Mediobanca takes control of Messier Maris investment bank

With the support of the first Italian investment bank, Jean-Marie Messier and Erik Maris want to gain momentum in cross-border deals. The two founders retain their management independence. With around 40 bankers, their house generates more than 50 million euros in commissions and a net profit of 15 million euros per year.

Alberto Nagel, CEO of Mediobanca, on Wednesday signed the acquisition of 66% of Messier Maris & Associés.

New situation in the world of investment banking. Jean-Marie Messier and Erik Maris, the founders of the challenger of Lazard and Rothschild, signed on Wednesday the transfer of control of their consulting company to Mediobanca. The first Italian investment bank buys back in shares and for an undisclosed amount 66% of the capital, with an option on the remaining third in the next ten years. According to initial indications, Messier Maris & Associés would be valued at around 160 million euros.

“Thanks to this alliance, we are bringing together two very strong franchises in Milan, Paris, Madrid and New York, with a very international address book, combining old-fashioned and high-end advice, with the entire spectrum of financing and market operations », Congratulates Alberto Nagel, CEO of Mediobanca.

More cross-border deals

Supported by its shareholders, including UniCredit and Vincent Bolloré, the Italian investment bank has more than 2 billion euros for new acquisitions in Europe in its targeted businesses, which consume little capital and serve high profitability.

While European M&A has declined in recent months and Franco-Italian relations have been complex (Essilor Luxottica, STX Fincantieri, Vivendi-Telecom Italia), Alberto Nagel remains very positive on transaction opportunities in Europe: ” Some sectors remain sensitive to the appreciation of political power, but apart from that, if there are strong industrial projects, they will still be supported by the market. », He said to« Echoes ».

A minority deal would not have worked

After advising on the Essilor-Luxxotica merger, the sale of Nice airport, or even Atlantia in its merger with the Spanish Abertis, the Italian institution at the heart of the transalpine economy wants to position itself on the front line in operations. of cross-border European mergers.

With this objective, explain Jean-Marie Messier and Erik Maris, a sale of minority capital of their investment bank would not have made sense: “Imagining consolidating in Europe without a majority alliance would have remained just words. If we want to establish ourselves in the advice of large deals in several countries, we have to play the integration game to the full ”.

With Alberto Nagel, whom they know well, the two former members of Lazard (with historical links with Mediobanca), will however retain their total management autonomy. “Although we have always envisioned an independent future, add the founders of MMA, when Alberto Nagel approached us, we realized that we shared the same long-term interests and that, together in Italy and Spain, we could create a formidable platform with more capital resources ”.

A quasi-alliance between equals

This solution convinced them to reject the approaches of Anglo-Saxon competitors who are also very interested in taking market share in Europe, at the time of Brexit.

In eight years, faced with their hundred-year-old French competitors, the two French bankers have acquired more than 200 advisory mandates with their forty or so financiers, like Thales for the acquisition of Gemalto and CMA CGM for the acquisition of Switzerland. Ceva Logistics. MMA generates a net profit of 15 million euros per year and more than 50 million euros in commissions. An amount close to 65 million euros in “fees” generated by Mediobanca in “corporate finance”.