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Top 10 Deals of 2013

The inside story on the year's most notable transactions, and the bankers that helped put them together.

Rainmakers rediscovered the spring in their step in 2013, but swagger wasn’t an option. After the previous year’s slump, global mergers and acquisitions rebounded. As of November 30 total M&A deal volume stood at $2.63 trillion, according to Dealogic, an 11.2 percent rise over the first 11 months of 2012. With $1.34 trillion in volume, a 26 percent jump, the U.S. showed the biggest regional improvement. But that bounce didn’t pump up fees, whose worldwide total fell 13.2 percent, to $14.9 billion.

The M&A market hinges on CEO confidence, which wavered in 2013 as a blistering first quarter fueled hopes of a bonanza year — until the U.S. Federal Reserve Board dashed them in May by suggesting that it would scale back its bond-buying program. When that didn’t happen, volumes recovered, with more than $350 billion worth of European deals alone announced in September.

Other deal makers fared better. Global equity issuance hit $748.8 billion through November, a 26 percent spike over the same period in 2012 as the market for initial public offerings rocketed by 30 percent. The U.S. saw transactions such as the $2.1 billion listing of social media phenomenon Twitter (No. 8 in our ranking), and the European IPO market came back from its nadir.

Global debt issuance fell 7.4 percent, to $5.7 trillion, after record volumes in 2012, but the expected slump didn’t arrive. The Fed’s apparent decision to delay tapering until 2014 sparked a surge in issuance during the fourth quarter and put supply within range of the previous year. Europe’s debt markets also stayed strong, bolstered by low interest rates and relative stability in the euro zone. “Recently, Europe has proved a popular destination for foreign global borrowers as the region’s credit markets deepened,” says Jim Esposito, head of financing for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Goldman Sachs Group in London. “Large multinational corporations are looking to diversify their sources of funds by issuing in euros and sterling.”

In Asia, M&A volumes staged a revival, rising 14.8 percent year-over-year as of November 30, to $508 billion. But the region’s equity capital markets bankers lagged their U.S. and European peers: Asian equity issuance fell 5 percent, to $142.8 billion. Goldman Sachs again led the global M&A ranking, with JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley keeping second and third place, respectively. Goldman grabbed the top EMEA spot from Deutsche Bank, which tumbled to seventh, but was denied a regional clean sweep when archrival Morgan Stanley pipped it to No. 1 in Asia.

 Top 10 Deals of 2013With these extraordinary closed and pending deals,
our ten rainmakers earned their keep in choppy markets.
($ Millions) *
1U.K. bank Barclays follows a £5.8 billion ($9.1 billion) rights issue with a $2 billion hybrid bond offering.$1832
2Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital pay $27.4 billion to take ketchup maker H.J. Heinz Co. private.$97–107
3U.S. telecom Verizon Communications agrees to give Vodafone $130 billion for the British carrier’s 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless.$93–103
4Founder Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners privatize U.S. computer maker Dell for $24.9 billion.1$82–92
5Brazilian phone company Oi and Portugal Telecom agree to a $15.7 billion tie-up under the former’s name.$70–90
6Cable giant Liberty Global buys the U.K.’s Virgin Media for $25.5 billion.$882
7Advertising firms Omnicom Group and Publicis Groupe agree to a $35 billion Franco-American merger of equals.$50–70
8Social media company Twitter launches a $2.1 billion initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange.$682
9China’s Shuanghui International Holdings closes a $7 billion buyout of U.S. pork producer Smithfield Foods.$51–61
10iPhone maker Apple issues $17 billion worth of bonds.$532
* Estimates unless otherwise noted. M&A totals only include advisory fees;
debt and equity totals only include underwriting fees.

1 Deal value provided by Dell.

2 Publicly disclosed.
Source: Thomson Reuters/Freeman Consulting Services.

Institutional Investor’s 2013 Deals of the Year — ranked by total advisory fees, as estimated by investment consulting firm Freeman Consulting Services and Thomson Reuters — honors ten bankers who played key roles in a wide range of remarkable pending and closed transactions. Barclays (No. 1) tapped the equity market for £5.8 billion ($9.1 billion) in the biggest capital raising by a British bank since 2009. Telecom giant Verizon Communications’ $130 billion acquisition of U.K. rival Vodafone Group’s U.S. business (No. 3) was the largest tie-up of the past decade. Shuanghui International Holdings sealed the richest-ever Chinese takeover of an American company with its $7 billion purchase of Smithfield Foods (No. 9), and Apple’s $17 billion bond sale (No. 10) was the biggest in U.S. corporate history before Verizon surpassed it five months later. Deal makers will face a test in 2014 as differing monetary policies play out: The Fed’s tapering should lead to higher interest rates, but the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan are both expected to keep them near historic lows. “While activity is clearly picking up, I don’t believe there will be a broad-based recovery in European M&A for a couple of years,” says Colm Donlon, London-based co-head of M&A for EMEA at Morgan Stanley.

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