PITTSBURGH: PNC Bank has acquired The Trout Group, a healthcare-focused firm with IR and strategic advisory services.
The deal is expected to close in late December. At that time, the regional bank will combine Trout with subsidiary Solebury Communications, according to a press release.
PNC bought Solebury Capital in 2014 to establish a presence in the IPO advisory market.
The newly combined entity of Solebury Trout Communications will have a staff of more than 60 IR and strategic comms pros. It will also maintain its affiliation with Solebury Capital, an equity capital markets advisory firm.
This acquisition represents the next step in PNC’s plans to form a "major communications and advisory practice" as Solebury Capital also builds its corporate comms practice, a statement said.
Acquiring Trout allows Solebury to build a more holistic firm while giving the target firm the opportunity to expand its reach and broaden its product offering, said Alan Sheriff, co-founder and co-CEO of Solebury Capital.
Solebury has worked on 40% of all IPO proceeds in 2017 year to date, which has "been a great way to opportunity to use those relationships to secure IR business [and] secure PR and comms business," Sheriff said.
"We have very high market share, but we’ve always had a hole in life sciences and biotech because of the expertise that is specific to that vertical group," Sheriff said.
Sheriff added life sciences, biotech, and small cap healthcare have seen more IPOs in raw numbers than any other industry group.
"For us, it was a perfect fit," Sheriff said. "There was no duplication."
Trout Group CEO Jonathan Fassberg will help lead Solebury Trout alongside the current leadership team – Jeff Grossman and Lisa Wolford, the co-CEOs of Solebury Communications.
Wolford joined Solebury in September, her LinkedIn states. Sheriff said she is building out its comms practice.
Wolford is a vet of The Glover Park Group and Finsbury.
Fassberg, Grossman, and Wolford will report to Solebury’s executive committee, headed by Sheriff, Ted Hatfield, and Victor Cohn.
Solebury Trout will retain the entirety of Trout Group’s staff, numbering more than 30.
Trout has more than 80 clients in life sciences, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and medical device sectors. It has offices in New York, Greater Boston, San Francisco, and London.
Editor's note: This story was updated on Novemer 27, 2017 with comment from Sheriff.