KPMG has agreed to acquire Makinson Cowell, one of Europe’s leading independent equity markets advisory firms. For over two decades, Makinson Cowell has helped the boards of UK and European companies build direct relationships with institutional equity investors; providing objective insight into the way their companies are perceived by these institutions and what this means for the rating of their shares and their ability to raise equity capital.
“Whilst today’s deal is a relatively small acquisition for the firm, it is an important transaction for KPMG. First, Makinson Cowell’s insights into the market views of the shareholder community will help provide independent and objective equity advice linking the boardroom and investors, which can only be to the benefit of all those involved in the capital markets. Furthermore, at a time when companies are increasingly looking to ensure advice is independent from the underlying sources of finance, the combination of KPMG’s debt advisory business with the equity services provided by Makinson Cowell will create a market leading independent capital advisory business. This innovative transaction will establish a unique offering in our market place which we believe will be warmly received by companies and investors alike.”
“For our clients, this move will underwrite the independent model which has characterised our business from the outset and preserve our brand for the future. With KPMG’s support, client base and global platform, we will be able to meet the growing demand from current and prospective clients and expand our geographical footprint and service offering.”
The acquisition is consistent with KPMG’s strategy of building a highly respected, independent financial advisory business which began in 1998 when the firm established an independent debt advisory team under the leadership of Simon Collins (now Chairman and Senior Partner of KPMG UK) advising major corporates on all aspects of their debt financing.
The new, capital advisory group will be chaired by Tom Franks, Global Head of KPMG’s Corporate Finance business, with the equity and debt advisory elements continuing to be led by Bob Cowell, Howard Coates and Neill Thomas.
The acquisition provides Makinson Cowell’s team with access to additional resources, and the wider geographic reach that KPMG’s global network can provide will be important in supporting the growing demand for its services and enabling the business to build scale.
Completion of the acquisition is subject to regulatory consent.
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KPMG’s debt advisory group has 34 staff in the UK and over 100 globally based in key offices in France, the Netherlands, Germany, Hong Kong and Australia which complement Makinson Cowell’s existing operations. The team provides specialist, independent advice across the full spectrum of debt products and markets. Clients include large multinationals, private companies, governments and public bodies. Established within KPMG in 1998, the business has grown to encompass advice to borrowers on debt financings aggregating annually over €50 billion.
KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and operates from 22 offices across the UK with over 12,000 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.8 billion in the year ended September 2012. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 156 countries and has 152,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. KPMG International provides no client services.
About Makinson Cowell
Makinson Cowell is an independent equity markets advisory firm, founded in 1989, which provides in-depth research and conflict-free advice to a wide range of companies around the world. Its focus is on the link between those companies and their current and potential equity holders. With 70 people in offices in London, New York and Paris, the company primarily services companies based in Europe.
Thorough quantitative analysis of companies and markets, a detailed understanding of institutional investors and market insight underpin Makinson Cowell’s advice to clients. It has an analytical capability that is unique amongst independent advisors.
The company has developed its business on the basis of long-standing client relationships. Its client list encompasses companies with market capitalisations ranging from £200 million to more than £100 billion. More than 30 are members of the FTSEurofirst index. Makinson Cowell’s extensive experience with these clients over many years provides a broad basis for benchmarking and providing advice on best practice.
This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.