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SVB eyes health care M&A

Mar 30, 2022
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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

SVB Securities entered the big leagues of health care deal-making this week, serving as lead adviser to home care company LHC Group on its $5.4 billion sale to UnitedHealth Group’s Optum.

Why it matters: That sort of entry demonstrates that large-cap (and public company) M&A matters to SVB, whereas boutique investment banks are often associated with smaller deals.

Driving the news: SVB is on a hiring tear, adding more than 50 investment bankers focused on health care services and health tech over the last year, sources familiar with the bank tell Sarah. Flashback: Historically known for its dominant role in biopharma and life sciences equity underwriting, SVB’s big push into M&A advisory started with the February 2021 appointment of heavy hitter Barry Blake.

  • The bank poached Blake from Guggenheim Securities, naming him global co-head of investment banking. Shortly after, Robert Minear from Guggenheim jumped ship to steer SVB’s financial sponsor origination efforts.
  • In the months that followed, Toby King and Robert Jackey joined from Citigroup, Jon Swope from BofA, Howard Dingle from RBC Capital Markets, Whit Mayo from Credit Suisse, Ben Brown from Baird, and Thad Davis from HSBC.
  • Its latest big get is Jed Brody, a veteran banker who was most recently Barclays' co-head of healthcare Americas and global head of healthcare M&A. He joined in December.

Yes, and: Beyond the Optum-LHC deal, which it co-led with Jefferies, the newly onboarded bench of bankers has scored other big co-advisory roles in recent months.

  • That includes Trinity Life Sciences, which Axios wrote in December was valued at $1.4 billion on its sale to Kohlberg & Co.
  • Meanwhile, Komodo Health recently tapped Goldman Sachs and SVB as lead book-runners for an upcoming IPO, Axios wrote.
  • Axios couldn’t confirm if LHC is the bank’s largest M&A advisory mandate in history, but it presumably is.

Meanwhile, the bank has been aggressively building out its technology investment banking team, starting by poaching a team of UBS technology, media and telecom bankers last year. The bottom line: SVB is quickly becoming a competitive force in health care and technology banking.

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