Baird closes on the acquisition of Hilliard Lyons

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Milwaukee-based Baird officially expanded its public finance footprint this week by closing on its acquisition of the 164-year-old Louisville, Kentucky-based Hilliard Lyons.

Baird said all of Hilliard’s municipal advisors and associates have joined the firm.

With the Monday's closing, the Baird public finance team has grown to about 90 associates, including 31 investment bankers and nine municipal professionals, according to Brian Brewer, director of public finance.

Brewer said Baird now has 20 offices in 11 states, including new locations in Indianapolis, St. Louis, and three Kentucky cities: Louisville, Owensboro, and Paducah.

The firm also has full-service advisory and underwriting services with five active underwriting desks in Milwaukee; Indianapolis; Louisville; Red Bank, New Jersey; and Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and it added sales and trading offices in Columbus, Ohio and Union City and Nashville, both in Tennessee.

“Our public finance group has welcomed several senior hires in recent months, including Kevin Mullen, who joined our Milwaukee office in late March,” Brewer said. “The acquisition of Hilliard Lyons brings several new bankers as well.”

Mullen joined Baird as a director. He previously worked at Hutchinson, Shockey, Erley & Co., where he worked extensively in municipal financing across the state of Wisconsin, the company said.

The four Hilliard directors joining Baird are Landon Boehm in St. Louis, Kelly Mrsic in Louisville, Mark Rawlings in Paducah and Randy Ruhl in Indianapolis. Two new managing directors joining Baird from Hilliard are Alex Rorke and Chip Sutherland. Both are based in Louisville.

The deal was announced In November, with Baird signing a definitive agreement to buy Hilliard Lyons and Hilliard Lyons Trust Co., both headquartered in Louisville. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, though it was approved by Kentucky-based Houchens Industries Inc., the majority shareholder of Hilliard’s parent company, HL Financial Services LLC.

Baird said the overwhelming majority of Hilliard’s advisors — representing nearly all of Hilliard's wealth management revenue — also agreed to join the firm. As a result, Baird's wealth management business now encompasses about 1,300 financial advisors serving clients from more than 170 offices in 34 states.

Baird, an employee-owned firm established in 1919, had revenues of $1.78 billion in 2018, its ninth consecutive year of record results, company officials said.

“To welcome Hilliard Lyons' associates and clients to the Baird family during our 100th anniversary year is a tremendous achievement that brings all of us great pride,” said Steve Booth, president and chief executive officer. “We are excited to build on Hilliard Lyons' long legacy of exceptional client service and look to a very bright future as a unified firm.”

Baird, the marketing name of Baird Financial Group, has about 3,500 associates working with individual, corporate, institutional and municipal clients and more than $208 billion in client assets as of Dec. 31, 2018.

The company’s principal operating subsidiaries are Robert W. Baird & Co. in the United States and Robert W. Baird Group Ltd. in Europe. Baird said it also has an operating subsidiary in Asia supporting Baird’s investment banking and private equity operations.

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