Dealmakers thrive in City’s flotation frenzy

Katie Derham presents the 2013 Dealmaker of the Year award to Simon Warshaw, then of UBS
DEALMAKER of the year

Although there has been a dearth of mergers and acquisitions so far this year, there has been a rash of initial public offerings (IPOs) for our dealmakers to get their teeth into.

There has been some exciting deals for bankers to get a buzz from.

Verizon Wireless’ $130bn deal to take over Vodafone, help in driving up the price of Abbie bid for British pharma rival Shire and the creation of the world’s largest cement company in a $60bn merger are only some of the highlights of the year

From innovative rights issues to a resurgence of flotations, from veterans to new kids on the block – with a few traditional acquisitions and sales thrown in – the year has been a lively one for all of our candidates for dealmaker of the year.



The high-profile flood of IPOs might have stolen much of the limelight this year, but Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Michael Findlay has dominated a series of far bigger deals in the M&A space. He led the advisory work on Verizon’s acquisition of the rest of Verizon Wireless from Vodafone, in total a $130bn deal. Other successes include AMEC’s $3.2bn takeover of Foster Wheeler and Balfour Beatty’s successful defence against Carillion’s £3bn merger proposal. But political objections have helped thwart one of his more ambitious plans. Had circumstances been different, Findlay may have pulled off Pfizer’s attempted £69bn takeover of UK rival Astrazeneca.

Goldman Sachs has a formidable reputation to uphold, and sure enough when a wave of IPOs came to market, the Wall Street titan did not disappoint. Co-head of investment banking Anthony Gutman has been at the forefront of the flotation boom. He led work on the B&M listing, which valued the discount retailer at £2.8bn, and Upper Crust-owner SSP’s IPO, which gave it a £1bn value. And Gutman successfully defended Shire, driving up the price tag on rival pharma firm AbbVie’s takeover bid. But he has also had to take the rough with the smooth, working on the Pets At Home and JustEat flotations, where shares slumped after going public.

This year’s flotation frenzy has seen pent up demand explode, with Numis foremost among the mid-cap advisers. Co-head of corporate broking Alex Ham worked on a series of high-profile successes, including the AO (Appliances Online), TSB and Polypipe IPOs. The diversity of the listings shows his abilities across key sectors of technology, retail, finance and manufacturers. But he has not only had successes in the months when the market is booming. Back in 2011 Ham won City A.M.’s Rising Star award after working on deals including the Horizon and Betfair flotations, and advising Investcorp on its bid for Opsec.

Michael and Yoel Zaoui have shaken up the M&A advisory business in startling style this year – the Morocco-born brothers set up in business together only in September 2013, but have already seized a place on some of the biggest mergers of the year – the $60bn Lafarge-Holcim merger, creating the world’s largest cement maker. It is not only the scale of the deals which has won the Zaouis their nomination. They have also worked on innovative deals, including the complex pharma manoeuvres which saw Novartis buy GSK’s cancer business, GSK take on Novartis’ vaccines arm, and the pair merge their consumer healthcare operations.

Cenkos have had an extraordinarily strong year, taking full advantage of the boom in initial public offerings by driving the £1.4bn AA flotation. Durkin's work ensured the deal got away despite sceptics fearing that the firm was too highly leveraged. The adviser made £30m on the flotation, boosting its first half profits – and giving Cenkos a reputation as a successful operator on very high-profile deals well beyond its comfort zone of small- and mid-cap transactions.

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