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Bank of America, JPMorgan dominate financial advising for energy megadeals

Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. were the financial advisers of choice for energy sector companies engaging in large-scale mergers and acquisitions worldwide since the beginning of 2019, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data.

Both banks provided advisory services to companies on either side of four transactions whose gross value each exceeded $5 billion at the time of announcement, including deals involving oil and gas drillers, oil storage and refining companies, utilities and renewable energy producers.

JPMorgan and Bank of America were on opposite sides of the biggest energy transaction since the beginning of 2019: Occidental Petroleum Corp.'s nearly $60 billion acquisition of fellow independent oil and gas producer Anadarko Petroleum Corp. The final deal followed a high-stakes bidding war with supermajor Chevron Corp. JPMorgan, which worked for Anadarko, also provided financial advisory services to "mini-Anadarko" Noble Energy Inc., for which Chevron bid almost $15 billion to buy earlier in July.

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Credit Suisse Group AG, which advised Chevron, was involved in two other $5 billion-plus deals. The bank worked for alternative asset managers The Blackstone Group Inc. and IFM Investors Pty. Ltd. when they took midstream companies Tallgrass Energy Partners LP and Buckeye Partners LP private in 2019, respectively.

Evercore Group LLC, a longtime popular adviser for North American pipeline corporate M&A, was hired for those deals as well and also worked opposite Bank of America when Canada Pension Plan Investment Board bought renewable power company Pattern Energy Group Inc.

Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Jefferies LLC also participated in two deals each during the period.

Billion-dollar M&A has slowed significantly in 2020 as companies across all parts of the energy industry reel from the COVID-19 pandemic, with independent U.S. oil and gas producers in particular facing a tidal wave of bankruptcy. Still, analysts at energy investment bank Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. told clients July 21 that "investors would like to see all of [North American] upstream shrink to 10-15 independents." Meanwhile, a handful of smaller renewable energy acquisitions could drive more consolidation.

The only other megadeal to be announced so far this year — Berkshire Hathaway Energy's acquisition of Dominion Energy Inc.'s natural gas transmission and storage business — saw Dominion hire Barclays PLC and Morgan Stanley.

Morgan Stanley also advised European energy companies Eni SpA, OMV AG and Uniper SE in some of 2019's biggest transactions.