Sector trends - September 2023: Brokers/Corporate Finance

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP

Pan-European banks, including Mediobanca and Deutsche Bank, seek senior dealmaker bench strength through high profile acquisitions.


Current market

  • Uptick in M&A activity

We are seeing

  • M&A activity in the Brokers/Corporate Finance vertical heats up:
    • Mergers of equals (e.g., FinnCap & Cenkos Securities and Redburn & Atlantic Equities)
    • Acquisitions (e.g., Houlihan Lokey's acquisition of Oakley Advisory and Marex's acquisition of ED&F Man Capital Markets)
    • Partnerships (e.g., Société Générale's cash equity and equity research JV with AllianceBernstein)
    • Access to public markets (e.g., ThinkMarkets' de-SPAC into FG Acquisition Corporation)
  • Pan-European banks seek to bolster:
    • Financial advisory capabilities (e.g., Mediobanca Group's acquisition of Arma Partners)
    • Securities brokerage capabilities (e.g., Deutsche Bank's acquisition of Numis)
  • Mounting competition from:
    • Online trading platforms (e.g., Funderbream, eToro and Lightyear all successfully raised growth capital in the previous 12 months)
    • Crypto trading venues (e.g., Amber Technologies, and Bitlevex all successfully raised growth capital in the previous 12 months)

Key drivers/challenges

  • Trade consolidators target organic growth aimed at:
    • Acquiring specialist sub-sector capability (e.g., Mediobanca's acquisition of Arma Partners and Houlihan Lokey's acquisition of Oakley Advisory)
    • Extending geographic reach (e.g., Noor Capital's acquisition of House of Borse and Chimera's acquisition of 55.9% of Beltone)
    • Senior dealmaker bench strength (e.g., Deutsche Bank's acquisition of Numis)
    • Future-proofing in anticipation of rebound in M&A and IPO activity
  • Financial advisory boutiques seek shelter in numbers amidst harsh market conditions (e.g., FinnCap & Cenkos Securities merger)

Trends to watch

  • Appetite for:
    • DIY stockbroking to remain strong (e.g., Fenbushi Capital US's investment in Amber Technologies)
    • Crypto trading unlikely to diminish, notwithstanding established bank sentiment (e.g., HSBC, Nationwide and NatWest have all imposed limits on customer crypto purchases)
  • Market consolidation amongst online brokers as high interest rates make debt funding less attractive for financial sponsors

Our M&A forecast

Market consolidation to continue, improving the NIM environment stocks war chests of pan-European investment banks. Fintech funding slowdown is likely to lead to consolidation across online securities and digital asset trading platforms.

Other financial services—Publicly reported deals & situations

High investor appetite

Deal highlight:
White & Case advised Mediobanca on its acquisition of a controlling interest in Arma Partners and US Arma Partners to create a leading digital economy franchise within Mediobanca's CIB division.

Private equity:

  • VentureWave (Online trading): Participation in US$40 million Venture funding round in Funderbeam (May 2023)
  • ION Group and Softbank Vision 2 Fund (Online trading): Participation in US$250 million Venture funding round in eToro (March 2023)
  • Permira (Equity research): Acquisition of majority equity stake in Acuity Knowledge Partners (January 2023)
  • Fenbushi Capital US (Crypto trading): Participation in US$300 million Series C funding round for Amber Technologies (December 2022)
  • Apax Partners (Online broker): Acquisition of undisclosed minority stake in Pandat Finance (September 2022)

Strategic investors:

  • Mediobanca Group (Financial advisory): Acquisition of Arma Partners (May 2023)
  • Deutsche Bank (Broking and financial advisory): Acquisition of Numis (April 2023)

Foreign investors:

  • Noor Capital (CFD broker): Acquisition of House of Borse (March 2023)
  • Chimera Investment (Broking and Financial Advisory): Acquisition of 55.9% of Beltone (August 2022)


  • ThinkMarkets (Online trading): De-SPAC by FG Acquisition Corporation (May 2023)

Market consolidation to achieve economies of scale & scope

Deal drought raises stakes for boutiques. The slowest start to dealmaking in a decade is expected to unleash further consolidation across the investment banking industry as more boutiques and brokers are picked off by bigger players. Financial Times (June 2023)


  • Investec Bank (Financial advisory): Acquisition of 60% of Capitalmind Group (June 2023)
  • Delta Capita (Decentralised finance): Acquisition of SETL's capital markets business (April 2023)
  • Bakkt Holdings (Crypto trading): Acquisition of Apex Crypto (April 2023)
  • Credit Suisse (Investment banking): Acquisition of The Klein Group (February 2023)
  • Double Delta (Impact investment advisory): Acquisition of Credit Suisse's Singapore impact advisory arm (January 2023)
  • BUX (Neo brokerage): Acquisition of retail brokerage arm from Ninety Nine (December 2022)
  • Houlihan Lokey (Corporate finance): Acquisition of Oakley Advisory (November 2022)
  • SICO (Investment banking): Acquisition of 27.29% of Muscat Capital (September 2022)
  • Marex (Brokerage): Acquisition of ED&F Man Capital Markets (August 2022)
  • eToro (Online trading): Acquisition of Gatsby (August 2022)
  • MNC Kapital Indonesia (Brokerage): Acquisition of majority stake in Auerbach Grayson & Company (January 2021)


  • PhiDelphi Corporate Finance & Clearwater International (Financial advisory): Merger (April 2023)
  • Redburn & Atlantic Equities (Stock brokerage): Merger (April 2023)
  • FinnCap & Cenkos Securities (Stock brokerage): Merger (March 2023)


  • Slivr (Corporate finance): German on-demand business financing JV with Deutsche Firmenkredit Partner (December 2022)
  • Société Générale (Equity research): Cash equity and equity research JV with AllianceBernstein Holding (November 2022)

Mounting online competition

  • Funderbream (Online trading): Successful US$40 million funding round led by VentureWave (May 2023)
  • eToro (Online trading): Successful US$250 million Venture funding round led by ION Group and Softbank Vision Fund 2 (March 2023)
  • Amber Technologies (Crypto trading): Successful US$300 million Series C funding round led by Fenbushi Capital US (December 2022)
  • (Crypto trading): Successful US$25 million Venture funding round led by Marshall Wace (September 2022)
  • Bitlevex (Crypto trading): Successful US$50 million Venture funding round led by GEM Digital (September 2022)
  • Lightyear (Online trading): Successful US$25 million Series A funding round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Virgin Group (July 2022)

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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