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Clinton, Blair on board as Merrion signs deal with US partner

MERRION Capital has signed a tie-up deal with a new US partner that features Bill Clinton and Tony Blair on its board of advisers.

Last night Dublin-based Merrion Capital announced a cross-ownership deal with Teneo Capital, a newly launched US-based investment bank founded and co-managed by Irishman Declan Kelly.

Mr Kelly is the former boss of PR firm Financial Dynamics and served as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's trade envoy to Northern Ireland.

Douglas J Bard who was an adviser to the Clinton White House is co-chief executive of Teneo -- which offers banking and strategic advice to clients.

Former US President Bill Clinton and one-time UK prime minister Tony Blair make up the advisory council for the US bank. Under the partnership agreement with Merrion each firm is to take a stake of less than 10pc in the other. The deal is aimed at cementing links between the two companies which operate in separate, but increasingly linked markets.


Merrion Capital founder and managing director John Conroy told the Irish Independent that the agreement would boost both firms' corporate advisory business and in time could help Merrion Capital develop an overseas business.

Merrion Capital is majority owned by management as a result of a buyout deal last year.

Two years earlier the wider management team had bought out former owner Landsbanki, after the Icelandic crisis forced Landsbanki out of the Irish market.

At that stage, Merrion's team paid around €30m buying a stake the Icelanders had originally paid €90m to acquire.

The stakes being exchanged under the new deal are in the form of new shares, so no current investors are exiting as a result of the deal. New York-based Allen & Co will remain a significant investor in Merrion Capital.

The new deal is just the latest sign of an increasingly international focus at Merrion.

In January it added a trio of Americans and an Englishman to the board, including installing New Yorker Paul Gould as chairman.

Merrion also named Allen director and NTMA adviser Walter O'Hara as a non-executive director alongside UK-based investment broker Kevin Gallagher.

Former Iona boss Kevin Melia was also appointed to the board.

Irish Independent