2010 Awards for excellence: Best Global M&A house
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2010 Awards for excellence: Best Global M&A house

While its reputation was being dragged through the mud, the firm kept doing what it does best – advising on the biggest takeover deals around the globe.

Awards for Excellence 2010
Best Global M&A house: Goldman Sachs
Also nominated: Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank

As equity markets recovered from their lows in March 2009, the investment-grade credit markets reopened, and signs emerged of a fragile economic recovery, slowly mergers and acquisitions deals revived.

Warren Buffett placed his all-in bet on US economic recovery with the $35.9 billion purchase of railroad company Burlington Northern Santa Fe. This was a relatively straightforward transaction but a large one of great symbolic significance that confirmed reviving animal spirits in the US.

Unsolicited and hostile deals reappeared, including cross-border transactions. None was more contentious than Kraft Food’s bid for iconic UK confectioner Cadbury, which the US branded foods company purchased for $21.4 billion.

Deals that had apparently fallen victim to the distressed financial markets in late 2008 and early 2009 were revived and in some cases re-cast. Anglo-Australian mining company BHP Billiton, which had pulled out of the competition to take over its great rival Rio Tinto in the midst of the financial crisis, changed tack and completed a $58 billion joint venture with Rio Tinto to combine production of their western Australian iron ore assets.

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