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One of the fastest growing countries for merger business has caught the eye of a U.S. investment bank.

Boutique firm


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said Tuesday that it has acquired Toronto-based advisory shop Beaufort Partners, a purchase that will bring with it the firm's two principles, Bradley Crompton, who formerly ran the Canadian business at

Morgan Stanley

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, and George Estey, who managed

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Goldman Sachs'

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Canadian practice.

"The addition of a strong team in Canada is a very natural step for a firm that has a major presence in the U.S., U.K. and continental Europe," said Robert F. Greenhill, chairman and chief executive of Greenhill. "We plan to continue our strategy of extending geographic reach while we also continue to add expertise in key industries."

Shares of Greenhill were gaining $2.89, or 5.5%, to $55.60.

Investment banking in Canada is booming. The commodity-rich country continues to lure investment banks, as energy and gold firms are flush with cash and clamoring for acquisitions. In 2005, the number of announced deals in Canada almost doubled.

So far this year, the number is are up more than 130%, and deals in the materials sector, which include mining companies, account for almost 60% of the transactions in Canada.

"Canada has more than 200 companies with a $1 billion or greater market capitalization," Estey said. "Greenhill's industry expertise, U.S. and European cross- border capabilities and restructuring expertise will all help us serve our clients better when they need advice."