Houlihan Lokey announced the appointments of Christian Keller and Ann Sharkey to further strengthen the firm’s European Financial Sponsors Group.
These appointments follow the recent arrival of Leon Gillespie, who joined the team in London in October to focus on U.K. private equity clients. He joined from Canaccord Genuity, where he was Head of Financial Sponsors Coverage.
“As part of the ongoing expansion of Houlihan Lokey’s footprint in Europe, we continue to grow the European Financial Sponsors Group and now have six dedicated senior officers across the region,” said John Mavredakis, Global Head of the Financial Sponsors Group. “Christian and Ann bring deep industry experience which suits our culture perfectly. Their expertise will complement our existing team, enabling us to strategically expand both our geographic coverage capability and our coverage of hedge funds and alternative investors in Europe.”
Based in Frankfurt, Mr. Keller joins the firm as a Managing Director to lead its Financial Sponsors coverage in the DACH region. He joins from HSBC, where he was a Managing Director and Head of Leveraged & Acquisition Finance in Germany. As such, he was responsible for the origination of event related financing transactions for private equity and corporate clients; and sponsor coverage for large and mid-cap private equity clients in DACH. Prior to HSBC, he spent 16 years at Unicredit Bank, latterly as a Managing Director in Financial Sponsor Solutions.
“We are constantly seeking to add outstanding senior bankers to our team in the DACH region, to increase our sector focus and strengthen our coverage efforts,” commented Ulrich Graebner, Head of Corporate Finance, Germany. “Having such an experienced professional as Christian here will enable us to serve our Financial Sponsor clients in a more structured fashion, with access to the deep industry knowledge within our European sector teams that now include Industrials, Business Services, Data Analytics, Financial Services, Real Estate, and Consumer, Food & Retail; as well as our debt capital markets expertise, and colleagues across Houlihan Lokey’s global network.”
Ms. Sharkey joins the firm as a Managing Director in the Financial Sponsor’s coverage team in London, to focus on covering hedge funds, alternative investors, and financial institutions. Most recently an investment consultant to Real Estate Funds and Private Equity Funds, Ms. Sharkey was formerly a Managing Director at both Castlelake and Carval Investors, focusing on European credit opportunities. She spent eight years at Citigroup, covering European and U.S. distressed investors, and also served as Head of Research for the European arm of Citigroup’s Global Special Situations Group. She began her career in 1997 with Merrill Lynch, specializing in investing in European distressed companies.
“We are delighted to welcome Ann to the Houlihan Lokey coverage team. She brings extensive expertise in all segments of the distressed debt markets and is a great fit to lead our coverage efforts in that sector,” commented Joseph Swanson, Senior Managing Director and Co-Head of Houlihan Lokey’s European Financial Restructuring Group.
Houlihan Lokey’s Financial Sponsors Group consists of 18 senior officers across Europe and the U.S., covering over 750 private equity firms, 200 hedge funds, and 100 family offices. In 2017, the Group worked on over 800 sponsor-related engagements, and over the past five years Houlihan Lokey has sold over 375 companies to financial sponsors. Recent European transactions include the sale of Jack Wolfskin by the group of creditors Bain Capital, CQS, and HIG Bayside to Callaway Golf; the sale of Tangerine for Blackstone to Valeo; the sale of Meadow Foods for Paine Schwartz to Exponent; the sale of ipan for Warburg Pincus to Castik Capital, and the sale of Tails.com for Octopus to Nestlé.