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Goldman Beats Morgan Stanley to Become Top U.S. Adviser

Goldman Sachs ranked as the top counsel to firms targeted by activist investors last year, dethroning Morgan Stanley, which had held the top position for three straight years, based on Refinitiv data published Friday.

Goldman Beats Morgan Stanley to Become Top U.S. Adviser

Last year, Goldman advised on 48 campaigns to seize the top spot while Morgan Stanley counseled 37 campaigns, the data reveals.

Goldman worked on a number of the year’s greatest campaigns, helping protect Sony against hedge fund Third Point, AT&T against Elliott Management, and eBay in opposition to Elliott and Starboard Value.

Two years ago, the two New York stationed investment banks counseled nearly the same number of campaigns each with Morgan Stanley having been involved in 33, in contrast with Goldman Sachs’ 32, Refinitiv data reveals.

Spotlight Advisors, started by Greg Taxin, a lawyer who worked as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Securities, captured the #3 position last year with 31 campaigns.

Spotlight works for both corporations and activists, while most banks work only for companies.

Lazard and Evercore followed on the list with 10 and 9 campaigns, respectively. Both banks worked on more deals two years ago, with Lazard having handled 16 engagements and Evercore having dealt with 18, Refinitiv data shows.

League tables are compiled by numerous providers and are sometimes used as data points in attempting to attract new purchasers. However, they do not often tell the entire story; bankers have said, noting that discrepancies can come up as many corporations fend off activists privately and ask their counsels to stay silent about their involvement.

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