“Bhav che toh investor che.” For decades, Nimesh Kampani and the company he ran, JM Financial Ltd, made it their business to bring buyers and sellers together. His conviction that everything has a market, which made the above line in Gujarati his favourite statement, led to one blockbuster deal after another through his career, spanning over four decades.

Kampani’s company was a banker to the $1.1 billion TCS public offer in 2004, brokered the division of the Ambani empire between the two brothers in 2005 and in 2007, helped Vodafone buy Hutchison Essar Ltd for $12 billion.

On September 30, as he turns 70, Kampani will step down from the institution he created to hand over the reins of the business to his son, 39-year-old Vishal Kampani, JM Financial announced on Tuesday.

Rahul Bajaj, Chairman, Bajaj Group, had this to say about the older Kampani: “I hold him in great affection and regard. He is a very old and very close friend. He is extremely knowledgeable in financial matters, one of the best merchant bankers I know in India.”

Bajaj would know. In 2007, Kampani orchestrated the de-merger of Bajaj Auto’s financial services business for his younger son, Sanjiv, while the automotive business went to the older Rajiv.

Sanjeev Aga, former MD, Idea Cellular, said in a lighter vein: “Nimesh bhai shared a good rapport with most corporate honchos. I used to tell him (Kampani) that he looked like a film star, even though he had made his mark in the investment banking space.” For Aga, Kampani launched Idea Cellular’s Rs 2,000-crore IPO in 2007.

Way forward

The transition between father and son had been in the works for the past few years, with Vishal, who has spent 19 years with the group, already overseeing four of the eight major verticals at JM such as institutional equities, investment banking, fixed income and the real estate funds.

After September, as the new MD, Kampani Junior will control wealth management, retail broking, mutual fund and the asset reconstruction arms as well. Nimesh Kampani will continue as non-executive Chairman for the group and a director on some of the group companies.

“My short-term plan,” Vishal told BusinessLine, “is to consolidate our current set of businesses. There is enough steam and growth potential within them. There are no plans to add any new business in the short-term. The stressed assets business is going to be big for us in the next few years.”

Should we expect more blockbuster deals from JM? Hopefully, the younger Kampani said. He stitched together the rather complicated sale of Kishore Biyani’s Pantaloons Retail to Aditya Birla Nuvo, in 2012. “We are working on interesting transactions,” he added cryptically.