US advisory Stout forms joint venture with Asian M&A specialists Bluepeak

14 September 2018 Authored by Consultancy.asia

US-based multidisciplinary professional services firm Stout has expanded into the Asian market via a joint venture with the corporate finance and M&A advisory Bluepeak Group, adding offices in Shanghai, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

With lines in investment banking, valuation advisory, dispute consulting, and management consulting, and 20 existing offices primarily located in the US and Switzerland, the Chicago-headquartered Stout has entered the Asian market through a joint venture with corporate finance and M&A specialists Bluepeak, with the new entity to provide cross-border transaction coverage for Singapore, China, and in Southeast Asia.

In line with the new venture, Stout’s leadership team will be expanded with the elevation of Bruce Robinson, Arthur Lo, Gary Cheng and Bluepeak founder Larry Ma to the managing director fold, with the experienced Asia-based quartet bringing more than 80 years of combined international M&A experience across a multitude of sectors including healthcare, retail, automotive, industry, chemicals and financial services. 

Former KPMG Managing Director of Corporate Finance in Chicago and current head of Stout's Investment Banking group Nick Jachim said of the fresh enterprise; “The new offices in Asia strongly position our firm to deliver country-specific knowledge, industry expertise, and access to a robust global network of buyers, sellers, and investors. Larry and his team are a fantastic cultural fit with Stout's entrepreneurial spirit.”US professional services firm Stout forms JV with Asia M&A specialists BluepeakMa, who established Bluepeak in Shanghai in 2006 and will head up Stout Bluepeak Asia, likewise has a Big Four background, having served as a Director of PwC’s Transactions Strategy Group in Shanghai following an earlier stint with PwC consulting acquisition Booz & Company (now Strategy&) as an Associate in Chicago. Prior to founding Bluepeak, Ma spent two years as a partner with OC&C Strategy Consultants.

“We're very pleased to formalise a partnership that has existed for more than a year,” “Stout's momentum, growth, and commitment to superior deal execution are the perfect complements to our expanding presence in Asia.” said Ma, who in addition to his wealth of experience holds an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management along with a Masters in Engineering gained with Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 1991.

A background at some of the world’s biggest advisories is not an uncommon feature among the Stout senior leadership team. Arthur Lo, who currently heads the Bluepeak Singapore office (Gary Cheng oversees the newest office in Hong Kong) previously served as a senior consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton and a Business Analysts with Coopers & Lybrand (since merged to form PwC), while co-founders Craige Stout and Jeffrey Risius also gained experience at PwC.

Recent movement in the M&A advisory domain in Asia would suggest that the segment is gearing up for a surge in local activity (although M&A deals in the professional services sector itself have dropped in Asia of late), with several firms recently bolstering their lines through key executive appointments – among them; Singapore-based management consultancy Stradegi, with the appointment of Claudia Marcusson as head of investment risk & operations; EY, shortly welcoming ex-CIMB senior executive Mah Kah Loon as a partner in its Asia M&A division, and; Willis Towers Watson, through the recruitment of Terence Montgomery to lead its regional M&A practice.

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