MoffettNathanson, Leading Independent Wall Street Media Research Firm, Acquired By SVB Financial

MoffettNathanson LLC, the New York-based Wall Street research firm led by star financial analysts Craig Moffett and Michael Nathanson, has been acquired by SVB Financial, a holding based in Santa Clara and parent of Silicon Valley Bank.

MoffettNathanson, known for thoughtful coverage of high-growth, disruptive companies and trends in media, communications and technology, was one of the few remaining independent sell-side research outfits around — offering paid advice to institutional investors but unaffiliated with a major investment banking operation. Launched in 2013 by industry veterans Craig Moffett, Michael Nathanson, Pat O’Connell, John Towers and Ethan Steinberg, it originally focused exclusively on providing best-in-class media and communications research, expanding three years ago when Lisa Ellis joined to build the payments, processors, and IT services vertical.

The firm has been a leader in the development of Wall Street’s subscription-based payment model, which allows clients to manage their research budgets more effectively by paying only for the research they prefer. Senior analysts Moffett, Nathanson and Ellis have each repeatedly been ranked the #1 analyst in their respective sectors by the Institutional Investor All-America Research Team and other leading surveys of institutional investors.

“Insight into the innovation economy is absolutely critical to understanding the sectors we cover,” said founding partner Moffett. “SVB’s deep relationships with the world’s leading innovators will not only bring our clients unique opportunities to participate in the value creation cycle of earlier-stage growth companies, they will also provide our analysts with unique insights into the competitive forces that will shape the destinies of the largest companies in our coverage universe.”

“The MoffettNathanson team has built an incredible reputation as a leader in equity research,” said SVB Financial CEO Greg Becker. “I’m proud to welcome [them] to SVB and continue to strengthen the capabilities of our investment banking practice.”

SVB offers investment banking through SVB Leerink, private banking and wealth management with SVB Private Bank, and funds management and investment with SVB Capital.

“I am incredibly proud of the firm’s success and momentum, which has enabled us to accelerate the addition of tech equity research and to attract the highly regarded MoffettNathanson team,” said Jeff Leerink, CEO of SVB Leerink.

Transactions by SVB’s investment banking team have included Clearlake Capital’s pending acquisition of Quest; Noregon Systems’ sale to Hearst Corp; the pending merger of Mavenlink and Kimble Applications; Evergreen Coast Capital’s pending acquisition of  DreamBox Learning; Cinven’s pending investment in Nitel; Blackstone’s pending investment in Renaissance; PassFort’s sale to Moody’s; and TPG Capital’s recapitalization of major Hollywood payroll and software company Entertainment Partners.

SVB Leerink is led by co-head of Investment Banking and Global Head of Tech Investment Banking Jason Auerbach, and includes 50 bankers with significant M&A and capital markets experience.

In a note to clients this morning, the MoffettNathanson team said: “The opportunity to combine SVB’s unique ‘top of the funnel’ relationships with entrepreneurs, and the world-class capabilities in capital markets and investment banking brought by Jason and his team, with the research capabilities of MoffettNathanson, is extraordinarily compelling. Together, we believe we can build what will be the leading investment bank for the innovation economy.”

“We anticipate a seamless transition for our clients; we will continue to provide the same independent research, insights, and events you expect from MoffettNathanson. Our management team has made a long-term commitment to remain in place. And we will begin immediately to collaborate with SVB to significantly expand what we can deliver, further positioning us as the preferred partner to our clients.”

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