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Stifel to acquire European debt advisory firm ISM

The US investment bank and broker-dealer is to buy London-based ISM Capital to enhance its debt capital markets expertise in Europe.

US investment bank Stifel Financial Corp has agreed to buy London-based debt advisory group ISM Capital, boosting the firm’s debt capital markets expertise in Europe as it continues to hunt for and bolt-on complementary businesses. 

NYSE-listed Stifel said it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire ISM for an undisclosed amount through its wholly-owned Stifel Nicolaus European subsidiary. The deal is designed to boost Stifel’s debt capital markets origination, sales and research capacity in Europe, and bring particular expertise in convertible securities and other equity-linked debt instruments. 

The deal is the latest in a string of acquisitions by Stifel, which included the takeover of placement agent Eaton Partners earlier in January and the purchase of Barclays’ US wealth management franchise last year. The firm has also been actively building its European broking operations since the buyout of Oriel Securities in 2014. Stifel was also reported to have been in talks for London firm Charles Stanley last year.

Based in St Louis, Missouri, Stifel operates funds and asset management services for retail investors, as well as asset management and investment banking operations for institutions. 

“ISM complements Stifel's existing European business, particularly within our fixed income platform. ISM is well regarded in the emerging markets and credit research areas, and will add convertible brokerage capabilities for our institutional clients. We are excited to welcome Cliff and his team to Stifel,” said Ronald J. Kruszewski, Stifel chairman and CEO.

ISM was established in late 2008 and has raised over $2.1 billion for clients from a base of over 180 global institutional investors with a focus on corporate debt. Among its deals, ISM has helped structure convertible finances for London-listed Russian gold miner Petropavlovsk and a bond for healthcare real estate investment trust Primary Health Properties. The takeover by Stifel is expected to complete in April.