies on deals, and later expanded to working with middle-market companies and private equity firms, especially in the U.S. Midwest, Hoffmeister said.

‘Bodes Well’

GHF’s coverage areas include industrials, food, consumer and retail, health care, technology, business services and energy, similar to industries BMO covers in the U.S. with its 40 M&A bankers.

The acquisition “doubles our pro forma M&A dealflow in the U.S.,” Hoffmeister said. “Given the financing markets are coming back, that bodes well for deal activity in the second half of the year.”

BMO Capital Markets ranks 25th this year for advising on U.S. takeovers, with 1.7 percent market share and $11.2 billion in announced deals, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Last year, the firm ranked 27th with 1.5 percent market share and a total deal value of $31.8 billion, the data show.

Bank of Montreal last week said it planned to trim about 4 percent of its workforce across the company, including cuts in its investment-banking operations. The GHF deal has been in the works for about a year, Hoffmeister said.