William Blair and BDA Announce Global Strategic Alliance

Thursday, October 20, 2011

William Blair invests in leading pan-Asian advisory firm, extending reach across region; BDA adds ECM capability and greater presence in North America and Europe.

CHICAGO and HONG KONG, October 20, 2011 – William Blair & Company and Business Development Asia LLC (BDA) today announced a global strategic alliance. William Blair has completed a growth capital investment in BDA, acquiring approximately 10% of BDA's equity. Additional financial terms have not been disclosed. With this partnership, William Blair's investment banking group expands its international capability, in cooperation with BDA's well-established teams in Tokyo, Seoul, Mumbai, Hong Kong, and Bahrain. William Blair also deepens its existing global presence through cooperation with BDA's teams in Shanghai, London, and New York. This partnership offers clients added confidence that William Blair can locate the best investors and strategic parties, no matter the location, and enhances BDA's ability to serve its clients in transactions beyond Asia.

Founded in 1996 and led by Euan Rellie, Charles Maynard, and Andrew Huntley, BDA is a leading independent pan-Asian middle-market investment banking advisory firm. BDA advises on international mergers and acquisitions and provides related advisory services for blue-chip corporate and financial sponsor clients. BDA has seven partners and a total of 60 employees in eight countries. BDA specializes in cross-border transactions with enterprise values up to US$1 billion involving Asia.

"As globalization continues, we see an increasing number of international buyers interested in the high-quality businesses we represent around the world. By forming this relationship with BDA, we expand our reach into certain regions–for example, India, Korea, and Japan–where we do not have an established, local presence. Our international footprint, diversified industry experience, and focus on the middle market are well aligned with BDA's focus," said Brent Gledhill, William Blair's global head of corporate finance.

The Asia-Pacific region's importance has grown significantly. In 2010, over 8,700 deals worth more than $594 billion cumulatively were consummated in the region, a 25% increase in volume over 2009(1). Since 2004, Asia-Pacific has increased from 12.7% of global inbound M&A activity to 23.4% in 2010(2). Further, Asia-Pacific surpassed Europe in 2010 as the second-most-active region for M&A activity, behind North America(1).

Mark Brady, William Blair's global head of mergers and acquisitions, added, "Since 2006, approximately 35% of our $97 billion in M&A transactions have been cross-border. We expect that trend to grow. We have observed Asian buyers gaining prevalence as active participants in sale processes. Since opening our Shanghai office in 2007, we have worked hard to build relationships with companies and private-equity firms in the region. This alliance increases our confidence that we can deliver the best outcomes for our clients by clearing the market globally."

Euan Rellie, co-founder and partner of BDA, noted, "We considered several potential alliance partners and concluded William Blair to be the optimal candidate. Like William Blair, BDA offers exceptional service and unbiased advice to our clients around the world. We're excited to work together to offer unparalleled Asian and cross-border transactions to a global client base."

Charles Maynard, co-founder and partner of BDA, added, "The new investment from William Blair expands BDA's capital base and supports our strategy to grow aggressively, further strengthening our position in Asian cross-border M&A. Our firm will continue to hire and retain the best professionals to support our clients."

Andrew Huntley, senior managing director and partner of BDA, said, "In addition to BDA's strong existing business advising on sell-side and buy-side transactions in Asia, we are seeing a growing appetite among corporate and financial investors from Asia and the Middle East for opportunities in Europe and North America. This tie-up allows us to answer that need more effectively. We will expand what we can offer our clients through this partnership."

William Blair and BDA's alliance combines an established U.S. and Europe-focused middle-market firm with a specialist Asian advisory boutique, creating a leading, global middle-market presence with a combined 230 bankers in 16 offices across nine countries. In total, William Blair and BDA have completed over 130 M&A advisory assignments since the beginning of 2010, totaling more than $21 billion in transaction value.

Sources:
(1) Bloomberg
(2) Citigroup


About William Blair Investment Banking
William Blair's investment banking group combines significant transaction experience, rich industry knowledge, and deep relationships to deliver successful advisory and financing solutions to our global base of corporate clients. We serve both publicly traded and privately held companies, executing mergers and acquisitions, growth financing, special situations and restructuring, and general advisory projects. This comprehensive suite of services allows us to be a long-term partner to our clients as they grow and evolve. In 2010, the investment banking group completed 65 merger-and-acquisition transactions worth more than $9 billion in value, involving parties in 22 countries, and was an underwriter on 20% of all U.S. initial public offerings.

About William Blair & Company, L.L.C.
William Blair & Company is a global investment banking and asset management firm. We are committed to building enduring relationships with our clients and providing expertise and solutions to meet their evolving needs. An independent and employee-owned firm, William Blair is based in Chicago, with 10 office locations including London, New York, Shanghai, and Zurich. For more information, please visit williamblair.com.

About Business Development Asia LLC
Business Development Asia LLC (BDA) assists multinational corporate and financial sponsor clients in identifying and executing acquisitions, divestments, JVs, restructuring, and capital raising in Asia and internationally. The company is headquartered in New York with offices in Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Bahrain, and London. BDA has seven partners and 60 full-time professional staff across its eight offices, supplemented by a team of senior advisors around the world. Further information on BDA is available at www.bdallc.com.



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