The dollar value of newly announced Merger and Acquisition deals with U.S. publicly traded target companies surged to its highest first half level since the record was set in 2015. According to Deal Point Data’s research, $508 billion dollars of M&A deals were announced during the first six months of 2019. First half activity was only 1.7% below the all-time high and 85% above the 10-year average level. On a year-over-year basis, dollar volume increased 15.1% in June, 4.6% in Q2, and 10.2% for the half year. On a sequential basis, the first half of 2019 was up 94.4% compared to the second half of 2018. In a sign that the market was not overheating, the average unaffected control premium was a moderate 29.96% during the first half, 20.4% below the ten-year average. Goldman, Sachs topped the Deal Point Data investment banking league table for announced U.S. public target deals during the first half advising on $162.3 billion in deals. Wachtell Lipton advised on $142.4 billion in announced deals to earn the number one ranking among legal advisers.
|Target||Acquirer||Equity Value ($bil)|
|Celgene Corporation||Bristol-Myers Squibb Company||71.6|
|Raytheon Company||United Technologies||52.0|
|Anadarko Petroleum||Occidental Petroleum||37.9|
|Worldpay, Inc.||Fidelity National Information Services||34.8|
|SunTrust Banks||BB&T Corporation||28.2|
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz was the top ranked legal adviser on U.S. public M&A deals announced during the first half of 2019. Wachtell advised on 14 public deals valued at $249.4 billion. Kirkland & Ellis ranked second in the high-profile public M&A advisory market while Skadden rounded out the top three.
|Rank||Firm||Equity Value ($bil)|
|1||Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz||249.4|
|2||Kirkland & Ellis||100.8|
As of July 1, 2019, record M&A advisory fees of $2.03 billion have already been disclosed on U.S. public deals announced during the first half of 2019. Goldman led the market with $447 million in fees disclosed. JP Morgan took second place among financial advisers. Morgan Stanley rounded out the top three in disclosed fees.
A review of Deal Point Data defense change and disclosure data for S&P 1500 companies in 2018 yields a few observations including governance best practices adopted by large cap companies continuing to trickle down to smaller companies, companies of all sizes are concerned with stockholder lawsuits, and absent traditional structural defenses, large cap companies are focusing on bylaw language, with very limited participation by stockholders. Read more
It’s hard to believe that the votes associated with what was once the most controversial item in the corporate governance landscape have become downright routine. Since January 1, 2017, 74 out of the 75 company proposals to approve a poison pill (aka a shareholder rights plan) passed and the lone proposal that was voted down comes with an asterisk because it was not a typical vote. Read more
Governance activists waged a hard-fought battle to establish proxy access at public companies and ultimately succeeded as proxy access has been widely adopted. It is therefore rather surprising that we have yet to have a proxy access nomination go to an actual vote. If it is going to happen in the 2019 proxy season, we’re likely to know soon as we’ve entered the part of the calendar where proxy access notice windows are opening. Read more
The first half of 2019 saw the début of 83 companies listing on U.S. stock exchanges through initial public offerings. The companies raised $34.3 billion a 9.4% decrease over the first six months of 2018. These statistics exclude Special Purpose Acquisition companies. Included in this cohort where 10 “Unicorns”, private companies, such as Uber, with pre-IPO valuations of at least one billion. According to Deal Point Data, this is the most Unicorn issues since IPO records began in 1980. Morgan Stanley topped the Deal Point Data U.S. IPO underwriting league table for the first half of 2019. Cooley was the number one ranked legal counsel to issuers while Davis Polk was the leading counsel to underwriters.
The dollar value of new issues of SEC registered high-yield bonds fell by 46.8% to $16.2 billion during the first six months of 2019 on a year-over-year basis. On a sequential basis, the dollar value increased by 62.6% compared to the dismal second half of 2018..