Advisers line up for the biggest deal in town

David Hellier
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WHEN you’re trying to build up a franchise in mergers and acquisitions, there’s nothing better than being signed up to work on one of the biggest deals in town.

So naturally Barclays Capital and RBC Capital Markets were as pleased as punch to be advising the London Stock Exchange on its £4.3bn merger with Canada’s TMX. (Note that the long-term corporate brokers JP Morgan Cazenove and Nomura are not working on the transaction).

Barclays Capital has been quietly picking up corporate broking mandates and recently hired Richard Taylor from Bank of America Merrill Lynch to join a team that already includes former Morgan Stanleyite Mark Warham and Matthew Ponsonby.

Last year BarCap advised on Resolution’s bid for Friends Provident where it worked on the transaction with RBC Capital Markets, which is fast gaining a reputation for being one of the most aggressive hiring banks in town, as well as one of the more innovative.

Some view the Royal Bank of Canada-owned firm as the Manchester City of the financial markets, with rival firms often unable or unwilling to match the pay packages on offer to potential joiners.

The experienced player on the deal though is Morgan Stanley and its involvement underlines a significant return to form for a bank which suffered in the immediate aftermath of the credit crunch and was only stabilised in 2008 after Mitsubishi bought a 21 per cent supportive shareholding.

Morgan Stanley had an enormously successful 2010, advising on the BSkyB News Corp deal, Sanofi Genzyme deal and International Power GDF Suez deal, to name but a few. Its LSE team includes Simon Robey, one of the doyens of the UK investment banking scene, Chris Carter (who is originally from Toronto), Matthew Jarman and Dougal McDonald.

A niche advisory firm, Willis Capital Markets and Advisory Services, has been selected to advise the Lloyd’s insurance broking group Chaucer – valued at around £350m – in its response to bid approaches.

Willis, which is working alongside financial adviser Kinmont, won the gig after giving Chaucer some specific unrelated advice ahead of the recent approach from Guy Hands’ Terra Firma.

Lexicon drops out of the team. Former Bank of America Merrill Lynch man Tony Ursano leads Willis.