NEW YORK—Three British companies—Brunswick Group, Citigate and Financial Dynamics—are now among the top six communications players in the U.S. mergers and acquisitions business, according to the latest report from the newsletter mergermarket.
Kekst & Company held on to the top spot in the survey, advising on 113 deals with a value of more than $236 billion, but Brunswick was in second place in terms of the volume of deal (and fourth in value), and Citigate (represented in the U.S. by Citigate Sard Verbinnen) was third, edging out traditional U.S. M&A players such as Joele Frank Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher and Abernathy MacGregor Group. Financial Dynamics rounded out the top six.
The flurry of M&A deal activity late in 2004 led to big assignments for financial PR firms, with Kekst and Citigate benefiting from their work on the the Sprint-Nextel merger, Kekst and Citigate. Sprint retained Kekst to announce its $40.8bn merger, while Citigate advised merger partner Nextel, and handled 72 deals in the year representing $174 billion.
Brunswick Group missed out on the biggest year-end deal but was retained for the next three largest December mergers, helping it retain its second place in the value rankings. The firm not only worked with Guidant in its $23.9 billion sale to Johnson & Johnson, and Symantec in its $11.4 billion acquisition of Veritas, but also advised both buyer and seller when Exelon agreed to pay $26 billion for PSEG. The firm also held its leading position by value in the European financial PR ranking, having advised on 121 deals valued at €141 billion.
Meanwhile, AT&T Wireless retained Joele Frank for its $47 billion sale to Cingular Wireless, while Abernathy MacGregor rebounded up the value rankings from 16th position last year to fifth, with 23 deals worth $45.3 billion.
The full-service multinational firms were once again conspicuous by the absence from the rankings, with only Ogilvy cracking the top 20 in terms of volume (coming in 10th) and Weber Shandwick joining it in the top 10 in terms of value.
The overall M&A picture in North America looks bright, mergermarket says. Compared to 2003 total M&A value has increased by 65 percent from $623 billion in 2003 to $1,030 billion and deal volume has increased by 53 percent.