Morgan Stanley, Kirkland Two Busiest Dealmakers in First Quarter

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Morgan Stanley
(MS) is the top investment adviser for mergers and acquisitions through the first quarter of 2017, according to The Deal.

With 33 deals, the firm leads other bulge-bracket banks, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc.  (GS) , Barclays plc  (BCS) and Citigroup Inc.  (C) . The top six investment advisers, all large-cap banks, combined for a total of 138 deals through the first three months of the year, according to The Deal's rankings, which are based on announced deals with a value of more than $100 million. 

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The rankings also reveal that boutique firms like Lazard Ltd.  (LAZ) , Centerview Partners LLC and Evercore Partners Inc.  (EVR) have each nabbed a fair portion of the deals.

Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson Inc.  (JNJ) , privately owned M&M maker Mars Inc, Chinese telecom company SoftBank Group Corp. and the highly sought after MoneyGram International Inc.  (MGI) are just a few of the M&A players this quarter that relied on industry veterans at these banks.

So who were the notable executives at the banks leading the deals?

The Deal breaks down rosters of some of the busiest dealmakers on Wall Street through the first quarter.

The Stable at Morgan Stanley

With a rotating stable of dealmakers at Morgan Stanley, it's no wonder why the firm was able to rack up 33 transactions between Jan. 1 and March 31. Ben Frost, a managing director specializing in consumer M&A at the bank, led the Mars team in its $9.1-billion acquisition of VCA Inc.  (WOOF) , which was announced Jan. 9. Vice Chairman David Heleniak and Jeff Hibbard, managing director, advised natural gas pipeline operator Oneok Inc.  (OKE) in its move to buy its publicly traded master limited partnership Oneok Partners LP  (OKS) for $9.3 billion in February.

For Mead Johnson Nutrition Co.'s  (MJN) $17.9-billion merger with British consumer goods maker Reckitt Benckiser Group plc  (RBGPF) , the baby-formula maker hired Morgan Stanley's banking team comprised of Clinton Gartin, Susan Huang and Kristin Rossi.

(The firm also advised Unilever NV  (UN) on the failed, but "friendly" $143 billion bid from Kraft Heinz Co.  (KHC) , which was the single-largest announced deal in the first quarter. For comparison, Safran SA's  (SAFRY) acquisition of Zodiac Aerospace SA for $10.6 billion was the largest completed transaction during the period.)

Michael Carr, Goldman Sachs

With 25 deals during the first quarter, Goldman Sachs finished second in The Deal's ranking's behind Morgan Stanley. Goldman's Michael Carr, co-head of global M&A, led the bank's team in advising target Mead Johnson Nutrition, along with the team from Morgan Stanley. Carr also advised Air Methods Corp.  (AIRM) in its $1.6-billion merger with FMC Corp.  (FMC) in March.

Carr joined the firm in 1998 as a partner.

Max de Gennaro, Lazard Ltd.

Two years after guiding Reynolds American Inc.  (RAI) on its $25 billion acquisition of rival Lorillard, Lazard's Max de Gennaro, co-head of North American consumer and retail investment banking, helped the tobacco firm navigate its acquisition by British American Tobacco plc (BTI) -- a transaction valued at $58 billion.

Additionally, De Gennaro's colleagues Jason Bernhard and David Gluckman advised Ariad Pharmaceuticals in its $5.2 billion takeover by Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. The firm advised Johnson & Johnson on its Actelion merger, valued at $30 billion, as well as Kraft Heinz in its unsuccessful bid for Unilever. These deals help make Lazard the top boutique investment adviser behind the large-cap banks, ranking fifth overall. 

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