Alantra, the consulting firm of Santiago Eguidazu, a former senior government official of José Maria Aznar, has just taken over one of its British competitors, Catalyst Corporate Finance, one of its main competitors in the UK. It will pay about £ 30 million, half of it in securities to take possession of the shop which has advised a hundred transactions over the channel for a total of 5 billion pounds. The group takes advantage of the Brexit to acquire and become a reference board for SME’s. Renowned for its ‘mid-cap’’ expertise, Catalyst represents a strategic advantage for the  investment bank which has already 80 employees in London in market activities, but did not have any presence in M&A and debt advice in Great Britain.

If the transaction is against the general trend, with most investment banks looking to strengthen themselves on the European continent, timing is well chosen for Alantra (M&A Britain market : 1,926 transactions have been sealed since January for a total of $ 120 billion, up 26%).

About Catalyst

 As a key player in the UK mid-market, Catalyst Corporate Finance has 40 investment banking professionals located in three offices in the United Kingdom. Founded 19 years ago, Catalyst Corporate provides M&A, private equity and debt advisory services to a wide range of financial advisors, entrepreneurs and companies.

Over the past five years, Catalyst has advised more than 100 transactions for a value of more than £5 billion (57% sell-side) for a very balanced client portfolio (57% corporate and 43% investment).

Its fiscal year ended March 31, 2017, Catalyst achieved a turnover of £ 17M (29% more than in 2016). In the first half ended September 30, 2017, Catalyst generated sales of £ 8.4 million (60% more than in 2016 at the same period).

With a presence in more than 21 countries in Europe, the United States, Asia and Latin America, Catalyst is a leading mid-market leader. Offering its advice on various business sectors, the company represents one of the most attractive companies on the mid-market endowed and asset management.

Very active in the local entrepreneurial sector (close to 40% of its turnover), particularly in Nothingam and Birmingham, Catalyst has specialists in 14 sectors. Its diversified activity allows it to be present with private equity funds and large companies.

About Alantra

Alantra is a global investment banking and asset management firm focusing on the mid-market with offices across Europe, the US, Asia and Latin America. Its Investment Banking division employs over 220 professionals, providing independent advice on M&A, debt advisory, financial restructuring, credit portfolio and capital markets transactions in 14 highly-specialized industry sectors. In H1 2017 Alantra has advised in 76 transactions, including 50 in M&A, 12 in capital markets, 7 in portfolio advisory, 4 in strategic advisory and 3 in debt. This performance has merited the firm to rank as No.1 independent advisor in EMEA and No.5 in the US, according to Dealogic.

Among the major transactions that have been advised by Alantra year to date are the following: the sale of Q-Park to KKR Infrastructure for € 3bn, Johnson & Johnson’s public takeover for Actelion (Fairness opinion providers) for €30bn, Pacha’s sale to Trilantic Europe for €300mn, the sale of Six’s credit card issuing business in Austria to easybank, Mediahuis and VP Exploitatie’s public takeover for Telegraaf Media Group for € 278mn, Bulldog’s sale to Campari and the IPOs of Unicaja (€756mn) and Neinor(€709mn) in Spain. Their Asset Management division comprises a team of 78 professionals with €3.7bn in five highly specialized alternative asset classes.


At closing Alantra will pay £ 15m to 15 partners and directors of the British firm. It will also entrust them with 1.6 million shares out of a lock-up of 6 years. These shares represent 4.4% of the capital, knowing that the market cap of Alantra is currently around € 424 million. In the end, it is therefore some 30 M £ that is valued Catalyst CF. A price to be set against a turnover of £ 17M for the financial year ended March 2017. An amount that also reflects the growth trajectory of the English group : its revenues grew by 29% last year. Alantra shareholders should reap the benefits of this merger very quickly. The board of directors will propose to distribute the full six-monthly net profit of $ 16.5 million by dividend payment (the integration of Catalyst is effective in the accounts as of June 30, 2017). The dividend will be distributed to shareholders at the pre-closing of the transaction (€ 0.47 per share).

Overview of the Combined Group : a diversified Asset and Wealth Management

The transaction, subject to approval by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), provides for the full integration of Catalyst via a £ 15 million payment and, subject to Alantra’s agreement, the sale of 1,635,592 of Alantra shares to 15 Catalyst partners, who will become partners in the Alantra group. These securities will be locked for 6 years and 16.7% will be held for other transactions.

Market reactions  

 Alantra strengthens its presence in the main European financial market. Alantra UK, as the new local entity will be called after a transition period, will benefit from a strong presence on the most important European financial market. The company will offer a wide range of services to its UK clients, including M&A, debt and capital markets consulting as well as international sector expertise. Alantra UK customers will be accompanied by more than 120 locally-based professionals, including N + 1 Singer, of which Alantra is the majority shareholder.

The group resulting from this operation will be present in 21 countries throughout Europe, the United States, Asia and Latin America. With more than 654 operations over the last 5 years in 16 different sectors, the Group will be one of the most active financial advisory players in the mid-market segment with a strong asset management business. By strengthening its presence in London, one of the largest international financial centers, Alantra, with a market capitalization of € 420 million, will benefit from increased access to the financial investor community. Through the integration with Catalyst, the Group will add M&A and Debt advisory services to its already established ECM advisory capacity.

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