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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

(Mark One)

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019

OR

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

FOR THE TRANSITION PERIOD FROM            TO           

Commission File Number 001-36869

 

 

PJT Partners Inc.

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its Charter)

 

 

Delaware

36-4797143

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)

280 Park Avenue

New York, New York

10017

(Address of principal executive offices)

(Zip Code)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (212364-7800

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class

 

Trading

Symbol(s)

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

Class A common stock, par value $0.01 per share

 

PJT

 

New York Stock Exchange

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes      No  

Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act.    Yes      No  

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes      No  

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to submit such files).     Yes      No  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large Accelerated Filer

 

Accelerated Filer

Non-Accelerated Filer

 

Smaller Reporting Company

 

 

 

Emerging Growth Company

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the Registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. 

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).    Yes      No  

As of June 30, 2019, the aggregate market value of the Registrant’s Class A common stock (based upon the closing stock price) held by non-affiliates was approximately $908.6 million.

As of February 20, 2020, there were 22,851,863 shares of Class A common stock, par value $0.01 per share, and 209 shares of Class B common stock, par value $0.01 per share, outstanding.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Portions of the Registrant’s Definitive Proxy Statement relating to its 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

 

 

 


TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 

 

 

Page

 

 

 

 

 

PART I.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 1.

 

BUSINESS

 

3

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 1A.

 

RISK FACTORS

 

9

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 1B.

 

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

 

25

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 2.

 

PROPERTIES

 

25

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 3.

 

LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

 

25

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 4.

 

MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

 

25

 

 

 

 

 

PART II.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 5.

 

MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

 

26

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 6.

 

SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

 

28

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 7.

 

MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

 

31

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 7A.

 

QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

 

41

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 8.

 

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA

 

43

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 9.

 

CHANGES IN AND DISAGREEMENTS WITH ACCOUNTANTS ON ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE

 

88

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 9A.

 

CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

 

88

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 9B.

 

OTHER INFORMATION

 

90

 

 

 

 

 

PART III.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 10.

 

DIRECTORS, EXECUTIVE OFFICERS AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

 

91

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 11.

 

EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION

 

91

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 12.

 

SECURITY OWNERSHIP OF CERTAIN BENEFICIAL OWNERS AND MANAGEMENT AND RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS

 

91

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 13.

 

CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED TRANSACTIONS, AND DIRECTOR INDEPENDENCE

 

91

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 14.

 

PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTING FEES AND SERVICES

 

91

 

 

 

 

 

PART IV.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 15.

 

EXHIBITS, FINANCIAL STATEMENT SCHEDULES

 

92

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 16.

 

FORM 10-K SUMMARY

 

95

 

 

 

 

 

SIGNATURES

 

96

 

 

 

1


PJT Partners Inc. was formed in connection with certain merger and spin-off transactions whereby the financial and strategic advisory services, restructuring and reorganization advisory services and Park Hill Group businesses of The Blackstone Group Inc. (“Blackstone” or our “former Parent”) were combined with PJT Capital LP, a financial advisory firm founded by Paul J. Taubman in 2013 (together with its then affiliates, “PJT Capital”), and the combined business was distributed to Blackstone’s unitholders to create PJT Partners Inc., a stand-alone, independent publicly traded company. Throughout this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we refer to this transaction as the “spin-off.” In October 2018, we acquired CamberView Partners Holdings, LLC (“CamberView” or “PJT Camberview”).

PJT Partners Inc. is a holding company and its only material asset is its controlling equity interest in PJT Partners Holdings LP, a holding partnership that holds the company’s operating subsidiaries, and certain cash and cash equivalents it may hold from time to time as described herein in “Part II. Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities—Dividend Policy.” As the sole general partner of PJT Partners Holdings LP, PJT Partners Inc. operates and controls all of the business and affairs of PJT Partners Holdings LP and its operating subsidiaries.

In this Annual Report on Form 10-K, unless the context requires otherwise, the words “PJT Partners Inc.” refers to PJT Partners Inc., and “PJT Partners,” the “Company,” “we,” “us” and “our” refer to PJT Partners Inc., together with its consolidated subsidiaries, including PJT Partners Holdings LP and its operating subsidiaries.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain material presented herein contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). Forward-looking statements include certain information concerning future results of operations, business strategies, acquisitions, financing plans, competitive position, potential growth opportunities, potential operating performance improvements, the effects of competition and the effects of future legislation or regulations. Forward-looking statements include all statements that are not historical facts and can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as the words “believe,” “expect,” “opportunity,” “plan,” “intend,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “predict,” “potential,” “continue,” “may,” “might,” “should,” “could” or the negative of these terms or similar expressions.

Forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed in such forward-looking statements. You should not put undue reliance on any forward-looking statements contained herein. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or review any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.

The risk factors discussed in the “Risk Factors” section of this report, as such factors may be updated from time to time in our periodic filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), accessible on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov, could cause our results to differ materially from those expressed in forward-looking statements. There may be other risks and uncertainties that we are unable to predict at this time or that are not currently expected to have a material adverse effect on our business. Any such risks could cause our results to differ materially from those expressed in forward-looking statements.

Website Disclosure

We use our website (www.pjtpartners.com) as a channel of distribution of company information. The information we post may be deemed material. Accordingly, investors should monitor the website, in addition to following our press releases, SEC filings and public conference calls and webcasts. In addition, you may automatically receive e-mail alerts and other information about PJT Partners when you enroll your e-mail address by visiting the “Investor Relations” page of our website at ir.pjtpartners.com/investor-relations. Although we refer to our website in this report, the contents of our website are not included or incorporated by reference into this report. All references to our website in this report are intended to be inactive textual references only.

 

 

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PART I.

ITEM 1.

BUSINESS

Overview

PJT Partners is a premier global advisory-focused investment bank. Our team of senior professionals delivers a wide array of strategic advisory, shareholder advisory, restructuring and special situations and private fund advisory and fundraising services to corporations, financial sponsors, institutional investors and governments around the world. We offer a unique portfolio of advisory services designed to help our clients achieve their strategic objectives. We also provide, through PJT Park Hill, private fund advisory and fundraising services for alternative investment managers, including private equity funds, real estate funds and hedge funds. PJT Partners began trading on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) under the symbol “PJT” on October 1, 2015.

We have world-class franchises in each of the areas in which we compete:

Strategic Advisory

Our team of leading professionals delivers innovative solutions to highly complex challenges across mergers and acquisitions (“M&A”), strategic advisory and capital markets advisory. Our strategic advisory business offers a broad range of financial advisory and transaction execution capability, including M&A, joint ventures, minority investments, asset swaps, divestitures, takeover defenses, corporate finance advisory, private placements and distressed sales. Through PJT Camberview, our industry leading shareholder advisory business, we provide investor-led advice to public company boards and management teams around the globe on shareholder engagement, strategic investor relations, activism and contested situations, sustainability and complex corporate governance matters.

Restructuring and Special Situations

Our Restructuring and Special Situations business is one of the world’s leading advisors in restructurings and recapitalizations, both in and out of court, around the globe. With expertise in highly complex capital structure challenges, we advise companies, creditors and financial sponsors on liability management and related capital raise

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transactions including exchanges, recapitalizations, reorganizations, debt repurchases and distressed mergers and acquisitions.

PJT Park Hill

PJT Park Hill, our leading global alternative asset advisory and fundraising business, provides private fund advisory and fundraising services for a diverse range of investment strategies. Moreover, PJT Park Hill is the only group among its peers with top-tier dedicated private equity, hedge fund, real estate and secondary advisory groups. PJT Park Hill’s Secondary Advisory business is a leading advisor to global alternative asset managers and provides clients with a breadth of expertise in the secondary markets, including GP liquidity solutions, GP tender offers, GP recapitalizations, LP portfolio solutions, asset strip sales, single asset SPVs and other structured solutions.

Our Key Competitive Strengths

We intend to execute on our strategy by capitalizing on the following strengths of our organization:

 

Young, Entrepreneurial Firm. PJT Partners combines three decades of experience and excellence with the energy and enthusiasm of a new firm. Our teams act as trusted advisors to a diverse group of clients around the world, providing clients with creative solutions addressing a range of complex strategic matters. The creativity and depth of our advice, and the integrity and judgment with which we deliver it, provide a strong foundation for our growing business. The quality of our advice is core to what we do.

 

Broad Based Advisory Capabilities. In addition to our leading strategic advisory, restructuring and special situations and asset advisory and fundraising businesses, we deliver a broad suite of advisory services across a growing number of industry verticals, products and geographies. We have recently partnered with Nasdaq Private Market to combine the capabilities of PJT Park Hill’s leading Secondary Advisory business with Nasdaq’s best-in-class technology platform to offer clients superior transaction execution. With the addition of PJT Camberview, our industry leading shareholder advisory business, we have further enhanced our ability to advise boards and management teams globally on shareholder engagement, strategic investor relations, activism and contested situations, sustainability and complex corporate governance matters.

 

One Dedicated Firm with Highly Complementary Businesses. Our firm benefits from having a number of leading and complementary businesses. Our differentiated and diverse portfolio of industry, product and geographical expertise enables us to serve our clients in a unique way. Our premier advisory practices allow us to provide best-in-class advice to clients whether they are looking for growth through strategic alternatives, advice in shareholder engagement or in a restructuring or reorganization, or access to capital. Our deep networks across businesses allow us to connect clients and help them meet their strategic objectives.

 

Defined by Deep Relationships. Our partners have decades of experience and long-standing relationships with a vast network of corporate executives, board members, financial sponsors, fund managers and governments. Their expertise across multiple product areas, industry verticals and geographies are sought by clients in complex, cross-border situations around the globe. Our PJT Park Hill business has long-standing relationships across Europe, the Middle East and Asia that give them unique access to global capital and drives incremental value for our clients.

 

Global Market Leadership. Our Restructuring and Special Situations Group is a global market leader. Our PJT Park Hill business has a leading market position across all four of its businesses: private equity, hedge funds, real estate and secondary advisory. Our rapidly growing premier Strategic Advisory business is comprised of industry leading practitioners and has been the named advisor on some of the most high-profile and complex transactions. Our leading PJT Camberview business is well-known in the marketplace, having advised more than fifty Fortune 100 companies since its founding in 2012.

 

Defined by Collaboration, Clients and Content. We have a cohesive partnership centered around our core values of character, collaboration, commercial impact/client relationships and content. Our culture provides the ideal environment for idea sharing, collaboration and innovation. Our bankers are encouraged to make frequent client connections and leverage the experience and insights of fellow partners to deliver clients optimal service and outcomes. Our culture also fosters retention of top talent and provides a superior platform from which to recruit top bankers at all levels.

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Clients’ Results Are Our Reputation. Our success is built around the trust our clients have placed in us. We work every day to ensure that we are providing cutting edge advice on the critical matters facing our clients. We work to navigate our clients through complex challenges and bold opportunities to meet their strategic objectives. Delivering optimal outcomes is what we strive for – our clients’ results are our reputation.

Our Growth Strategy

Our strategy to achieve our growth objectives has the following components:

 

Expand Our Market Leadership in Restructuring and Special Situations and PJT Park Hill. Our firm is strengthened by the deep client relationships and strong brand reputations we have in our leading Restructuring and Special Situations and PJT Park Hill businesses. These businesses are benefiting from closer collaboration across all our businesses, increased dialogues with financial sponsors as well as the increased footprint and product expertise and capabilities of our rapidly growing Strategic Advisory business.

 

Expand Our Addressable Market. We are focused on expanding into new geographies, sectors and capabilities.

 

Significantly Increase the Breadth and Depth of Our Advisory Franchise. We are focused on expanding our capabilities in areas where a sizable market opportunity clearly exists by hiring expert, top-tier talent to expand into new industry verticals, geographies and product capabilities, which will enable us to offer increasingly comprehensive and valuable solutions to a broader base of clients.

 

Enhance Collaboration Among Our Businesses to Better Serve Clients. We operate a scaled, diversified global advisory franchise comprised of highly synergistic businesses, which each share our culture of excellence, teamwork and entrepreneurship. Our partners and team members have relationships with a vast network of corporate executives, board members, financial sponsors, fund managers and governments as well as expertise in multiple product areas, industry verticals and geographies. By operating in a more integrated and cohesive manner, we are able to offer our clients a comprehensive and differentiated suite of advisory services. In addition, our deep networks across our businesses allow us to connect clients and provide incremental value in helping them meet their strategic objectives.

 

Remain the Premier Destination for Talent. We will continue to attract best-in-class bankers who want to deliver a broad range of world-class services to their clients around the globe. We offer a unique and compelling proposition to them through our total focus on advisory services; commitment to building a culture of collaboration, character and growth; strong client relationships; deep and exceptional base of talent; and efficient and scalable support infrastructure.

Our Talent

As a premier global advisory-focused investment bank, we believe that we must have an approach to human capital management that ensures PJT Partners remains a destination for top talent at all levels. We have been focused on this since our firm’s inception and we want to be front-footed when it comes to attracting diverse individuals to our platform. Firm culture is critical to all aspects of how we do business and to our long-term success.

Our human capital successes thus far are evident in the number and quality of hires we have made as well as in the feedback we receive through our annual employee survey. Reinforcement of the culture we are building comes through engaging with and listening to our employees, our reward principles we apply to compensation and promotion decisions and through our various talent development initiatives, which continue to evolve as we grow.

As it pertains to the recruitment of talent, all candidates for PJT Partners are interviewed by a range of professionals, with a clear focus on quality of the candidate’s capabilities as well as character. The firm seeks candidates that buy in to a philosophy that prioritizes the long-term success of the firm and its clients, over near-term gains for the individual, as reflected in our reward principles.

As of December 31, 2019, we employed 678 individuals globally, including 81 partners.

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Competition

The financial services industry is intensely competitive, and we expect it to remain so. Our competitors are other investment banking and financial advisory firms. These entities include brokers and dealers, investment banking firms and commercial banks. We compete on both a global and a regional basis, and on the basis of a number of factors, including the strength and depth of client relationships, industry knowledge, transaction execution skills, our range of products and services, innovation, reputation and price.

We also compete to attract and retain qualified employees. Our ability to continue to compete effectively in our business will depend upon our ability to attract new employees and retain and motivate our existing employees.

Regulation

Our business, as well as the financial services industry generally, is subject to extensive regulation in the U.S. and across the globe. As a matter of public policy, regulatory bodies in the U.S. and the rest of the world are charged with safeguarding the integrity of the securities and other financial markets and with protecting the interests of customers participating in those markets. In the U.S., the SEC is the federal agency responsible for the administration of the federal securities laws. PJT Partners LP, through which strategic advisory, shareholder advisory and restructuring and special situations services are conducted in the United States, and Park Hill Group LLC, which is an entity within the PJT Park Hill private fund advisory and fundraising services business, are registered broker-dealers. These registered broker-dealers are subject to regulation and oversight by the SEC. In addition, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), a self-regulatory organization that is subject to oversight by the SEC, adopts and enforces rules governing the conduct, and examines the activities of, its member firms, which would include any such registered broker-dealer. State securities regulators also have regulatory or oversight authority over any such registered broker-dealer.

Broker-dealers are subject to regulations that cover all aspects of the securities business, including capital structure, recordkeeping and the conduct and qualifications of directors, officers and employees. In particular, as a registered broker-dealer and member of a self-regulatory organization, we are subject to the SEC’s uniform net capital rule, Rule 15c3-1. Rule 15c3-1 specifies the minimum level of net capital a broker-dealer must maintain and also requires that a significant part of a broker-dealer’s assets be kept in relatively liquid form. The SEC and various self-regulatory organizations impose rules that require notification when net capital falls below certain predefined criteria, limit the ratio of subordinated debt to equity in the regulatory capital composition of a broker-dealer and constrain the ability of a broker-dealer to expand its business under certain circumstances. Additionally, the SEC’s uniform net capital rule imposes certain requirements that may have the effect of prohibiting a broker-dealer from distributing or withdrawing capital and requiring prior notice to the SEC for certain withdrawals of capital.

PJT Partners LP is registered as a “municipal advisor” with the SEC and the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (the “MSRB”). In 2013, as required under the Dodd-Frank Act, the SEC issued its final rule regarding the new category of regulated financial activity: “municipal advisors” (the “MA Rule”). The MA Rule, which became effective in 2014, imposes a fiduciary duty on municipal advisors when advising municipal entities. In addition to the SEC rule, the MSRB has developed a number of implementing rules and interpretive guidance relating to municipal advisors, and we have implemented policies and procedures reasonably designed to comply with such rules and guidance. In recent years, broker-dealer and municipal advisor interaction with municipal entities has become an area of greater rulemaking and regulatory interest; however, we do not expect a materially adverse impact on municipal advisory services.

Further, Park Hill Group LLC is a registered commodity trading advisor with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) and is a member of the National Futures Association (“NFA”), a futures industry self-regulatory organization. The CFTC and NFA regulate futures contracts, swaps and various other financial instruments in which certain of Park Hill Group LLC’s clients may invest.

In addition to the regulation we are subject to in the U.S., we are subject to regulation internationally. PJT Partners (UK) Limited is licensed with the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority. PJT Partners (HK) Limited is licensed with the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission.

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Certain parts of our business are subject to compliance with laws and regulations of U.S. federal and state governments, non-U.S. governments, their respective agencies and/or various self-regulatory organizations or exchanges relating to, among other things, the privacy of client information. Any failure to comply with these regulations could expose us to liability and/or reputational damage.

The U.S. and non-U.S. government agencies and self-regulatory organizations, as well as state securities commissions in the U.S., are empowered to conduct periodic examinations and initiate administrative proceedings that can result in censure, fines, the issuance of cease-and-desist orders or the suspension or expulsion of a broker-dealer or its directors, officers or employees.

Broker-dealers are also subject to regulations, including the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, which impose obligations regarding the prevention and detection of money-laundering activities, including the establishment of customer due diligence and other compliance policies and procedures.

Failure to comply with these requirements may result in monetary, regulatory and, in certain cases, criminal penalties. In connection with its administration and enforcement of economic and trade sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy and national security goals, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), publishes a list of individuals and companies owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of, targeted countries. It also lists individuals, groups and entities, such as terrorists and narcotics traffickers, designated under programs that are not country-specific. Collectively, such individuals and companies are called “Specially Designated Nationals,” or SDNs. Assets of SDNs are blocked, and we are generally prohibited from dealing with them. In addition, OFAC administers a number of comprehensive sanctions and embargoes that target certain countries, governments and geographic regions. We are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions involving any country, region or government that is subject to such comprehensive sanctions.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the “FCPA”) and the UK 2010 Bribery Act (the “UK Bribery Act”) prohibit the payment of bribes to foreign government officials and political figures. The FCPA prohibits us from making or offering to make any payment, or giving anything of value to a foreign official for the purpose of influencing that official to assist us in obtaining or retaining an improper business advantage. The FCPA has a broad reach, covering all U.S. companies and citizens doing business abroad, among others, and defining a foreign official to include not only those holding public office but also local citizens acting in an official capacity for or on behalf of foreign government-run or -owned organizations or public international organizations. The FCPA also requires maintenance of appropriate books and records and maintenance of adequate internal controls to prevent and detect possible FCPA violations. Similarly, the UK Bribery Act prohibits us from bribing, being bribed or making other prohibited payments to government officials or other persons to obtain or retain business or gain some other business advantage.

Park Hill Group LLC is also affected by various state and local regulations or policies that restrict or prohibit the use of placement agents in connection with investments by public pension funds, including but not limited to, regulations in New York State, New York City, Illinois and California. Similar measures are being considered or have been implemented in other jurisdictions.

Organizational Structure

PJT Partners Inc. is a holding company and its only material asset is its controlling equity interest in PJT Partners Holdings LP, and certain cash and cash equivalents it may hold from time to time as described herein in “Part II. Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities—Dividend Policy.” As the sole general partner of PJT Partners Holdings LP, PJT Partners Inc. operates and controls all of the business and affairs and consolidates the financial results of PJT Partners Holdings LP and its operating subsidiaries. The ownership interests of the holders (other than PJT Partners Inc.) of common units of partnership interest in PJT Partners Holdings LP (“Partnership Units”) are reflected as non-controlling interests in PJT Partners Inc.’s consolidated financial statements as of December 31, 2019.

Our employees and certain current and former Blackstone executive officers and employees also hold all issued and outstanding shares of the Class B common stock of PJT Partners Inc. The shares of Class B common stock have no economic rights but entitle the holder, without regard to the number of shares of Class B common stock held, to a number of votes that is equal to the aggregate number of vested and unvested Partnership Units and LTIP Units (which is a class of partnership interests) in PJT Partners Holdings LP held by such holder on all matters presented to stockholders of PJT Partners Inc. other than director elections and removals. In connection with the spin-off, Blackstone’s senior management, including Mr. Schwarzman and all of Blackstone’s other executive

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officers, provided an irrevocable proxy to Mr. Taubman to vote their shares of Class B common stock for so long as Mr. Taubman is the Chief Executive Officer of PJT Partners Inc. With respect to the election and removal of directors of PJT Partners Inc., shares of Class B common stock initially entitle holders to only one vote per share, representing significantly less than one percent of the voting power entitled to vote thereon. However, the voting power of Class B common stock with respect to the election and removal of directors of PJT Partners Inc. may be increased to up to the number of votes to which a holder is then entitled on all other matters presented to stockholders. The voting power on applicable matters afforded to holders of partnership interests by their shares of Class B common stock is automatically and correspondingly reduced as they exchange Partnership Units for cash or for shares of Class A common stock of PJT Partners Inc. pursuant to the exchange agreement. If at any time the ratio at which Partnership Units are exchangeable for shares of Class A common stock of PJT Partners Inc. changes from one-for-one, the number of votes to which Class B common stockholders are entitled on applicable matters will be adjusted accordingly. Holders of shares of our Class B common stock will vote together with holders of our Class A common stock as a single class on all matters on which stockholders are entitled to vote generally, except as otherwise required by law.

We and the holders of Partnership Units (other than PJT Partners Inc.) also have entered into an exchange agreement under which they (or certain permitted transferees) have the right, subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the partnership agreement of PJT Partners Holdings LP, on a quarterly basis, to exchange all or part of their Partnership Units for cash or, at our election, for shares of our Class A common stock on a one-for-one basis, subject to customary conversion rate adjustments for splits, unit distributions and reclassifications. Further, pursuant to the terms in the partnership agreement of PJT Partners Holdings LP, we may also require holders of Partnership Units who are not Service Providers (as defined in the partnership agreement of PJT Partners Holdings LP) to exchange such Partnership Units. The price per Partnership Unit to be received in a cash-settled exchange will be equal to the fair value of a share of our Class A common stock (determined in accordance with and subject to adjustment under the exchange agreement). In the event that PJT Partners Inc. elects to fund cash-settled exchanges of Partnership Units with new issuances of Class A common stock, the fair value of a share of our Class A common stock will be deemed to be equal to the net proceeds per share of Class A common stock received by PJT Partners Inc. in the related issuance. Accordingly, in this event, the price per Partnership Unit to which an exchanging Partnership Unitholder will be entitled may be greater than or less than the then-current market value of our Class A common stock.

The Company entered into a tax matters agreement with Blackstone (the “Tax Matters Agreement”) that governs the respective rights, responsibilities and obligations of the Company and Blackstone after the spin-off with respect to tax liabilities and benefits, tax attributes, tax contests and other tax sharing regarding U.S. federal, state, local and foreign income taxes, other tax matters and related tax returns.

The Company has also entered into a tax receivable agreement with the holders of Partnership Units (other than PJT Partners Inc.) that provides for the payment by PJT Partners Inc. to exchanging holders of Partnership Units of 85% of the benefits, if any, that PJT Partners Inc. is deemed to realize as a result of the increases in tax basis related to such exchanges of Partnership Units and of certain other tax benefits related to entering into the tax receivable agreement, including tax benefits attributable to payments under the tax receivable agreement.

Refer to Note 14. “Transactions with Related Parties” and Note 15. “Commitments and Contingencies—Transactions and Agreements with Blackstone” in the “Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements” in “Part II. Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” for further information about the agreements entered into in connection with the spin-off.

Available Information

We file annual, quarterly and current reports and other information with the SEC. These filings are available to the public over the internet at the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.

Our website address is www.pjtpartners.com. We make available free of charge on or through www.pjtpartners.com our annual reports on Form 10‑K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8‑K, and amendments to those reports, as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the SEC. Hard copies may be obtained free of charge by contacting Investor Relations at PJT Partners Inc., 280 Park Avenue, New York, New York 10017 or by calling (212) 364-7800. Although we refer to our website in this report, the contents of our website are not included or incorporated by reference into this report. All references to our website in this report are intended to be inactive textual references only.

 

 

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ITEM 1A.

RISK FACTORS

Risks Relating to Our Business

Our future growth will depend on, among other things, our ability to successfully identify, recruit and develop talent and will require us to commit additional resources.

Our future growth will depend on, among other things, our ability to successfully identify and recruit individuals and teams to join our firm. It typically takes time for these professionals to become profitable and effective. During that time, we may incur significant expenses and expend significant time and resources toward training, integration and business development aimed at developing this new talent. If we are unable to recruit and develop profitable professionals, we will not be able to implement our growth strategy and our financial results could be materially adversely affected.

In addition, sustaining growth will require us to commit additional management, operational and financial resources and to maintain appropriate operational and financial systems to adequately support expansion, especially in instances where we open new offices that may require additional resources. There can be no assurance that we will be able to manage our expanding operations effectively, and any failure to do so could materially adversely affect our ability to grow revenue and control our expenses.

Changing market conditions, including as a result of tariffs and global trade uncertainties, can adversely affect our business in many ways, including by reducing the volume of the transactions involving our business, which could materially reduce our revenue.

As a participant in the financial services industry, we are materially affected by conditions in the global financial markets and economic conditions throughout the world, including many factors beyond our control, such as tariffs and global trade uncertainties. For example, a substantial portion of our revenue is directly related to the volume and value of the transactions in which we are involved. During periods of unfavorable market or economic conditions, the volume and value of M&A transactions may decrease, thereby reducing the demand for our M&A advisory services and increasing price competition among financial services companies seeking such engagements. In addition, during periods of strong market and economic conditions, the volume and value of restructuring and reorganization transactions may decrease, thereby reducing the demand for our restructuring and special situations services and increasing price competition among financial services companies seeking such engagements. Our results of operations would be adversely affected by any such reduction in the volume or value of such advisory transactions. Further, in the period following an economic downturn, the volume and value of M&A transactions typically takes time to recover and lags a recovery in market and economic conditions.

Our profitability may also be adversely affected by our fixed costs and the possibility that we would be unable to scale back other costs within a time frame sufficient to match any decreases in revenue relating to changes in market and economic conditions.

Our private fund advisory and fundraising business is dependent on the availability of private capital for deployment in illiquid asset classes such as private equity, real estate and hedge funds for clients we serve.

PJT Park Hill provides private fund advisory and fundraising services for alternative investment managers, including private equity funds, real estate funds and hedge funds. Our ability to find suitable engagements and earn fees in this business depends on the availability of private and public capital for investments in illiquid assets such as private equity, real estate and hedge funds. Our ability to assist fund managers and sponsors raise capital from investors depends on a number of factors, including many that are outside our control, such as the general economic environment, changes in the weight investors give to alternative asset investments as part of their overall investment portfolio among asset classes, and market liquidity and volatility. Additionally, certain investors, such as public pension plans, may have policies prohibiting the use of placement agents by fund sponsors or managers in connection with a limited partner’s investment. To the extent private and public capital focused on illiquid investment opportunities for our clients is limited, the results of PJT Park Hill may be adversely affected.

Our revenue in any given period is dependent in part on the number of fee-paying clients in such period, and a significant reduction in the number of fee-paying clients in any given period could reduce our revenue and adversely affect our operating results in such period.

A substantial portion of our revenue in any given period is dependent in part on the number of fee-paying clients in such period. We had 142 clients and 141 clients that generated fees equal to or greater than $1 million for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively. We may lose clients as a result of the sale or merger of a

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client, a change in a client’s senior management, competition from other financial advisors and financial institutions and other causes. A significant reduction in the number of fee-paying clients in any given period could reduce our revenue and adversely affect our operating results in such period.

The composition of the group comprising our largest clients varies significantly from year to year, and a relatively small number of clients may account for a significant portion of our consolidated revenues in any given period. As a result, our operating results, financial condition and liquidity may be significantly affected by the loss of a relatively small number of mandates or the failure of a relatively small number of assignments to be completed. However, no client accounted for more than 10% of our total revenues for the years ended December 31, 2019 or 2018.

We have recorded net losses in the past and we may experience net losses in the future.

We have recorded consolidated or combined net losses in two of the five years ended December 31, 2019. A primary component of these net losses in each period was significant non-cash charges, consisting primarily of transaction-related compensation charges associated with Blackstone’s initial public offering (“IPO”), our spin-off from Blackstone, the acquisition of CamberView, and the amortization of intangible assets that were recorded in connection with Blackstone’s IPO, the acquisition of PJT Capital LP and the acquisition of CamberView. We expect such non-cash charges to continue to be significant for the next few years and, as a result, we may record net losses during such periods.

If the number of debt defaults, bankruptcies or other factors affecting demand for our restructuring and special situations services declines, our restructuring and special situations business could suffer.

We provide various financial restructuring and reorganization and related advice to companies in financial distress or to their creditors or other stakeholders. A number of factors affect demand for these advisory services, including general economic conditions, the availability and cost of debt and equity financing, governmental policy and changes to laws, rules and regulations, including those that protect creditors. In addition, providing restructuring and special situations advisory services entails the risk that the transaction will be unsuccessful, takes considerable time and can be subject to a bankruptcy court’s discretionary power to disallow or discount our fees. If the number of debt defaults, bankruptcies or other factors affecting demand for our restructuring and special situations advisory services declines, our Restructuring and Special Situations business would be adversely affected.

We depend on the efforts and reputations of Mr. Taubman and other key personnel.

We depend on the efforts and reputations of Mr. Taubman and our other senior bankers. Our senior banking team’s reputations and relationships with clients and potential clients are critical elements in the success of our business. Mr. Taubman and our other senior executives and bankers are important to our success because they are instrumental in setting our strategic direction, operating our business, identifying, recruiting and training key personnel, maintaining relationships with our clients, and identifying business opportunities. The loss of one or more of these executives or other key individuals could impair our business and development until qualified replacements are found. We may not be able to replace these individuals quickly or with persons of equal experience and capabilities. Although we have employment agreements with certain of these individuals, we cannot prevent them from terminating their employment with us. In addition, our non-competition agreements with such individuals may not be enforced by the courts. The loss of the services of any of them, in particular Mr. Taubman, could have a material adverse effect on our business, including our ability to attract clients.

Our ability to retain and motivate our partners and other key personnel is critical to the success of our business.

Our future success and growth depends to a substantial degree on our ability to retain and motivate our partners and other key personnel. Our professionals possess substantial experience and expertise and have strong relationships with our clients. As a result, the loss of these professionals could jeopardize our relationships with clients and result in the loss of client engagements. We may not be successful in our efforts to retain and motivate the required personnel as the market for qualified advisory and fund advisory services professionals is extremely competitive.

The near-term vesting of equity awarded to key personnel may diminish our ability to retain and motivate our professionals. There is no guarantee that our non-competition and current compensation arrangements with our professionals, in which we mandatorily defer a substantial portion of their annual incentive bonus in the form of cash and equity awards with multi-year vesting periods, will provide sufficient protections or incentives to prevent

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our partners and other key personnel from resigning to join our competitors. The departure of a number of partners or groups of professionals could have a material adverse effect on our business and profitability.

Our revenue and profits are highly volatile on a quarterly basis and may cause the price of our Class A common stock to fluctuate and decline.

Our revenue and profits are highly volatile. We earn advisory fees, generally from a limited number of engagements that generate significant fees at key transaction milestones, such as closing, the timing of which is outside of our control. We expect that we will continue to rely on advisory fees for a substantial portion of our revenue for the foreseeable future. Accordingly, a decline in our advisory engagements or the market for advisory services would adversely affect our business. In addition, our financial results will likely fluctuate from quarter to quarter based on the timing of when fees are recognized, and high levels of revenue in one quarter will not necessarily be predictive of continued high levels of revenue in future periods. Because advisory revenue is volatile and represents a significant portion of our total revenue, we may experience greater variations in our revenue and profits than other larger, more diversified competitors in the financial services industry. Fluctuations in our quarterly financial results could, in turn, lead to large adverse movements in the price of our Class A common stock or increased volatility in our stock price generally.

Because in many cases we are not paid until the successful consummation of the underlying transaction, our revenue is highly dependent on market conditions and the decisions and actions of our clients, interested third parties and governmental authorities. For example, we may be engaged by a client in connection with a sale or divestiture, but the transaction may not occur or be consummated because, among other things, anticipated bidders may not materialize, no bidder is prepared to pay our client’s price or because our client’s business experiences unexpected operating or financial problems. We may be engaged by a client in connection with an acquisition, but the transaction may not occur or be consummated for a number of reasons, including because our client may not be the winning bidder, failure to agree upon final terms with the counterparty, failure to obtain necessary regulatory consents or board or stockholder approvals, failure to secure necessary financing, adverse market conditions or because the target’s business experiences unexpected operating or financial problems. In these circumstances, we often do not receive significant advisory fees, despite the fact that we have devoted considerable resources to these transactions.

In addition, with respect to PJT Park Hill, our private fund advisory and fundraising business, we face the risk that we may not be able to collect all or a portion of the fees that we recognize. The placement fees earned by PJT Park Hill are generally recognized by us for accounting purposes upon the successful subscription by an investor in a client’s fund and/or the closing of that fund. However, those fees are typically paid by a PJT Park Hill client over a period of time with interest (for example, three to four years) following such successful subscription by an investor in a client’s fund and/or the closing of that fund. There is a risk that during that period of time, PJT Park Hill may not be able to collect all or a portion of the fees PJT Park Hill is due for the fund advisory services it has already provided to such client. For instance, a PJT Park Hill client’s fund may be liquidated prior to the time that all or a portion of the fees due to PJT Park Hill are due to be paid. Moreover, to the extent fewer assets are raised for funds or interest by investors in alternative asset funds declines, the placement fees earned by PJT Park Hill would be adversely affected.

In addition, we face the risk that certain clients may not have the financial resources to pay our agreed-upon advisory fees. Certain clients may also be unwilling to pay our advisory fees in whole or in part, in which case we may have to incur significant costs to bring legal action to enforce our engagement agreements to obtain our advisory fees.

Future joint ventures, strategic investments and acquisitions may result in additional risks and uncertainties in our business.

In addition to recruiting and internal expansion, we may grow our core business through joint ventures, strategic investments or acquisitions. In the event we make strategic investments or acquisitions, we would face numerous risks and would be presented with financial, managerial and operational challenges, including the difficulty of integrating personnel, retaining clients of the acquired entity, financial, accounting, technology and other systems and management controls.

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Our failure to deal appropriately with actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest could damage our reputation and materially adversely affect our business.

We confront actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest in our business. We have adopted various policies, controls and procedures to address or limit actual or perceived conflicts of interest. However, these policies, controls and procedures may not timely identify or appropriately manage such conflicts of interest as identifying and managing actual or perceived conflicts of interest is complex and difficult. It is possible that actual, potential or perceived conflicts could give rise to client dissatisfaction, litigation or regulatory enforcement actions. Our reputation could be damaged if we fail, or appear to fail, to deal appropriately with one or more potential or actual conflicts of interest. Regulatory scrutiny of, or litigation in connection with, conflicts of interest could have a material adverse effect on our reputation, which could materially adversely affect our business in a number of ways, including a reluctance of some potential clients and counterparties to do business with us.

Policies, controls and procedures that we may be required to implement to address additional regulatory requirements, including as a result of additional foreign jurisdictions in which we operate, or to mitigate actual or potential conflicts of interest, may result in increased costs, including for additional personnel and infrastructure and information technology improvements, as well as limit our activities and reduce the positive synergies that we seek to cultivate across our businesses.

Employee or contractor misconduct, which is difficult to detect and deter, could harm us by impairing our ability to attract and retain clients and talent and by subjecting us to legal liability and reputational harm.

There is a risk that our employees or contractors could engage in misconduct that would adversely affect our business. For example, our business often requires that we deal with confidential matters of great significance to our clients. If our employees or contractors were to improperly use or disclose confidential information provided by our clients, we could be subject to regulatory sanctions and we could suffer serious harm to our reputation, financial position, current client relationships and ability to attract future clients. In addition, our financial professionals and other employees are responsible for following proper measures to maintain the confidentiality of information we hold. If an employee’s failure to do so results in the improper release of confidential information, we could be subject to reputational harm and legal liability, which could impair our ability to attract and retain clients and in turn materially adversely affect our business. Despite our implementation of policies, our emphasis on a culture that supports diversity and inclusion, and training to prevent and detect misconduct, we cannot completely safeguard ourselves against the risk of work place misconduct, such as sexual harassment or discrimination. In addition to impairing our ability to attract and retain clients, such misconduct may also impair our ability to attract and retain talent resulting in a materially adverse effect on our business. It is not always possible to deter such misconduct, and there can be no assurance that the precautions we take to prevent and detect misconduct will be effective in all cases. If our employees or contractors engage in misconduct, our business could be materially adversely affected.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the SEC continue to devote significant resources to the enforcement of the FCPA. In addition, the United Kingdom and other jurisdictions have significantly expanded the reach of their anti-bribery laws. While we have developed and implemented policies and procedures designed to ensure strict compliance by us and our personnel with the FCPA, such policies and procedures may not be effective in all instances to prevent violations. Any determination that we have violated the FCPA or other applicable anti-corruption laws could subject us to, among other things, civil and criminal penalties, material fines, profit disgorgement, injunctions on future conduct, securities litigation and a general loss of investor confidence, any one of which could adversely affect our business prospects, financial position or the market value of our common shares.

We may face damage to our professional reputation or negative publicity if our services are not regarded as satisfactory or for other reasons.

As an advisory service firm, we depend to a large extent on our relationships with our clients and reputation for integrity and high-caliber professional services to attract and retain clients. As a result, if a client is not satisfied with our services or we experience negative publicity related to our business and our people, regardless of whether the allegations are valid, it may be more damaging in our business than in other businesses.

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We face strong competition from other financial advisory firms, many of which have greater resources and broader product and services offerings than we do.

The financial services industry is intensely competitive, highly fragmented and subject to rapid change, and we expect it to remain so. Our competitors are other investment banking and financial advisory firms. We compete on both a global and a regional basis, and on the basis of a number of factors, including the strength and depth of client relationships, industry knowledge, transaction execution skills, our range of products and services, innovation, reputation and price. In addition, in our business there are usually no long-term contracted sources of revenue. Each revenue-generating engagement typically is separately solicited, awarded and negotiated.

We have experienced significant competition when obtaining advisory mandates, and we may experience pricing pressures in our business in the future as some of our competitors may seek to obtain increased market share by reducing fees.

Our primary competitors are large financial institutions, many of which have far greater financial and other resources and have the ability to offer a wider range of products and services. In addition, we may be at a competitive disadvantage with regard to certain of our competitors who are able to and often do, provide financing or market making services that are often a crucial component of the types of transactions on which we advise. In addition to our larger competitors, over the last several years the number of independent investment banks that offer independent advisory services has increased. As these independent firms or new entrants into the market seek to gain market share, we could experience pricing and competitive pressures, which would adversely affect our revenues and earnings.

In addition, PJT Park Hill operates in a highly competitive environment and the barriers to entry into the private fund advisory and fundraising services business are low.

As a member of the financial services industry, we face substantial litigation and regulatory risks.

Our role as advisor to our clients on important transactions involves complex analysis and the exercise of professional judgment, including rendering “fairness opinions” in connection with mergers and other transactions. Our activities may subject us to the risk of significant legal liabilities to our clients and affected third parties, including shareholders of our clients who could bring securities class actions against us. In recent years, the volume of claims and amount of damages claimed in litigation and regulatory proceedings against financial services companies have increased. These risks are difficult to assess or quantify and their existence and magnitude often remain unknown for substantial periods of time. Our engagements typically, but not always, include broad indemnities from our clients and provisions to limit our exposure to legal claims relating to our services, but these provisions may not protect us in all cases, including when a client does not have the financial capacity to pay under the indemnity. As a result, we may incur significant legal expenses in defending against or settling litigation. In addition, we may have to spend a significant amount to adequately insure against these potential claims. Substantial legal liability or significant regulatory action against us could have material adverse financial effects or cause significant reputational harm to us, which could seriously harm our business prospects.

Extensive and evolving regulation of our business and the business of our clients exposes us to the potential for significant penalties and fines due to compliance failures, increases our costs and may result in limitations on the manner in which our business is conducted.

As a participant in the financial services industry, we are subject to extensive regulation in the U.S. and internationally. We are subject to regulation by governmental and self-regulatory organizations in the jurisdictions in which we operate. As a result of market volatility and disruption in recent years, the U.S. and other governments took unprecedented steps to try to stabilize the financial system, including providing assistance to financial institutions and taking certain regulatory actions. The long-term effects of these actions and of legislative and regulatory initiatives (including the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act) effected in connection with, and as a result of, such extraordinary disruption and volatility is uncertain, both as to the financial markets and participants in general, and as to us in particular.

We face the risk of significant intervention by regulatory authorities, including extended investigation and surveillance activity, adoption of costly or restrictive new regulations and judicial or administrative proceedings that may result in substantial penalties. Among other things, we could be fined or be prohibited from engaging in some of our business activities. In addition, the regulatory environment in which we operate is subject to modification and further regulation. Such changes may increase the expenses we incur without necessarily leading to commensurate

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increases in revenues. Certain laws and regulations within the U.S. and internationally include extraterritorial application that may lead to overlapping or conflicting legal and regulatory burdens with additional risks and implementation expenses. New laws or regulations applicable to us and our clients also may adversely affect our business, and our ability to function in this environment will depend on our ability to constantly monitor and react to these changes.

Our ability to conduct business and our operating results, including compliance costs, may be adversely affected as a result of any new requirements imposed by the SEC, FINRA or other U.S. or foreign governmental regulatory authorities or self-regulatory organizations that regulate financial services firms or supervise financial markets. We may be adversely affected by changes in the interpretation or enforcement of existing laws and rules by these governmental authorities and self-regulatory organizations. In addition, some of our clients or prospective clients may adopt policies that exceed regulatory requirements and impose additional restrictions affecting their dealings with us. Accordingly, we may incur significant costs to comply with U.S. and international regulation. In addition, new laws or regulations or changes in enforcement of existing laws or regulations applicable to our clients may adversely affect our business. For example, changes in antitrust laws or the enforcement of antitrust laws could affect the level of M&A activity and changes in applicable regulations could restrict the activities of our clients and their need for the types of advisory services that we provide to them. Further, changes to existing tax laws and regulations in the U.S. and in other jurisdictions in which we and our clients operate may reduce the level of M&A activity, including cross-border M&A activity.

The trade agreements under which U.S. companies currently exchange products and services around the world are subject to change. It is not known what specific measures might be proposed or how they would be implemented and enforced. There can be no assurance that pending or future legislation or execution in the U.S. that could significantly increase costs with respect to our foreign operations and, consequently, adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations, will not be enacted.

In addition, several states and municipalities in the United States, including, but not limited to, California, Illinois, New York State and New York City have adopted “pay-to-play” and placement agent rules, which, in addition to imposing registration and reporting requirements, limit our ability to charge fees in connection with certain engagements of Park Hill Group LLC or restrict or prohibit the use of placement agents in connection with investments by public pension funds. These types of measures could materially and adversely impact our PJT Park Hill business.

Our failure to comply with applicable laws or regulations could result in adverse publicity and reputational harm as well as fines, suspensions of personnel or other sanctions, including revocation of our registration or any of our subsidiaries as a financial advisor and could impair retention or recruitment of personnel. In addition, any changes in the regulatory framework could impose additional expenses or capital requirements on us, result in limitations on the manner in which our business is conducted, have an adverse impact upon our financial condition and business and require substantial attention by senior management. Moreover, our business is subject to periodic examination by various regulatory authorities, and we cannot predict the outcome of any such examinations.

Our business is subject to various cybersecurity and other operational risks.

We face various cybersecurity and other operational risks related to our business on a day-to-day basis. We rely heavily on financial, accounting, communication and other information technology systems, and the people who operate them. These systems, including the systems of third parties on whom we rely, may fail to operate properly or become disabled as a result of tampering or a breach of our network security systems or otherwise, including for reasons beyond our control.

Our clients typically provide us with sensitive and confidential information. We are dependent on information technology networks and systems to securely process, transmit and store such information and to communicate among our locations around the world and with our clients and other third parties. We may be subject to attempted security breaches and cyber-attacks and, while we are not aware of any such occurrence to date, a successful breach of our systems, or the systems used by our clients and other third parties, could lead to shutdowns or disruptions of our systems or third-party systems on which we rely and potential unauthorized disclosure of sensitive or confidential information. Breaches of our or third-party network security systems on which we rely could involve attacks that are intended to obtain unauthorized access to our proprietary information, destroy data or disable, degrade or sabotage our systems, often through the introduction of computer viruses, cyber-attacks and other means and could originate from a wide variety of sources, including foreign governments or other unknown third parties. Although we take various measures to ensure the integrity of our and third-party systems on which we rely, there

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can be no assurance that these measures will provide adequate protection, especially because the cyber-attack techniques used change frequently or are not recognized until launched. As cyber threats continue to multiply, become more sophisticated and threaten additional aspects of our businesses, we may also be required to expend additional resources on information security and compliance costs in order to continue to modify or enhance our protective measures or to investigate and remediate any information security vulnerabilities or other exposures. If our or third-party systems on which we rely are compromised, do not operate properly or are disabled, we could suffer a disruption of our business, financial losses, liability to clients, regulatory sanctions and damage to our reputation. Phishing attacks and email spoofing attacks are often used to obtain information to impersonate employees or clients in order to, among other things, direct fraudulent bank transfers or obtain valuable information. Fraudulent transfers resulting from phishing attacks or email spoofing of our employees could result in a material loss of assets, reputational harm or legal liability and in turn materially adversely affect our business.

We operate a business that is highly dependent on information systems and technology. Any failure to keep accurate books and records can render us liable to disciplinary action by governmental and self-regulatory authorities, as well as to claims by our clients. We rely on third-party service providers for certain aspects of our business. Any interruption or deterioration in the performance of these third parties or failures of their information systems and technology could impair our operations, affect our reputation and adversely affect our business.

In addition, a disaster or other business continuity problem, such as a pandemic, other man-made or natural disaster or disruption involving electronic communications or other services used by us or third parties with whom we conduct business, could lead us to experience operational challenges, and if we are unable to timely and successfully recover that could materially disrupt our business and cause material financial loss, regulatory actions, reputational harm or legal liability.

We are exposed to risks related to our insurance coverage.

Our operations and financial results are subject to risks and uncertainties related to our use of insurance for a variety of risks, including cybersecurity risk. While we endeavor to purchase insurance coverage appropriate for our risk assessment, we are unable to predict with certainty the frequency, nature or magnitude of claims for direct or consequential damages. Our business may be negatively affected if our insurance coverage proves to be inadequate or unavailable. Insurance claims may divert management resources away from operating our business.

We may not be able to generate sufficient cash in the future to service any current or future indebtedness or other contractual obligations, or a significant deterioration in the credit markets or the failure of one or more commercial banking institutions, could adversely affect our liquidity.

Our ability to make scheduled payments on or to refinance any current or future debt obligations or other contractual obligations depends on our financial condition and operating performance. We cannot provide assurance that we will maintain a level of cash flows from operating activities sufficient to permit us to pay the principal of, and interest on, any current or future indebtedness. If our cash flows and capital resources are insufficient to fund any current or future debt obligations, we may be forced to reduce or delay investments and capital expenditures, or to sell assets, seek additional capital or restructure or refinance such indebtedness or other contractual obligations.

As of December 31, 2019, we had cash, cash equivalents and investments of $217.5 million, of which $23.8 million was invested in Treasury securities. We monitor developments relating to the liquidity of these instruments on a regular basis. In the event of a significant deterioration of the credit markets or the failure of one or more commercial banking institutions, there can be no assurance that we will be able to liquidate these assets or access our cash. Our inability to access our cash or other assets could have a material adverse effect on our liquidity and result in our inability to meet our obligations timely, which could have a material adverse effect on the value of our stock.

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Our international operations are subject to certain risks, which may affect our revenue.

For the year ended December 31, 2019, we earned 9.1% of our total revenues from our international operations. We intend to continue to grow our non-U.S. business, and this growth is important to our overall success. In addition, many of our clients are non-U.S. entities seeking to enter into transactions involving U.S. businesses. Our international operations carry special financial, business, regulatory and reputational risks, which could include the following:

 

greater difficulties in managing and staffing foreign operations;

 

language and cultural differences;

 

fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates that could adversely affect our results;

 

unexpected and costly changes in trading policies, regulatory requirements, tariffs and other barriers;

 

restrictions on travel;

 

longer transaction cycles;

 

higher operating costs;

 

local labor conditions and regulations;

 

adverse consequences or restrictions on the repatriation of earnings;

 

potentially adverse tax consequences, such as trapped foreign losses;

 

less stable political and economic environments;

 

civil disturbances or other catastrophic events that reduce business activity;

 

disasters or other business continuity problems, such as pandemics, other man-made or natural disaster or disruption involving electronic communications or other services; and

 

uncertainty regarding the ongoing relationship between the United Kingdom (“U.K.”) and European Union (“E.U.”).

If our international business increases relative to our total business, these factors could have a more pronounced effect on our operating results.

As part of our day-to-day operations outside of the United States, we are required to create compensation programs, employment policies, compliance policies and procedures and other administrative programs that comply with the laws of multiple countries. We also must communicate and monitor standards and directives across our global operations. Our failure to successfully manage and grow our geographically diverse operations could impair our ability to react quickly to changing business and market conditions and to enforce compliance with non-U.S. standards and procedures.

We may enter into new lines of business, which may result in additional risks and uncertainties in our business.

We currently generate substantially all of our revenue from our strategic advisory, shareholder advisory, restructuring and special situations and private fund advisory and fundraising services businesses. However, we may grow our business by entering into new lines of business. To the extent we enter into new lines of business, we will face numerous risks and uncertainties, including risks associated with actual or perceived conflicts of interest because we would no longer be limited to the advisory business, the possibility that we have insufficient expertise to engage in such activities profitably or without incurring inappropriate amounts of risk, the required investment of capital and other resources and the loss of clients due to the perception that we are no longer focusing on our core business.

Entry into certain lines of business may subject us to new laws and regulations with which we are not familiar, or from which we are currently exempt, and may lead to increased litigation and regulatory risk. In addition, certain aspects of our cost structure, such as costs for compensation, occupancy and equipment rentals, communication and information technology services, and depreciation and amortization will be largely fixed, and we may not be able to timely adjust these costs to match fluctuations in revenue related to our entering into new lines of business. If a new business generates insufficient revenues or if we are unable to efficiently manage our expanded operations, our results of operations could be materially adversely affected.

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Fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates could adversely affect our results.

Because our financial statements are denominated in U.S. dollars and we receive a portion of our revenue in other currencies, we are exposed to fluctuations in foreign currencies. In addition, we pay certain of our expenses in such currencies. We have not entered into any transactions to hedge our exposure to these foreign exchange fluctuations through the use of derivative instruments or otherwise. An appreciation or depreciation of any of these currencies relative to the U.S. dollar would result in an adverse or beneficial impact, respectively, to our financial results.

A change in relevant income tax laws, regulations or treaties or an adverse interpretation of these items by tax authorities could result in an audit adjustment or revaluation of our deferred tax assets that may cause our effective tax rate and tax liability to be higher than what is currently presented in the consolidated financial statements.

As part of the process of preparing our consolidated financial statements, we are required to estimate income taxes in each of the jurisdictions in which we operate. Significant management judgment is required in determining our provision for income taxes, our deferred tax assets and liabilities and any valuation allowance recorded against our deferred tax assets. This process requires us to estimate our actual current tax liability and to assess temporary differences resulting from differing book versus tax treatment. Our effective tax rate and tax liability is based on the application of current income tax laws, regulations and treaties. These laws, regulations and treaties are complex, and the manner in which they apply to our facts and circumstances is sometimes open to interpretation. Management believes its application of current laws, regulations and treaties to be correct and sustainable upon examination by the tax authorities. However, the tax authorities could challenge our interpretation resulting in additional tax liability or adjustment to our income tax provision that could increase our effective tax rate. In addition, tax laws, regulations or treaties newly enacted or enacted in the future may cause us to remeasure our deferred tax assets and have a material change to our effective tax rate.

The range of potential outcomes relating to arrangements between the European Union and the United Kingdom may adversely affect our business.

We conduct our business in European Union countries through our U.K. subsidiary, PJT Partners (UK) Limited, which is authorized and regulated in the U.K. by the Financial Conduct Authority. On June 23, 2016, the U.K. voted to leave the E.U. and on March 29, 2017, the U.K. began the process to withdraw from the E.U. The U.K. formally left the E.U. on January 31, 2020 and has immediately entered into a transition period, which is expected to continue until December 31, 2020.

The full commercial, regulatory and legal impact of the U.K.’s departure from the E.U. is yet to be determined. Our U.K. entity, PJT Partners (UK) Limited, primarily services U.K. and European-domiciled clients. The U.K.’s exit from the E.U. will cause PJT Partners (UK) Limited to lose its E.U. financial services passporting rights, which allows it to operate, on a cross-border and off-shore basis, in all E.U. countries. We have developed contingency plans with respect to the regulation of our European operations. However, there is no certainty that our European operations will not be disrupted at the end of the current transition period. In addition, the ongoing uncertainty around the U.K.’s exit from the E.U. has impacted the geopolitical and macroeconomic environment. If these conditions continue or if current conditions worsen, our business could potentially be adversely affected, which may materially impact our financial position and results of operations.

The cost of compliance with international broker-dealer, employment, labor, benefits, privacy and tax laws and regulations may adversely affect our business and hamper our ability to expand internationally.

Since we operate our business both in the U.S. and internationally, we are subject to many distinct broker-dealer, employment, labor, benefits, privacy and tax laws in each jurisdiction in which we operate, including regulations affecting our employment practices and our relations with our employees and service providers. If we are required to comply with other new regulations or new interpretations of existing regulations, or if we are unable to comply with these regulations or interpretations, our business could be adversely affected or the cost of compliance may make it difficult to expand into new international markets. Additionally, our competitiveness in international markets may be adversely affected by regulations requiring, among other things, the awarding of contracts to local contractors, the employment of local citizens and/or the purchase of services from local businesses or favoring or requiring local ownership.

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In May 2018, the E.U.’s General Data Protection Regulations (“GDPR”) came into effect, and changed how businesses can collect, use and process the personal data of E.U. residents. As we engage in significant business in the E.U., we are subject to the GDPR’s requirements. The GDPR has extraterritorial effect and imposes a mandatory duty on businesses to self-report personal data breaches to authorities, and, under certain circumstances, to affected individuals. The GDPR also grants individuals the right to erasure (commonly referred to as the right to be forgotten), which may put a burden on us to erase records upon request. Compliance with the GDPR’s requirements may increase our legal, compliance and operational costs. Non-compliance with the GDPR’s requirements can result in significant penalties, which may have a material adverse effect on our business, expose us to legal and regulatory costs and impair our reputation.

Other jurisdictions, including certain U.S. states and non-U.S. jurisdictions where we conduct business, have also enacted or are considering data privacy legislation. For example, in June 2018, California’s legislature passed the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, which went into effect in 2020. Increasingly numerous, fast-changing and complex legislation related to data privacy may result in greater compliance costs, heightened regulatory scrutiny and significant penalties. New and changing regulations may increase compliance costs such that they hamper our ability to expand into new territories.

Restrictions in the credit agreement governing our term loan and revolving credit facility may impair our ability to finance our future operations or capital needs or engage in other business activities that may be in our interests.

We have obtained a revolving credit facility in an aggregate principal amount of $40 million with the option for a temporary increase of up to $60 million total. We also borrowed $30 million under a term loan under the credit agreement, which was repaid in full in January 2020.

The credit agreement governing such revolving credit facility and term loan contains a number of significant covenants that, among other things, would require us to maintain certain minimum tangible net worth and liquidity and maximum leverage levels and the covenants may restrict our ability to:

 

sell assets;

 

incur more indebtedness;

 

repay certain indebtedness;

 

make certain investments or business acquisitions;

 

make certain capital expenditures;

 

engage in business mergers or consolidations; and

 

engage in certain transactions with subsidiaries and affiliates.

These restrictions could impair our ability to finance our future operations or capital needs or engage in other business activities that may be in our interests. In addition, such credit agreement could also require us to maintain compliance with certain financial ratios, including those relating to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization and consolidated indebtedness. Our ability to comply with these ratios and covenants may be affected by events beyond our control. A breach of the provisions of our credit agreement or our inability to comply with the required financial ratios or covenants included therein could result in a default thereunder. In the event of any such default, the lenders under the credit agreement could elect to:

 

declare all outstanding debt, accrued interest and fees to be due and immediately payable; and

 

require us to apply all of our available cash to repay our outstanding senior debt.

Failure to maintain effective internal controls in accordance with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act could have a material adverse effect on our business and share price.

We have documented and tested our internal control procedures in order to satisfy the requirements of Section 404(a) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which requires annual management assessments of the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. Our independent registered public accounting firm may not be able or willing to issue an unqualified report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. Matters impacting our internal controls may cause us to be unable to report our financial information on a timely basis and thereby subject us to adverse regulatory consequences, including sanctions by the SEC, or

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violations of applicable stock exchange listing rules. There could also be a negative reaction in the financial markets due to a loss of investor confidence in us and the reliability of our financial statements. Confidence in the reliability of our financial statements is also likely to suffer if we identify a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting. This could materially adversely affect us and lead to a decline in the market price of our shares.

Risks Relating to Our Organizational Structure

PJT Partners Inc.’s only material asset is its interest in PJT Partners Holdings LP and certain cash and cash equivalents it may hold from time to time, and it is accordingly dependent upon distributions from PJT Partners Holdings LP to pay taxes, make payments under the tax receivable agreement or pay dividends.

PJT Partners Inc. is a holding company and has no material assets other than its ownership of Partnership Units, and certain cash and cash equivalents it may hold from time to time as described herein in “Part II. Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities—Dividend Policy.” PJT Partners Inc. has no independent means of generating revenue. PJT Partners Holdings LP makes distributions to holders of its Partnership Units in an amount sufficient to cover all applicable taxes at assumed tax rates, payments under the tax receivable agreement and dividends, if any, declared by it. Deterioration in the financial condition, earnings or cash flow of PJT Partners Holdings LP and its subsidiaries for any reason could limit or impair their ability to pay such distributions. Additionally, to the extent that PJT Partners Inc. needs funds, and PJT Partners Holdings LP is restricted from making such distributions under applicable law or regulation or under the terms of our financing arrangements, or is otherwise unable to provide such funds, it could materially adversely affect our liquidity and financial condition.

Payments of dividends, if any, will be at the discretion of our board of directors after taking into account various factors, including our financial condition, earnings, cash flows, capital requirements, cash settlement of Partnership Unit exchanges, previous and anticipated amounts of dividend payments and share repurchases, level of indebtedness, statutory and contractual restrictions applicable to the payment of dividends, general economic, market and industry conditions and other considerations that our board of directors deem relevant from time to time. The credit agreement governing our revolving credit facility contains, and any financing arrangement that we enter into in the future may include, restrictive covenants that limit our ability to pay dividends. In addition, PJT Partners Holdings LP is generally prohibited under Delaware law from making a distribution to a partner to the extent that, at the time of the distribution, after giving effect to the distribution, liabilities of PJT Partners Holdings LP (with certain exceptions) exceed the fair value of its assets. Subsidiaries of PJT Partners Holdings LP are generally subject to similar legal limitations on their ability to make distributions to PJT Partners Holdings LP. See “While we currently intend to pay a quarterly cash dividend to our stockholders, there can be no assurance that we will continue to declare cash dividends.”

A significant portion of the voting power in PJT Partners Inc. is controlled by holders of our Class B common stock, whose interests may differ from those of our public stockholders that hold Class A common stock.

The shares of Class B common stock have no economic rights but entitle the holder, without regard to the number of shares of Class B common stock held, to a number of votes that is equal to the aggregate number of vested and unvested Partnership Units and LTIP Units in PJT Partners Holdings LP held by such holder on all matters presented to stockholders of PJT Partners Inc. other than director elections and removals. With respect to the election and removal of directors of PJT Partners Inc., shares of Class B common stock initially entitle holders to only one vote per share, representing significantly less than one percent of the voting power entitled to vote thereon. However, the voting power of Class B common stock with respect to the election and removal of directors of PJT Partners Inc. may be increased to up to the number of votes to which a holder is then entitled on all other matters presented to stockholders. At December 31, 2019, our executive officers and directors held and/or controlled (including by way of the proxy granted to Mr. Taubman by certain executive officers of Blackstone in connection with the spin-off) 2.9% of the voting power of PJT Partners Inc. with regard to the election and removal of directors, and 32.3% of the combined voting power of PJT Partners Inc. with regard to all other matters presented to stockholders of PJT Partners Inc. At December 31, 2019, our Class B common stockholders held significantly less than one percent of the voting power of PJT Partners Inc. with regard to the election and removal of directors, and 45.5% of the combined voting power of PJT Partners Inc., with regard to all other matters presented to stockholders of PJT Partners Inc. As a result, our Class B common stockholders, including Mr. Taubman, have the ability to exercise influence over the outcome of all matters requiring stockholder approval, other than director elections and removals, including those related to equity compensation plans, certain related party transactions, and certain significant issuances of Class A common stock and other significant transactions, such as those involving a change of control or sale of all or substantially all of our assets. This concentration of ownership could deprive our Class A

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stockholders of an opportunity to receive a premium for their common stock as part of a sale of our company and might ultimately affect the market price of our Class A common stock. Moreover, our Class B common stockholders, including Mr. Taubman, may gain the ability in the future to exercise significant influence over the outcome of director elections and removals as well.

Additionally, as of December 31, 2019, our Class B common stockholders own 40.5% of the Partnership Units. Because they hold all or a portion of their economic ownership interest in our business directly in PJT Partners Holdings LP, rather than through PJT Partners Inc., our Class B common stockholders may have conflicting interests with holders of shares of our Class A common stock. For example, if PJT Partners Holdings LP makes distributions to PJT Partners Inc., the limited partners of PJT Partners Holdings LP will also be entitled to receive such distributions pro rata in accordance with the percentages of their respective partnership interests in PJT Partners Holdings LP and their preferences as to the timing and amount of any such distributions may differ from those of our public stockholders. Our Class B common stockholders may also have different tax positions from us that could influence their decisions regarding whether and when to dispose of assets, especially in light of the existence of the tax receivable agreement that we entered into in connection with the spin-off, whether and when to incur new indebtedness, and whether and when PJT Partners Inc. should terminate the tax receivable agreement and accelerate its obligations thereunder. In addition, the structuring of future transactions may take into consideration these Partnership Unitholders’ tax or other considerations even where no similar benefit would accrue to us.

PJT Partners Inc. may be required to make payments under a tax receivable agreement for most of the benefits relating to certain tax depreciation or amortization deductions that we may claim as a result of certain increases in tax basis.

Holders of Partnership Units (other than PJT Partners Inc.) have the right, subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the partnership agreement of PJT Partners Holdings LP, on a quarterly basis (subject to the terms of the exchange agreement), to exchange all or part of their Partnership Units for cash or, at our election, for shares of our Class A common stock on a one-for-one basis, subject to customary conversion rate adjustments for splits, unit distributions and reclassifications. Stock-settled exchanges and certain of these cash-settled exchanges are expected to result in increases in the tax basis of the tangible and intangible assets of PJT Partners Holdings LP. These increases in tax basis may increase (for tax purposes) depreciation and amortization deductions and therefore reduce the amount of tax that PJT Partners Inc. would otherwise be required to pay in the future, although the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) may challenge all or part of that tax basis increase, and a court could sustain such a challenge.

We entered into a tax receivable agreement with the holders of Partnership Units (other than PJT Partners Inc.) that provides for the payment by PJT Partners Inc. to exchanging holders of Partnership Units of 85% of the benefits, if any, that PJT Partners Inc. is deemed to realize as a result of these increases in tax basis and of certain other tax benefits related to entering into the tax receivable agreement, including tax benefits attributable to payments under the tax receivable agreement.

This payment obligation is an obligation of PJT Partners Inc. and not of PJT Partners Holdings LP. While the actual increase in tax basis, as well as the amount and timing of any payments under the tax receivable agreement, will vary depending upon a number of factors, including the timing of exchanges, the price of shares of our Class A common stock at the time of the exchange, the extent to which such exchanges are taxable and the amount and timing of our income, we expect that as a result of the size of the transfers and increases in the tax basis of the tangible and intangible assets of PJT Partners Holdings LP, the payments that PJT Partners Inc. may make under the tax receivable agreement will be substantial. The payments under the tax receivable agreement are not conditioned upon continued ownership of us by the holders of Partnership Units.

In certain cases, such as upon a change in control, payments under the tax receivable agreement may be accelerated and/or significantly exceed the actual benefits PJT Partners Inc. realizes in respect of the tax attributes subject to the tax receivable agreement.

The tax receivable agreement provides that upon certain changes of control, or if, at any time, PJT Partners Inc. elects an early termination of the tax receivable agreement, PJT Partners Inc.’s obligations under the tax receivable agreement (with respect to all Partnership Units whether or not previously exchanged) would be calculated by reference to the value of all future payments that holders of Partnership Units would have been entitled to receive under the tax receivable agreement using certain valuation assumptions, including that PJT Partners Inc. will have sufficient taxable income to fully utilize the deductions arising from the increased tax deductions and tax basis and other benefits related to entering into the tax receivable agreement and, in the case of an early termination election, that any Partnership Units that have not been exchanged are deemed exchanged for the market value of the

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shares of Class A common stock at the time of termination. In addition, if PJT Partners Inc. elects an early termination of the tax receivable agreement, holders of Partnership Units will generally not reimburse us for any payments previously made under the tax receivable agreement if such tax basis increase is successfully challenged by the IRS. PJT Partners Inc.’s ability to achieve benefits from any tax basis increase, and the payments to be made under the tax receivable agreement, will depend upon a number of factors, including the timing and amount of our future income. As a result, even in the absence of a change of control or an election to terminate the tax receivable agreement, payments under the tax receivable agreement could be in excess of PJT Partners Inc.’s actual cash tax savings.

There may be a material negative effect on our liquidity if the payments under the tax receivable agreement exceed the actual cash tax savings that PJT Partners Inc. realizes in respect of the tax attributes subject to the tax receivable agreement and/or if distributions to PJT Partners Inc. by PJT Partners Holdings LP are not sufficient to permit PJT Partners Inc. to make payments under the tax receivable agreement after it has paid taxes and other expenses. Based on the market value of a share of Class A common stock of $45.13 and the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) of 2.00% at December 29, 2019, we estimate that if PJT Partners Inc. exercised its termination on December 31, 2019, the aggregate amount of these termination payments would be $140.0 million. The foregoing number is merely an estimate and the actual payments could differ materially. We may need to incur additional indebtedness to finance payments under the tax receivable agreement to the extent our cash resources are insufficient to meet our obligations under the tax receivable agreement as a result of timing discrepancies or otherwise.

We may be responsible for U.S. federal income tax liabilities that relate to the distribution.

The spin-off was conditioned on the receipt of an opinion of tax counsel to the effect that certain transactions in Blackstone’s internal reorganization should qualify as tax-free distributions under Section 355 of the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”), and a certain transaction in the internal reorganization should qualify as a tax-free reorganization under Section 368 of the Code. Blackstone’s receipt of the opinion of tax counsel satisfied a condition to completion of the spin-off. An opinion of tax counsel is not binding on the IRS. Accordingly, the IRS may reach conclusions with respect to the spin-off that are different from the conclusions reached in the opinion. The opinion is based on certain factual statements and representations, which, if incomplete or untrue in any material respect, could cause the tax consequences of the transactions to be different than those set forth in the opinion.

At the time of the spin-off, Blackstone represented to us that it was not aware of any facts or circumstances that would cause any such factual statements or representations in the opinion of tax counsel to be incomplete or untrue or cause the facts on which the opinion will be based to be materially different from the facts at the time of the spin-off. If, notwithstanding the receipt of the opinion of tax counsel, the IRS were to successfully assert that certain transactions in the internal reorganization were not tax-free distributions under Section 355 of the Code or that a certain transaction in the internal reorganization did not qualify as a tax-free reorganization under Section 368 of the Code, one or both of the Blackstone subsidiaries that distributed their interest in our business (the “Distributing Corporations”) or we would recognize a substantial tax liability.

Even if such transactions in the internal reorganization otherwise qualify as tax-free distributions for U.S. federal income tax purposes, such transactions will be taxable to one or both of the Distributing Corporations (but not to Blackstone common unitholders) pursuant to Section 355(e) of the Code if there are one or more acquisitions (including by reason of issuances) of our stock in excess of specified thresholds, measured by vote or value, or acquisitions of the stock of one or both of the Distributing Corporations representing 50% or more, measured by vote or value, of the then-outstanding stock of us or such Distributing Corporation and the acquisition or acquisitions are deemed to be part of a plan or series of related transactions that include the transactions in the internal reorganization. Any acquisition of any class of our common stock or stock of a Distributing Corporation within two years before or after the distribution (with exceptions, including public trading by less-than-5% shareholders and certain compensatory stock issuances) generally will be presumed to be part of such a plan unless that presumption is rebutted. The resulting tax liability may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.

We have agreed not to enter into certain transactions that could cause any portion of the spin-off to be taxable to the Distributing Corporations, including under Section 355(e) of the Code. Pursuant to the Tax Matters Agreement, we agreed to indemnify Blackstone for any tax to a Distributing Corporation resulting from certain acquisitions of our stock, whether or not Blackstone consented to such actions or we were otherwise permitted to take such action under the Tax Matters Agreement. In addition, if certain transactions in the internal reorganization

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were taxable or became taxable, then under U.S. Department of the Treasury regulations we would be severally liable for the resulting U.S. federal income tax liability of one of the Distributing Corporations. These obligations may discourage, delay or prevent a change of control of PJT Partners Inc.

Anti-takeover provisions in our organizational documents and Delaware law might discourage or delay acquisition attempts for us that you might consider favorable.

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws contain provisions that may make the merger or acquisition of our company more difficult without the approval of our board of directors. Among other things, these provisions:

 

authorize the issuance of undesignated preferred stock, the terms of which may be established and the shares of which may be issued without stockholder approval, and which may include super voting, special approval, dividend or other rights or preferences superior to the rights of the holders of Class A common stock;

 

provide that our board of directors will be divided into three classes, with terms of the directors of only one class expiring in any given year;

 

prohibit Class A common stockholders from acting by written consent unless such action is recommended by all directors then in office, but permit Class B common stockholders to act by written consent without requiring any such recommendation;

 

provide that our board of directors is expressly authorized to make, alter or repeal our bylaws and that our stockholders may only amend our bylaws with the approval of 80% or more of the voting power of all of the outstanding shares of our capital stock entitled to vote;

 

provide that certain provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, including those providing for a classified board of directors, may be amended, altered, repealed or rescinded, in whole or in part, or any provision inconsistent therewith may be adopted, only with the approval of 80% or more of the voting power of all of the outstanding shares of our capital stock entitled to vote; and

 

establish advance notice procedures and minimum stock ownership requirements for stockholder nominations for elections to our board of directors or for proposing matters that can be acted upon by stockholders at stockholder meetings, as well as provide for director qualification requirements.

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation requires, to the fullest extent permitted by law, that (i) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf; (ii) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors, officers or stockholders to us or our stockholders; (iii) any action asserting a claim arising pursuant to any provision of the Delaware General Corporation Law (“DGCL”) or as to which the DGCL confers jurisdiction in the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware; or (iv) any action asserting a claim governed by the internal affairs doctrine will have to be brought only in the Court of Chancery in the State of Delaware, unless we agree otherwise. Although we believe this provision benefits us by providing increased consistency in the application of Delaware law in the types of lawsuits to which it applies, the provision may have the effect of discouraging lawsuits against our directors, officers and stockholders.

Certain provisions of the limited partnership agreement of PJT Partners Holdings LP may also prevent, delay or make more difficult, a transaction or a change in control that might involve a premium price for holders of our Class A common stock or otherwise be in their best interests. These provisions include, among others:

 

rights of limited partners of PJT Partners Holdings LP, subject to certain exceptions and qualifications, to approve certain change of control transactions involving us; and

 

following the occurrence of a “Board Change of Control,” rights of limited partners of PJT Partners Holdings LP to consent to certain corporate actions and transactions.

Further, as a Delaware corporation, we are also subject to provisions of Delaware law, which may impair a takeover attempt that our stockholders may find beneficial. These anti-takeover provisions and other provisions under Delaware law could discourage, delay or prevent a transaction involving a change in control of our company, including actions that our stockholders may deem advantageous, or negatively affect the trading price of our Class A common stock. These provisions could also discourage proxy contests and make it more difficult for you and other stockholders to elect directors of your choosing and to cause us to take other corporate actions you desire.

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See “Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions—PJT Partners Holdings LP Amended and Restated Limited Partnership Agreement” in our definitive proxy statement filed in connection with our 2019 Annual Meeting of Stockholders (our “2019 Proxy Statement”).

Risks Relating to Our Class A Common Stock

You may be diluted by the future issuance of additional Class A common stock by PJT Partners Inc. and the future issuance of additional partnership units by PJT Partners Holdings LP, in each case in connection with our incentive plans, acquisitions or otherwise.

As of December 31, 2019, we have 2,974,378,549 shares of Class A common stock authorized but unissued, including 15,757,507 shares of Class A common stock that may be issued upon exchange of Partnership Units. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation authorizes us to issue these shares of Class A common stock and options, rights, warrants and appreciation rights relating to Class A common stock for the consideration and on the terms and conditions established by our board of directors in its sole discretion, whether in connection with acquisitions or otherwise. Similarly, the limited partnership agreement of PJT Partners Holdings LP permits PJT Partners Holdings LP to issue an unlimited number of additional partnership interests of PJT Partners Holdings LP with designations, preferences, rights, powers and duties that are different from, and may be senior to, those applicable to the Partnership Units, and which may be exchangeable for shares of our Class A common stock. We have reserved 17,000,000 shares for issuance of new awards under our Amended and Restated 2015 Omnibus Incentive Plan. In addition, as described under “Report of the Compensation Committee—Narrative Disclosure Relating to the Summary Compensation Table, Grants of Plan-Based Awards Table, Outstanding Equity Awards at 2018 Fiscal Year-End Table, and 2018 Option Exercises and Stock Vested Table—Partner Agreements—Merger and Spin-off Transaction Equity Grants—Founder Earn-Out Units” in our 2019 Proxy Statement, Mr. Taubman and the other partners and employees of the Company received Earn-Out Units in PJT Partners Holdings LP that are subject to both service and market conditions. Any Class A common stock that we issue, including under our Amended and Restated 2015 Omnibus Incentive Plan or other equity incentive plans that we may adopt in the future, would dilute your percentage ownership of PJT Partners Inc.

The market price of our Class A common stock may decline due to the large number of shares of Class A common stock eligible for exchange and future sale.

The market price of shares of our Class A common stock could decline as a result of sales of a large number of shares of Class A common stock in the market or the perception that such sales could occur. These sales, or the possibility that these sales may occur, also might make it more difficult for us to sell shares of Class A common stock in the future at a time and at a price that we deem appropriate.

In addition, we and the holders of Partnership Units (other than PJT Partners Inc.) have entered into an exchange agreement under which they (or certain permitted transferees) have the right, subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the partnership agreement of PJT Partners Holdings LP, on a quarterly basis, to exchange all or part of their Partnership Units for cash or, at our election, for shares of our Class A common stock on a one-for-one basis, subject to customary conversion rate adjustments for splits, unit distributions and reclassifications. Further, pursuant to the terms of the partnership agreement of PJT Partners Holdings LP, we may also require holders of Partnership Units who are not Service Providers (as defined in the partnership agreement of PJT Partners Holdings LP) to exchange such Partnership Units.

Depending on our liquidity and capital resources, market conditions, the timing and concentration of exchange requests and other considerations, we may choose to fund cash-settled exchanges of Partnership Units with available cash, borrowings or new issuances of Class A common stock or to settle exchanges by issuing Class A common stock to the exchanging Partnership Unitholder. Issuing significant numbers of shares of our Class A common stock upon exchange of Partnership Units could adversely affect the tax consequences to Blackstone of the distribution. Accordingly, while we retain the right under the Exchange Agreement to elect to settle exchanges in cash or in shares of our Class A common stock in our sole discretion, we currently intend to limit such issuances of Class A common stock in settlement of exchanges of Partnership Units to the extent necessary to preserve the intended tax-free nature of the spin-off and to comply with our obligations under the Tax Matters Agreement. The market price of shares of our Class A common stock could decline as a result of sales of our Class A common stock to fund cash-settled exchanges of Partnership Units, or sales by exchanging holders of Partnership Units of Class A common stock received in stock-settled exchanges or, in each case, the perception that such sales could occur. These sales, or the possibility that these sales may occur, also might make it more difficult for holders of our Class A common stock to sell such stock in the future at a time and at a price that they deem appropriate. See “Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions—Exchange Agreement” in our 2019 Proxy Statement.

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Our decision to return cash to our shareholders through repurchases of our Class A common stock may not prove to be the best use of our capital or result in the effects we anticipated, including a positive return of capital to stockholders. 

We have authority from our board of directors to repurchase shares of our Class A common stock in an amount up to $100 million. As of December 31, 2019, the available amount remaining for repurchases under this program was $85.1 million, which we may implement through open market purchases, privately negotiated transactions or otherwise, after taking into account our results of operations, financial position and capital requirements, general business conditions, legal, tax and regulatory constraints or restrictions, any contractual restrictions (including any restrictions contained in the credit agreement) and other factors we deem relevant. There can be no assurances of the price at which we may be able to repurchase our shares or that we will repurchase the full amount authorized. Furthermore, there can be no assurance that any past or future repurchases will have a positive impact on our stock price or that the share repurchase plan provides the best use of our capital because the value of our common stock may decline significantly below the levels at which we repurchased shares of common stock.

If we were to cease or were unable to repurchase shares of our Class A common stock, or choose to allocate available capital to the repayment of borrowings, payment of dividends or other corporate purposes, the number of shares outstanding may increase over time, diluting the ownership of our existing stockholders.

Our decision to repurchase shares of our Class A common stock will reduce our public float, which could cause our share price to decline.

The share repurchase plan will reduce our “public float,” (the number of shares of our Class A common stock that are owned by non-affiliated stockholders and available for trading in the securities markets), which may reduce the volume of trading in our shares and result in reduced liquidity and cause fluctuations in the trading price of our common stock unrelated to our performance. Furthermore, certain institutional holders of shares of our Class A common stock (including index funds) may require a minimum market capitalization of each of their holdings in excess of our market capitalization and therefore be required to dispose of shares of our Class A common stock, which may cause the value of our Class A common stock to decline. There can be no assurance that this reduction in our public float will not result in a lower share price or reduced liquidity in the trading market for shares of our Class A common stock during and upon completion of our share repurchase plan.

While we currently intend to pay a quarterly cash dividend to our stockholders, there can be no assurance that we will continue to declare cash dividends.

Although we currently intend to pay a quarterly cash dividend to our stockholders, we have no obligation to do so, and our dividend policy may change at any time. Whether we continue and the amount and timing of any dividends are subject to capital availability and periodic determinations by our board of directors that cash dividends are in the best interest of our stockholders and are in compliance with all respective laws and agreements of the Company applicable to the declaration and payment of cash dividends. The reduction in or elimination of our dividend payments could have a negative effect on our stock price.

The market price of our Class A common stock may be volatile, which could cause the value of our Class A common stock to decline.

Securities markets worldwide experience significant price and volume fluctuations. This market volatility, as well as general economic, market or political conditions, could reduce the market price of our Class A common stock in spite of our operating performance. In addition, our operating results could be below the expectations of public market analysts and investors, and in response, the market price of our Class A common stock could decrease significantly.

If securities analysts do not publish research or reports about our business or if they downgrade our Company or our sector, the price of our Class A common stock could decline.

The trading market for our Class A common stock depends in part on the research and reports that industry or financial analysts publish about us or our business. We do not control the research decisions made by these analysts. Furthermore, if one or more of the analysts who do cover us downgrades our Company or our industry, or the stock of any of our competitors, the price of our Class A common stock could decline. If one or more of these analysts ceases coverage of our Company, we could lose visibility in the market, which in turn could cause the price of our Class A common stock to decline.

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ITEM 1B.

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

None.

ITEM 2.

PROPERTIES

Our principal executive offices are located in leased office space at 280 Park Avenue, New York, New York 10017. We currently lease the space for our offices in Boston, Chicago, Hong Kong, London, Madrid and San Francisco. We do not own any real property.

ITEM 3.

From time to time, the Company and its affiliates may be subject to legal proceedings and claims in the ordinary course of business. In addition, government agencies and self-regulatory organizations in countries in which we conduct business conduct periodic examinations and may initiate administrative proceedings regarding the Company’s and its affiliates’ business, including, among other matters, accounting and operational matters, that can result in censure, fine, the issuance of cease-and-desist orders or the suspension or expulsion of a broker-dealer, or its directors, officers or employees. It is our policy to cooperate fully with such governmental requests, examinations and administrative proceedings. In view of the inherent difficulty of determining whether any loss in connection with any such matters is probable and whether the amount of such loss can be reasonably estimated, particularly in cases where claimants seek substantial or indeterminate damages or where investigations and proceedings are in the early stages, we cannot estimate the amount of such loss or range of loss, if any, related to such matters, how or if such matters will be resolved, when they will ultimately be resolved, or what the eventual settlement, fine, penalty or other relief, if any, might be. Subject to the foregoing, we believe, based on current knowledge and after consultation with counsel, that we are not currently party to any material pending proceedings, individually or in the aggregate, the resolution of which would have a material effect on the Company.

In June 2017, an action was filed in New York state court against defendants PJT Partners Inc., Park Hill Group LLC and Andrew W.W. Caspersen, arising out of the fraudulent conduct of Caspersen. PJT Partners Inc. and Park Hill Group LLC moved to dismiss the complaint on August 24, 2017. On August 13, 2018, the court dismissed all of the claims asserted against PJT Partners Inc. and Park Hill Group LLC, except for the fraud-based apparent authority claim. Plaintiffs and PJT Partners Inc. and Park Hill Group LLC appealed the court’s August 2018 decision. On December 3, 2019, the appellate court dismissed the complaint in its entirety as against PJT Partners Inc. and Park Hill Group LLC. On January 2, 2020, plaintiffs filed a motion with the appellate court seeking reargument or, alternatively, leave to appeal, which we believe is without merit. We will continue to vigorously defend this action.

On June 16, 2009, Plaintiffs Frank Foy and Suzanne Foy, purportedly as qui tam plaintiffs on behalf of the State of New Mexico, filed a case in New Mexico state court against Park Hill Group LLC and one of its officers, as well as The Blackstone Group L.P. (together, “Park Hill Defendants”), in addition to dozens of other named and unnamed defendants, alleging violations of New Mexico’s Fraud Against Taxpayers Act (“FATA”) in an action styled Foy v. Austin Capital Management, Ltd., et al., Case No. D-101-CV-2009-01189 (N.M. Dist. Ct.). The complaint alleged, among other things, that the New Mexico Educational Retirement Board and the New Mexico State Investment Council made investments that were influenced by kickbacks and other inducements. In the complaint, the Park Hill Defendants were grouped together with other defendants who were all alleged generically to have conspired to defraud the State of New Mexico. On November 30, 2015, after several years of motion practice, including an earlier decision by the New Mexico Supreme Court to consolidate this case with another case by the same plaintiffs (in which the Park Hill Defendants were not parties), the New Mexico Attorney General filed a motion on behalf of the State of New Mexico seeking wholesale dismissal of these proceedings. On June 6, 2017, the court granted the motion to dismiss brought on behalf of the State of New Mexico, the effect of which dismissed the action against the Park Hill Defendants. Plaintiffs have filed an appeal of the court’s decision.

ITEM 4.

MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

None.

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PART II.

ITEM 5.

MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

Our Class A common stock is traded on the NYSE under the symbol “PJT.” There is no publicly traded market for our Class B common stock, which is held by the limited partners of PJT Partners Holdings LP.

As of February 20, 2020, there were 128 holders of record of our Class A common stock. This does not include the number of holders that hold Class A common stock in “street name” through banks or broker-dealers.

Dividend Policy

The Company currently plans to regularly pay quarterly dividends. The declaration and payment of any future dividends will be at the sole discretion of our board of directors. Our board of directors will take into account general economic and business conditions; our financial condition and operating results; our available cash and current anticipated cash needs; capital requirements; contractual, legal, tax and regulatory restrictions and implications on the payment of dividends by us to our stockholders; and such other factors as our board of directors may deem relevant.

PJT Partners Inc. is a holding company and has no material assets other than its controlling equity interest in PJT Partners Holdings LP, and certain cash and cash equivalents it may hold from time to time as described below. In accordance with the partnership agreement of PJT Partners Holdings LP, we intend to cause PJT Partners Holdings LP to make pro rata cash distributions, to the extent of available cash, to the holders of the partnership interests in PJT Partners Holdings LP, including PJT Partners Inc., in amounts equal to 50% of the taxable income allocated to such holders for purposes of funding their tax obligations in respect of the income of PJT Partners Holdings LP that is allocated to them, which we refer to as “tax distributions.” In certain periods, we expect that PJT Partners Inc. will receive tax distributions in excess of the amount required to cover cash dividends, if any, declared by us, and taxes and payments under the tax receivable agreement payable by PJT Partners Inc. To the extent the amount of accumulated cash at PJT Partners Inc. becomes material in future periods, we anticipate that our board of directors will consider appropriate actions, which may include special cash dividends to holders of our Class A common stock. Holders of Partnership Units will not be precluded from effecting exchanges under our exchange agreement prior to any such actions being taken. Because PJT Partners Inc. must pay taxes and make payments under the tax receivable agreement, amounts ultimately distributed as dividends to holders of our Class A common stock are expected to be less than the amounts distributed by PJT Partners Holdings LP to its limited partners on a per unit basis.

Our revolving credit facility and term loan include, and financing arrangements that we may enter into in the future may include, restrictive covenants that limit our ability to pay dividends or repurchase our capital stock. In addition, PJT Partners Holdings LP is generally prohibited under Delaware law from making a distribution to a partner to the extent that, at the time of the distribution, after giving effect to the distribution, liabilities of PJT Partners Holdings LP (with certain exceptions) exceed the fair value of its assets. Subsidiaries of PJT Partners Holdings LP are generally subject to similar legal limitations on their ability to make distributions to PJT Partners Holdings LP.

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Stock Performance

The following performance graph and related information shall not be deemed “soliciting material” or to be “filed” with the SEC, nor shall such information be incorporated by reference into any future filing under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Exchange Act except to the extent we specifically incorporate it by reference into such filing. Our stock price performance shown in the graph below is not indicative of future stock price performance.

The stock performance graph below compares the performance of an investment in our Class A common stock from October 1, 2015 (the first day our common stock began “regular-way” trading on the NYSE) through December 31, 2019, with that of the S&P 500 Index and the S&P Financials Index. Prior to October 1, 2015, there was no public market for our Class A common stock. Our Class A common stock traded on a “when-issued” basis prior to October 1, 2015. The graph assumes $100 was invested in our Class A common stock on October 1, 2015, and in the S&P 500 Index and the S&P Financials Index on September 30, 2015. It also assumes that the dividends were reinvested on the date of payment without payment of commissions. The performance shown in the graph represents past performance and should not be considered an indication of future performance.

 

 

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Share Repurchases in the Fourth Quarter of 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Number of

 

 

 

Approximate Dollar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

of Shares

 

 

 

Value of Shares

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purchased as

 

 

 

that May Yet Be

 

 

Total Number

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part of Publicly

 

 

 

Purchased Under

 

 

of Shares

 

 

Average Price

 

 

Announced Plans

 

 

 

the Plans or

 

 

Repurchased

 

 

Paid Per Share

 

 

or Programs (a)

 

 

 

Programs (a)

October 1 to October 31

 

 

111,023

 

 

$

39.10

 

 

 

111,023

 

 

$

85.1 million

November 1 to November 30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

85.1 million

December 1 to December 31

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

85.1 million

Total

 

 

111,023

 

 

$

39.10

 

 

 

111,023

 

 

$

85.1 million

 

(a)

On April 24, 2019, the Company’s Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of shares of the Company’s Class A common stock in an amount up to $100 million. As of December 31, 2019, the Company’s remaining repurchase authorization was $85.1 million. Under the repurchase program, shares of the Company’s Class A common stock may be repurchased from time to time in open market transactions, in privately negotiated transactions or otherwise. The timing and the actual number of shares repurchased depend on a variety of factors, including legal requirements, price and economic and market conditions. The repurchase program may be suspended or discontinued at any time and does not have a specified expiration date.

Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities and Use of Proceeds

In connection with the issuance during the fourth quarter of 2019 of LTIP Units in PJT Partners Holdings LP to certain personnel and the transfer of Partnership Units in PJT Partners Holdings LP, PJT Partners Inc. issued three corresponding shares of its Class B common stock, par value $0.01 per share, to these limited partners. Shares of Class B common stock have no economic rights but entitle the holder, without regard to the number of shares of Class B common stock held, to a number of votes that is equal to the aggregate number of vested and unvested Partnership Units and LTIP Units in PJT Partners Holdings LP held by such holder on all matters presented to stockholders of PJT Partners Inc. other than director elections and removals. With respect to the election and removal of directors of PJT Partners Inc., shares of Class B common stock will initially entitle holders to only one vote per share. However, the voting power of Class B common stock with respect to the election and removal of directors of PJT Partners Inc. may be increased to up to the number of votes to which a holder is then entitled on all other matters presented to stockholders. The issuance of shares of Class B common stock was not registered under the Securities Act of 1933 because such shares were not issued in a transaction involving the offer or sale of securities.

ITEM 6.

SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

The results of operations for the year ended December 31, 2015 reflect the combined results of Blackstone’s operations for the period from January 1, 2015 to October 1, 2015 and the consolidated results of PJT Partners Inc., as reorganized and separated from Blackstone, through December 31, 2015. The results of operations for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016 reflect the results as a stand-alone, independent publicly traded company.

The statement of operations data for each of the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017 and the statement of financial condition data as of December 31, 2019 and 2018 set forth below are derived from the Company’s audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The statement of operations data for the years ended December 31, 2016 and 2015 and the statement of financial condition data as of December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015 are derived from the Company’s audited financial statements that are not included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

The Company’s financial data are not indicative of our future performance and, for the years ended prior to December 31, 2016, do not necessarily reflect what our financial condition and results of operations would have been had we been operating as an independent, publicly traded company, including changes that occurred in our operations and capitalization as a result of the spin-off from Blackstone.

28


The selected consolidated and combined financial data should be read in conjunction with “—Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements and related notes thereto included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K:

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2019

 

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

 

2016

 

 

2015

 

 

 

(Dollars in Thousands)

 

Statement of Operations Data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenues

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advisory Fees

 

$

571,771

 

 

$

451,553

 

 

$

386,263

 

 

$

377,610

 

 

$

286,014

 

Placement Fees

 

 

133,180

 

 

 

111,035

 

 

 

102,785

 

 

 

114,968

 

 

 

114,058

 

Interest Income and Other

 

 

12,688

 

 

 

17,660

 

 

 

10,234

 

 

 

6,852

 

 

 

5,866

 

Total Revenues

 

 

717,639

 

 

 

580,248

 

 

 

499,282

 

 

 

499,430

 

 

 

405,938

 

Expenses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compensation and Benefits

 

 

502,165

 

 

 

424,459

 

 

 

391,514

 

 

 

381,000

 

 

 

315,195

 

Non-Compensation Expenses

 

 

133,284

 

 

 

114,276

 

 

 

97,714

 

 

 

103,930

 

 

 

96,679

 

Total Expenses

 

 

635,449

 

 

 

538,735

 

 

 

489,228

 

 

 

484,930

 

 

 

411,874

 

Income (Loss) Before Provision(Benefit)

   for Taxes

 

 

82,190

 

 

 

41,513

 

 

 

10,054

 

 

 

14,500

 

 

 

(5,936

)

Provision (Benefit) for Taxes

 

 

18,403

 

 

 

(1,045

)

 

 

38,380

 

 

 

9,392

 

 

 

239

 

Net Income (Loss)

 

 

63,787

 

 

 

42,558

 

 

 

(28,326

)

 

 

5,108

 

 

 

(6,175

)

Net Income (Loss) Attributable to

   Non-Controlling Interests

 

 

34,225

 

 

 

15,388

 

 

 

4,228

 

 

 

8,142

 

 

 

(13,751

)

Net Income (Loss) Attributable to

   PJT Partners Inc.

 

$

29,562

 

 

$

27,170

 

 

$

(32,554

)

 

$

(3,034

)

 

$

7,576

 

Net Income (Loss) Per Share of

   Class A Common Stock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

$

1.23

 

 

$

1.23

 

 

$

(1.73

)

 

$

(0.17

)

 

 

 

 

Diluted

 

$

1.21

 

 

$

1.16

 

 

$

(1.73

)

 

$

(0.17

)

 

 

 

 

Weighted-Average Shares of Class A

   Common Stock Outstanding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

 

24,007,138

 

 

 

21,879,574

 

 

 

18,858,010

 

 

 

18,292,717

 

 

 

 

 

Diluted

 

 

25,014,569

 

 

 

24,254,061

 

 

 

18,858,010

 

 

 

18,292,717

 

 

 

 

 

Dividends Declared Per Share of

   Class A Common Stock

 

$

0.20

 

 

$

0.20

 

 

$

0.20

 

 

$

0.20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 1,

2015 through

December 31,

2015

 

Net Loss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$

(24,935

)

Net Loss Attributable to Redeemable

   Non-Controlling Interests

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(13,751

)

Net Loss Attributable to PJT Partners

   Inc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$

(11,184

)

Net Loss Per Share of Class A Common

   Stock — Basic and Diluted

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$

(0.61

)

Weighted-Average Shares of Class A

   Common Stock Outstanding — Basic

   and Diluted

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18,258,174

 

29


 

 

 

December 31,

 

 

 

2019

 

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

 

2016

 

 

2015

 

 

 

(Dollars in Thousands)

 

Statement of Financial Condition Data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Assets (a)

 

$

952,777

 

 

$

671,817

 

 

$

558,965

 

 

$

590,476

 

 

$

467,252

 

Total Liabilities (b)

 

$

378,260

 

 

$

184,068

 

 

$

136,511

 

 

$

177,060

 

 

$

125,317

 

Redeemable Non-Controlling Interests (c)

 

$

 

 

$

 

 

$

 

 

$

421,976

 

 

$

309,855

 

Non-Controlling Interests (c)

 

$

543,127

 

 

$

514,205

 

 

$

586,515

 

 

$

 

 

$

 

Total Equity (Deficit) (c)

 

$

574,517

 

 

$

487,749

 

 

$

422,454

 

 

$

(8,560

)

 

$

32,080

 

 

(a)

Total Assets increased at December 31, 2019 primarily due to operating lease right-of-use assets recorded as a result of new lease accounting guidance adopted as of January 1, 2019. Total Assets increased at December 31, 2018 primarily due to goodwill recorded related to the acquisition of CamberView. Total Assets decreased at December 31, 2017 primarily due to decreases in Accounts Receivable, Net and Deferred Tax Asset, Net being partially offset by an increase in investments in Treasury securities. The decrease in Deferred Tax Asset, Net was primarily related to the remeasurement of deferred tax assets due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Total Assets increased at December 31, 2016 primarily due to increases in Cash and Cash Equivalents generated from operating activities during the year.

(b)

Total Liabilities increased at December 31, 2019 primarily due to operating lease liabilities recorded as a result of new lease accounting guidance adopted as of January 1, 2019. Total Liabilities increased at December 31, 2018 primarily due to a term loan entered into in connection with the acquisition of CamberView. Total Liabilities decreased at December 31, 2017 primarily related to a decrease in Accrued Compensation and Benefits. Total Liabilities increased at December 31, 2016 primarily related to an increase in Accrued Compensation and Benefits, partially offset by a decrease in Accounts Payable, Accrued Expenses and Other Liabilities.

(c)

These amounts reflected the allocation of Net Income (Loss) and the adjustment to measure the Redeemable Non-Controlling Interests at their current redemption value at each reporting date. The value of these interests was reclassified to Non-Controlling Interests at their redemption value as of October 1, 2017.

 

On January 1, 2019, the Company adopted new guidance from the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) regarding leases using the transition method that allows such guidance to be applied initially at the adoption date without restating comparative periods. The guidance requires lessees to recognize, on the balance sheet, assets and liabilities for the rights and obligations created by leases. For additional detail, see Note 2. “Summary of Significant Accounting Policies” in the “Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements” in “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

On January 1, 2018, the Company adopted amended guidance from the FASB with respect to revenue from contracts with customers using a modified retrospective approach. The Company recognized the cumulative effect of initially applying the new revenue guidance as an adjustment to the opening balance of Accumulated Deficit. The comparative information has not been restated and continues to be reported under the accounting standards in effect for those periods. On an ongoing basis, the effect of the change in timing of revenue and expense recognition could be material to any given reporting period.

30


ITEM 7.

MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

The following discussion and analysis should be read in conjunction with PJT Partners Inc.’s Consolidated Financial Statements and the related notes included in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K.

Our Business

PJT Partners is a premier global advisory-focused investment bank. Our team of senior professionals delivers a wide array of strategic advisory, shareholder advisory, restructuring and special situations and private fund advisory and placement services to corporations, financial sponsors, institutional investors and governments around the world. We offer a unique portfolio of advisory services designed to help our clients achieve their strategic objectives. We also provide, through PJT Park Hill, private fund advisory and fundraising services for alternative investment managers, including private equity funds, real estate funds and hedge funds.

We have world-class franchises in each of the areas in which we compete.

 

Our Strategic Advisory business offers a broad range of financial advisory and transaction execution capability, including mergers and acquisitions (“M&A”), joint ventures, minority investments, asset swaps, divestitures, takeover defenses, corporate finance advisory, private placements and distressed sales. Through PJT Camberview, our industry leading shareholder advisory business, we provide investor-led advice to public company boards and management teams around the globe on shareholder engagement, strategic investor relations, activism and contested situations, sustainability and complex corporate governance matters.

 

Our Restructuring and Special Situations business is one of the world’s leading advisors in restructurings and recapitalizations, both in and out of court, around the globe. With expertise in highly complex capital structure challenges, we advise companies, creditors and financial sponsors on liability management and related capital raise transactions including exchanges, recapitalizations, reorganizations, debt repurchases and distressed mergers and acquisitions.

 

PJT Park Hill, our leading global alternative asset advisory and fundraising business, provides private fund advisory and fundraising services for a diverse range of investment strategies. Moreover, PJT Park Hill is the only group among its peers with top-tier dedicated private equity, hedge fund, real estate and secondary advisory groups.

Business Environment

Economic and global financial conditions can materially affect our operational and financial performance.

M&A is a cyclical business that is impacted by macroeconomic conditions. According to Refinitiv, worldwide M&A announced volumes during 2019 were down 3% compared with 2018, but still the fourth strongest year since records began in 1980.1 We remain in a very constructive environment for M&A by historical standards. We expect corporate boards and management teams to continue to use M&A as a key strategic tool.

Global restructuring activity for 2019 was strong despite continued low default rates in a benign credit environment. Notwithstanding, a balanced mix of in-court and out-of-court transactions for companies, creditors and financial sponsors has driven increased demand for restructuring and liability management services across a broad range of industries including technology, media and telecommunications; oil and gas; pharmaceuticals; and consumer products. PJT Partners maintained strong market share and was ranked #1 in global completed restructurings.2

As investors seek to enhance returns, diversification and portfolio yield, alternative assets continue to be in demand by institutional investors on a global basis. Within certain asset classes, we are seeing increased interest in narrow and niche strategies as well as customized solutions such as joint ventures, separate accounts and direct investment opportunities.

 

1 

Source: Refinitiv. Global Mergers & Acquisitions Review for Full Year 2019 as of December 31, 2019.

 

2 

Source: Refinitiv. League Table ranking extracted from SDC Platinum as of February 11, 2020.

 

31


On June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom (“U.K.”) voted to leave the European Union (“E.U.”), commonly referred to as “Brexit,” and on March 29, 2017, the U.K. began the process to withdraw from the E.U. The U.K. formally left the E.U. on January 31, 2020 and has immediately entered into a transition period, which is expected to continue until December 31, 2020. The full impact of Brexit remains uncertain and the political climate in Europe continues to take shape. During this period, the future terms of the U.K.’s relationship with the E.U. will be determined. We expect that circumstances relating to Brexit will impact the Company’s organization and/or operations and we are taking preparatory steps accordingly.

Key Financial Measures

Revenues

Substantially all of our revenues are derived from Advisory Fees and Placement Fees. This revenue is primarily a function of the number of active engagements we have, the size of each of those engagements and the fees we charge for our services.

Advisory Fees – Our strategic advisory services include a broad range of financial advisory and transaction execution services relating to acquisitions, mergers, joint ventures, minority investments, asset swaps, divestitures, takeover defenses, corporate finance advisory, shareholder advisory and distressed sales. Our restructuring and special situations services include providing advice to corporations and creditors in recapitalizations and restructurings around the world, with particular expertise in large, complex and high-profile deals. In conjunction with providing such restructuring advice, we may also assist with raising various forms of financing, including debt and equity. Our secondary advisory services provided by PJT Park Hill include providing solutions to investing clients seeking portfolio liquidity, unfunded commitment relief and investments in secondary markets. Advisory Fees typically consist of retainer and transaction-based fee arrangements. The amount and timing of the fees paid vary by the type of engagement. The majority of our Advisory Fees recognized are dependent on the successful completion of a transaction.

A transaction can fail to be completed for many reasons, including failure of parties to agree upon final terms, to secure necessary board or shareholder approvals, to secure necessary financing or to achieve necessary regulatory approvals. In the case of bankruptcy engagements, fees are subject to approval of the court.

Placement Fees – Our fundraising services are provided within PJT Park Hill and primarily serve private equity, real estate and hedge funds. Our team advises on all aspects of the fundraising process including competitive positioning and market assessment, marketing materials and related documentation and partnership terms and conditions most prevalent in the current environment. We also provide private placement fundraising services to our corporate clients and earn placement fees based on successful completion of the transaction.

Fund placement fees earned for services provided to alternative asset managers are typically recognized upon acceptance by a fund of capital or capital commitments (referred to as a “closing”), in accordance with terms set forth in individual agreements. For commitment based fees, revenue is recognized over time as commitments are accepted. Fees for such closed-end fund arrangements are generally paid in installments over three or four years and interest is charged to the outstanding balance at an agreed upon rate (typically the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) plus a market-based margin). For funds with multiple closings, the constraint on variable consideration is lifted upon each closing. For open-end fund structures, placement fees are typically calculated as a percentage of a placed investor’s month-end net asset value. Typically, we earn fees for such open-end fund structures over a 48 month period. For these arrangements, revenue is recognized over time as the constraint over variable consideration is lifted.

We may receive non-refundable up-front fees in our contracts with customers, which are recorded as revenues in the period over which services are estimated to be provided.

Interest Income and Other – Interest Income and Other represents interest typically earned on Cash and Cash Equivalents, investments in Treasury securities and outstanding placement fees receivable; miscellaneous income; foreign exchange gains and losses arising on transactions denominated in currencies other than U.S. dollars; sublease income; and the amount of expense reimbursement invoiced to clients related to out-of-pocket expenses. Interest on placement fees receivable is earned from the time revenue is recognized and is calculated based upon LIBOR plus an additional percentage as mutually agreed upon with the receivable counterparty. Interest receivable is included in Accounts Receivable, Net in the Consolidated Statements of Financial Condition.

32


Expenses

Compensation and Benefits – Compensation and Benefits expense includes salaries, cash bonuses, benefits, employer taxes and equity-based compensation associated with the grants of equity-based awards to partners and employees. Changes in this expense are driven by fluctuations in the number of employees, business performance, compensation adjustments in relation to market movements, changes in rates for employer taxes and other cost increases affecting benefit plans. In addition, this expense is affected by the composition of our work force. The expense associated with our bonus and equity plans can also have a significant impact on this expense category and may vary from year to year.

We maintain compensation programs, including salaries, annual incentive compensation (that may include components of cash, restricted cash and/or equity-based awards) and benefits programs. We manage compensation to estimates of competitive levels based on market conditions and performance. Our level of compensation reflects our plan to maintain competitive compensation levels to retain key personnel and it reflects the impact of newly-hired senior professionals, including related grants of equity awards that are generally valued at their grant date fair value.

Increasing the number of high-caliber, experienced senior level employees is critical to our growth efforts. In our advisory businesses, these hires generally do not begin to generate significant revenue in the year they are hired.

Our remaining expenses are the other costs typical to operating our business, which generally consist of:

 

Occupancy and Related – consisting primarily of costs related to leased property, including rent, maintenance, real estate taxes, utilities and other related costs. Our company headquarters are located in New York, New York, and we maintain additional offices in the U.S. and throughout the world;

 

Travel and Related – consisting of costs for our partners and employees to render services where our clients are located;

 

Professional Fees – consisting primarily of consulting, audit and tax, recruiting and legal and other professional services;

 

Communications and Information Services – consisting primarily of costs for our technology infrastructure and telecommunications costs;

 

Depreciation and Amortization – consisting of depreciation and amortization on our furniture, equipment, leasehold improvements and intangible assets; and

 

Other Expenses – consisting primarily of bad debt, regulatory fees, insurance, fees paid for access to external market data, advertising, other general operating expenses and transaction-related payable to The Blackstone Group Inc. (“Blackstone”).

Income TaxesPJT Partners Inc. is a corporation subject to U.S. federal, state and local income taxes in jurisdictions where it does business. The Company’s businesses generally operate as partnerships for U.S. federal and state purposes and as corporate entities in non-U.S. jurisdictions. In the U.S. federal and state jurisdictions, taxes related to income earned by these entities generally represent obligations of the individual members and partners.

The operating entities have generally been subject to New York City Unincorporated Business Tax and to entity-level income taxes imposed by non-U.S. jurisdictions, as applicable. These taxes have been reflected in the Company’s consolidated financial statements.

PJT Partners Inc. is subject to U.S. corporate federal, state and local income tax on its allocable share of results of operations from the operating partnership (PJT Partners Holdings LP).

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law on December 22, 2017, which lowered the U.S. corporate income tax rate to 21% as of January 1, 2018.

Non-Controlling Interests

PJT Partners Inc. is a holding company and its only material asset is its controlling equity interest in PJT Partners Holdings LP, and certain cash and cash equivalents it may hold from time to time. As the sole general partner of PJT Partners Holdings LP, PJT Partners Inc. operates and controls all of the business and affairs and consolidates the financial results of PJT Partners Holdings LP and its operating subsidiaries.

33


Prior to October 1, 2017, the ownership interests of holders of common units of partnership interest in PJT Partners Holdings LP (“Partnership Units”) (other than PJT Partners Inc.) were considered redeemable non-controlling interests. On October 1, 2017, certain of the restrictive covenants entered into in connection with the spin-off expired. Previously, the ability to settle exchanges of Partnership Units in shares of the Company’s Class A common stock was not entirely within the Company’s control. Consequently, the value of these interests was reclassified from Redeemable Non-Controlling Interests to Non-Controlling Interests at their redemption value as of October 1, 2017. The portion of net income (loss) attributable to the non-controlling interests is presented separately in the Consolidated Statements of Operations.

Consolidated Results of Operations

The following table sets forth our consolidated results of operations for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017:

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

2019 vs. 2018

 

 

2018 vs. 2017

 

 

 

2019

 

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

 

$

 

 

%

 

 

$

 

 

%

 

 

 

(Dollars in Thousands)

 

Revenues

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advisory Fees

 

$

571,771

 

 

$

451,553

 

 

$

386,263

 

 

$

120,218

 

 

 

27

%

 

$

65,290

 

 

 

17

%

Placement Fees

 

 

133,180

 

 

 

111,035

 

 

 

102,785

 

 

 

22,145

 

 

 

20

%

 

 

8,250

 

 

 

8

%

Interest Income and

   Other

 

 

12,688

 

 

 

17,660

 

 

 

10,234

 

 

 

(4,972

)

 

 

(28

%)

 

 

7,426

 

 

 

73

%

Total Revenues

 

 

717,639

 

 

 

580,248

 

 

 

499,282

 

 

 

137,391

 

 

 

24

%

 

 

80,966

 

 

 

16

%

Expenses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compensation and

   Benefits

 

 

502,165

 

 

 

424,459

 

 

 

391,514

 

 

 

77,706

 

 

 

18

%

 

 

32,945

 

 

 

8

%

Occupancy and Related

 

 

31,547

 

 

 

27,125

 

 

 

26,889

 

 

 

4,422

 

 

 

16

%

 

 

236

 

 

 

1

%

Travel and Related

 

 

25,700

 

 

 

23,374

 

 

 

13,617

 

 

 

2,326

 

 

 

10

%

 

 

9,757

 

 

 

72

%

Professional Fees

 

 

21,779

 

 

 

20,631

 

 

 

19,276

 

 

 

1,148

 

 

 

6

%

 

 

1,355

 

 

 

7

%

Communications and

   Information Services

 

 

13,380

 

 

 

12,539

 

 

 

10,770

 

 

 

841

 

 

 

7

%

 

 

1,769

 

 

 

16

%

Depreciation and

   Amortization

 

 

14,496

 

 

 

9,973