Goldman led Canadian pack in value of M&A deals in 2014

Thu Jan 8, 2015 7:00am EST
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By Euan Rocha and John Tilak

TORONTO Jan 8 (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc led investment banks advising on mergers and acquisitions in Canada in 2014, a year in which big international oil and gas deals were hot before oil prices turned cold.

Before the fourth-quarter collapse of oil prices, Canadian M&A activity last year was dominated by big energy-sector deals such as Spanish oil giant Repsol SA's $8.3 billion bid for Talisman Energy and Encana Corp's $5.9 billion buyout of U.S. rival Athlon.

According to data released by Thomson Reuters on Thursday, the total value of M&A deals in Canada in 2014 jumped to $203.1 billion from $147.2 billion in 2013, with Goldman and its international peers enjoying a banner year. Goldman advised on deals worth $56 billion, including Talisman in the Repsol bid.

"Canada has been dominated by cross-border activity this year," said David Rawlings, head of JPMorgan's Canadian operations. "We feel like the M&A environment - for energy and other sectors - will remain constructive in 2015, although the drivers of the activity may change."

The top six spots on the Canadian M&A league tables were captured by Goldman, Royal Bank of Canada, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Barclays Plc, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank AG.

Bankers at both the large international and Canadian banks remain optimistic about 2015, despite weak resource prices.

"I think 2015 will be a solid year and it may surprise on the upside," said Bruce Rothney, head of Barclays Canada.

Despite the few mega deals in which global banks played a significant role, Canadian banks RBC, Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia, Toronto-Dominion Bank and CIBC advised on the vast majority of transactions in 2014.   Continued...