An arm of local investment banking firm Harris Williams & Co. is being eliminated.
“We recently decided to discontinue the Cobblestone|Harris Williams brand,” said Ned Valentine, a managing director at Harris Williams. “That will be effective June 1.”
Richmond-based Harris Williams targets middle market companies for investment banking services. The company defines the middle market as companies up to $1 billion in size.
Cobblestone was created in 1998 to serve the smaller companies in that spectrum. . Harris Williams as a whole was acquired in Pittsburg-based PNC in 2005.
The reason for the move: Other groups within Harris Williams were eating away at some of its business. Since creating Cobblestone, Harris Williams has also established groups dedicated to specific industries, and those groups began more and more to take on the transactions that would have otherwise gone through Cobblestone, Valentine said.
“That left the brand less relevant and less strategic to us,” Valentine said.
Cobblestone most recently represented less than 5 percent of Harris Williams’s consolidated revenue, he said.
There are 22 employees within the Cobblestone group working out of Harris Williams offices in Richmond, Cleveland and Philadelphia. Most will convert to Harris Williams employees, Valentine said.
Of those, five to seven Cobblestone employees will no longer be with the firm after June 1. Some are employees whose positions are being eliminated and some who will chose not to make the transition after being offered.
Cobblestone’s two current local managing directors include John Dickinson and Harold Williams III.
Valentine said that the company doesn’t expect to lose any of the Cobblestone revenue and that Harris Williams as a whole had a near record year in 2010.
Michael Schwartz is a BizSense reporter. Please send news tips to [email protected]