18 consulting firms scoop International M&A Advisor Awards

27 June 2017 Consultancy.uk 9 min. read

18 consulting firms have been honoured at the annual Advisor Awards, as the M&A Advisor unveiled winners of its 2017 edition. EY and PwC both played roles in five victories on a night recognising the efforts of around 260 nominated investment banks, law firms and consulting firms who played roles in landmark M&A results last year.

The M&A Advisor, the first dedicated media company to offer insights and intelligence on mergers and acquisitions, announced the winners of the 2017 International M&A Awards at the 9th Annual Awards Gala at the New York Athletic Club on Monday, June 12th. Top M&A Deals, Firms and Professionals were honoured by the awards, which saw 18 consulting firms recognised for their work over the previous year, with big winners EY and PwC both chalking up five wins each.

Since the inception of the M&A Advisor Awards in 2002, the annual competition – run by US-based M&A community The M&A Advisor – has grown into one of the globe’s premier events celebrating excellence in deal making and the performance of industry professionals, spanning sectors including corporate finance, restructuring, M&A transaction support and debt advisory services.

This year nominations expanded as the criteria for entry no longer requires that one of the parties is a US company, reflecting the changing international deal making market in a globalised world. An independent judging committee of 23 leading M&A industry experts judged the testimonials of the finalists, with the winners announced at the annual gala in New York.

M&A Advisor Awards

Individual Winners

Multiple awards were presented for the “Firm of the Year” category across different sectors, with four professional services groups scooping top prizes. Consulting services sector M&A advisors Equiteq were named as Boutique Investment Banking Firm of the Year, taking home an award for the second year running, with thrilled CEO David Jorgenson stating, “We are very proud that our individuality and expertise has set us apart.” Last year the consultancy won the Cross Border Deal of the Year ($50 - $100 million) category.

Also repeating success at the 2016 awards, Consulting Firm of the Year was picked up by Big Four group Deloitte, while Valuation Firm of the Year went to Valuation Research Corporation (VRC). The firm also picked the same award at the Association for Corporate Growth ceremony, with VRC Managing Director Ray Weisner commenting on the firm’s sustained dominance in the field, “We are delighted to be recognised by ACG for the third year in a row, and by M&A Advisor for the sixth.”

International professional services giant EY meanwhile took home the gong for Product/Service of the Year for their People Advisory Services M&A Integrations service, which helps companies integrate business strategies with innovation plans.

Big Winners

EY took their overall tally on the night to five, picking up further awards by having worked on four victorious deals, a feat only surpassed by Big Four rivals PwC, who participated in six of last year’s most notable M&A occurrences.

Information Technology and Telecom Deal of the Year for activity over $75 million was awarded for the strategic investment in Infutor by Norwest Venture Partners, which saw the multi-stage investment firm acquire the privately-held on-demand data solution provided. The deal was brokered by a number of players including EY, who also played a role in brokering the acquisition of Diversified Global Graphics Group (DG3) by an affiliate of Resilience Capital Partners. That merger, which also involved risk management consultancy Aon and engineering advisory Ramboll, won M&A Deal of the Year for a value of $25 million – $50 million.

M&A Deal of the Year for activity worth between $250 million and $500 million meanwhile celebrated the acquisition of Allworld Exhibitions, a trade show business, by events powerhouse UBM. The deal saw both EY and fellow major consulting market force KPMG, alongside legal firm Allen & Overy, M&A firm BCMS and financers J.P Morgan Cazenove, participate in the purchase worth around half a billion dollars.

PwC, KPMG, Deloitte, EY, Alvarez & Marsal, Aon, Equiteq, VRC and FTI Consulting

EY’s final accolade came with the award for Industrials Deal of the Year prize for an M&A worth over $150 million, which saw the firm participate in the divestiture of the Doosan Engineering & Construction heat recovery steam generator business to GE Power. Other participants in the deal included investment bankers BDA Partners, legal firms Kim & Chang and Yulchon, cloud-based deal management solutions group SmartRoom and PwC.

The most dominant consulting firm among top M&A deals last year, the M&A Advisor presented a further five prizes to activity involving the Big Four company. PwC participated in the Cross Border Deal of the Year (worth over $1 billion), which was presented for the acquisition of GE Appliances by Qingdao-Haier, a transaction that also saw the involvement of professional services group FTI Consulting.

PwC were also part of winning deals for Private Equity Deal ($50 million - $100 million) for the significant investment in St. Marche from L Catterton; Cross Border Deal (over $1 billion) for the acquisition of GE Appliances by Qingdao-Haier – which also involved FTI Consulting, Corporate/Strategic Deal ($250 million - $500 million) for advising on the acquisition of Vindicia, Brite:Bill and Pontis by Amdocs, and the colossal restructuring of Pacific Exploration & Production Corp, which won Corporate/Strategic Deal of the Year (over $1 billion), which saw 14 other firms including 10 legal practices involved a restructuring which saw the company’s debt reduced from $5.4 billion to $250 million.

KPMG meanwhile took their award haul to three, as they provided advisory services for the winning transactions for Energy Deal of the Year worth between $250 million - $1 billion, for the Section 363 Sale of Abengoa – along with fellow consultants Alvarez & Marsal – and Information Technology and Telecom Deal of the Year worth under $75 million, where KPMG Corporate Finance assisted in the raising of capital for Vena Solutions – the Toronto-based cloud performance managing solutions provider eventually benefiting from an additional $30 million to continue its global growth.

Alvarez & Marsal picked up further recognition for a second winning deal with the Restructuring of the Year category, which was awarded to the companies involved in the Chapter 11 Bankruptcy of O.W. Bunker, while Deloitte became the final consulting firm to gain multiple recognitions, as the Regional Deal of the Year was awarded for companies involved in the acquisition of SAP solutions firm Runbook by Blackline.

Drake Star Partners also participated in the deal, and was acknowledged for its role as exclusive investment banking advisor to Europe-based Runbook, a provider of financial close and automation solutions.

Ramboll, Drake Star Partners,  Raymond James, Capitalmind, A.T. Kearney, Innovation Advisors, BDO, AlixPartners, Berkley Research Group and BCMS

Gregory Bedrosian, Managing Partner & Co-CEO of Drake Star Partners accepted the award in New York. He commented: “It is an honor to accept this prestigious Deal of The Year award on behalf of our Dutch, German and American teams. This transaction is a perfect example of our expertise in cross-border deal making and we are proud that Drake Star Partners is being recognized for such an achievement.” 

Major deals

Fellow consulting firm Raymond James were meanwhile acknowledged for their involvement in the winning Cross Border Deal ($500 million - $1 billion), the acquisition of MAPCO, a subsidiary of diversified downstream energy firm Delek US, by Copec. Capitalmind were also recognised for their role in the M&A Deal of the Year ($100 million - $250 million) for the sale of solar power company BELECTRIC to innogy, an RWE company.

Sector-oriented awards meanwhile saw the Healthcare/Life Sciences Deal award recognised firms involved in the sale of Graphic Controls, a portfolio company of WestView Capital to Nissha Printing, with management consulting firm A.T. Kearney acknowledged alongside multinational legal firm Baker McKenzie and investment bankers BDA partners, among others.

BDO meanwhile picked up plaudits for their role in the financing of Gate as the deal won the annual Corporate/Strategic award for activity worth between $100 million and $250 million, while Consumer Discretionary Deal of the Year saw the acquisition of London-based publishing solutions company Ixxus by Copyright Clearance Center highlight Innovation Advisors for their role in the transaction.

Finally, AlixPartners and Berkley Research Group were commended for their role in the Materials Deal of the Year, awarded for the restructuring of Molycorp, a mining company which saw large sections of its group enter into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The restructuring saw 92.5% of Molycorp the property of Oaktree Capital Management, which subsequently provided Molycorp $130 million in debt financing.

David Fergusson, President and Co-CEO of The M&A Advisor said of the winners, “The 2017 International M&A Award winners represent the best of the international M&A industry in 2016 who earned these honours by standing out in a group of very impressive finalists.”