Goldman is top M&A adviser

GOLDMAN Sachs has boosted its M&A advisory credentials so far this year with a lucrative workload, pushing it into first place among the world’s top-ranked advisers.

Goldman, which recently advised on the mammoth $35.5bn (£23.9bn) acquisition of the Asian assets of AIG by Prudential, topped the table for the first quarter of the year, pushing last year’s number one Morgan Stanley into third place.

It advised on a total of 62 deals with a combined value of $147.7bn, according to Thomson Reuters M&A review data.

Credit Suisse was the second highest-ranked advisory firm, raking in over 53 deals worth a total of $132.9bn and jumping four places on its position last year.

And last year’s top-ranked adviser, Morgan Stanley, fell to third place, advising on 58 deals worth a combined $126.7bn.

The bank’s bumper haul of fees came after data showed that global mergers and acquisitions activity came to $505bn in the first quarter, an improvement of six per cent on the first three months of 2009.

The global values were boosted by strong corporate activity in the US, where M&A was up 20 per cent on last year at $187bn.

But European countries saw their worst start to the year since 1997, as deal values more than halved to $79bn, from $ in the first quarter of 2009, amid continued uncertainty over the Greek crisis.

The sector that saw the most action over the quarter was the energy and power sector, where combined deal value hit just under $100bn. But M&A targeting the financial sector struggled despite the early-stage recovery, falling 30 per cent to $93bn.