- What BBS has recruited Stephen Benson
- Why He has been appointed as strategic adviser
- What next The company is evolving its focus to include operational joint ventures, recapitalisations and restructuring
BBS Capital has hired Stephen Benson as a strategic adviser to the company as part of a broader push to evolve and widen its offering, React News can reveal.
With 20-year-old BBS having started out predominantly as a traditional debt broker, it has now begun expanding its offering by advising on pairing operational partners and capital providers. It also advises on an increasing proportion of more complex restructuring and recapitalisation situations, in response to the market’s growing dislocation.
The market has rebased, and with activity resuming there are going to be people out there with good platforms, good opportunities and a good vision that need to align themselves with the right sources of capital
ADAM BUCHLER, BBS CAPITAL
Benson founded CR Investment Management in 2004 with Jacob Lyons, before its German business split away and the platform was renamed Rivercrown in 2019. Rivercrown specialised in joint ventures with private equity investors focused on distressed equity and non-performing loans, and was largely wound down last year, although it still holds legacy assets.
Managing director Adam Buchler told React News: “Stephen’s experience, particularly on the restructuring side which he has been heavily involved in, is going to be super useful to us as we enter this phase of the market.
“A lot of the refinancing work we are doing are in situations where ideally a sponsor would already be out of a project, a loan is coming to maturity and a business plan has been delayed due to what’s gone on over the past two or three years, and they are now essentially looking to buy more time, limit the need for more equity and bridge to an exit, to a point when there should be more liquidity.”
BBS’ joint venture equity initiative aims to “help seasoned operators with proven expertise, pipeline and co-investment align themselves with capital partners who can help them scale their business and exploit particular strategies”.
The company advised on the formation of Hub’s low-carbon city centre strategy with a family office earlier this year, and is in the process of representing Wavensmere Homes on a similar initiative.
Buchler said: “The market has rebased, and with activity resuming there are going to be people out there with good platforms, good opportunities and a good vision that need to align themselves with the right sources of capital.
“We know a lot of the right sources of capital and clearly as a business, if we can marry the two together, not only can that be fee generative for us but then we can be baked into debt mandates going forward.”
Founded by Buchler, Joanne Barnett and Nick Spencer, BBS now has 15 full-time staff, having recruited director Mark Geraghty from Oxford Properties at the start of the year and associate director Joseph Clery from Rivercrown last October.
In addition to Benson, BBS counts former Bank of America Merrill Lynch EMEA real estate investment banking head David Church and former Crest Nicholson board director Chris Tinker as non-executive directors.
The company’s client base has a particular concentration of private equity firms and while it is predominantly active in the UK, it has also undertaken deals in France, Spain, the Netherlands and Italy. It currently has more than €300m of live hotel financing mandates in Europe.
Over the past year the company’s notable deals have included a £35m financing for Ziser London’s London North Studios with Tristan Capital, arranging a loan with Alpha Property for Galliard’s £100m Belgrave Middleway project in Birmingham, and a £23m financing for H.I.G. Realty Partners with Ask for an office and labs development project in Whitechapel.
Original article: BBS evolves strategy and adds to advisory bench – React News