Stephens Investment Banking Quarterly Update: October 2021 | Stephens

Who We Are

What We Do

We provide investment banking, research, sales and trading, asset and wealth management, public finance, insurance, private capital, and family office services.

About Us

We are a family-owned financial services firm that values client relationships, long-term stability, and supporting the communities where we live and work.

The Stephens Story

The idea of family defines our culture, because each of us knows that our reputation is on the line as if our own name was on the door.


Our reputation as a leading independent financial services firm is built on the stability of our longstanding and highly experienced senior executives.

Impact Initiatives

We are committed to corporate philanthropy; economic and financial literacy advocacy; and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

Our Brand Ambassadors

Stephens is proud to sponsor the PGA TOUR, LPGA Tour, and PGA TOUR Champions careers, as well as applaud the philanthropic endeavors, of our Brand Ambassadors.

Making Connections

We host many highly informative meetings each year with clients, industry decision makers, and thought leaders across the U.S. and in Europe.

Our Businesses

Capital Management

We provide fiduciary investment strategies to public-and private-sector institutional clients through asset allocation, consulting, and retirement services.

Fixed Income Sales & Trading

Decades of proven performance and experience in providing tailored fixed income trading and underwriting services to major municipal and corporate issuers.

Institutional Equities and Research

Proven industry-leading research, global market insights, and client-focused execution.


Customized risk management, property & casualty, executive strategies and employee benefits solutions that protect our clients over the long term.

Investment Banking

We assist companies with accessing capital through innovative advisory and execution services that help firms achieve their strategic goals.

Private Capital

We have been a trusted and reliable source of capital for private companies for over 70 years.

Private Wealth Management

Our experienced Private Client Group professionals develop customized investment strategies to help clients achieve their financial goals.

Public Finance

We are a trusted municipal advisor with proven expertise in public financings. We also work with clients in negotiated and competitive municipal underwritings.

The Economy & Strategies

Stephens Investment Banking Quarterly Update: October 2021

Oct 13, 2021
Hello and welcome to the 3Q 2021 edition of the Stephens Investment Banking Quarterly Update. Throughout July, August, and September, we engaged in a significant amount of advisory and execution work for the companies we serve, while making time to host well-received industry events and launch new thought leadership initiatives. This edition also includes a diverse range of exclusive perspectives from some of our senior bankers. I hope you enjoy it.

Brad Eichler
Executive Vice President, Head of Investment Banking
The firm announced in July that Stephen (Steve) Levitan joined Investment Banking as Managing Director within the Capital Solutions Group. Based in our New York office, he brings over 40 years of experience in the high yield, leveraged finance and capital solutions markets. Prior to joining Stephens, Mr. Levitan has served as portfolio manager, investment banker, and head of research. He has worked on leveraged credit; event-driven and special situations credit; stressed, distressed and bankruptcy investing; and has participated in and led creditor groups negotiating restructurings and provided exit financing. Mr. Levitan received his MBA from Harvard Business School.
Keith Behrens, Head of the Energy Group, and Brad Nelson, Managing Director in Energy, participated in the mid-year update for our Capital Thinking webinar series. This entry included perspective from Holt Foster, Co-Leader - Global Energy Practice Group at Sidley in Dallas, and Jeff Bartlett, Partner at Pontem Energy Capital in Houston. Nissa Darbonne, Editor-at-Large for Oil & Gas Investor, hosted the panel. They discussed the environment for A&D transactions, legal and regulatory concerns, private equity, capital markets, and macro energy supply and demand issues that may affect deal making into 2022.
Joe Mowery and Ross Rucker, Managing Directors in Power & Industrial Technology, and Dan Parfitt, Senior Vice President in Infrastructure Services, held a virtual chat on trends in infrastructure development. They discussed the potential for capital raising and consolidation amid enhancements to the U.S. electric grid and telecoms system, as a major investment cycle verges on expanding in tandem with recent advances in federal infrastructure legislation. Watch their conversation here.
From September 15-16, Stephens hosted our INVESTED Exchange event for women who lead, advise or invest in private or family-owned enterprises. The event was held at the Alotian Club in Roland, Arkansas. In addition to Private Company & Family Advisory team members Dana Silaski, Mickey McFarlin and John Stephens, Investment Banking participants included Phyllis Riggins, Managing Director in Media; Sarah Gill Campbell, Managing Director in Restaurants; Joe Mowery, Managing Director in Power & Industrial Technology; and Brad Eichler, Head of Investment Banking.

From September 20-22, Stephens hosted our 11th Annual Bank Forum at the Capital Hotel in Little Rock, Arkansas. Banks from across the U.S. came to the event to receive our market intelligence and share their own insights. The investment bankers in our Equity Capital Markets and Depositories teams participated in the forum, which also included a hybrid option for attendees who could not join us in-person.

On September 29, Keith Behrens participated in the 20th Annual A&D Strategies & Opportunities Conference at the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas, where he spoke on a panel about finding capital to fund transactions. The conference, hosted by Hart Energy’s Oil & Gas Investor, gathered leading investors and capital providers in the energy space to discuss market dynamics affecting acquisitions and divestitures.

On September 30, Robin Brown, Managing Director in Technology, participated in Datacloud UK & Ireland at the America Square Conference Center in London. The event gathered regional leaders in the digital infrastructure space to discuss trends in software, connectivity and energy provision. Mr. Brown spoke on a panel about the investment and M&A landscape, including the potential impact of regulation and the pandemic.
Chris Gidden, Aerospace & Defense: The summer saw a marked increase in domestic air travel, despite some operational challenges faced by airlines trying to return to higher capacity and operational levels. Higher levels of sector activity is a welcome development for the aerospace OEM supply chain, which is looking to return to growth. The space sector also remained a priority area with significant investments made in both government and commercial space assets. The sector continues to experience strong interest from SPACs due to its perceived resilience and expected growth.

Davidson Hall, Debt Capital Markets: Private equity and credit funds are resource constrained due to a record level of transactions being reviewed and presented to them. As sellers run their processes and acquisition financings come to fruition, we expect to see some companies miss out on the monetization window via M&A processes as buyers suffer from limited bandwidth. Those companies are likely to pivot away from a selling transaction and into a dividend recapitalization in an effort to monetize some of their investment.

Jimmy Troy and Steven Egli, Depositories: The interest rate outlook has driven bank stock performance in 2021, as the industry prepares for an increase in long-term rates. Pent-up activity from the pandemic pause and more challenging operating conditions renewed focused on scale and efficiency through M&A. This points to a prolonged resurgence of M&A activity. With stronger bank stock valuations, buyers can offer more compelling premiums. Meanwhile, the persistent rise of fintech has impacted the traditional approach to banking. We also see continued low-coupon subordinated debt deals and are watching for the reemergence of equity issuance activity.

Brian Bratcher and Palmer Henson, Financial Sponsors Group: The deals in market are at an all-time high, driven by pent up demand from COVID and the possibility of higher taxes. Sponsors are struggling to process the abundant deal flow received since February. The result is very high purchase multiples, PE firms going to great lengths to win deals by moving quickly, and building 2022 pipelines. We also have seen increased interest in public-to-private transactions, and a significant focus on PE-owned companies making add-on acquisitions that often are Transatlantic. Meanwhile face-to-face meetings and in-person conferences are returning despite the Delta surge.

Phyllis Riggins, Media: After pandemic-driven acceleration, growth in streaming across all models has moved from strength to strength with strong performance in time spent on services and subscriptions. Ad-supported models have shown significant growth, as options proliferate and consumers have accumulated subscription VOD fees. Consolidation among the large film and television content owners has accelerated beyond the expectations of industry experts, as the demand for content by streaming services and linear competitors heats up.

Paul Moorman, Oilfield & Energy Infrastructure Services: The uptick in commodity prices and persistent expansion of ESG initiatives are contributing to evolving commodity supply and demand dynamics as well as the further emergence of opportunities in renewables. As a result, we are seeing a sustained increase in activity for oilfield & infrastructure services as more firms appear poised to take advantage through M&A and A&D deals.

Philipp von Grawert, Technology – Europe: There are strong debt and PE markets, with high leverage and high valuations for technology and direct-to-consumer (D2C) companies. We also are seeing an increased level of founder and family-owned companies looking to sell. PE is now more and more prepared for pre-emptive processes.

Doug Brockway, Security Software: Cyberattacks, data breaches and ransomware events are making the headlines on a regular basis, including the recent costly attacks on Kaseya, Colonial Pipeline and JBS. Senior U.S. government officials see this as a national security threat. These high-profile incidents are fueling considerable interest and growth in the security software sector. Both public and private investment, and valuations, in the space are at all-time highs, including strong interest from PE firms that are also driving robust M&A activity.

Matt Kentner, Vertical Software and Payments Technology: Valuations remain strong, with sector leaders trading at premiums while unseating sleepy incumbents amid evolving market trends. Performance combined with scarcity value drives valuations among market leading growth companies, and strategic players continue to look for consolidation and convergence-driven acquisition opportunities. Key trends include the proliferation of embedded finance, continued digitization of banking and the increasing realization that software businesses are payments businesses.
To see all Stephens Investment Banking transactions & advisory, click here.
  1. This material was prepared for informative purposes only and is not a solicitation, recommendation or offer to buy or sell any securities. It does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets or developments referred to in the material or to include all information needed to evaluate any transaction. Information contained in the material was derived from sources considered reliable, but has not been independently confirmed or verified. Any opinions expressed in the material are the personal opinions of the applicable author(s). These opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any other person or entity, and they are subject to change without notice. Stephens or its employees, officers, directors or affiliates may provide services from time to time to any of the companies mentioned and may have a long or short position in any of the securities mentioned and may sell or buy such securities. To the extent that data referenced in the material is derived from third party data sources or data providers (collectively “Data Providers”), please note that Data Providers do not guarantee the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or availability of any content provided and are not responsible for any errors or omissions, regardless of the cause or for the results obtained from the use of such content. In no event shall the Data Providers or Stephens be liable for any damages, costs, expenses, legal fees or losses in connection with any use of the data included in the material. Any links contained in the material to websites outside of Stephens’ control are for convenience purposes only, and Stephens takes no responsibility for such external websites or any of the content contained therein.