The former tops the table for the number of deals by value, handling transations worth $398.4bn (£319bn) in H1. That's a rise of 147.4 per cent on the same period last year.
It pushes Sard Verbinnen & Co into second place (when comparing data from H1 2018), with Kekst CNC rising from eleventh to third and Brunswick falling from second to fourth place (see table, below).
Greenbrook Communications has risen up the table significantly, moving from 27th to eighth as the value of deals it handled grew 250.1 per cent to $51.1bn (£41bn).
Kekst CNC tops the table by number of deals - in its first half-year since the agency's formation from the merger of Publicis shops Kekst and CNC last October. It handled 124 in the half-year, up from 91 over the same period in 2018.
Kekst CNC pushes Sard Verbinnen & Co into second place with 100 deals, down from 129.
Brunswick stays at third on the list with 88 deals (H1 2018: 107). The WPP partnership of Finsbury Hering Schuppener GPG moves up one place to fourth with 86 deals, which is one more than in the corresponding six months last year. FTI falls from second to sixth with 84 deals - 36 fewer than in H1 2018.
Kekst CNC partner Richard Campbell said: "2019 has, so far, been a quieter year for M&A but it’s also been a year defined by a series of important mega-deals. We are pleased to have worked on a number of those deals with significant contributions from all of our offices in the US, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Most importantly, this is our first half year as a combined firm and our presence on so many transactions is a real endorsement of the new global Kekst CNC offer."
Kekst CNC tops the league table by value in the UK, moving from 22nd in the first half of 2018 as the value of deals it handled rose more than six-fold to $22bn (£17.6bn).
The agency is only seventh in the table by value, however, with 17 deals. That table is topped by FTI with 43 deals (down from 52 in the same period last year). FTI is also second in the table by value, handling deals worth $20.9bn (£16.8bn).
In the deals-by-value table, there were significant falls for financial PR mainstays including Finsbury Hering Schuppener GPG (-68.8 per cent), Brunswick (-83.4 per cent) and Maitland AMO (-81 per cent). Greenbrook Communications is the other big growth agency in the top of that table - the value of deals it handled rose 77.7 per cent versus H1 2018 to $20bn (£16bn). (See UK tables, below)
The top of the US tables (below) mirror those of the global lists, with Joele Frank Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher and Kekst CNC ranked first in the tables for deals by value and volume respectively. Sard Verbinnen & Co also drops to second place in both.
Sard Verbinnen & Co tops the deals-by-value table in Europe, however, moving up from fourth place.
Other big risers in Europe include Kekst CNC, which saw the value of deals it handled grow 512.6 per cent to $98.4bn (£78.9bn); Abernathy MacGregor Group AMO (+304.7 per cent to $96.5bn); and Greenbrook Communications (+248.5 per cent to $50.8bn).
Finsbury Hering Schuppener GPG tops the table by deal count in Europe, with 66 - two head of Brunswick, with FTI falling from first to third with 60. (See Europe tables, below)