NEW YORK—Perennial market leaders such as Brunswick, FTI Consulting and Kekst and Company enjoyed a strong first quarter in terms of merger and acquisition work, with WPP-owned RLM Finsbury also making a strong impression despite a decline in terms of overall activity, according to the latest rankings from mergermarket.

Brunswick led the global league table in terms of volume of deals, handling 41 transactions worth close to $39 billion, ahead of FTI (33 transactions), Kekst (28), RLM Finsbury (25), and Sard Verbinnen & Co. (21), while RLM Finsbury jumped from ninth place in the first quarter last year to the number one spot in terms of value of deals (close to $90 billion).

RLM represented Glencore International in two of the three biggest deals of the quarter, its bids for mining company Xstrata and Canadian agribusiness giant Viterra. It also handled the defense of Sterlite Industries of India against Sesa Goa. Those deals were among the few bright spots in an otherwise disappointing quarter: there were 2,567 deals worth $ 419 billion in total, down 30.6 percent from the first quarter of 2011 and 9 percent of the previous quarter.

Kekst and Company was top of the volume table in the US, working 28 deals, ahead of Brunswick (21), Sard Verbinnen (20), Abernathy MacGregor (18) and Joele Frank Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher (17). In terms of value of deals, Brunswick led the way, with the other four firms rounding out the top five.

In Europe, meanwhile, Brunswick was number one in terms of deal count (29), ahead of FTI (23), RLM Finsbury (19), Citigate (16) and Maitland (10). RLM Finsbury led in terms of deal value. FTI was tops in the UK, working 20 deals, ahead of Brunswick and RLM Fnsbury, while Brunswick led in France (10 deals), ahead of Euro RSCG C&O and Publicis Consultants; Hering Schuppener was number one in Germany in terms of both value and volume, ahead of CNC; and RLM Finsbury topped both rankings in Italy.

In Asia, FTI Consulting held on to the top spot working seven deals, ahead of Kreab Gavin Anderson, Publicis-owned Hanmer Consulting, and Australian consultancy Cannings (four each). RLM Finsbury was number one in terms of deal value.