By Nathan Stovall and Ranvir Vala, S&P Global Market Intelligence staff writers
Long-term relationships helped propel a few investment bankers to the top of the bank and thrift lead banker rankings in the bank space in the first half of 2017.
With only a handful of multibillion dollar deals surfacing in the first six months of 2017, investment bankers landing those engagements were vaulted to the top of the lead banker rankings. And it seems that familiarity mattered to buyers and sellers as they employed advisers with whom they often had considerable history.
Looking at leaders
Scott Clark, principal at Sandler O'Neill & Partners LP, closed the first half of the year in the top spot, working on seven deals totaling $5.12 billion. Clark's largest engagement came advising Capital Bank Financial Corp. on its $2.2 billion sale to First Horizon National Corp., along with the firm's senior managing principals Jon Doyle and Jimmy Dunne III, and Sandler i-banker Alex Bondroff.
Barclays Capital Inc. i-bankers Jon Bernstein, Tim Main, Andrew Underwood, Thomas Vandever and Kartik Kothari served as lead bankers to First Horizon on the deal. Morgan Stanley also advised First Horizon, with Grant Gregory and Graham Nix serving as lead bankers.
UBS Investment Bank advised Capital Bank on its sale as well, with Tannon Krumpelman, Neil Carragher, Christopher Sanger and Prateek Walia serving as lead bankers on the deal. Krumpelman, who also advised IBERIABANK Corp. on its $1.03 billion planned purchase of Sabadell United Bank NA, has since joined Evercore Partners as a senior managing director.
Both Clark and Krumpelman had previously worked on the other side of table from Capital Bank, helping CommunityOne Bancorp with its sale to the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank.
UBS had also advised the institution on a trio of failed-bank transactions and an acquisition of a distressed bank in 2010.
Clark landed another billion dollar-plus deal earlier in the year, advising BNC Bancorp on its $1.73 billion sale to Pinnacle Financial Partners Inc. Sandler's Bondroff and Reid Brewer also served as lead bankers on the transaction. Clark had previously worked with BNC Bancorp on its 2016 purchase of Southcoast Financial.
Banks Street Partners LLC also advised BNC on its sale, with the firm's CEO R. Lee Burrows Jr. serving as lead banker on the deal. Banks Street Partners had previously worked with the bank on its purchases of High Point Bank and Valley Financial.
Keefe Bruyette & Woods Inc. landed the buy-side engagement in that transaction, with Ashwan Bimbhet, Chris Mihok, Lisa Schultz, Michael Christopher Garea, and Scott Anderson serving as lead bankers on the deal. KBW had previously advised Avenue Financial Holdings on its sale to Pinnacle Financial in 2016.
Anderson, co-head of depositories investment banking at KBW, also advised South State Corp. on its $692 million purchase of Park Sterling Corp. and Union Bankshares Corp. on its roughly $700 million acquisition of Xenith Bankshares Inc., giving him five deals for a total of $3.33 billion in the first half of the year.
Anderson advised South State on its $300-plus million purchase of Southeastern Bank announced in June 2016. He also has a long-standing relationship with Union, having worked with the bank on its $445 million merger with StellarOne, announced in 2013, and its purchase of First Market Bank in 2010.
Meanwhile, Sandler's Clark, along with the firm's Jon Doyle and Josh Shropa, advised Xenith on its sale. Doyle and Clark had previously advised Hampton Roads Bankshares when it merged with Xenith in the summer of 2016.
Astoria, first half’s big one
The largest engagement in the first six months of the year, however, came in March, when Astoria Financial Corp. agreed to sell to Sterling Bancorp for $2.23 billion.
Sandler's Bill Hickey, Robert Albertson, Tom Gallagher, Matthew Murray and Dunne, advised Astoria on the sale.
That transaction, coupled with the work helping Capital Bank on its transaction with First Horizon, pushed Dunne near the top of the lead banker rankings, having advised on five deals for $5.11 billion in the first half of 2017.
Sandler had previously advised Astoria on its planned sale to New York Community Bancorp Inc., which ultimately was terminated after a lengthy wait for regulatory approval. Some observers thought Astoria might struggle to find another offer as attractive as New York Community's given the target's below average profitability metrics, low mix of demand deposits and high loan-to-deposit ratio.
But ultimately, the patience paid off for Astoria, its shareholders and Sandler, bringing the firm an attractive fee for the transaction.
The deal also rewarded RBC Capital Markets LLC and Citigroup Global Markets Inc., which served on the buy side of the transactions. RBC's Gerald Wiant and Jonathan Brickman, and Citi's Matthew Beitzel and Seth Heaton served as lead bankers to Sterling on the deal.
This article originally appeared on S&P Global Market Intelligence’s website under the title, "Ranking the rainmakers in H1'17"