SVB Financial to buy Boston investment bank

SVB Financial Group in Santa Clara, Calif., has agreed to buy the parent company of the Boston investment bank Leerink Partners.

SVB said in a press release Tuesday that it will pay $280 million in cash for Leerink Holdings. SVB will also provide a $60 million retention pool for employees, to be paid over five years. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter.

The business will be rebranded as SVB Leerink. SVB said the acquisition will complement its commercial banking and lending products by adding a full range of investment banking services focused on health care and life science companies.

“SVB and Leerink share a focus on providing financing and strategic advice at critical stages in a company’s growth and development,” Greg Becker, SVB’s CEO, said in the release. “Together, we will deliver a complete capital markets offering … for private and public healthcare and life science companies. Leerink is a best-in-class firm and we look forward to welcoming our Leerink colleagues to SVB.”

The acquisition will accelerate Leerink’s growth while diversifying SVB’s revenue stream.

Leerink Partners’ leadership team will remain in place. The rebranded entity will focus on adding business and will partner with SVB’s life science and health care team to support clients of both businesses.

“This merger represents an important step forward for our firm as we continue to strive to be an indispensable company-building partner to our expanding global client base,” Jeff Leerink, the investment bank’s chairman and CEO, said in the release. “SVB Leerink share a strong client-focused culture, uniquely aligned on building long-term client relationships.”

Keefe, Bruyette & Woods and Sullivan & Cromwell advised SVB. Sandler O’Neill and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom advised Leerink.

Greg Becker, CEO of SVB Financial

SVB, led by CEO Greg Becker, believes a Boston investment bank will complement services it provides to health care and life sciences firms.