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Elite Mayfair boutique pays three partners £48m

Oscar Williams-Grut
Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
Simon Warshaw, left, is one of the three founders of Robey Warshaw. Photo: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images

A tiny Mayfair firm that advises the world’s biggest companies on blockbuster deals handed £48.4m to its three founders last year, recently filed accounts show.

Robey Warshaw paid out £48.4m in profits to cofounders Sir Simon Robey, Simon Warshaw, and COO Philip Apostolides last year. The highest paid partner, who is not named, took home £27.7m. All three do not draw a salary but share the company’s annual profits between them.

Robey Warshaw declined to comment.

The bumper payout came after a strong year for the six-year-old M&A advisory firm. Revenue rose 100% year-on-year to £59.2m. Operating profit rose 127% to £48.3m in the 12 months to March 2019.

Robey Warshaw was founded in 2013 as a tiny firm specialising in advising bulge bracket clients on major deals in the UK. Its three founders are investment banking veterans who built significant contact books during careers at Morgan Stanley (MS) and UBS (UBS).

Since going solo, the trio have stunned the City by quickly establishing Robey Warshaw as the go-to advisor for any multi-billion-pound transaction in the UK.

During the period covered by the latest set of accounts, Robey Warshaw advised Comcast (CMCSA) on its $39bn takeover of Sky, helped US private equity firm Silverlake take property group Zoopla private for $3bn, and advised BP (BP.L) on the $10.5bn acquisition of shale assets from BHP Group (BHP.L). The boutique also worked with FTSE 100 firms Vodafone (VOD.L) and National Grid (NG.L).

Since the end of the period covered by the accounts, Robey Warshaw has advised the London Stock Exchange (LSE.L) on its $27bn takeover of data provider Refinitiv, as well as helping the group fend off an unwanted merger bid from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (0388.HK).

Fees earned by M&A advisors are dependant on the size of transactions. The uneven nature of dealmaking means revenue can also be ‘lumpy’, which explains the huge surge in revenue last year.

Robey Warshaw employs just 11 advisors, including its three founders, and has only 13 people on staff. Those employees were paid £8.3m between them last year, meaning average pay at the boutique is £638,000.