Robey Warshaw partners share £30mn in George Osborne’s first year

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Former UK chancellor George Osborne is set to share in £30mn in profits from his first year as a partner at boutique advisory firm Robey Warshaw.

The firm, which has advised on some of the biggest deals in the UK over the past decade, handed £17.2mn of the gains to its best-paid partner, assumed to be former Morgan Stanley banker Simon Robey, according to accounts filed at Companies House. The remaining profits are divided up between the other three partners.

Despite a broad slowdown in transactions, the firm’s revenues of £39.8mn were nearly identical to last year’s turnover, and profits in the year to March were almost flat compared to the £30.1mn made in 2021.

Rising interest rates and inflation, combined with volatile markets have contributed to a dramatic plunge in mergers and acquisitions this year after a boom in 2021.

Robey Warshaw’s performance was held up by roles such as advising RSA Insurance Group during its sale to a pair of overseas rivals. The firm also advised National Grid on the sale of its gas transmission and metering business.

Since March Robey Warshaw has helped US financier Todd Boehly’s bidding group on its acquisition of Chelsea Football Club and worked with HSBC on its defence against calls from its largest shareholder to split up the bank.

It also advised Vodafone on the sale of part of its €14.8bn mobile phone masts business.

The firm launched in 2013 when Robey, the former co-head of global M&A at Morgan Stanley, joined Simon Warshaw, the former head of investment banking at UBS, to start their own business. Its third founder is former Morgan Stanley banker Philip Apostolides.

With fewer than 15 employees, the firm has been among the most successful deal advisory businesses since its formation, challenging larger rivals while generating hefty profits. Robey personally has earned more than £150mn since starting the business, according to a Financial Times analysis.

The group, which is structured as a limited liability partnership, is not liable for tax on its profits, with each partner responsible for tax on their own share. Its 13 employees were paid a combined total of £6.7mn.

Osborne, who joined the firm in 2021, won one of his first mandates last September when he secured it a role advising Rusal, a subsidiary of London-listed EN+ that was founded by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, although nothing came of the mandate.

Large acquisitions, such as Anheuser-Busch InBev’s £79bn takeover of SABMiller in 2016 and US cable group Comcast’s £30.6bn acquisition of UK broadcaster Sky in 2018, helped Robey Warshaw make its name.

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