Violet Arch Capital Advisors, a start-up investment bank set-up by former SBI Macquarie Infrastructure Fund CEO Varun Bajpai, has roped in New York-based Berenson & Company as a strategic investor by selling around 7.5 per cent stake. The deal with Berenson & Co, a financial advisory and investment management firm, values six month old Violet Arch Capital at $60 million.
Violet Arch aims to be a full service investment bank across M&A, private equity advisory besides securities and private equity business. Violet Arch kicked-off its operations by acquiring Alchemy Shares & Stock Brokers from its promoters, one of whom is the billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala.
Mohammed M. Ansari, managing director with Berenson & Co, will join the board of Violet Arch.
The investment bank, which has already started running mandates, is tipped to be starting out with $20 million in funding. Besides Berenson, a large unnamed Indian conglomerate is also backing Violet Arch.
Violet Arch has built up a team over 70 people now, with most of them in the securities business and little over a dozen in the I-banking team. The firm is looking to close a few more senior positions in the advisory and private equity team while it has already filled all the junior positions. Former HDFC Securities’ executive director Sanju Verma is leading the securities business while Bajpai is the founder & CEO of Violet Arch.
Berenson & Company was co-founded in 1990 by Wall Street stalwart Jeffrey L. Berenson, former co-head of Merrill Lynch’s Merchant Banking Group, with more than $200 billion of M&A transactions to his credit. The deal will help both Berenson and Violet Arch leverage cross-border M&A opportunities, among others.
Berenson & Co provides advisory on financing, restructuring and other strategic considerations. It was an advisor on the deal by Chevron to acquire Marcellus Shale gas assets with Atlas Energy, where India’s Reliance Industries also holds a stake.
Besides Berenson, Violet Arch has also tied up with London-based ISM Capital, set up by former Jefferies International CEO Cliff Siegel. ISM focuses on Asia-Pacific and EMEA markets, and has advised Indian companies like Bilcare and REI Agro in their convertible issues.
“This partnership with Berenson not only represents their confidence in the high-quality comprehensive platform that we have built, but also provides Violet Arch key advantages by strengthening our capabilities in executing seamless cross-border investment banking transactions, both in-bound and out-bound, particularly in the US-India corridor,” said Bajpai, who earlier set-up India investment banking operations of Macquarie.
“India is an important geography for us and we believe this partnership will allow each of our firms to leverage our collective capabilities and relationships to the benefit of our clients,” said Berenson.