Greenhill advised on 82 LP stake sales in 2017

The success of the former Cogent Partners team increases the likelihood Greenhill will have to pay an earn-out linked to its performance.

Greenhill Cogent closed 82 sales of limited partnership stakes, according to its annual earnings release, falling just short of 83 the year before.

Asked in an earnings call on Wednesday whether growth in Greenhill’s capital advisory business – which covers both primary capital raising and secondaries advisory – was due to overall market growth or the firm taking greater market share, chief executive Scott Bok said the unit took a “larger share of the big things that happened in 2017”.

Greenhill noted that the unit’s strong annual results increase the likelihood that it will have to pay a $4.3 million earn-out linked to the future performance of Cogent Partners, agreed when it was acquired by Greenhill in 2015.

Among the transactions the firm advised on last year were British Columbia Investment Management Corporation’s portfolio sale of buyout stakes, in which Singapore state-owned investor Temasek was a buyer, and the sale of two portfolios of tail-end stakes by Ardian to Blackstone’s Strategic Partners.

The capital advisory business, which covers secondaries, private equity, real assets and fund sponsors, accounted for 30 percent of Greenhill’s total advisory revenues last year, the results noted.

For the investment bank as a whole, annual revenues in 2017 were 29 percent down on the year before at $239.2 billion, as fewer transactions closed, particularly outside the US.