Chicago Middle Market Banks

I was hoping to learn more about what differentiates the Chicago MMs. What separates Blair/Baird/HL/Lincoln? And what are some other middle market players primarily in Chicago?

Middle Market banks in Chicago include Baird, Blair, Houlihan Lokey, BMO, Macquarie, Lincoln International, and more.

From what I've heard, Blair seems to be the top shop in town, both in terms of prestige and deal flow. Heard of some analysts who had solid exit opps after their 2 years (think GTCR, etc.)

Chicago is Industrials, and Industrials is Chicago, so expect most/all of these banks to cover that as well.

If you're interested in IB long-term, Lincoln is a big proponent of "strong culture", and has a 45% retention rate, and much more A2A promotion.

Macquarie and BMO are also in a unique position, in the sense that they are both in the Middle Markets, are a BB back home, and have a larger balance sheet that allows them to occasionally punch above their weight. If you want a blended BB/MM experience those two banks seem like a solid choice.

Baird has two offices in Chicago & Milwaukee, same comp, good culture, mostly exits to MM / LMM PE. Same goes for most other banks (Blair, HL, etc).

Chicago banks tend to offer "vanilla sell-side M&A" experience. If that's what you're interested in, all of these banks seem like a good fit for you. Also worth noting that lateral opportunities do exist between Chicago banks, and even with New York.

Not exclusive to industrials. Blair's tech team absolutely kills it and competes with the big dogs in that space. Their HC team also does pretty well too. Baird Consumer is solid as well. Also would add RayJ’s Chi tech team that works with their Boston tech team, which kills it and also competes with the big dogs in tech. Would also throw in Gugg PEAG (MM group), as they have grown to over 120 bankers and are starting to kill it in specific verticals in tech (like IT services).

Everything is group-specific OP. If you are going to do Consumer, you want HL. If you want healthcare or tech, you choose Blair. DIstribution or business services probably Baird.

Piper, Lazard PCA (former MM), Jefferies also have offices there. Solomon Partners business services team is based in Chicago. Not sure if any other groups are.

On the lower end of the MM, there are also groups like Stout, BGL, Mesirow, BMO.

I mean BMO average deal size the 3 years has been over $1 billion so def more of an in between bank

Factset U.S. league tables have them at $1 B for the last three years, not saying your wrong just providing the stats that I've seen and it's U.S. only

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Factset U.S. league tables have them at $1 B for the last three years, not saying your wrong just providing the stats that I've seen and it's U.S. only

How many of those were led by BMO? I'm guessing a small minority. Perfect example:…

Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC is serving as lead financial advisor to Covetrus. Lincoln International LLC is also serving as financial advisor to Covetrus. Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP is serving as legal counsel.

Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., UBS Investment Bank, BMO Capital Markets and Mizuho Securities USA LLC have provided committed debt financing for the transaction and are serving as financial advisors to CD&R and TPG Capital. Debevoise & Plimpton and Ropes & Gray are acting as legal counsel for CD&R and TPG Capital.

There are many other examples where they are involved from a lending (non-M&A) or fairness opinion perspective and are picked up by databases as if they've done M&A.

As industrials focused as Chicago is, I still would not label it even close to an exclusive relationship. Think about cities like Houston and DC which exclusively cover Energy and Aero & Defen, respectively. IMO Chicago & LA both come close to NYC in terms of industry breadth (obviously not in terms of size)

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