Boutique banks just dominated the Verizon-AOL deal

AOL Tim Armstrong 8352Business Insider/Michael SetoWall Street’s biggest banks got counted out of the Verizon-AOL deal announced Tuesday.

The biggest names on Wall Street were nowhere near Tuesday’s biggest deal announcement. Once again, boutique banks dominated M&A that made headlines.

Verizon will spend $US4.4 billion to buy AOL, and, between two big tech companies with a history of M&A, you might think an investment bank with just as big a brand would have would up advising either company. Think again.

Liontree Advisors, a New York-based boutique bank, and Guggenheim Partners advised Verizon on the deal, and another small investment bank, Allen & Co., worked on the deal for AOL.

Liontree was launched by ex-UBS executives Ehren Stenzler and Aryeh Bourkoff in 2012, and grew in 2015 when the media-focused I-bank merged operations with merchant bank Tegris Advisors.

Boutique banks have been taking market share from big banks in 2015, advising on more mega-transactions.

It has come in a year where there has been a lot more M&A to go around — so all the cash that smaller US banks are siphoning off institutional firms’ (like Goldman Sachs) top line isn’t as painful. Still, it’s likely that on a $US4.4 billion AOL-Verizon deal, Wall Street’s big banks lost out on tens of millions of dollars to their smaller competitors Tuesday.

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