Merchant Investment Management adds M&A Matchmaker to its portfolio

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Merchant Investment Management announced Thursday that it has acquired a non-controlling interest in Alaris Acquisitions, a Mooresville, North Carolina startup that offers deal origination services for registered investment advisers.

Alaris acts as a matchmaker for investment advisory firms looking to buy or sell. It works with companies to identify RIAs that are a suitable target and negotiates the deal, collecting a fee from the buying company only if a deal is struck. For the selling companies, this saves the investment banking fees they would normally pay to execute the transaction, Alaris executives said.

Executives at Merchant, which takes minority stakes in RIA businesses and finances acquisitions, said the investment was a bet on the continued ascendancy of the RIA chain.

“I really like the independent wealth management space and, on a personal level, I fundamentally believe it’s the best environment to provide investment management and financial planning solutions to clients,” said Matt Brinker. , managing partner at Merchant.

The deal brings together two former United Capital executives who played a significant role in the company’s growth.

Allen Darby launched Alaris in 2019 shortly after leaving United Capital, where he served as Country Director of New Partnerships for nearly eight years. He was involved in negotiations for 27 acquisitions that represented 40% of United Capital’s value when executives sold the company to Goldman Sachs for $750 million in May 2019, he said. Brinker led the acquisitions division of United Capital for 10 years.

Merchant businesses already make up 30% of Alaris customers, Darby said, but his company will continue to work on matches that go beyond the Merchant universe, he said.

“I have sat on all sides of the table, as a buyer for my own RIA, as a seller and as an advisor on over 50 acquisitions in total,” he said in a statement. . “This experience helps us get an accurate view of the acquisition process from many angles.”

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