The investment banking arm of the
family-owned Rothschild Group, Rothschild has been serving
governments, corporations and wealthy individuals for two
centuries. Its London headquarters have never moved from New
Court, St Swithin's Lane, though over the years its offices have
been rebuilt and expanded. The latest version, a Rem
Koolhaas-designed tower with a rooftop pavilion, is slated for
occupancy in mid-2011.
The Rothschild story began in 1769 when
Mayer Amschel Rothschild began offering banking services in his
home town of Frankfurt, Germany. His five sons carried the
family business-and the family name-across Europe, winning fame as
the financiers who funded the Duke of Wellington's victory over
Napoleon. In later years, the Rothschilds arranged loans for
the Prussian government; kept the Bank of England afloat during a
financial crisis; financed the British government's purchase of a
controlling stake in the Suez Canal; helped De Beers founder Cecil
Rhodes establish his eponymous scholarship at Oxford; and played a
major role in financing the London Tube. The modern
Rothschild family includes vast holdings of art and land, not to
mention historic estates and some of the most esteemed vineyards in
the French wine country.
There are also the financial services
businesses, of course. These underwent reorganisation in 2003
when a new holding company, Concordia BV, was created to oversee
operations in Europe. Rothschilds Continuation Holdings AG is
the holding company for U.K. and other international businesses;
while it remains under the control of the Rothschild family, Hong
Kong-based Jardine Strategic owns a 20 percent stake and Rabobank
owns 7.5 percent.
Reaching the world
Perhaps best known as a high-powered
advisor, Rothschild's investment banking division provides debt
advice and restructuring services, mergers and acquisitions advice,
equity advice and advice on divestments and privatisations.
Other divisions cover private banking and trust, merchant banking
and corporate banking. It has approximately 2,800 employees
in 49 offices worldwide, though its footprint remains largest in
Rothschild's industry sector groups include
property, financial institutions, consumer products (in which it
has a joint venture with Rabobank), transportation, health care,
natural resources, industrials, business services, oil and gas,
infrastructure, media and technology, and financial sponsors.
Major deals Rothschild worked on in late
2008 and early 2009 included advising London's Telereal Ventures on
its £750 million acquisition of Land Securities Trillium; advising
CSR plc on its £91 million ($136 million) acquisition of
California-based SiRF Technology; assisting Unibanco with its $45
billion acquisition of Banco Itau; and advising the Swedish
government on its 19.9 percent stake purchase in the Nordea
financial services group as well as participating in its â'¬2.5
billion rights issue.
Rothschild picked up its share of banking
industry recognitions, too. EuroWeek dubbed it the LBO
Advisory Bank of the Year for 2009, and Acquisitions Monthly
recognized its work on the £7.8 billion ($15.4 billion) acquisition
of Scottish & Newcastle plc by Carlsberg A/S and Heineken as
the Cross Border Deal of the Year. In the FT &
Mergermarket Awards for 2008, Rothschild won UK Financial Adviser
of the Year, Italy Financial Adviser of the Year and Middle Market
Financial Adviser of the Year.
For 2008, Rothschild ranked No. 12 in
worldwide announced M&A deal volume, according to Thomson
Reuters; in completed deal volume, it ranked No. 11. It put
up similar numbers on the Europe banking league tables, ranking No.
13 and No. 9 in announced and completed transactions,
respectively. The bank's strongest M&A performance was in
France, where it ranked No. 4 in both announced and completed deal
By number of M&A deals, Rothschild
ranked No. 8 worldwide for both announced and completed deals in
2008. In Europe, Rothschild consistently ranks No. 1 in
number of announced deals (though, in 2008, according to Thomson
Reuters, the bank ranked No. 2). It also ranks No.1 by number
of deals year after year in France and the U.K.
In addition to its established markets,
Rothschild has been increasing its success in emerging markets,
including Latin America and the Middle East. In 2008, it
ranked No. 4 in announced M&A volume in Brazil, and No. 9 in
announced M&A volume in the Middle East and North Africa.