NEW YORK—A strong showing in the US market in the first quarter of 2011 catapulted Abernathy MacGregor Group to the top of the global ranking of public relations advisors on mergers and acquisitions, according to the latest research report from mergermarket. Abernathy advised on 16 deals with total value of around $73 billion, topping both the global ranking and the North American ranking in terms of value.

However, FD and Brunswick held on to the number one and two spots in terms of the volume of deals worked in the quarter, with FD working on 47 transactions and Brunswick on 41. And Kekst and Company repeated as the number one firm in the US in terms of volume, with 21 deals—just one ahead of Sard Verbinnen & Company, which moved up from sixth to second place.

Abernathy achieved it success by working on four of the 10 largest deals announced during the first quarter. The firm, which is part of the French holding company Havas and its AMO network of corporate and financial PR firms, is working for both the bidder and the target company in Duke Energy’s acquisition of Progress Energy; representing ProLogis on its potential sale to AMB Property; supporting Deutsche Boerse on its bid for NYSE Euronext; and working with ENSCO International on its bid for Pride International.

Brunswick was second globally in terms of value of deals worked, followed by Sard Verbinnen, Kekst, and German firm Hering Schuppener. In terms of volume, Finsbury, Kekst and Citigate rounded out the top five behind FD and Brunswick.

Global M&A for the first quarter totaled $610.1 billion, up 33.1 percent over the same period in 2010 ($458.4 billion) and the highest since the first quarter of 2007, although deal count was down by 3.6 percent.

North America

The US led the way, with an 87 percent increase in the total value of deals announced compared to the same period in 2010: $271.7 billion—the largest volume in four years. As a result, US-based M&A contributed 44.5 percent of the global total, compared to 31.6 percent for the same period last year. Nine of the ten largest deals announced globally in the first quarter were US-based.

Abernathy led the ranking by value of deals worked ahead of Sard Verbinnen, Kekst, Brunswick and Hering Schuppener. In terms of volume of deals, Abernathy, Brunswick and Joele Frank Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher rounded out the top five behind Kekst and Sard.


European M&A also started the year well, with Q1 seeing $176.1 billion of deals, a 38.4 percent increase over the same period last year and the highest Q1 total since 2008.

Brunswick led the EMEA league table in terms of value, ahead of Hering Schuppener, Kekst, Abernathy and Spanish firm Llorente & Cuenca (both Hering and Llorente are members of the AMO network). In terms of volume, Brunswick was number one, followed by FD, Finsbury, Citigate and yet another AMO member: Maitland.

In the UK, Brunswick, Finsbury and Abernathy led the value ranking, with FD, Brunswick and Finsbury tops in terms of value. In France, M Communications was number one in value, while Brunswick led the volume ranking. In Germany, Hering Schuppener was the leader in both value and volume. And in Italy, Community Group led both rankings.


Following a record year for M&A in the Asia-Pacific region (excluding Japan) in 2010, activity in Q1 totaled $79.2 billion, 19.3 percent better than the first quarter last year.

Kreab Gavin Anderson was number one in terms of the value of deals worked, ahead of Hinton & Associates and FD. In terms of volume of deals, FD was number one, ahead of Brunswick and Hong Kong-based Strategic Public Relations Group.