Independents share the spoils on bumper day for M&A

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Signing off in style: GE mandate caps record month for Centerview’s dealmakers

Lazard and Evercore joined several of Wall Street’s biggest investment banks on the advisory roster for US communications firm CenturyLink’s agreed takeover of Level 3 Communications, which was announced on October 31 and is worth roughly $ 34 billion, according to a statement from the two companies.

Lazard offered a fairness opinion to Level 3, which is being advised by Citigroup, while Evercore delivered a fairness opinion to CenturyLink, whose financial advisers on the deal are Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley.

Credit Suisse is advising ST Telemedia, which has a roughly 18% stake in Level 3 that it has pledged to vote in favour of the tie-up. BAML and Morgan Stanley are to arrange $ 10.2 billion of secured debt facilities to help CenturyLink finance the deal.

The involvement of Lazard and Evercore comes after the two firms reported differing results for the third quarter of 2016, with Evercore’s net revenues surging 25% from a year earlier and Lazard’s advisory revenues from M&A, capital and sovereign work dipping slightly year-on-year.

News of the agreed tie-up between CenturyLink and Level 3 came after New York-listed conglomerate GE also on October 31 confirmed it is to merge its oil and gas business with Houston, Texas-based oilfield services group Baker Hughes.

The deal handed Centerview Partners its third bumper advisory mandate in the space of 10 days to round off a record month for dealmakers at the decade-old independent firm.

GE is taking advice on the deal from bankers at Centerview and Morgan Stanley, while Goldman Sachs is advising Baker Hughes, according to the statement, which said the tie-up will create a company with $ 32 billion in revenues and operations in more than 120 companies.

The latest high-profile mandate rounds off a impressive October for Centerview, which is also advising US wireless technology group Qualcomm on its $ 47 billion agreed offer for Dutch firm NXP Semiconductors, announced on October 27, and the proposed purchase by British American Tobacco of the remaining majority stake in Reynolds American that it doesn’t already own. Dealogic values the deal at $ 58 billion overall, although BAT, in its statement announcing the deal, ascribed a $ 47 billion valuation.

Goldman Sachs is also involved on the latter deal in an advisory capacity.

Even without the GE deal, Centerview has enjoyed a record month of advisory mandates. Dealogic figures show that the advisory firm had handled $ 116.1 billion of M&A deals in October, not including the GE deal. The figure outstrips the $ 111.3 billion from its previous busiest month in January 2008.

The deal between GE and Baker-Hughes will see the former company contribute $ 7.4 billion to fund a $ 17.50 share dividend of the latter’s shareholders. GE will own 62.5% and Baker Hughes’ shareholders 37.5% of the combined business.

Centerview could not immediately be reached for comment.

UPDATED: This story was updated following the announcement of the CenturyLink/Level 3 deal

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