It was a spectacular October for dealmakers, with some $500 billion changing hands, $70 billion of which did so on Monday alone. And the wealth was spread very evenly among law firms and banks, though of course the banks don't get paid unless the deals close, and that's also the case for a small portion of some law firms' arrangements. Overall, however, two developments stand out in the world of deal advice: Boutique banks continued to go toe to toe with Wall Street's biggest, and attorney Scott Barshay of Paul Weiss got a tremendous endorsement from Qualcomm.
To be sure, October's ten largest transactions were heavy on bulge bracket banks, with Morgan Stanley (MS) , Citigroup (C) , Goldman Sachs (GS) JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC) dominating the list, but boutiques Evercore Partners (EVR) and Centerview Partners landed three mandates each. Evercore advised Qualcomm (QCOM) in its $47 billion agreement to buy NXP Semiconductors (NXPI) as well as the special committee of Hilton Worldwide Holdings (HLT) on Blackstone's $6.5 billion sale of a 25% stake in the company to China's HNA Group. Centerview is advising British American Tobacco (BTI) on its $47 billion bid for Reynolds American, General Electric (GE) on its $7.4 billion agreement to combine its oil and gas unit with Baker Hughes (BHI) , and the Qualcomm board.
Three bankers who have recently switched firms landed major roles on deals announced this month. George "Woody" Young III is advising AT&T (T) on its $108.7 billion agreement to buy Time Warner (TWX) ; he moved to Perella Weinberg Partners from Lazard (LAZ) last year. Ketan Mehta is working for Time Warner on that deal; he moved to Allen & Co. last year from Citigroup, whose Ray McGuire is also working for Time Warner along with Rob Kindler of Morgan Stanley, who as a partner at Cravath represented Time Warner on its purchase of AOL (AOL) . Kindler is also on the Morgan Stanley team advising CenturyLink (CTL) on its $34 billion bid for Level 3 Communications (LVLT) . Lazard's Eric Medow is working with Level 3; he moved last year from Citigroup, where Niraj Shah is working on the deal.
More than a dozen law firms had a major advisory role on more than three of the month's top 10 transactions, the smallest of which was a Blackstone Group (BX) fund's agreement to pay $6.1 billion for TeamHealth Holdings (TMH) , though no firm played a major role on more than three deals.
The bulk of the law firm assignments were for longstanding clients, as was the case in Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP's representations of Time Warner on its agreement to sell to AT&T; of BAT on its bid for Reynolds American; and of Qualcomm in its agreement to buy NXP. Cravath teams led by Faiza Saeed and Philip Gelston are handling the corporate work for Time Warner and BAT; George "Jed" Zobitz is doing the financing for Qualcomm, while Christine Varney is handling antitrust. Barshay, who moved from Cravath to Paul, Weiss, Wharton, Rifkind & Garrison only in April, is doing the corporate work for the San Diego semiconductor company.
Two other firms also landed lead roles on a trio of deals. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP's Allison Schneirov and Kenton King represented NXP on the Qualcomm deal, while Charles "Chip" Mulaney, Jr. gave advice to to Rockwell Collins (COL) on its $8.2 billion agreement to sell to B/E Aerospace (BEAV) and Todd Freed and Jon Hlafter counseled Endurance Specialty Holdings (ENH) on its $6.3 billion agreement to sell to Japan's Sompo Holdings Inc. Shearman & Sterling LLP's John Marzulli is advising GE on its agreement with Baker Hughes, while Creighton Condon is representing B/E Aerospace on the Rockwell Collins deal and Kenneth Lebrun is representing Sompo Holdings.
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