M&A activity involving U.S. publicly traded targets accelerated in the fourth quarter of 2017 reaching the second highest quarterly dollar volume of announced deals in the last decade. Fueled by hostile offers for QUALCOMM by Broadcom and Emerson Electric’s hostile offer for Rockwell Automation, announced deal volume surged during the quarter to $317 billion. On a full year basis, announced dollar volume declined by 28.9% to $621.9 billion, the fourth lowest level in the last five years. Goldman, Sachs topped the DealPointData league tables for both announced and completed deals for 2017. JPMorgan ranked second in announced deals with Morgan Stanley taking second place in closed deals for 2017. Evercore Partners ranked third in closed deals, their first finish ever in the top three. Wachtell Lipton ranked first in announced deals while Skadden and Latham & Watkins took second and third place respectively.
|Target||Acquirer||Equity Value ($bil)|
|Dupont||The Dow Chemical Company||61.7|
|Reynolds American||British American Tobacco||49.1|
|Spectra Energy Corp||Enbridge Inc.||28.2|
|Level 3 Communications, Inc.||CenturyLink, Inc.||26.1|
|St. Jude Medical, Inc.||Abbott Laboratories||24.1|
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meager & Flom was the top ranked legal adviser on U.S. public M&A deals closed in 2017. Skadden completed 39 public deals valued at $205.3 billion. Wachtell, Lipton ranked second in the high profile public M&A advisory market.
|Rank||Firm||Equity Value ($bil)|
|2||Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz||200.6|
|3||Weil Gotshal & Manges||137.5|
M&A advisory fees of $4.1 billion have been disclosed on U.S. public deals completed in 2017 down by 5.23% over full year 2016. Goldman, Sachs & Co. led the market with $784 million in fees disclosed. JP Morgan took second place among financial advisers in disclosed fees. Bank of America Merrill Lynch rounded out the top three in disclosed fees.
The pace of issuance of SEC registered high-yield new issues increased by 1.2% in 2017. However, dollar volume declined by 11.8% compared to 2016.
Once again, the level of covenant protection continued to decrease in 2017. We evaluated the covenants in SEC registered new issues and found that 62.2% contained no limitation on indebtedness restrictions up from 60.5% in 2016, 50% in 2013 and 31.2% for deals priced in 2010.