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Origin Merchant Partners, an investment bank that specializes in advising on mergers and acquisitions, is expanding into Quebec by hiring veteran financier Alain Miquelon.

Toronto-based OMP focuses on helping mid-sized public and private companies raise money and execute takeovers, and it announced Tuesday it is opening a Montreal office, led by Mr. Miquelon. In an interview, the former CEO of the Montreal Exchange and senior partner at private equity fund Novacap said entrepreneurs face “increasingly complex issues as they build their businesses, and I’m excited by the opportunity to bring our expertise to these challenges.”

OMP will initially focus on advising Quebec-based companies in technology, industrial, health care and financial services sectors. Mr. Miquelon said, over time, the firm expects to hire more talent and expand its Montreal office.

“Quebec, with its thriving economy and entrepreneurial culture, fits well with OMP’s expertise,” managing partner Jim Meloche said in a news release. He said: “Coupling that expertise with Alain’s extensive experience and network of relationships positions our firm to provide the highest standard of service.”

Founded in 2011 by veterans of Canada’s big banks, OMP is one of several boutique advisory firms focused on using strong relationships with entrepreneurs to win leading roles on deals. Part of the pitch from these firms is that, unlike the banks, they have no investment products to sell, and can offer unbiased advice on the issues that come with borrowing, equity offerings and takeovers.

Quebec, with its distinct francophone culture, represents a lucrative market for investment bankers with roots in the community.

Mr. Miquelon spent the past five years financing, buying and selling businesses, including a three-year stint at Montreal-based Novacap, an $8-billion asset manager. He said the ability to advise clients on financing options in public and private markets is an essential element of OMP’s work for clients.

Prior to going to Novacap, Mr. Miquelon ran the derivative and fixed income side of TMX Group Ltd., and was CEO of its Bourse de Montréal division. He also worked at Bank of Nova Scotia’s investment dealer.

There were 392 takeovers announced last year in Quebec, about 16 per cent of all M&A activity in Canada, according to data from investment bank Crosbie & Co. Inc.

While billion-dollar-plus deals tend to capture headlines, the bulk of deal-making involves mid-sized companies, including private businesses, and this is the sector Origin targets. Last year, M&A transactions in Quebec saw buyers pay an average of $27-million per business, according to Crosbie & Co.

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