NEW YORK—Sard Verbinnen enjoyed a strong first half and finished the first half of the year as the new leader in mergermarket’s listing of public relations advisers to North American mergers and acquisitions, ranked by value. The firm leapt ahead of rival Kekst—which remains the leader in volume of deals—after advising the private equity consortium that bought out BCE in Canada’s largest transaction on record at the end of June.
Brunswick Group, Joele Frank Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher and Abernathy MacGregor Group rounded out the top five in deal value.
The largest deal for the year to date, the spin-off of Kraft Foods from parent company Altria, did not use an external public relations counsel.
Meanwhile, in the volume ranking, Kekst continues to lead with 63 deals, with Abernathy MacGregor Group follows close behind with 62 deals. Sard Verbinnen, Brunswick and Joele Frank also made the top five.
Several firms have made notable entries into the top 20 in the value table: Sloane & Company, which was ranked 99th at year end 2006, is now ranked 12th after advising $26.3bn worth of deals, including the $22.5bn management buyout of Cablevision Systems by the Dolan family. Smithfield Consultants moved to eighth place in the value table (from 45th at year end 2006) after advising BCE during the company’s buyout.
Global deal value as of June 30 stands at $2.3 trillion, with over $677 billio in private equity buyouts. North American deal value has already reached just over $1 trillion (in 2006, this figure was not achieved until the second week of September) despite the fact that deal volumes have remained at the same level as the first half of 2006.
Financial Services is currently the hottest sector for M&A activity with 19.2 percent of total deal value.