Houlihan Lokey is an American multinational independent investment bank and financial services company. Houlihan Lokey was founded in 1972 and is headquartered at Constellation Place in Century City, Los Angeles, California. The firm advises large public and closely held companies as well as institutions and governments. Its main service lines include mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, restructuring and distressed M&A, fairness opinions, and valuations. As of October 29, 2020, Houlihan Lokey employed more than 1,500 employees worldwide.

As of January 2021, Houlihan Lokey is the No. 1 M&A advisor for the past five consecutive years in the U.S., the No. 1 global restructuring advisor for the past six consecutive years, the No. 1 global M&A fairness opinion advisor over the past 20 years, and a Top 10 Most Active Global M&A Advisor by Refinitiv.



Houlihan Lokey was founded in Los Angeles in 1972 as a provider of general business advisory services to privately held companies. The 1974 passage of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act launched the firm’s valuation business by creating demand for independent valuations of private businesses, particularly those that had formed employee stock ownership programs.


In 1986, Kenneth Friedman founded and became President of Houlihan Lokey’s investment banking broker dealer to provide M&A advisory services and to raise debt and equity financing. Friedman formed the investment bank to provide Wall Street level expertise to the expanding investment banking demands of Houlihan Lokey’s clients and other middle market companies. By 1987, many of the highly leveraged transactions completed earlier in the decade were starting to exhibit signs of financial distress. Accordingly, a market was developing for financial restructuring advisory services. To position itself to serve this burgeoning market, the investment banking broker-dealer purchased Cheviot Capital Corporation in 1987 and, led by Jeff Werbalowsky and Irwin Gold, began assembling what would become an active, dominant, worldwide financial restructuring group.

With the surge of mergers, acquisitions, and leveraged buyouts, Wall Street’s large investment banking firms began calling on Houlihan Lokey for independent valuation expertise in fairness, solvency, and employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) opinions. The firm advised on transactions valued at more than $100 billion during this period. The firm also started to offer estate planning valuation services. In addition, the firm opened several offices in the 1980s in New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago.


Houlihan Lokey opened eight offices across the U.S. in the 1980s and 1990s as it expanded. In 1995, to grow its information services division, Houlihan Lokey acquired Mergerstat, a publishing company with a 30-year history in analytical M&A research, from Merrill Lynch.


In 2001, Houlihan Lokey launched its first non-U.S. office by expanding into London. It also expanded its industry group platform and private equity coverage program in keeping with investment banking trends.

In 2002, Houlihan Lokey advised the official creditors committees in three large bankruptcies: WorldCom, Enron, and Conseco.

In 2005, the firm opened a Paris office.

In 2006, the firm opened a Frankfurt office. Also in 2006, Houlihan Lokey agreed to merge with Orix USA, the U.S. corporate lending operations of ORIX Corp. of Japan, to address the growing international demand for middle-market investment banking services.

In 2007, Houlihan Lokey expanded into Asia, opening offices in Hong Kong and Tokyo. Within the next three years, the firm also opened an office in Beijing.

In 2008, Houlihan Lokey advised the creditors of Lehman Brothers.


In 2010, Houlihan Lokey bought a sizable minority stake in Avista Advisory Group, a then decade-old advisory group. This gave the firm offices in both Mumbai and Singapore.

In 2013, Houlihan Lokey expanded its Financial Institutions Group through the acquisition of Milestone Advisors. The firm also launched the Illiquid Financial Assets practice to advise on the sales of assets such as stakes in loan pools, life settlements, minority positions, pharmaceutical royalties, and operating leases.

In 2014, Houlihan Lokey strengthened its capabilities and coverage for clients across the technology sector with the acquisition of ArchPoint Partners.

In 2015, Houlihan Lokey acquired management consulting firm Bridge Strategy Group, digital media and entertainment focused investment bank MESA Securities, London-based consumer-focused firm McQueen Ltd., and operations of the Continental European investment bank Leonardo & Co. Also in 2015, Houlihan Lokey acquired the investment banking operations of Leonardo & Co. NV in Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain, and became a minority partner in a joint venture with the management team of Leonardo in respect to Leonardo’s investment banking operations in Italy. This gave the firm offices in both Rome and Milan. On August 13, 2015, Houlihan Lokey completed its initial public offering, beginning trading as HLI on the NYSE.

In January 2017, Houlihan Lokey acquired Black Stone IP, a leader in Tech+IP advisory work.

In January 2018, Houlihan Lokey acquired Quayle Munro Limited, an independent advisory firm focused on providing corporate finance advisory services to companies in the data & analytics sector. In May 2018, the firm acquired BearTooth Advisors, an independent advisory firm that provided strategic advisory and placement agency services to alternative investment managers.


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