The Deal Announces 2015’s Top Ranked PR Firms According to M&A Transactions in Q1-Q3

The Deal Magazine

The Deal financial media outlet has just released the latest results in ranking the top firms in mergers and acquisitions for the first 3 quarters of 2015. These deals only reflect transactions of over $100 million which involved a U.S. business. Below are the results for those top PR firms, and some of the deals that earned them their rankings.

Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher

Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher

New York based firm Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher was founded in 2000, and claims the top spot on The Deal’s results, with 88 total deals for 2015. Split evenly between seller and bidder transactions, Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher far outpaced other firms in both categories, closing more transactions than top firms Sard Verbinnen and Kekst combined.

Some of the transactions they have been involved in include advising Endo in its $11.2B bid for Salix Pharmaceuticals, as well as handling Sycamore Partners’ $574 million sale of its Stuart Weitzman shoe business to Coach.

Sard Verbinnen & Co.

Sard Verbinnen & Co.

Founded in 1992 by partners George Sard and Paul Verbinnen, this high profile firm took second place, closing 48 mergers and acquisitions in the first 3 quarters of 2015. Claiming ten more acquisitions than they did sales, Sard Verbinnen is known for their discrete approach to PR, getting results for their clients by shaping the media while remaining in the background.

Amongst many deals, Sard Verbinnen represented Valeant in a bid for Salix Pharmaceuticals, going head to head with Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher who represented Endo, before finally successfully closing the deal for Valeant, which they announced in March.

Kekst and Co.

Kekst and Co.

Founded in 1970, Kekst and Company is a leading strategic, corporate, and financial communications firm headquartered in New York City. Close behind Sard Verbinnen with 32 transactions before the final quarter of 2015, Kekst was almost evenly split in closing mergers and acquisitions.

Most notable of Kekst and Company’s various deals is their representation of OM Group in the Apollo Global Management’s $1B bid for Cleveland-based OM Group. Kekst is one of three PR firms involved in the deal, though notably, they are the only one of the three to make The Deal’s list.

Abernathy MacGregor Group Inc

Abernathy MacGregor Group Inc.

Abernathy MacGregor is based in New York, with offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston. Founded in 1984, the Abernathy MacGregor Group claimed 4th on The Deal’s rankings by closing 21 different mergers and acquisitions before the final quarter of 2015 begins. Part of a very small group of high-end corporate, strategic, and financial communications consultancies, Abernathy MacGregor announced in September that they would be handling Kraton Performance Polymers’ 1.37B purchase of Arizona Chemical.

This top 4 firm has also represented Hellman & Friedman in their sale of Wood Mackenzie to Verisk Analytics. This 2.8B deal is promises to advance Verisk’s strategy to expand internationally and positions the company in markets that relate closely to the company’s existing supply chain and climate risk initiatives.


Edelman PR

Dan Edelman founded Edelman, Inc. in Chicago in 1952. Since then it has grown to become the largest independent PR company in the world, but only number 5 on The Deal’s rankings with only 12 total mergers and acquisitions. Representing 9 acquisitions compared to the firm’s 3 sales, Edelman is off to a comparative slow start if they wish to beat front-runner Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher.

While Edelman is seemingly focused on their own acquisition of various media companies in the EU and the Middle East, they are also representing Omron in their acquisition of U.S. based Adept Technology.

The firms below the top 5 are all very close to one another, and it is likely their rankings will change in the final quarter. It may even be possible for any of these firms to replace most of the top 4 – with the exception of front-runner Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher. If any of the other 4 below the leading firm are able to overtake them, it will mean having one of the most impressive quarters of any company in many years.

Tied for 6th are London based Brunswick Group LLP and New York based Owen Blicksilver Public Relations Inc. with 9 transactions each

Weber shandwick everything-pr

Tied for 7th are London RLM Finsbury LLC and New York based Weber Shandwick with just 6 transactions each – still well in reach of being in the top 5.

8th is a 4 way tie between BackBay Communications Inc., ICR Inc., Longview Communications Inc., and Prosek Partners – each of them with just 3 mergers and acquisitions as they move into the final quarter.

Founded in 2006, New York and Dallas based Perry Street Communications holds the 9th ranking with 2 acquisitions as they move into the final quarter of 2015.

Tied for tenth are firms, Chris Tofalli Public Relations LLC, Fahlgren Mortine, Muirfield Partners, Pendomer Communications Ltd., and Shelton Communications Group Inc., with Muirfield Partners being the only firm in this ranking to facilitate an acquisition, and the other firms instead having facilitated 1 sale each.

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