NEW YORK: Mergers and acquisitions up 35% versus 2004, proved to be a boon for financial communications firms.
Kekst & Company once again topped mergermarket's year-end league tables for North American M&A PR advisors, taking first place in both value and volume of deals.
Kekst finished 2005 with 121 deals with a combined value of $336.7 billion. Citigate Sard Verbinnen was second in value at $153.1 billion, followed by Brunswick Group, Abernathy Macgregor, and Joele Frank Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher.
Financial Dynamics ended the year second in volume of deals with 117, making them the only agency besides Kekst with more than 100 deals. FD's total value, however, was $56.2 billion, placing them sixth for the year. FD CEO Declan Kelly, who noted that M&A was not the core of FD's business, said 2005 was the agency's best year ever.
Sard, Abernathy, and Brunswick rounded out the top five in deal volume.
Marc Katz, mergermarket's head of sales, called 2005 a "remarkable" year for M&A.
"What you did see in 2005 that you probably haven't seen previously was the involvement of more and more financial sponsors, and potentially hedge funds down the road," said Katz.
Kekst partner Jeffrey Taufield played down the importance of the rankings, saying the firm's goal is "to provide clients a qualitative level of service that's value added."
Taufield also speculated that 2006 would be as active as the past year because "the ingredients for an active M&A cycle are in place," citing the widespread belief that it is cheaper to buy than to build companies, an abundance of cash-rich private equity firms, and increasing shareholder activism pushing companies to either perform or sell.
"2006 is off to very busy start," agreed Paul Verbinnen, president of Sard. "We're seeing a very active market."