NEW YORK—Brunswick and Kekst and Company were again the two dominant firms in North American mergers and acquisitions activity during 2009, according to year-end rankings produced by mergermarket, which show Brunswick leading by value of deals (working on 80 transactions worth around $199 billion) and Kekst leading in terms of volume (70 deals worth $137 billion).
On a global basis, a 27 percent reduction in global M&A activity was coupled with an almost complete absence of IPOs, so that fee income was sharply lower, even though the number and value of insolvency deals eclipsed even the peaks of 2002. The year offered opportunistic buyers the chance to take advantage of stressed and distressed companies, giving rise to a staggering 370 percent increase in the value of insolvency deals since 2008.
Brunswick was helped by its work advising Pfizer on its $63.3 billion bid for Wyeth, the top deal of the year globally, although the firm experienced a $62.2 billion decline in deal value over 2008 total and worked on 58 fewer deals. Kekst was aided by its role advising Genetech on its sale to Roche and on the government bailout of General Motors.
In the value ranking, Brunswick finished ahead of Kekst, Sard Verbinnen & Co., Joele Frank Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher and Abernathy MacGregor Group, and there were serious gains for Sloane & Company (up from 29th last year to 10th in 2009) and Edelman (from 35th to 16th).
In terms of volume, Kekst beat out Sard Verbinnen, FD, Abernathy MacGregor and Joele Frank.