Euromoney 40th anniversary special: Focus on GCA Savvian
The Japanese M&A boutique GCA won mainstream attention – and third place on the year’s league table – in 2007 when it advised on two of the biggest deals Japan’s financial sector had ever seen, Citi’s acquisition of Nikko Cordial and Mizuho’s merger with Shino Securities. While both deals had their subsequent problems, it was the fact that this small boutique, founded by Nobuo Sayama and Aki Watanabe in 2004, had beaten much more established players to the mandate that caught the industry’s attention. In 2007, GCA went a step further by buying – they say merging with – US peer Savvian. Critics at the big foreign M&A franchises in Tokyo sniped that the plan wouldn’t work, that GCA had only won the big financial sector mandates because their clients didn’t want to hand sensitive business to their real rivals, that the boutique’s value is in its partners and that the deals would dry up.