Action is hotting up in the mid-market investment banking space, with the Los Angeles-based Houlihan Lokey aiming to build its business block by block. The restructuring specialist is looking for an India head, a sign of growing interest by international institutions to expand in Asia’s third-largest economy. Houlihan Lokey has just obtained a category-1 merchant banking licence from Sebi, which would allow it to offer capital markets advisory services to private and publicly listed companies. The largest closely-held investment bank has partnered with Avista Advisory, founded by Rajiv Kochhar, for its Asian expansion. Kochhar, who is the brother-in-law of Chanda Kochhar, MD of ICICI Bank, holds a majority stake in the venture, with Houlihan Lokey owning 26%. Avista Houlihan Lokey holds interests in its South Asian and Asean operations through a Singapore-based holding company.