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The 10 Most Powerful M&A Firms in the World

The 10 Most Powerful M&A Firms in the World

Despite a year when unicorn startups lost their shine, political uncertainty continued and trade wars were threatened, 2019 was the fourth biggest year on record for M&A. Figures compiled by M&A data provider Refinitiv show that $3.9 trillion of deals globally - a 3% decline on 2018 but still remarkably robust given the aforementioned circumstances.

Below, we look at the 10 most powerful M&A firms in the world, using their 2019 deal flow as a proxy. For the second year in a row, the all-powerful investment bank Goldman Sachs topped the list of the biggest dealmakers. Followed by JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley who swapped positions in second and third place from 2018.  As one might expect, the rest of the top 10 is a veritable who’s who of the most powerful M&A companies in the world.

Despite a year when unicorn startups lost their shine, political uncertainty continued and trade wars were threatened, 2019 was the fourth biggest year on record for M&A. Figures compiled by M&A data provider Refinitiv show that $3.9 trillion of deals globally - a 3% decline on 2018 but still remarkably robust given the aforementioned circumstances.

Below, we look at the 10 most powerful M&A firms in the world, using their 2019 deal flow as a proxy. For the second year in a row, the all-powerful investment bank Goldman Sachs topped the list of the biggest dealmakers. Followed by JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley who swapped positions in second and third place from 2018.  As one might expect, the rest of the top 10 is a veritable who’s who of the most powerful M&A companies in the world.

Best M&A Companies

  1. Goldman Sachs
  2. JP Morgan
  3. Morgan Stanley
  4. Citi
  5. Evercore
  6. Bank of America
  7. Credit Suisse
  8. Barclays
  9. RBC Capital Markets
  10. Moelis & Co.
goldman sachs

Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs was once the outsider of the big Wall Street investment banks, but several decades of success in the 20th century, most notably when its underwriting of the Ford Motor Company IPO brought it to the top table, where it has remained ever since. In 2019, the firm’s deals totalled $1,174 billion, a 7.3% increase on the year before. This growth was driven by a series of deals in the TMT sector that included Salesforce’s $15.7 billion acquisition of Tableau - the biggest tech deal of the year.

Website | FacebookTwitter

J.P. Morgan

JP Morgan

With its celebrity investment banker CEO Jamie Dimon at the helm, JP Morgan is seldom far from the headlines these days. It led the table for the most deals in the first quarter of 2019, with $322 billion of deals, before its output evened off in the second half of the year. Highlights for the year included being lead advisor to Bristol-Myers Squibb $74 billion acquisition of Celgene and Saudi Aramco’s $69 billion acquisition of Saudi Basic Industries. It finished the year with a total deal value of $987 billion spread across 298 transactions.

Website | FacebookTwitter

morgan stanley

Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley made several acquisitions of its own in 2019, bringing in-house acquisitions to the highest they’d been since 2008. This trend has continued into 2020 with the February acquisition of E*Trade for over $13 billion, giving Morgan Stanley access to five million retail investors. On the advisory side, deal flow of $883.2 billion contributed to the firm posting record annual profits. The highlight of the year for Morgan Stanley was probably Abbvie’s $83 billion acquisition of Allergan, which was awaiting clearance at the time of writing.  

Website | FacebookTwitter

citi

Citi

2019 was a good year for Citi, which saw its deal volume increase by over 3% to reach $723 billion across 217 deals. Citi advised Saudi Basic Industries management on its sale to Saudi Aramco in the first half of the year - the biggest transaction ever between for a Saudi Arabian company. Citi is also regarded as a specialist in the metals and minin\g sector, where it was the lead advisor by the end of the year. The advisory role that Citi played in Newmont Mining’s $10 billion acquisition of Goldcorp was the biggest transaction in this sector over the calendar year.

Website | FacebookTwitter

evercore

Evercore

Evercore is the second youngest member on this list, having been founded just a quarter of a century ago, in 1995. Its chairperson, John S. Weinberg, is the grandson of the late Sidney Weinberg, the man credited with revolutionizing Goldman Sachs in the middle third of the 20th century, so perhaps its ascendance should come as no surprise. In 2019, the company advised on 172 deals with a total value of $621.4 billion.

Website | Facebook

bank of america

Bank of America

Despite a sixth place position on the list of M&A power brokers, Bank of America could justifiably be said to be the star performer of M&A advisors in 2019. Revenues at advisory business grew by over 16% after the firm decided to reinvigorate its advisory team at the end of 2018 and brought in over 50 high-profile M&A directors. Landing the advisory role to UK firm GlaxoSmithKline on a series of deals was a huge win for BofA in Europe where its business had been on a downward trajectory for a few years.

Website | FacebookTwitter

credit suisse

Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse admitted in a presentation at its Investors Day in December 2019 that its M&A business had suffered in 2019 as a result of fewer large transactions, particularly in industrials, where it has been historically strong. At the end of the year, it doubled down its efforts to win major clients by conducting a hiring spree in the technology and healthcare sectors, suggesting that 2020 may be a more fruitful firm for the Swiss giants. Its 2019 deal volume was $399.4 billion, spread across 161 deals.

Website | FacebookTwitter

Barclays

Barclays

The UK’s leading investment bank showed no sign of any remorse about Brexit, continuing on the path of the strategy it set in 2016 to fortify its M&A business, even as European rivals began to pull back. Promisingly, the bank is highly regarded in the Middle East, where it won Advisor of the Year in Mergermarket’s annual award ceremony in June. This is likely to be a lucrative area for M&A in the years ahead. In 2019, Barclays advised on 169 deals with a total volume of $319.3 billion.

Website | Facebook

rbc capital markets

RBC Capital Markets

RBC Capital Markets’ push into M&A - whereby it hired over a dozen senior bankers at the outset of the year - was rewarded in 2019 with a place on the top 10 advisors for the first time in its history. Highlights of the year were its role as advisor to BB&T Corp in its $28 billion acquisition of SunTrust Banks Inc. and advising Melrose Industries on its $11 billion takeover of GKN Ltd. All of this culminated in a remarkable rise of nearly 60% in deal volume to $286.1 billion, despite a drop in the number of deals from 142 to 128.

Website | Facebook

moelis

Moelis & Co.

Moelis & Co is by the youngest investment bank on the list, having been founded in 2007 by its current CEO, Kenneth D. Moelis. Its 2019 revenue was $746.5 million. Although a specialist in restructuring rather than M&A per se, it still manages to find its way onto the top 10 M&A advisors by virtue of a string of major deals in 2019. These included its role as exclusive financial advisor on the sell-side to Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) in its divestiture of its stake in ADNOC Drilling. The total volume of the 124 deals it advised on in 2019 came to $247.9 billion.

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Despite a year when unicorn startups lost their shine, political uncertainty continued and trade wars were threatened, 2019 was the fourth biggest year on record for M&A. Figures compiled by M&A data provider Refinitiv show that $3.9 trillion of deals globally - a 3% decline on 2018 but still remarkably robust given the aforementioned circumstances.

Below, we look at the 10 most powerful M&A firms in the world, using their 2019 deal flow as a proxy. For the second year in a row, the all-powerful investment bank Goldman Sachs topped the list of the biggest dealmakers. Followed by JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley who swapped positions in second and third place from 2018.  As one might expect, the rest of the top 10 is a veritable who’s who of the most powerful M&A companies in the world.

Best M&A Companies

  1. Goldman Sachs
  2. JP Morgan
  3. Morgan Stanley
  4. Citi
  5. Evercore
  6. Bank of America
  7. Credit Suisse
  8. Barclays
  9. RBC Capital Markets
  10. Moelis & Co.
goldman sachs

Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs was once the outsider of the big Wall Street investment banks, but several decades of success in the 20th century, most notably when its underwriting of the Ford Motor Company IPO brought it to the top table, where it has remained ever since. In 2019, the firm’s deals totalled $1,174 billion, a 7.3% increase on the year before. This growth was driven by a series of deals in the TMT sector that included Salesforce’s $15.7 billion acquisition of Tableau - the biggest tech deal of the year.

Website | FacebookTwitter

J.P. Morgan

JP Morgan

With its celebrity investment banker CEO Jamie Dimon at the helm, JP Morgan is seldom far from the headlines these days. It led the table for the most deals in the first quarter of 2019, with $322 billion of deals, before its output evened off in the second half of the year. Highlights for the year included being lead advisor to Bristol-Myers Squibb $74 billion acquisition of Celgene and Saudi Aramco’s $69 billion acquisition of Saudi Basic Industries. It finished the year with a total deal value of $987 billion spread across 298 transactions.

Website | FacebookTwitter

morgan stanley

Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley made several acquisitions of its own in 2019, bringing in-house acquisitions to the highest they’d been since 2008. This trend has continued into 2020 with the February acquisition of E*Trade for over $13 billion, giving Morgan Stanley access to five million retail investors. On the advisory side, deal flow of $883.2 billion contributed to the firm posting record annual profits. The highlight of the year for Morgan Stanley was probably Abbvie’s $83 billion acquisition of Allergan, which was awaiting clearance at the time of writing.  

Website | FacebookTwitter

citi

Citi

2019 was a good year for Citi, which saw its deal volume increase by over 3% to reach $723 billion across 217 deals. Citi advised Saudi Basic Industries management on its sale to Saudi Aramco in the first half of the year - the biggest transaction ever between for a Saudi Arabian company. Citi is also regarded as a specialist in the metals and minin\g sector, where it was the lead advisor by the end of the year. The advisory role that Citi played in Newmont Mining’s $10 billion acquisition of Goldcorp was the biggest transaction in this sector over the calendar year.

Website | FacebookTwitter

evercore

Evercore

Evercore is the second youngest member on this list, having been founded just a quarter of a century ago, in 1995. Its chairperson, John S. Weinberg, is the grandson of the late Sidney Weinberg, the man credited with revolutionizing Goldman Sachs in the middle third of the 20th century, so perhaps its ascendance should come as no surprise. In 2019, the company advised on 172 deals with a total value of $621.4 billion.

Website | Facebook

bank of america

Bank of America

Despite a sixth place position on the list of M&A power brokers, Bank of America could justifiably be said to be the star performer of M&A advisors in 2019. Revenues at advisory business grew by over 16% after the firm decided to reinvigorate its advisory team at the end of 2018 and brought in over 50 high-profile M&A directors. Landing the advisory role to UK firm GlaxoSmithKline on a series of deals was a huge win for BofA in Europe where its business had been on a downward trajectory for a few years.

Website | FacebookTwitter

credit suisse

Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse admitted in a presentation at its Investors Day in December 2019 that its M&A business had suffered in 2019 as a result of fewer large transactions, particularly in industrials, where it has been historically strong. At the end of the year, it doubled down its efforts to win major clients by conducting a hiring spree in the technology and healthcare sectors, suggesting that 2020 may be a more fruitful firm for the Swiss giants. Its 2019 deal volume was $399.4 billion, spread across 161 deals.

Website | FacebookTwitter

Barclays

Barclays

The UK’s leading investment bank showed no sign of any remorse about Brexit, continuing on the path of the strategy it set in 2016 to fortify its M&A business, even as European rivals began to pull back. Promisingly, the bank is highly regarded in the Middle East, where it won Advisor of the Year in Mergermarket’s annual award ceremony in June. This is likely to be a lucrative area for M&A in the years ahead. In 2019, Barclays advised on 169 deals with a total volume of $319.3 billion.

Website | Facebook

rbc capital markets

RBC Capital Markets

RBC Capital Markets’ push into M&A - whereby it hired over a dozen senior bankers at the outset of the year - was rewarded in 2019 with a place on the top 10 advisors for the first time in its history. Highlights of the year were its role as advisor to BB&T Corp in its $28 billion acquisition of SunTrust Banks Inc. and advising Melrose Industries on its $11 billion takeover of GKN Ltd. All of this culminated in a remarkable rise of nearly 60% in deal volume to $286.1 billion, despite a drop in the number of deals from 142 to 128.

Website | Facebook

moelis

Moelis & Co.

Moelis & Co is by the youngest investment bank on the list, having been founded in 2007 by its current CEO, Kenneth D. Moelis. Its 2019 revenue was $746.5 million. Although a specialist in restructuring rather than M&A per se, it still manages to find its way onto the top 10 M&A advisors by virtue of a string of major deals in 2019. These included its role as exclusive financial advisor on the sell-side to Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) in its divestiture of its stake in ADNOC Drilling. The total volume of the 124 deals it advised on in 2019 came to $247.9 billion.

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