Credit Suisse is cross-border leader

Credit Suisse First Boston burst from well back in the field to top the 1995 European cross-border deal league table at the halfway stage. CSFB, which was previously ranked 11th, made the leap on the back of a much- improved European mergers and acquisitions market, according to Acquisitions Monthly, which compiled the table.

During the first half of this year, 920 EU companies with a combined value of pounds 24bn were sold to foreign buyers. This compared with 899 deals, worth a total of pounds 16.6bn, during the first half of 1994.

CSFB's 13 cross-border deals had a total value of pounds 4.92bn, more than double the value of the two runners-up together, Lazards and Lehman Brothers. CSFB's main deals were advising Svenska Cellulosa during its pounds 1.02bn acquisition of a 75 per cent stake in the German paper business, PWA, and Boots on its pounds 840m sale of its prescription drugs business to BASF.

Lazards came second, with 16 mandates totalling pounds 2.62bn. Three of these were for US groups, led by Pfizer's pounds 924m purchase of SmithKline Beecham Animal Health.

Lehman Brothers, in third place, was one of five Wall Street firms that crowded into the top table. Merrill Lynch was in fourth position, with nine bids worth pounds 1.91bn, while Morgan Stanley came sixth. Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan trailed at 11th and 18th spot respectively.

Schroders, despite a relatively sluggish spell in the domestic corporate finance market, managed an impressive leap from 17th to fifth place, helped in part by its involvement in the sale of two of its investment banking rivals to overseas buyers. SG Warburg, which was one of those sold, saw its position slump from number three to 10th, a reflection of its troubles. However, taken together with its new owner, Swiss Bank Corp, SBC Warburg would have ranked second, suggesting that the combined operation has good prospects of being a key player in the European mergers and acquisitions arena.

US groups consolidated their position as the most active buyers in Europe, with 208 deals totalling pounds 5.3bn in the first half of the year. These included the announced pounds 2.3bn purchase of CarnaudMetal by Crown Cork & Seal, the largest cross-border deal so far this year.

Germany went from third to second place in the table of acquirers, overtaking the UK largely thanks to the pounds 977m purchase of Kleinwort Benson by Dresdner Bank.

The UK proved to be the most popular destination for overseas predators, with 151 firms being taken over for a total of pounds 10.5bn. Leading City institutions, SG Warburg, Kleinwort Benson and Barings were prominent among this number.

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