Our History

A pioneer of innovative financial solutions

Houlihan Lokey opened its doors in 1972 with the purpose of providing independent ideas and trusted advice. For more than four decades, we’ve depended on these core values and strengths to chart our course of steady growth. Our growth is based on recognizing demand and providing solutions for our clients. Our clients have come to rely on our leadership, expertise, integrity and resolve to develop opportunities in all financial climates.



  • The firm announced the relocation and expansion of its corporate headquarters in Los Angeles.
  • Investment Banking Firm of the Year—The M&A Advisor 2011 Financing Summit
  • Valuation Firm of the Year—M&A Advisor’s International Awards
  • Restructuring House of the Year—Acquisitions Monthly
  • Investment Banking Firm of the Year—M&A Advisor’s International Awards

To read more about Our History please click on the expandable links below.





  • No. 1 M&A Advisor for U.S. Transactions Under $2 Billion—Thomson Reuters
  • No. 1 M&A Fairness Opinion Advisor for Over the Past 10 Years—Thomson Reuters
  • No. 1 Investment Banking Restructuring Advisor—TheDeal.com Pipeline
  • Investment Banking Firm of the Year—The M&A Advisor
  • Debt Financing Firm of the Year—The M&A Advisor
  • European Turnaround and Restructuring Advisor of the Year—Private Equity News
  • Best Employer to Work For in Investment Banking by Vault, an employment information Website.
  • Houlihan Lokey advised on more than 500 restructuring transactions, valued in excess of $1.25 trillion, over the past 10 years—including four of the five largest of all time: Lehman Brothers, WorldCom, Enron and Conseco.
  • Houlihan Lokey led Thomson Reuters’ U.S. M&A Advisory Rankings for the first quarter, surpassing Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Chase.
  • The investment banking business of Acris, a corporate finance boutique that serves the continental European retail and consumer goods industries, joined Houlihan Lokey.


In 2007, Irwin Gold and Robert H. Hotz were appointed Co-Chairmen of the firm, and Houlihan Lokey expanded its industry platform with the acquisition of Baxter Energy Partners.

In 2005, Houlihan Lokey joined forces with ORIX Corporation, a leading integrated financial services group headquartered in Tokyo, expanding its financing strength and international capabilities. Houlihan Lokey retained its independence, its existing management and its board structure. In addition, Houlihan Lokey advised MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. (majority-owned by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway) in its $9.4 billion acquisition of PacifiCorp from ScottishPower.

In 2003, the Board of Directors elected Scott L. Beiser and Jeffrey I. Werbalowsky as Co-CEOs; O. Kit Lokey became Chairman of the board; and the board appointed Robert H. Hotz head of investment banking. In addition, Houlihan Lokey divested Mergerstat Holdings, L.P. to FactSet Data Systems.

In 2002, Houlihan Lokey advised the official creditors committees in the three largest bankruptcies of all time: WorldCom, Enron and Conseco. In addition, the London office opened, ushering in a new era of international financial services access for middle-market businesses.

Throughout this decade, the firm expanded and opened offices in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Beijing.


Houlihan Lokey advised on deals valued at $4.35 billion, making its first appearance on the Securities Data Company (n/k/a Thomson Reuters) Top 20 M&A advisory rankings. In 1995, to expand its information services division, Houlihan Lokey acquired Mergerstat, a publishing company with a 30-year history as the leader in analytical M&A research, from Merrill Lynch.

In 1990, Houlihan Lokey’s financial staff and James H. Zukin wrote and edited Financial Valuation: Businesses and Business Interests, published by Maxwell McMillan/Rosenfeld Launer. It became a leading textbook for financial professionals.

Throughout the ’90s the firm opened offices in Minneapolis, Dallas, Atlanta and the Washington, D.C. area (McLean, Va.).


The firm began to market estate planning valuation services and quickly became one of the country’s leading “estate freeze” valuation experts.

With the surge of mergers, acquisitions and leveraged buyouts, Wall Street’s largest 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.

A financial vanguard, Houlihan Lokey correctly predicted the formation of a market for financial restructuring advisory services, in 1987. To position itself to serve this burgeoning market, the firm purchased Cheviot Capital Corporation and began assembling what would become one of the most active, dominant worldwide financial restructuring groups. In 1986, the firm established an investment banking division to provide corporate finance services. In addition, the firm opened several offices in the ’80s in New York, San Francisco and Chicago.


Recognizing an underserved market for business and securities valuation, O. Kit Lokey and Richard Houlihan left Price Waterhouse to form Houlihan Lokey, a financial consulting firm that provides valuation, accounting and financial services to privately held companies, including financially distressed companies.

In 1977, Richard Houlihan departed from the firm to pursue outside interests. James H. Zukin joined the firm from Marshall & Stevens in 1976.

In 1974, Robert F. Howard joined the firm from INA Corporation. The firm moved its headquarters to Century City, Calif., where it emerged as one of a growing number of firms that would establish Los Angeles as a major financial market. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act was signed into law by President Gerald Ford, and Houlihan Lokey began to specialize in the valuation of businesses and securities for ESOP transactions, becoming one of the nation’s preeminent providers of ESOP-related financial advisory services.



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