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The Alta Group Announces Funding of One of Largest M&A Deals in Years

May 07, 2012, 07:00 AM
Filed Under: Mergers & Acquisitions

The Alta Group, a global financial consultancy, announced that one of the equipment finance industry’s largest merger and acquisition transactions in years was completed last week. The 100 percent cash purchase of First American Equipment Finance of Rochester, N.Y., by City National Bank of Los Angeles is not only one of the largest M&A transactions in this niche in several years, but it also fulfills growth strategies on both sides.

Representing City National, The Alta Group was instrumental in helping the bank identify acquisition prospects, performing due diligence, and providing financial advisory services and support in arranging and closing the deal, which was completed on April 30, 2012, said Paul Bent, a senior managing director of The Alta Group. “The bank already had a successful equipment leasing and finance operation and they approached Alta initially to explore various paths to expand that business,” he added. The Alta Group has specialized in management consulting, as well as merger and acquisition advisory services, in the equipment leasing and finance industry for more than 20 years.

This transaction breaks the virtual barrier to mergers and acquisitions that was in place since the financial crisis, said Bruce Kropschot, a senior managing director who leads Alta’s M&A practice. He has been reporting within the industry that more such deals are anticipated this year because many corporations and banks have substantial liquidity and a number of attractive independent leasing companies withstood the recession soundly.

Kropschot said the City National transaction was accomplished swiftly, with a definitive agreement finalized shortly after the execution of a letter of intent. He said First American Equipment Finance has a great reputation in the industry and this was not the first time that First American owners William Verhelle and Guy Klingler were approached by firms interested in acquiring a national leasing company.  Verhelle also found in the selection of City National that leadership styles and growth interests were compatible. It was reported that by joining forces, First American expects to provide better access to capital, as well as broaden client services. 

Bent said it is “a perfect cultural fit” because both are headed by leaders who take a personal interest in their businesses and their customers and have high standards of integrity.

City National was founded in Los Angeles by a group of entrepreneurs in 1954. Today it is a wholly owned subsidiary of City National Corporation and backed by $24 billion in total assets.

First American Equipment Finance, a privately held mid-ticket equipment leasing company, owns and services approximately $325 million in assets. It leases technology and office equipment nationwide and has approximately 100 employees. Its clients include educational institutions, hospitals and health systems, large law firms, insurance underwriters, enterprise businesses, professional service businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Since 1992, The Alta Group has represented equipment leasing and finance companies, banks, manufacturers and service providers, offering management consulting and expertise in global market entry, vendor finance, professional development, and mergers and acquisitions. The full array of practices in North America is described at

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