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Samuel Nicholls

Samuel S. Nicholls photo

Samuel S. Nicholls Director

Samuel Nicholls is a director of Willamette Management Associates.


Samuel manages engagements related to the valuation of business entities and business interests and the analysis of privately held and publicly traded equity and debt securities.

Samuel has performed the following types of valuation and economic analyses: noncontrolling and controlling equity ownership in businesses; debt instruments; mergers and acquisitions (appraisal rights, breach of fiduciary duty, and fairness opinions); equity and debt security valuations for estates; equity and debt security valuations for gift tax purposes (business succession planning); family limited partnerships and holding companies; lost profits/economic damages claims for commercial disputes; buy/sell agreement valuations; restricted stock and blockage discount analysis; and employee stock ownership plans (“ESOP”) formation and adequate consideration.

Samuel has prepared these valuation and economic analyses for the following purposes: litigation (breach of fiduciary duty, adequate consideration for disputed mergers and acquisitions in Delaware Chancery Court and other state courts, federal tax disputes, trust disputes, forensic analysis, economic damages, and dispute resolution); taxation planning and compliance (federal income, gift, and estate tax); fairness opinions for transactions; transaction pricing and structuring; strategic planning and management information; ESOP transactions and annual ESOP valuation updates; and personal goodwill calculations for transactions.

Samuel has valued the following types of business entities and securities: privately held business enterprises, fractional ownership interests in privately held businesses, publicly traded securities, multiple classes of preferred and common stock in complex capital structures, and interest-bearing debt instruments.

Samuel has significant experience in many areas of business valuation. He previously served for 12 years as an investment research analyst with both investment banks and investment managers and for 3 years as a venture capital associate. He has been a professor of investment banking since 2012 for the Investment Banking Institute, teaching live, in-person courses for class sizes averaging 15 students. As an investment research analyst, Samuel served both as a generalist analyzing publicly traded companies in all sectors and as a sector expert focused on the industrial and life sciences sectors. As a venture capital associate, Samuel performed research and valuations of prospective investments in early stage private companies, monitored existing holdings, performed debt recapitalizations, structured transactions of limited partnership interests, and assisted with fund accounting.

Previous Experience

Samuel has worked in the financial sector since 1989. Prior to joining Willamette Management Associates, Samuel was a buyside investment research analyst at Carret Asset Management (founded by an early pioneer in value investing), a senior research analyst and director of research at W. Quillen Securities, an associate research analyst at Gerard Klauer Mattison (now part of Bank of Montreal), and a venture capital associate at Rockefeller & Company and Wolfensohn Partners. Samuel wrote hundreds of research reports disseminated to institutional investors through Thomson/Reuters and has been interviewed on Bloomberg live TV.


  • Master of Business Administration, finance, Yale School of Management
  • Bachelor of Arts, government, Hamilton College

Professional Affiliations

Samuel is an Accredited Senior Appraiser (“ASA”) of the American Society of Appraisers in business valuation. He is a member of the National Center for Employee Ownership (“NCEO”).

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