Chicago-based investment bank Dresner Partners has recently beefed up operations in Virginia and Silicon Valley through partnerships with other firms as part of an expansion strategy. Investment banks that are looking to grow should consider the arrangement as an option, as partnerships allow firms to expand both their geographic reach and sector focus.

"It's certainly a strategy that makes sense and gives you a way to align interests and create synergies between groups," says Steve Dresner (pictured), president of Dresner Partners.

Dresner Partners, which provides M&A, strategic advisory, financial restructuring and other services, announced two partnerships in April. One, with Palo Alto, California, investment bank Centaur Partners, is intended to widen Dresner's technology practice and increase the firm's presence in Silicon Valley. The other, with Imap MB Partners, will form a new company called Dresner MB Partners, headquartered in Glen Allen, Virginia, with an affiliated office in Romania, according to Dresner. Dresner MB is led by Istvan Preda, who started Imap MB in Hungary in 2002, and has worked on many European transactions.

The firm, which was founded in 1991, plans to continue joining forces with other advisory practices as part of a growth strategy, which also includes hiring and opening new offices. "We opened up a New York office basically through hiring people there," Dresner says.

Dresner Partners got the partnership idea through the firm's affiliation with Imap Inc., a group of about 30 investment banks in different areas that cooperate on deals. "That gave us the impetus and idea to continue growing in that vein," says Dresner. Imap has investment bank representatives in Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Mexico, Russia, Turkey and many other countries.

Dresner is just one of many investment banks to use partnerships as a way to grow.

De Nes Partners, an Atlanta-based investment bank that was started when Doug Hubert and Don Schaeffer split from Cbiz (NYSE: CBZ), has a partnership with Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, a Philadelphia financial services firm. De Nes expects the relationship will provide clients with access to capital markets and other advisory services.

Lincoln International, the Chicago-based firm that won the Mergers & Acquisitions M&A Mid-Market Award for Investment Bank of the Year for 2013, had partnerships with several other investment banks as part of an international expansion plan that led to M&A. The firm had a relationship with Rondelli Advisers, a Milan, Italy-based investment bank, before it acquired Rondelli in 2013. Lincoln had a relationship with China Everbright, starting in 2006, that eventually led to the firm opening an office in Beijing in January 2013.

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