Editor's note: S&P Global Market Intelligence has reclassified industries according to the Global Industry Classification Standard. The league table data dispatch articles are now based on the new industry classification and are not comparable with 2017 and prior league table Data Dispatch articles.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch claimed the title of top media M&A adviser by deal credit in 2018 despite working on only two transactions in the sector, one of which was a blockbuster broadcast station deal.
Nexstar Media Group Inc.'s pending all-cash acquisition of Tribune Media Co., announced in December 2018, vaulted Bank of America to the No. 1 spot in S&P Global Market Intelligence's ranking of media M&A financial advisers. The bank ended the year with $9.03 billion in aggregate deal credit. No. 2-ranked Moelis & Co., which also advised on the Nexstar-Tribune deal, scored $6.75 billion in deal credit from seven transactions in 2018. Guggenheim Securities LLC, another Tribune adviser, ranked third with $6.20 billion in deal credit, all of which came from the Nexstar-Tribune transaction. That deal, which would create the largest U.S. station operator, ranked as the biggest of the decade for broadcast, with a gross transaction value of $7.11 billion once adjusted for cash and short-term investments. It follows a failed attempt by Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. to acquire Tribune that was terminated in August 2018 amid regulatory scrutiny.
Bank of America also advised on Sirius XM Holdings Inc.'s pending acquisition of streaming music company Pandora Media Inc., an all-stock offer with a gross transaction value of $3.24 billion.
S&P Global Market Intelligence counted a total of 1,288 deal announcements in the media sector in 2018, with an aggregate transaction value of $49.56 billion. That total includes 296 deals with an aggregate transaction value of $29.32 billion in the fourth quarter.