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Wells Fargo leads US media debt advisers in 2018, buoyed by Comcast

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Wells Fargo leads US media debt advisers in 2018, buoyed by Comcast

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.

Debt remained the most common capital offering for the U.S. media sector by far in 2018, and Comcast Corp.'s $27 billion offering of notes issued to finance its acquisition of British pay TV operator Sky PLC drove the sector's debt adviser rankings for the year.

Wells Fargo Securities LLC ranked as the top financial adviser on debt offerings from the U.S. media sector by aggregate deal credit, with about $6.25 billion from 22 offerings in 2018, according to data compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence. Much of that business came from Comcast: Wells Fargo served as an underwriter on 15 Comcast debt offerings in 2018, most of which were issued to finance the media conglomerate's acquisition of Sky.

The advisers with the second- and third-most deal credit from media sector debt offerings also worked on Comcast's Sky-related issuances. Bank of America Merrill Lynch came in second with deal credit of about $5.96 billion from 23 offerings in 2018. In addition to its work with Comcast, Bank of America served as an underwriter for Interpublic Group of Cos. Inc.'s $2 billion public offering of senior notes, which the ad agency holding company used for its acquisition of Acxiom's Marketing Solutions business unit.

Credit Suisse (USA) Inc., another Comcast adviser, ranked third among media debt offering advisers in 2018 with about $5.89 billion in deal credit from 20 offerings.

In all, S&P Global Market Intelligence counted 96 debt offerings in the media sector in 2018, with an aggregate value of $56.38 billion and an average size of $587.2 million.

Aside from debt, common equity was the only other type of capital offering that registered enough activity from the media sector to trigger an adviser ranking for 2018. S&P Global Market Intelligence counted 135 common equity offerings from the media sector with an aggregate deal value of $1.62 billion and an average size of $12 million.

Morgan Stanley ranked as the top adviser on common equity offerings in the media sector by aggregate deal credit in 2018, with $94.7 million from its work as a book manager on two offerings: one by Pandora Media Inc. and one by New Media Investment Group Inc.

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