The market for emerging companies put up strong first-quarter numbers on the back of Snap Inc.’s March initial public offering, according to data released last week by big four accounting firm Ernst & Young.

U.S. IPO activity in the first quarter surpassed last year’s numbers easily, according to Ernst & Young data. Snap’s $3.9 billion float headlined a batch of 24 public offerings that raised a total of $10.8 billion.

The strong start to this year comes after a lackluster 2016 in which many companies, especially in the tech sector, chose to forgo a public exit, according to Ernst & Young Partner Karim Anani. Anani said the attention paid to a high-profile public offering such as Snap’s can help other companies looking to go public generate hype.

He also said Snap’s successful IPO – combined with a strong first quarter for public offerings in Southern California generally – could give L.A. companies a bulwark to finally challenge the startup mecca of Silicon Valley.

“This was the first time in a long time – maybe ever – where Southern California saw more IPO activity than Northern California,” Anani said.

Including the Snap deal, there were five companies in Southern California that went public in the first three months of 2017, raising close to $4.4 billion in total. Snap’s offering constituted the bulk of the money, but Tustin-based Foundation Building Materials Inc. made a successful exit with a $206 million IPO in February and Irvine-based Alteryx Inc. raised $126 million last month.

Pritzker Names CIO

West L.A.’s Pritzker Group Asset Management – the family office of Hyatt Hotels heirs Tony and J.B. Pritzker – named Terra Fuller chief investment officer last month.

Fuller has been with the Pritzker outfit since 2014, when she came aboard as a research director. She will oversee allocation strategy, risk management, and portfolio construction across all of the firm’s asset classes.

Tony Pritzker said in a statement that promoting Fuller was an obvious choice.

“Terra’s talent, financial insights, and ability to build strong relationships with our managers has been critical to our investment performance,” said Pritzker, the firm’s managing partner. “Given her outstanding abilities and success to date, it was an easy decision to promote Terra.”

Fuller replaces Jason Perlioni, who left in February to become chief investment officer for John Hopkins University after 10 years at the helm of Pritzker Group’s investment team. Before coming to the firm in 2014, she served as a senior vice president of Mesirow Advanced Strategies Inc., where she oversaw $5 billion in hedged equity assets.

Major Endeavor

Downtown’s Endeavour Capital committed $62.5 million in capital late last month to consulting firm Berkeley Research Group.

Endeavor said the minority investment would be used to help grow Berkeley’s strategic advisory business as well as to cash out certain angel investors. Its capital investment will be particular helpful in attracting talent to the firm, BRG President Tri MacDonald said in a statement.

“The process of attracting and developing top talent has been a priority for firm leadership since our inception,” he said. “In Endeavour, we have chosen a capital partner that understands and supports our innovative business model and has a strong record of investing in successful, growth-oriented companies.”

BRG, which was founded in 2010, employs 1,000 people in 39 offices across North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Endeavour Managing Director Leland Jones said BRG’s rapid rise made the investment appealing.

“We are excited to partner with BRG and build long-term value by supporting the company’s unique culture and growth model,” he said.

Dealmakers

Latham & Watkins advised Beverly Hills-based MGM Holdings Inc. on the company’s $1 billion buyout last week of premium cable channel Epix from partners Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. and Viacom Inc. Latham’s deal team was led by Christopher Brearton and Jason Silvera, who work out of the firm’s Century City and downtown offices, respectively. … Gibson Dunn & Crutcher provided legal counsel to Westwood private equity outfit Aurora Capital Group on its sale last month of portfolio company DuBois Chemicals Inc. to Jordan Co. Ari Lanin, who works out of Gibson’s Century City office, led the team. … Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton represented Mercury Systems Inc. in its $40.5 million acquisition of Delta Microwave last week. Downtown-based partner Will Chuchawat led the Sheppard Mullin deal team. … Manatt Phelps & Phillips advised downtown’s CU Bancorp on its $705 million sale to Beverly Hills-based PacWest Bancorp last week. West L.A.-based partner Barbara Polsky and San Francisco-based Craig Miller led Manatt Phelps’ team of attorneys on the deal.

Staff reporter Henry Meier can be reached at hmeier@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 549-5225, ext. 221.

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