Sard leads Mergermarket US M&A adviser list

NEW YORK: Sard Verbinnen & Co. advised on M&A deals worth a total of $79 billion in the first half of 2012, ranking the firm first in the US in the Mergermarket League Tables of PR Advisers.

NEW YORK: Sard Verbinnen & Co. advised on M&A deals worth a total of $79 billion in the first half of 2012, ranking the firm first in the US in the Mergermarket League Tables of PR Advisers.

Sard advised on 49 US deals in the first half. The agency was followed by Brunswick Group, which worked on 42 deals worth $74.1 billion, and Kekst and Company, which provided counsel on 62 deals worth $53.5 billion. Joele Frank Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher and Abernathy MacGregor Group rounded out the top five US M&A advisers in terms of value. Brunswick led the pack in terms of deal volume in the first quarter.

Ranked by deal volume, Kekst led the rankings with 62 US deals in the first six months of 2012, followed by Sard with 49 and Joele Frank with 43. Brunswick and Abernathy MacGregor came in fourth and fifth in terms of US deal volume in the first half.

The US M&A market was $290.6 billion in the first half of 2012, the lowest first-half total since 2003. The global M&A market shrank to $968.5 billion, down 18.3% from the same period of last year.

Amanda Levin, editor for the Americas at Mergermarket, attributed the decline to a weakening global economy.

“When there's turmoil in the economy, that is when you typically see M&A take a nose dive,” Levin said. “With the European sovereign debt crisis and an election year in the US, it's a perfect storm right now.”

Globally, Brunswick advised on the highest value of M&A deals, working on $122.6 billion in the first half of this year. RLM Finsbury was second with $122.5 billion in global M&A, and Sard was third with $83 billion in deals. FTI Consulting and Stockwell Communications rounded out the top five.

FTI Consulting ranked first in terms of global deal volume, working on 97 in the six-month period. Brunswick worked on 85, while Kekst advised on 64. Sard and Joele Frank ranked fourth and fifth, respectively.

Levin predicted that 2012 will be the worst year for M&A deals since the financial crisis of 2008. Yet she added that the sectors performing strongly are technology, media, telecommunications, energy, and industrials. The healthcare industry is also likely to see more mergers and acquisitions because of the Supreme Court's June ruling on the Affordable Care Act.

“After the November 6 election, I'm hoping that will give some certainty to dealmakers, and they'll feel more comfortable making a big ticket deal,” Levin said. “Regardless of who wins the election, we just need some certainty.”

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