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Morgan Stanley is top adviser for utility deals in 2018


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Morgan Stanley is top adviser for utility deals in 2018

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.

Morgan Stanley was the top financial adviser in the utility M&A space for 2018, guiding seven deals with a total transaction value of about $30.61 billion. RBC Capital Markets LLC followed with six deals valued at about $19.76 billion. Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC also served as financial adviser on six transactions at a slightly lower overall value of about $19.59 billion.

Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are serving as financial advisers for Houston-headquartered CenterPoint Energy Inc. in its $6 billion bid for Indiana gas and electric utility Vectren Corp. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is serving as a financial adviser for Vectren.

CenterPoint Energy hired Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP as legal counsel, while Vectren tapped Baker Botts LLP as legal counsel.

Morgan Stanley and RBC Capital Markets served as financial advisers for South Carolina utility SCANA Corp. in its contentious stock-for-stock takeover by Richmond, Va.-headquartered Dominion Energy Inc. Under the blockbuster deal, valued at more than $13 billion, SCANA shareholders received 0.6690 shares of Dominion's common stock for each share of SCANA for a conversion of $6.8 billion. Dominion will also assume approximately $6.6 billion in SCANA consolidated net debt.

Credit Suisse (USA) Inc. served as exclusive financial adviser for Dominion, with McGuireWoods LLP and Steptoe & Johnson LLP serving as the company's legal counsel. SCANA hired Mayer Brown LLP and Jones Day as legal advisers.

Another notable deal in 2018 was NextEra Energy Inc.'s newly wrapped purchase of Southern Co.'s Florida assets. Juno Beach, Fla.-headquartered NextEra acquired Pensacola, Fla.-based Gulf Power Co., along with natural gas distribution utility Florida City Gas and two combined-cycle natural gas plants for about $6.48 billion, including the assumption of about $1.4 billion in debt.

Bank of America and Goldman Sachs served as NextEra's financial advisers in the $5.7 billion Gulf Power deal. Southern hired Citigroup Global Markets Inc. as its financial adviser for the transaction.

NextEra retained Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP & Affiliates as its legal counsel. Jones Day and Troutman Sanders LLP served as Southern's legal advisers.

Jones Day finished the year in the top spot among utility M&A legal advisers, ranked by deal amount, facilitating five deals with a total transaction value of about $21.52 billion. Mayer Brown LLP followed with two deals and $14.75 billion in total transaction value.

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