A top team of Midlands deal-makers has forged a deal of their own to exit a multi-national link-up.

James Grenfell and Chris Gregory have agreed an amicable parting from Kroll - now owned by US corporate giant MMC - to establish their own independent Midlands-based corporate finance practice called Orbis Partners.

It follows a business helter skelter ride over the last few years.

Orbis has its origins in Invex Partners, a company set up in 1999 by the pair, formerly of accountants Bentley Jennison.

Invex was launched as an independent corporate finance boutique, the first in the region.

It prospered, and the company clocked up around 65 deals in total, worth in excess of £250 million.

In 2004, Invex joined forces with Kroll, at the time a Nasdaq-quoted company valued at £1billion and with offices in 60 cities throughout the world.

Invex changed its name to Kroll Corporate Finance, but continued to be led by Mr Grenfell and Mr Gregory, who both became directors.

But, in the same year, Kroll was itself taken over by MMC , formerly Marsh McLennan Co.

"A core part of our model is to invest alongside our clients, but it become more and more difficult to fit in with the framework of a large multi-national group," said Mr Grenfell.

S uch practices were frowned on under the tough Sarbanes-Oxley regulations which govern US-owned companies, he explained.

And it became clear that Kroll/MMC would not be able to consider a comparatively small subsidiary in Birmingham as a core operation.

Now the duo are going independent again.

As part of the change Gary Ecob and Shah Zaki will both be promoted from director to partner.

The other ten members of the existing corporate finance team will also join the new firm.

Mr Zaki first joined Kroll Corporate Finance in 2003, after 11 years at Ernst and Young. Mr Ecob was originally an Invex employee, joining the firm in 1999 as an executive.

Orbis Partners will continue to operate as a corporate finance business, and will still focus on investing in the businesses that it advises.

The team will be based at Kroll's offices at 134 Edmund Street for the time being.

In the three years since Kroll Corporate Finance was set up, they have completed 35 deals with a total value of over £350 million and invested alongside management in 19 businesses.

Mr Grenfell said: "We've enjoyed being a part of Kroll as it has helped to establish the team as one of the Midlands' leading corporate finance advisers. It is fundamental to our future to continue to align our objectives with our clients by investing alongside them and helping to grow their businesses and drive capital value."

Simon Appell, head of Kroll's corporate advisory and restructuring group, said: "We wish James, Chris and the team every success in their new venture.

"Over the past few years we have enjoyed working with the Midlands team and thank them for their contribution to the business."