Joele Frank tops Mergermarket adviser list

Joele Frank Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher advised on merger and acquisition deals worth $239.9 billion in the first three quarters of this year, ranking the firm first in the US by value in the Mergermarket League Tables of PR Advisers.

NEW YORK: Joele Frank Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher advised on merger and acquisition deals worth $239.9 billion in the first three quarters of this year, ranking the firm first in the US by value in the Mergermarket League Tables of PR Advisers.

During this time, Joele Frank advised on 64 US deals. In terms of overall value, the agency was followed by Abernathy MacGregor Group, which worked on 50 deals worth $201.5 billion, and Sard Verbinnen & Co., which provided counsel on 72 deals worth $129.9 billion.

Meanwhile, SVC topped the deal-volume list, with 72 US deals in the first nine months of 2013, followed by Kekst with 67, and Joele Frank with 64. Brunswick and Abernathy MacGregor came in fourth and fifth, respectively, in terms of US deal volume in the period.

Globally, Joele Frank also advised on the highest value of M&A deals, working on $240.3 billion in the first three quarters of the year. Abernathy MacGregor was second, with $213.7 billion, and Brunswick was third with 165.2 billion. RLM Finsbury and Maitland rounded out the top five on the global value-based list.

In terms of global deal volume during the first nine months of the year, FTI Consulting ranked first, working on 142 deals, while Brunswick worked on 130, and SVC advised on 76. Kekst and Citigate ranked fourth and fifth, respectively.

Comparatively, in the first nine months of 2012, Brunswick topped the rankings for highest value of M&A deals in the US, advising on 65 deals worth $118.5 billion. In the same time period, ranked by deal volume, Kekst led the rankings with 86 US deals worth $89.6 billion.

Brunswick also ranked first globally in 2012 in terms of M&A value, working on 130 deals worth $180.8 billion. FTI Consulting advised on the highest number of M&A deals, providing counsel on 153 transactions totaling $101.3 billion in the first three quarters of last year.

In the first three quarters of 2013, the global M&A market increased 5.5% compared with the same period in 2012 to $1.6 trillion. Among the major deals that took place in the first nine months of the year were Verizon's agreement to buy Vodafone, Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital Partners' deal for Heinz, and Liberty Global's buyout of Virgin Media. Joele Frank, RLM Finsbury, Abernathy MacGregor, and Maitland worked on the Verizon-Vodafone deal, while Brunswick provided counsel on both the Berkshire Hathaway-Heinz and Liberty Global-Virgin Media agreements, according to Mergermarket.

Amanda Levin, editor for the Americas at Mergermarket, attributed the increase to the plethora of mega deals that occurred earlier this year. However, she said the market's rise could be short-lived, largely due to changes with quantitative easing and the government shutdown, which has dampened economic recovery.

“CEOs and CFOs saw the economy as stable, and figured it was a great time to pull the trigger on M&A, until Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said he was going to consider pulling back on [quantitative easing],” she said. “That sent shockwaves throughout the market, and we saw the credit market seizing up; it was a real wakeup call and made people realize money isn't going to be cheap forever.”

This has resulted in executives of large companies holding off on megadeals. Levin said more corporations appear to be pruning portfolios, selling assets, and buying small assets.

“That's not to say we aren't going to see any more megadeals for the rest of the year; we definitely will,” she said. “I just don't think it is going to be as robust as it was at the beginning of the year; hopefully Washington can get its house in order.”

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