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m&a: I-banks rake in decade-high $611mn on IPO, M&A wave


MUMBAI: The IPO frenzy and M&A wave are minting money for Deal Street. Fees earned by big investment banks and boutique advisory firms in India rose to $611 million (over Rs 4,500 crore) in the first nine months of 2021, making it the highest in a decade. Equity issuances raked in $237 million (about Rs 1,770 crore) as IPO fund-raising activity spiked, followed by $196 million (Rs 1,465 crore) fetched by M&A and $177 million (over Rs 1,300 crore) by debt deals. With two months left for the year to be completed, Ibanks anticipate record revenue on the back of bullish deal making momentum. In 2010, advisory fees were about $900 million and, in 2007, it had topped $1 billion. This calendar year till September 24, Bank of America earned the most ($55 million), vaulting three places from number four in 2020 to top the charts, according to data from Dealogic — a global tracker of investment banking business. Rival US banks JP Morgan and Citi retained their second and third positions, grossing $50 million and $35 million in revenues. I-banks receive the bulk of the advisory fees on completion of an M&A or IPO transaction. Significantly, their earning charts are closely tracked as they determine bonus payouts for dealmakers. Switzerland’s Credit Suisse with $33 million revenue climbed one spot to number four in the latest rankings, while local bank Axis rocketed to the fifth position from 13th last year with $32 million. “2021 has been the busiest year for us in the last several years,” said Bank of America MD (investment banking) Asit Bhatia. “The IPO pipeline is the strongest it has ever been. 2021 will end as a record year in terms of equity capital market (ECM) fund-raise,” he said. India Inc raised over $9.5 billion in the first nine months of this year through 72 IPOs. And with more companies intending to list on the stock exchanges in the coming months, 2021 will create anew record for IPO fundraise. Fees from ECM — which include IPOs, follow-on offerings and block deals — surpassed that of M&A for the first time in four years for Ibanks, according to Dealogic. Kotak Mahindra Bank and Avendus, in which private equity fund KKR owns a majority stake, broke into the top 10 list of dealmakers by fees earned in 2021 till September 24. Kotak Mahindra netted $31 million in revenue, while Avendus, riding on transactions like Prosus buying BillDesk for $4.7 billion in what was the largest M&A in India’s fintech space, earned $28 million. Avendus, which is mainly into M&A advisory, is looking to get into capital market advisory to cash in on the IPO deal activity as several tech-enabled companies, including unicorns, make public-listing moves, said one of its top executives. Firms are also looking to add freshers and seasoned investment bankers, said ICICI Securities head (investment banking and institutional equities) Ajay Saraf.


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