Saturday 18 November 2017

Merrion Stockbrokers staff in €12m buyout

John Conroy of Merrion Capital
John Conroy of Merrion Capital
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

MERRION Capital stockbrokers has been sold to a management buyout group in a deal valuing the business at around €12m.

Co-founder of Merrion, Pat O'Neill, is to return to the main business as chief executive following the sale, replacing outgoing CEO John Conroy, who has sold his stake as part of the deal. The transaction remains subject to Central Bank approval.

The sale values Merrion in the "low to mid-teens" according to a source close to the process.

It is less than half the €30m valuation prior to the crash, though sources say the firm has paid out as much as €20m in dividends in the interim.

Other external shareholders in Merrion included former Bill Clinton adviser Declan Kelly's Teneo Capital and Pearse Farrell of Farrell Grant Sparks.

The management team is believed to be buying the around 35pc of the firm they did not already own from shareholders including Allen & Co's 20pc shareholding and John Conroy's 10pc holding.

It's understood the MBO bid saw off interest from the likes of Davy Stockbrokers and Cantor Fitzgerald – which owns the former Dolmen Stockbrokers.

The sale comes after an internal reorganisation at Merrion in recent months and the appointment of outsider David Beattie, of law firm Eversheds, as chairman in January.

Central Bank approval for the sale of the stockbroking and wealth management business will have to be signed off by former Merrion Capital partner and now stockbroking watchdog Michael Hodson.

Irish Independent

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