WASHINGTON — PFM Group announced Friday it has acquired consulting firm Fullerton & Friar, a move that makes the financial advisory company one of the largest in the country for airport financing transactions.
The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. PFM Group consists of Public Financial Management Inc., PFM Asset Management LLC, and PFM Advisors.
The merger also gives Fullerton & Friar access to a larger universe of financial services, said Kenneth Fullerton, who co-founded Fullerton & Friar with Robert Friar almost exactly 20 years ago in the Tampa Bay area. Fullerton will be a partner and managing director of PFM Group. Friar will also be a partner and managing director from the firm's office in Colorado.
Airport financing transactions for PFM last year totaled $782.5 million. Transactions executed by Fullerton & Friar totaled $425 million. Combined, the firms would have been responsible for $1.2 billion, or the second-highest volume in the country last year. Their combined volume in 2008 would have been the highest in the country, at $2.26 billion.
Fullerton & Friar's clients have included airport operators in Chicago, Memphis, New Orleans, Reno, Salt Lake City, San Jose, Providence, Columbus, Ohio, and Tampa, Fla.
Before the PFM acquisition deal, the firm advised 87 airport financings worth more than $12 billion and has helped airports put together financing plans and possible refinancings.
Many of the deals involved passenger facilities charge revenue-backed bonds, which have been at the forefront of airport policy debate in Congress recently. Airport groups have been pushing for legislation that would allow airports to collect PFCs up to $7 instead of up to $4.50, arguing that they need more revenues.
Fullerton & Friar has received positive feedback from the former clients and is in the process of asking to continue working with them by assigning the contracts to PFM, Fullerton said.
Fullerton said the acquisition will allow them to "expand our airport practice further than we think would have been possible." While the firm has specialized in financial advising, it will now have access to "very extensive services in the area of investment management" for public sector clients, interest rate swaps and derivative products.
"We, as a small firm, did not have people specializing in those areas," he said.
The acquisition also better positions PFM in the airport financing market, according to a release by PFM Group announcing the deal.
John White, PFM's chief executive officer, said that Fullerton & Friar and its clients will benefit from the "broad scope of expertise" at PFM, which has 33 offices across the country.
"As airports across the country face many economic challenges, they are re-examining their financial strategies and exploring ways to restructure their debt and review their options," White said.
The merger "solidifies PFM's position as a national leader in airport financing and financial planning," he said.