Mizuho has agreed to buy Wall Street investment bank Greenhill & Co in a $550mn deal, as one of Japan’s largest financial institutions tries to accelerate its expansion in the US.

The Japanese financial services group said it would pay $15 a share for Greenhill, more than double where shares in the US boutique investment bank closed on Friday.

Founded by Robert Greenhill almost three decades ago, Greenhill was among the first boutique M&A advisers to go public. After soaring in the years immediately following the IPO, shares in the group have languished as Greenhill has faced fierce competition from peers and larger investment banks.

Mizuho, which has been building its US investment banking operation in recent years, said Greenhill would sit within its existing banking division and be led by Michal Katz, its current head of banking in the Americas.

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