2021/09/13

Celebrating 25 years as investment banking pioneers

Dear Friend,

BDA Partners is proud to celebrate 25 years as investment banking pioneers, connecting Asia and the world. We’re feeling invigorated, not quite middle-aged, but rather in the prime of life.

Over a quarter of a century, BDA has witnessed, and participated enthusiastically in, the dramatic evolution of Asia’s economies.

We started out back in 1996, mostly helping large global corporates to find acquisition and JV opportunities in Asia, as that continent emerged as the growth engine for the world. (Many of our talented team members today were still schoolchildren then.)

Around 2002, we began gradually to work more on sellside M&A transactions, helping those global corporates to reshuffle their assets and business portfolios, with an occasional exit by early-mover Asian private equity control investors.

Since 2010, we’ve seen enormous growth in Asian private equity. Now, 80% of our transactions are sellside and cross-border, typically with significant PE involvement as seller or buyer (or both). And we increasingly work on bigger and more complex capital raise mandates. Our clients keep re-hiring us, so we’re doing something right for them.

We’ve watched and supported the emergence of glittering new businesses all across Asia. M&A was rather difficult 25 years ago but today, companies routinely use M&A as a growth tool, all across the region. BDA now has terrific teams of bankers in seven major Asian markets. We built a leading presence in China, Korea and Vietnam, before most investment banks really found those markets. We have steadily deepened our reach, and clout, in the vital – and huge – Japanese and Indian markets. We’ve developed a leading footprint in Singapore, projecting out as a base for the rest of ASEAN.

We have benefitted hugely from collaborating with two institutional partners and shareholders of BDA: William Blair since 2011, and Development Bank of Japan since 2017. Those firms have brought us dealflow, capital and additional credibility across the US, Europe and Asia.

We also connect Asian entrepreneurs, financial investors and businesses to the world, relying on our strong offices and highly-rated teams in New York and London. We’ve helped many Chinese, Japanese and Korean companies as they step onto the global stage. We’ve guided them through the life cycle from initial trophy hunting, towards more strategic growth deals over the last ten years.

Asian buyers and sellers are increasingly sophisticated; they benefit from our deep expertise in the dominant Industrials sector, but also the key growth industries of Asia: Consumer, Health, and Technology. We’re performing strongly in the increasingly visible Services sector. We’re modernizing the Chemicals sector, and bringing sustainability and an ESG perspective to everything that we do. We’re addressing the looming threat of climate change, and the most exciting opportunities in fintech.

The difficulty of cross-border M&A remains high, with additional challenges posed by the pandemic. Nonetheless, we execute well, and continue to deliver the optimal outcomes for our clients even in tough times. We work smartly and effectively between offices in different locations, with symbiotic teams communicating and liaising seamlessly across borders and time zones.

The real sweet-spot for BDA today is the booming Asian private equity ecosystem, which has grown to rival the scale and sophistication of Western PE. We see increasing opportunities for bigger ticket transactions, above $1bn valuation, particularly in Tech, Health and Consumer, and in the new economy and new energy arenas.

Today, we work for and with the biggest global private equity firms like Advent, Bain, Carlyle, EQT, KKR, and Warburg Pincus. Just as important, we work for the best emerging Asian private equity firms like Affirma, Baring Private Equity Asia, CITIC Capital Partners, Everstone, Hillhouse, MBK, Navis, and PAG.

We keep hearing that the 21st century belongs to Asia. We believe that there’s truth in that notion, and want to engage enthusiastically. Asia’s markets continue along their steep growth path. So will BDA. We’re stronger today than we’ve ever been, with a growing team and a new generation of leaders, supplementing those of us who built the firm. We’re in great shape to keep growing fast. We had a record year in 2020, and we look forward with confidence to achieving a new record in 2021, which only comes through working relentlessly to help our clients succeed.

Thanks to our clients, friends, and our alumni, but especially to our hard-working colleagues, for all those who join conference calls at strange times of day. 

It’s been such a rewarding journey. We know how lucky we are. But we’re also fired up: full of confidence and never complacent. We intend to do great things in the future – for our clients and ourselves. 

With gratitude and our best regards,

Euan Rellie, Andrew Huntley, Paul DiGiacomo

The Managing Partners, the Partners, and all of us at BDA


Learn more about BDA: history, culture and people

Our story

  • 1996

    BDA founded with offices in both New York and Singapore

  • 1999

    Shanghai office opened

  • 2000

    London office opened

  • 2001

    Hong Kong office opened

  • 2002

    Tokyo and Seoul offices opened

  • 2005

    Mumbai office opened

  • 2011

    Global strategic alliance formed with William Blair; 50+ bankers employed globally

  • 2013

    Ho Chi Minh City office opened

  • 2017

    Global strategic alliance formed with the Development Bank of Japan

  • 2018

    More cross-border private deals under US$1bn EV closed for preceding three years than any other advisor

  • 2019

    100+ bankers employed across nine offices globally

  • 2020

    Market share grew during pandemic; BDA Capital Partners established

  • 2021

    MD count increased to 20; celebrated 25th anniversary

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