2 boutique banks led Allergan’s latest pharma merger

Allergan, the hyper-acquisitive, Dublin-headquartered maker of Botox, is buying fat-reduction biopharmaceutical Zeltiq for about $2.5 billion — and the only two financial advisers on the deal are boutique shops.

On the buy-side, Moelis & Company advised Allergan, while on the sell-side, Guggenheim Securities advised Zeltiq.

Moelis is expected to rake in $15-20 million for their advice to Allergan, according to the consultant Freeman & Co. Guggenheim could make $20-25 million.

Moelis has about 650 employees in 17 offices worldwide. It was founded by the former UBS banker Ken Moelis and recently landed an advisory role on the mammoth Saudi Aramco IPO, which is expected to be the world’s largest.

Guggenheim has 2,500 employees in 20 cities around the world. It advised Verizon on its $130 billion deal for Vodafone, which closed in 2014. More recently, Guggenheim advised Allergan on its $2.9 billion deal for LifeCell in December and Verizon on the $3.6 billion sale of 24 data centres to Equinix.

Both Moelis and Guggenheim advised Pfizer on its attempted (and botched) merger with Allergan.

Boutique banks have had a strong start to the year.

Last week, the maker of Durex announced it was buying a baby-formula company for $17 billion and the boutique firm Robey Warshaw landed a joint-lead advisory role on the buy-side of that deal. It could split up to $50 million in fees with co-adviser Bank of America Merrill Lynch for that deal, according to Freeman & Co.

In January, Evercore and Lazard landed roles on Takeda’s $5.2 billion deal for Ariad Pharmaceuticals. And the boutique firm BDT, led by the former Goldman Sachs partner Byron Trott, advised Mars on its $9.1 billion deal for VCA Inc.

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