Bankers to earn up to $62 million from Vodafone deal with Ono

Reuters

By Clare Hutchison

LONDON (Reuters) - Bankers working on Vodafone's $10 billion deal to buy Spain's Ono could pocket up to $62 million in advisory fees, according to an industry estimate, the latest windfall for dealmakers in the technology, media and telecom (TMT) sectors.

Vodafone Group Plc said on Tuesday it has agreed to buy Spain's largest cable operator Ono, as the British group rebuilds its European operations with a broadband offering.

Vodafone adviser Morgan Stanley and Robertson Robey Associates, who assisted the company's board, will share fees of between $22 and $27 million, Freeman Consulting, which tracks bankers' fees, estimated.

Deutsche Bank, who acted as lead adviser for Ono shareholders, will receive the lion's share of a $28 to $35 million fee pool. The remainder will be split with co-advisers Bank of America Merrill Lynch, UBS and JPMorgan.

TMT has been a particular bright spot for investment banks so far this year, thanks to several high-profile deals including Comcast's $45.2 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable and Facebook's $19 billion acquisition of messaging service WhatsApp.

Year-to-date, global M&A activity in TMT is up 186 percent to $266.9 billion based on 1,424 deals, compared with $93.2 billion over 1,589 deals a year earlier, Thomson Reuters data shows.

Total worldwide M&A activity so far in 2014 is up 48 percent t $627 billion, according to the data.

Fees earned by TMT bankers have risen accordingly, jumping 18 percent on a year ago to $893.9 million, Freeman estimated. By contrast, fees earned by bankers across M&A are broadly flat year-on-year at $4.3 billion.

Thomson Reuters data ranks Morgan Stanley as the top investment bank in TMT M&A, having worked on deals worth $113 billion, including the pending Comcast and Facebook deals.

Goldman Sachs, an adviser to both Vivendi and Numericable, which are now in exclusive talks over telecoms unit SFR, takes second place.

Freeman estimates that the nine banks that worked with Numericable could earn fees of between $43 million and $52 million. Those advising Vivendi, including Lazard and BNP Paribas, could share between $51 million and $59 million.

Goldman, the world's top deal adviser for nine of the past 10 years, has missed out on a number of 2014's largest mergers.

($1 = 0.7181 Euros)

(Editing by Will Waterman)

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