Whether he’s conquering a triathlon or helping build a merchant bank, Nicholas Bilodeau can be counted on for his tenacity and perseverance. He joined Intrepid Partners LLC—the advisory arm of energy-focused merchant bank Intrepid Financial Partners LLC—during its formative years, and he helped facilitate its growth into one of the industry’s leading advisors.
“Much of the groundwork that we laid in the early days was centered on building the best possible team. In addition to assembling some of the industry’s most-seasoned senior bankers, we were equally focused on our junior team members, who are among the most talented and focused groups I have worked with across any institution,” says Bilodeau, who is now a senior vice president at Intrepid. “It has been challenging and rewarding to see how well our team functions today, and it’s a testament to the firm’s culture.”
A success story: Bilodeau hit the ground running after graduating from Clemson University in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in financial management. He began his career as an investment banking analyst with Barclays Investment Bank, where he focused on debt capital raises for natural resources clients. He later worked as a director at UBS Investment Bank, where he advised on numerous energy-related merger and acquisition and capital markets transactions.
Between the two companies, he has executed more than 120 equity, debt, and merger and acquisition transactions within the energy sector.
He joined Intrepid in 2017, looking for new challenges. “I have always been proud of my ability to challenge myself and learn as much as I can from the people around me,” he says. “I started my career in debt capital markets, then moved to equity capital markets and finally focused on mergers and acquisitions.
“Each step of the way I learned from deal experience and great senior mentors, but never got complacent. I always looked for new ways to get better, and part of that was learning as much about each piece of corporate finance as possible.”
“I have always been proud of my ability to challenge myself and learn as much as I can from the people around me.”
Let’s make a deal: Bilodeau has executed dozens of deals, but he’s never encountered one quite like the sale of Energy XXI Gulf Coast Inc. The complicated transaction posed numerous challenges: The public market wasn’t properly valuating its assets, shareholders were concentrated and there was limited access to capital to support its drilling program. Nevertheless, Bilodeau was ultimately able to execute the $473 million sale to Cox Oil in October 2018.
“We were able to pull a number of different levers and transactions to put together a sale that delivered significant value to the shareholders versus the standalone plan,” he says. “Every day it felt like there was a new challenge, but our team and the Energy XXI management team worked together to successfully solve what was a very challenging problem.”
Numbers guy: As a finance expert, Bilodeau frequently uses numbers to help frame a decision or path. But while they can provide context and guidance when evaluating complex alternatives or investments, they don’t paint the whole picture.
“At the end of the day, the numbers can only tell part of the story. The qualitative factors are also a key driver in decision making,” he says. “Whether it’s social dynamics on a board or past experience on certain investments, numbers and qualitative factors are equally important to finding the best answer.”
The long run: When Bilodeau began his career, he poured all his time and energy into his work and made little time for exercise. His perspective changed when he traveled to watch his wife’s cousin compete in an Ironman triathlon. The event inspired Bilodeau to start running, which he could initially only do in half-mile increments.
Within 14 months, Bilodeau completed his first Ironman triathlon, and he learned a valuable lesson about the power of persistence.
“The experience taught me that consistency and hard work every day make even the most daunting goals achievable.”