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Mid-market banking leader to be sold

Harris Williams, the Richmond, Virginia investment bank that has captured a major portion of the US middle-market buyout business, has agreed to be acquired by PNC Financial Services Group, which also owns BlackRock.

Middle-market investment bank Harris Williams has agreed to be acquired by PNC Financial Services Group.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Harris Williams, based in Richmond, Virginia, is a major provider of mergers and acquisitions services to middle-market companies. The firm, founded in 1991 by Hiter Harris and Christopher Williams, has major influence with middle-market buyout firms, and is often credited, along with other major middle-market investment banks, with bringing greater competition and efficiency to the US private equity middle market. The firm has also in recent years undertaken efforts to become active in Europe.

“They have become more and more dominant in the middle market,” says a professional at a

They have become more and more dominant in the middle market.

Rival investment banker

rival investment bank. “I don’t like competing against them”.

The acquisition by PNC Financial, based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year. Harris Williams currently employs roughly 110 people and has additional offices in San Francisco and Boston.

PNC Financial also owns a 71 percent stake in BlackRock, a diversified financial services company. According to the rival banker, the acquisition of Harris Williams will likely broaden the amount of services the firm can make available to clients. But the transaction also carries the risk of Harris Williams being urged to “move upmarket”, says the banker, referring to the size of transaction focused on.

Harris Williams will report to PNC Financial vice chairman William Demchak.

PNC Financial offers corporate banking, real estate finance, asset-based lending, wealth management; asset management and fund services.