Harris Williams & Co. has hired Mike Wilkins to help the investment-banking unit of lending giant PNC Financial Services (PNC.N) become involved in more Silicon Valley deals.

Wilkins joined as a managing director leading the firm's Technology, Telecom & Digital Media Group on the West Coast of the U.S. He previously headed Internet and digital media investment banking at Sagent Advisors in San Francisco and held similar positions at Wachovia Securities, Wasserstein Perella & Co., J.P. Morgan & Co. (JPM.N) and Goldman Sachs (GS.N).

Harris Williams began about 20 years ago by advising on sales of private companies typically held by private-equity firms. But it has branched out into different industries including technology, media and telecom, and built relationships with venture capital firms and corporations.

The firm's Technology, Telecom & Digital Media Group has been around for about six years and more than two-thirds of the recent deals it has done have been sales to companies and other strategic buyers.

There's a ton of activity in the Internet and digital media space. It's a strategic priority for Harris Williams to have a major presence on the West Coast, Wilkins told Reuters. This is a highly attractive opportunity for me.

Wilkins will be working with Jeff Bistrong, the Boston-based head of Harris Williams' Technology, Telecom & Digital Media Group, and Thierry Monjauze, who oversees the team's European effort from London.

We're back into a much healthier environment for tech, media and telecom, Wilkins said. There are large consolidators in tech, media and telecom with strong liquidity positions. There's a huge push for innovation and convergence, with media guys pushing into gaming for example.