The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2021 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

M&A: Debating the Goldman standard

Other banks are unlikely to follow the US firm's example of advising on both sides of a takeover

Spitzer: scrutinizing conflicts
of interest

Bank advisers rarely dominate coverage of a large M&A transaction as much as Goldman Sachs has by acting as financial adviser to both the New York Stock Exchange and Archipelago Holdings on their planned merger announced in April. A class action suit filed by NYSE seat-holder William Higgins attempting to block the takeover names Goldman Sachs as co-defendant, claiming the firm "manipulated the deal to its own advantage". Former NYSE director Kenneth Langone, who could still mount a rival bid, called Goldman's role "unseemly".

Attention has centred on Goldman's perceived conflict of interest in this deal because, even discounting the personal ties between Goldman and the two companies, it does have interests in both companies: a 15.5% stake in Archipelago and 1.5% of the seats on the NYSE. These features are unique to this case.

Has Goldman really moved into uncharted water simply by advising two companies on different sides of the same deal?

Richard Peterson, M&A analyst at data provider Thompson Financial in New York says that going back to the early 1980s, he can find around 100 M&A transactions where Goldman has worked on both sides of the deal, not including that where other banks have taken on a similar dual advisory role.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree