2019 has not started entirely well for the world's M&A bankers. Figures released yesterday from Dealogic revealed that European M&A revenues were down 25% year-on-year in the first quarter, while revenues in Asia ex-Japan were down 30%. The only growth regions were North America, which was up a modest 4%, and Japan, which was up a massive 96% - but isn't the sort of market a Western banker can just move into.
If 2019 continues as it began, there may therefore be M&A bankers looking for new jobs soon. If you're plotting your next M&A move, we've identified the best teams to target in each bank below. The rankings relate to the whole of 2018 rather than the first quarter. With luck, teams that were strong last year will remain so this year too.
Where Bank of America is best for M&A:
Bank of America's M&A business has been having a few well-documented problems and the bank wants to hire up to 50 senior dealmakers to help resolve them.
Last year, BofA had comparatively few M&A teams in the top five globally by region. However, if you chose your spot carefully you could still end up in a good place there.
In 2018 BofA ranked first for UK real estate M&A and second for UK energy and natural resources M&A. Across the whole of Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) it ranked third for healthcare M&A.
BofA's M&A business didn't do so well in the crucial North American market last year. In the US, it ranked outside the top five for most sectors, with the exception of communications, media and entertainment, where it ranked fifth, and real estate, where it ranked fourth.
Where Barclays is best for M&A:
If you work in M&A for Barclays, there is one clear place to be. - The US energy and natural resources M&A team, which generated revenues of $194m last year and ranked third in the US market behind Goldman Sachs and Citi. Failing that, you could try Barclays' UK communications media and entertainment sector team, which ranked second (behind Morgan Stanley) with a 16.4% market share and net revenues of $45m last year.
Where Centerview Partners is best for M&A:
Centerview Partners is an M&A boutique that punches above its weight. Last year it ranked first in the U.S. for business services M&A, and third for healthcare M&A. In EMEA, Centerview raked third for technology M&A, fourth for transportation M&A, and fifth for real estate M&A.
Where Citi is best for M&A:
Citigroup's M&A business is strongest in the US, but there are also a few hotspots in EMEA and more specifically in the UK.
In the US, Citi's natural resources M&A team ranked second last year. Its real estate team ranked third, and its financial institutions group (FIG) and industrials M&A teams ranked fourth.
In EMEA, Citi ranked first for transportation and fourth for FIG and real estate. In the UK, Citi ranked first for healthcare.
Where Credit Suisse is best for M&A:
If you work in M&A for Credit Suisse, you want to be in a few particular teams in the UK or Europe. The Swiss bank ranked fourth for EMEA business services M&A last year, fourth for EMEA technology M&A, and fifth for EMEA healthcare M&A.
In the US, Credit Suisse's M&A teams ranked outside the top five for all sectors - with the exception of industrials, where they ranked fifth.
Where Deutsche Bank is best for M&A:
At Deutsche Bank too, the best M&A teams are all in Europe. The German bank's communications media and entertainment team ranked third in the UK last year, and fifth in EMEA. It's strongest team is the EMEA transportation team, which ranked second last year.
No DB team ranked in the top five in the US.
Where Goldman Sachs is best for M&A:
If you work in M&A for Goldman Sachs, it's more a question of where to avoid than where to choose. - Most Goldman M&A sector teams rank in the top five and many are first or second overall.
Last year Goldman was first for UK technology M&A and first for UK FIG M&A. It was first for EMEA communications, media and entertainment M&A, and first for EMEA consumer and retail M&A. In the US, Goldman was first for energy and natural resources, real estate, technology, and transportation M&A.
In most markets and most sectors, Goldman is in the top five.
However, there are a few exceptions. If you want to work in a top ranked team, avoid Goldman's EMEA healthcare and transportation M&A team. Avoid its U.S. communications media and entertainment. Avoid its U.S. business services team. And avoid UK real estate, UK transportation, and UK healthcare. - All of these were outside the top five last year.
Where JPMorgan is best for M&A:
JPMorgan is a bit like Goldman Sachs in M&A in Europe and the US: it's hard to go wrong.
JPM's M&A teams rank in the top five for almost everything in the US (except transportation). Its strongest US M&A team is communications media and entertaiment where it ranked first last year. Failing that, try working in the US consumer and retail, industrials, and real estate teams where JPM ranked second.
In EMEA, JPM's healthcare, real estate, and technology M&A teams ranked first in 2018. JPM ranked second in industrials. And it ranked outside the top five in communications, media and entertainment, natural resources, transportation according to Dealogic.
In the UK, JPM's consumer and retail M&A team ranked top last year.
Where Lazard is best for M&A:
Lazard can be a good bet for an M&A banker, if you choose your team carefully. Last year, Lazard ranked fourth for EMEA consumer and retail M&A, fourth for EMEA healthcare M&A, and fourth for EMEA industrials. It also ranked fourth for UK technology M&A.
Where Morgan Stanley is best for M&A:
Morgan Stanley is another good all-rounder, although it too has its bald spots.
Last year, Morgan Stanley ranked first in EMEA energy natural resources M&A, second in EMEA communications, media and entertainment M&A, and third in real estate, transportation, and industrials M&A. Morgan Stanley didn't rank in the top five in EMEA for consumer and retail, healthcare and business services M&A. It came top in the UK for energy and natural resources and for communications, media and entertainment M&A.
In the US, Morgan Stanley ranked first for industrials M&A. It ranked second for technology, healthcare and business services M&A. And it ranked third for consumer and retail M&A. However, Morgan Stanley ranked outside the top five for US energy and natural resources M&A in 2018.
Where Rothschild is best for M&A:
Rothschild has been building up its U.S. M&A business in recent years. However, if you work for the independent investment bank, you probably want to be based in EMEA.
In 2018 Rothschild ranked first in EMEA for industrials and first in EMEA for business services. It came second for energy and natural resources, healthcare, financial institutions, consumer and retail M&A. And it came first in the UK for industrials, first in the UK for transportation, and first in the UK for business services.
Rothschild's M&A teams in the US didn't rank in the top five in any sectors.
Where UBS is best for M&A
UBS's M&A business has a few very select highlights. The Swiss bank's industrials M&A team ranked third in the UK. Its US transportation M&A team ranked second. Everything else was outside the top five.
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