how-the-ma-advisers-stack-up

How the M&A advisers stack up

The first nine months of 2007 have been fraught with M&A surprises, making it difficult to predict how the year will end for investment banks.
The league tables once again show why no-one should place a bet on how the final order will look at the end of the year. The Dealogic rankings for M&A advisers for Asia-Pacific (including Australia and Japan) for the nine months to end September 30 have changed considerably during the course of the year, and indeed, there have been some dramatic upsets, especially in the last quarter.

The one constant has been UBS, which remains in pole position. It has announced 67 deals and closed 71. UBS has been helped by a strong showing in Australia, a market that has witnessed a few high-value M&A deals. UBS also has the unique distinction of being the only investment bank to lead in both completed and announced deals in three key markets: Australia, India and Hong Kong.

In the last two months, Citi has been busy announcing deals across the region, a number of them cross-border Asia outbound, catapulting it to number two position in announced deals. Observers comment that the willingness of the US bank to lend its balance sheet to support its key clientsÆ ambitions to grow using M&A has stood it in good stead in a time when a number of players have been in wait-and-see mode due to the credit crisis. Citi is followed by JPMorgan, which has announced 51 deals.



JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs, in that order, follow UBS on completed deals, with 44 and 49 respectively. CitiÆs ranking on completed deals is at number four, with only 54 deals signed, sealed and delivered.

Regional breakdown
Geographically, there are a few surprises. The usual suspects, Hong Kong and Singapore, have been quiet on the M&A front. Predictably, Japan, followed by Australia, lead in the value of deals transacted. Ticket sizes in both countries are much larger than elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region so even a few deals can add up. But the other countries which have seen activity are India and Malaysia.

On completed deals, Goldman Sachs leads in Japan, having closed 20 deals with an aggregate value of $34 billion, ahead of local competitor Nomura which closed a whopping 125 deals but with a lower aggregate value of $29 billion. For M&A league tables, as is true elsewhere in life, size does matter.

But as M&A bankers know only too well, donÆt start spending the bonus until it is actually in the bank. The distance between announcement and completion is still large and the end of year could well see a totally different situation.

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