Houlihan Lokey Inc., the independent merger-advisory firm, filed for an initial public offering as a surge in dealmaking increases demand for boutique banks.
The firm, established in 1972, plans to list shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker HLI, according to a regulatory filing Friday. The Los Angeles-based company used a $100 million placeholder in the document, a figure used to calculate fees that may change.
Chief Executive Officer Scott Beiser is seeking to go public as mergers and acquisitions are on pace to match or exceed the record in 2007. There have been about $2 trillion of deals announced so far this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Beiser is counting on his company’s focus on giving advice to help it win business.
“In the last decade, the demand for independent advice has increased dramatically, arising in part from the global financial crisis,” the company said in the filing. “We believe this trend has largely been driven by increasing levels of regulatory and fiduciary scrutiny of actual or perceived conflicts of interest.”
In addition to working on deals like Priceline Group Inc.’s purchase of Kayak Software Corp.,Houlihan Lokey has been an adviser on some of the largest bankruptcies in history, including Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Enron Corp.
Beiser has expanded through acquisitions. He announced a deal last month to buy MESA Securities Inc. to build Houlihan Lokey’s entertainment and media business. The firm also purchased ArchPoint Partners, a technology-focused advisory, in 2014.
The firm’s fee revenue climbed 15 percent to $681 million in the year ended March 31, according to the filing. Net income rose to $79.9 million from $61.3 million.
Other independent merger advisers have gone public or are looking to do so. Moelis & Co. held an IPO last year. PJT Partners Inc, a firm led by former Morgan Stanley banker Paul Taubman, is combining with Blackstone LP’s advisory group ahead of a planned public listing.
Bank of America Corp. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are leading the share sale, according to the filing.
--With assistance from Selina Wang and Katherine Chiglinsky in New York.