World's best independent investment bank 2017: Evercore

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Founded just over 20 years ago as an investment banking boutique, Evercore has now stepped firmly into the big league.

Awards for Excellence 2017

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© 2017 Euromoney

Also shortlisted 

   Jefferies

   Lazard

Press release

Evercore is the world’s best independent investment bank for 2017 after a banner year in which it worked on many of the biggest, most complex and transformative M&A deals, often as lead adviser, occasionally as sole adviser.

In the Dealogic global M&A advisory volume league table for the 12 months to April, Evercore now ranks among the second tier of the global bulge-bracket investment banks – along with the likes of UBS, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank. It is ahead of all the independent firms, including high-profile new boutiques such as Centerview and, with the exception of Lazard, longer-established global firms.

Evercore has momentum. It brought in record revenues of $1.4 billion for 2016, an 18% increase on the previous year, when revenues went over $1 billion for the first time. And it followed that up with another record in the first quarter of 2017. 

The firm, founded in 1995 by former US Treasury deputy secretary Roger Altman, who made his investment banking career at Lehman and then Blackstone, pulled off perhaps its biggest-ever coup last November when it hired John S Weinberg to be executive chairman. Weinberg, a fabled M&A investment banker to companies like Ford, General Electric and Boeing, had co-headed global investment banking at Goldman Sachs during a 30-year career at the firm his father, John L Weinberg, once headed.

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Ralph Schlosstein,
Evercore

“It’s an important step for the firm,” says Ralph Schlosstein, president and chief executive of Evercore. “John is an extraordinarily talented adviser who will focus on advising some of the largest multinational companies, and he further strengthens and deepens our senior leadership team as we pursue our goal of becoming the most elite independent investment banking advisory firm in the world.”

It is a hard-driving outfit. High revenue per senior managing director is a defining metric at Evercore. 

“It is a result of having high-profile senior bankers who roll up their sleeves and work with clients and don’t just show up at the start to win business,” says Tim LaLonde, chief operating officer of investment banking. “We have made very significant strides over recent years in market share, and we have established strong teams in the US, Europe, Asia and Latin America, giving us a true global presence.” 

Evercore sole-advised Singapore-based Heptagon Advanced Micro-Optics on its sale to Austria- headquartered ams AG in a $855 million landmark transaction to form a clear global leader in end-to-end optical sensing solutions. It was a complex deal, with consideration in both shares and cash for a Singapore-headquartered company with US dollar-denominated revenues being acquired by an Austria- headquartered, Swiss-listed company with the euro as its functioning currency. 

Advising Abbot on the acquisition of St Jude Medical, one of the biggest healthcare deals of the last year, is a great example of how Evercore works. 

“We have a close relationship with senior management at Abbott, who I have known for a decade through most of their big transactions, going back to my time at Lehman,” explains Stuart Francis, senior managing director at Evercore. “They like high-level confidential advice that they know they can trust. The market for medical device companies has changed as many of their customers – the managed healthcare providers such as hospitals, insurance companies and physician practices – have consolidated dramatically. We helped identify St Jude as the best fit for product expansion. It was then a CEO-to-CEO call, after which we negotiated on value, put some stock into the deal and planned likely minor divestitures to meet regulatory concerns, all in private for two months before the deal became known. It’s a classic example of why independent firms are enjoying such market-share gains.”

Evercore is working alongside Goldman advising Qualcomm – a company Francis has worked closely with since leading its IPO in 1991 – on its agreed bid for NXP.

“As my wife pointed out to me: I’m 40 years into my career, I’m at the smallest firm I’ve ever worked for and I’m doing the biggest deals I’ve ever handled, including the largest global technology deal of the year and the largest US healthcare deal of the year,” Francis jokes.

Evercore’s momentum continues. It is lead-advising Whole Foods on its agreed $13.7 billion all-cash sale to Amazon. This comes after activism defence work for Whole Foods, among a number of high-profile clients including Pulte Group, Qualcomm, Medivation, Marathon Petroleum, Cognizant Technology, Fred’s, United Airlines, NorthStar Asset Management and Monster. 

“People call this activism defence or preparedness because that sounds so advanced,” says Bill Anderson, senior managing director. “But really what we do is what good investment bankers have always done: help our clients, in confidence, to think through their most important strategic concerns, analyze their options, obtain shareholder feedback and then help boards and management teams execute their chosen path forward – whether that be to sell, buy, or pursue their strategic plan.”