Brunswick takes top spot on Mergermarket ranking

NEW YORK: Brunswick Group edged out Kekst & Co. for first place in deal value in the first quarter of 2005 (January 1 to March 31), according to Mergermarket's rankings of financial PR advisers in North America.

NEW YORK: Brunswick Group edged out Kekst & Co. for first place in deal value in the first quarter of 2005 (January 1 to March 31), according to Mergermarket's rankings of financial PR advisers in North America.

The league tables released last week show that Brunswick advised on 18 deals with a combined value of nearly $87 billion last quarter, topping Kekst's 23 deals for $84 billion.

Brunswick partner Michael Buckley said the firm's outlook is strong. "Certainly the pipeline looks pretty good for Brunswick," he said, but added, "This race won't be won in a quarter or a year." Citigate Sard Verbinnen placed third in value at $31.7 billion, followed by Owen Blicksilver PR and Stanton Crenshaw. All three of those firms advised on the recent $11.2 billion SunGard Data Systems sale.

Perennial M&A contenders Abernathy MacGregor and Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher ranked sixth and seventh in value, respectively.

Abernathy led in deal volume, with 25, followed by Kekst, Brunswick, and Sard.

"If Q1 is any indication, this will be a very busy year," said Abernathy COO Adam Miller.

Financial Dynamics, which finished second in volume for last year, slipped to fifth in the first quarter, handling 12 deals.

Marc Katz, Mergermarket's head of sales, said that the high volume of activity shows no signs of dropping off. "Based on all indications from our clients, I expect that it'll be consistent throughout the year," he said. "Every day there's always big mergers being announced."

Total North American M&A value topped $250 billion for the second straight quarter. The total volume dipped slightly from the past three quarters, but blockbuster deals like the $57 billion acquisition of Gillette by Procter & Gamble in January boosted total value.

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