Global M&A platform Mergermarket has unveiled the 2015 winners of its annual M&A Awards ceremony, with four of the 15 main prizes going to business advisory firms, while three other consultancies managed to scoop a country award.
Every year Mergermarket organises its ‘M&A Awards’ competition, an event which celebrates excellence in the European M&A industry, recognising both companies, best practice transactions as well as individuals. Awards are handed out in 14 main categories, with an additional 34 awards provided for legal advisory and financial advisory across 17 different counties. The shortlist was drafted based on league table rankings (volume and value), revealing the top advisers in each category. Finalists were subsequently invited to pitch their case, with a panel of industry judges – veterans from the M&A landscape – deciding upon the winners. In their considerations, the judges assessed the strategic nature as well as the complexity of the deals worked on, the financing requirements and the ground-breaking or novel nature of the deals. The M&A Awards ceremony took place last Tuesday, 8 December 2015, in London’s Banqueting House, Whitehall.
Winners of the 2015 edition include big names from the banking industry, such as Goldman Sachs, named ‘European Financial Adviser of the Year’, Rothschild, which scooped the ‘Mid-Market Financial Adviser of the Year’ award, and Evercore Partners, an investment bank with 27 offices globally, which was named ‘Boutique Financial Adviser of the Year’. The ‘M&A Deal of the Year’, the headliner of the evening, went to the announced merger between SABMiller and Anheuser-Busch InBev, a deal which is worth a reported $106 billion, creating according to the firms the first truly global brewer, responsible for nearly 30% of all beer sales worldwide.
Among the fourteen main winners are also four business advisory firms. The Transaction Advisory Services (TAS) practice of EY, which has 5,500 professionals in 38 countries (100 cities), won the ‘Accountancy Firm of the Year’ award, for fifth time in six years*, building on its top position in the league tables for volume (>540 announced deals) and deal value. “Our ongoing investments in innovative technologies, leading industry knowledge and strategic and operational capabilities enable us to advise our clients on a wide range of capital and transaction-related business issues – from strategy to execution. Five awards in six years is an amazing achievement; we are honoured to remain the accountancy firm of choice for M&A advice in Europe,” comments Andrea Guerzoni, EY’s TAS Leader for Europe, Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA).
Roland Berger, a German-origin strategy consultancy, went home with the ‘M&A Consultancy of the Year: Strategic’ for the second year in a row. Paul Jowett, who leads the London office of the firm since 2012, says he is “very proud of the European trophy”, adding “this award shows that relevant financial institutions recognise our strong commitment on the international M&A market." Over the last years Roland Berger has taken several steps to intensify its activities in the M&A space, he says, including the bundling of its M&A expertise into a dedicated Competence Center for Restructuring & Corporate Finance and the setup of a Global Investor Support Group. “In this way Roland Berger has been able to achieve a leadership position in the most relevant markets,” Jowett states.
Big Four giant PwC – which to date leads Mergermarket’s 2015 league tables for financial advisors – received the ‘Private Equity Financial Adviser of the Year’ award, with in particular the UK playing a large role in the firm’s private equity footprint. Data from Thomson Financial, another M&A intelligence platform, reveals that PwC can call itself the number one adviser on private equity transactions in the UK by volume of large deals ($50 million - $1 billion in value) over a ten year period.
AECOM Transaction Services – the M&A arm of global conglomerate AECOM, listed on the Fortune 500 as one of America’s largest companies – scooped the ‘M&A Consultancy of the Year: Technical’ award, on the back of several major transactions supported in the energy, utilities, industrial and construction sectors.
An overview of the main winners of the Mergermarket 2015 M&A Awards:
- M&A Deal of the Year - Announced Merger of SABMiller and Anheuser-Busch InBev
- European Financial Adviser of the Year – Goldman Sachs
- Boutique Financial Adviser of the Year – Evercore Partners
- Mid-Market Financial Adviser of the Year – Rothschild
- Private Equity Financial Adviser of the Year – PwC
- European Legal Adviser of the Year – Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
- Mid-Market Legal Adviser of the Year – DLA Piper
- Private Equity Legal Adviser of the Year – Clifford Chance
- Public Relations Firm of the Year – Brunswick Group
- Accountancy Firm of the Year – EY
- M&A Consultancy of the Year: Technical – AECOM Transaction Services
- M&A Consultancy of the Year: Strategic – Roland Berger
- Private Equity Buyout of the Year – Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
- Private Equity Exit of the Year – LDC
Of the 17 ‘Financial Advisory Country’ awards, three went to business advisories. Deloitte was named ‘Financial Adviser of the Year’ in Austria, Irish M&A advisory Davy Corporate Finance won the prize for Ireland, while KPMG was named the best performer in Spain.
Looking ahead, M&A players are set to face bright times. The most recent data from Mergermarket for instance shows that globally M&A deal value is projected to hit the highest level since the crisis, at close to $4 trillion. Another study, conducted by EY, recently concluded that the deal appetite of executives has reached its highest point in years.
* EY TAS previously won the Mergermarket award in 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2010.