Gregg Feinstein, who spent about three decades as a dealmaker and most recently led Houlihan Lokey Inc.’s U.S. mergers-and-acquisitions practice, has died, the Los Angeles-based investment bank said. He was 54.

He died over the weekend of a heart attack, according to a person familiar with his death, who asked not to be identified discussing a private matter.

“He had a young person’s outlook, even when he was moving toward middle age,” Robert Hotz, Houlihan Lokey’s co-head of corporate finance, said Monday in a telephone interview. “He made us better M&A bankers overall. He clearly advanced the art of the practice here.”

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Feinstein joined the firm’s New York office in 2005, rising to managing director. He earlier worked at Jefferies & Co., where he became head of M&A in 2002.

His group at Houlihan Lokey, which was founded in 1972 and raised more than $250 million in a public offering last year, advises both shareholder activists and targeted companies.

Feinstein’s team at Houlihan Lokey helped New York hedge fund Barington Capital Group LP prod Olive Garden owner Darden Restaurants Inc. to split into two companies in 2013. Last year, the group was hired by Jonathan Litt’s Land & Buildings Investment Management LLC to review the invstor’s call to restructure MGM Resorts International.

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Recapitalization Deals

Among the deals he worked on during his career were the recapitalization of Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Inc. and Samsonite Corp., according to Houlihan’s website.

Prior to joining Jefferies, Feinstein spent about 12 years at Berenson Minella & Co., a New York-based M&A boutique he co- founded and where he served as chief operating officer. The company is now called Berenson & Co.

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Feinstein also worked at Merrill Lynch & Co., from 1986 to 1991, and Lehman Brothers Kuhn Loeb in New York, starting in 1983, according to profile on LinkedIn.com.

In 1983, he graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. An avid sports fan, he attended Brooklyn Nets basketball and New York Yankees baseball games, according to his colleagues.

He is survived by his wife, Fariah Feinstein, a managing director at JPMorgan Chase & Co., and three children.