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BofA Bankers Eye More Mid-Tier European Deals Amid IPO Wins

(Bloomberg) -- Bank of America Corp. is looking to build out its equity capital markets franchise in Europe, and even as it works on some of the region’s largest initial public offerings this year, no deal is too small.

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The bank made a “conscious decision” last year to focus particularly on stake sales by large shareholders, James Palmer, the lender’s head of equity capital markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said in an interview with Bloomberg News.

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“It’s not just the large blocks — we have also spent time cultivating relationships to win sole roles on smaller blocks in the sub-$300 million category, which frankly was an area we needed to improve in,” Palmer said, noting that the bank also brought a number of first-time sellers to the market.

And, as the narrative in the European market shifts, blockbuster IPOs from the likes of Puig Brands SA and CVC Capital Partners Plc have helped lift Bank of America to a tie with BNP Paribas SA for the top spot in Bloomberg’s EMEA IPO league table thus far in the second quarter.

The US bank is looking to position itself for future growth in the region. Palmer said it’s “about investing in our teams for the long run.” Bank of America has a nearly 8% share of the market for equity offerings across EMEA, compared with less than 6% in 2022, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“We want to be well positioned for when the equity capital markets come back in full force next year,” Palmer said.

Its mandates have come not just by “being aggressive on pricing or bidding blindly as a strategy to buy market share,” but by identifying pockets of investor demand, according to Palmer.

The American bank earlier this month made a raft of senior appointments, including naming three new leaders for its UK, equity-linked and Benelux ECM teams.

Equity capital markets activity is rising in tandem with stocks, and IPOs are playing a significant part in the trend. Companies in Europe have raised nearly $13 billion via IPOs in 2024, more than twice as much as in the same period last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Along with Puig and CVC, Bank of America had roles on first-time share sales by Galderma Group AG and Planisware SA.

Read more: Greyhound Owner Flix, Retailer Tendam Eye IPOs in Coming Weeks

“We expect the balance of offerings to be more mixed this year, with IPOs coming back,” said Andrew Briscoe, the bank’s head of EMEA ECM syndicate.

(Recasts with more details in second and third paragraph)

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