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Jefferies back in US bank M&A league tables

Jefferies LLC has jumped back into the U.S. bank M&A league tables in a big way.

Jefferies served as the lead adviser to Texas Capital Bancshares Inc. on its pending $3.12 billion merger of equals with Independent Bank Group Inc., the investment bank's first U.S. depository M&A deal since 2015, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data. The deal ranks as 2019's fourth-largest announced transaction in the space.

Aaron Packles, head of financial institutions i-banking in the Americas, was one of the Jefferies advisers on the Texas Capital/Independent Bank deal. He joined the company in 2018 after having spent about a decade as head of depository and specialty finance investment banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where he worked on such deals as CIT Group Inc.'s $3.33 billion acquisition of OneWest Bank Group LLC.

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The other i-banks on the Texas Capital/Independent Bank deal are also no strangers to large bank deals and have been active of late in the sector. Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC, which advised Texas Capital, has landed four $1 billion-plus bank deal assignments in 2019. That tally is second only to the total of five from Keefe Bruyette & Woods Inc., the exclusive financial adviser to Independent Bank. Sandler O'Neill & Partners LP, typically near the top of bank M&A league tables, rendered a fairness opinion to Independent Bank's board, giving the i-bank its second $1 billion-plus bank M&A assignment in 2019.

Independent Bank has been an active acquirer and has used different i-banks over the years. Independent Bank used Stephens Inc. on its 2017 acquisition of Carlile Bancshares Inc. and used Piper Jaffray Cos. on its 2018 deal for Integrity Bancshares Inc.

Texas Capital has been less active with M&A, but it does have a history with Packles. In 2016, BofA Merrill was the lead book manager on a Texas Capital $236.8 million equity offering. Another former BofA Merrill i-banker, Vishal Sitapara, joined Jefferies in 2018 as part of the depository team. Other members of the team include William Izlar and Jacob Lown.

The team members have worked on other bank deals in their time with Jefferies. The i-bank served as a financial adviser to MatlinPatterson Global Advisers LLC's MP Thrift Investments LP when it sold shares of Flagstar Bancorp Inc. and advised Bank Leumi le-Israel BM on the sale of its Romanian bank to First Bank SA.

Prior to the building of the current team, Jefferies saw a series of departures from the financial institutions group. One of the most notable was Global Head of FIG Frank Cicero, who is now with KBW. Cicero had joined Jefferies in 2010 with a plan to build the FIG team. He advised on a previous U.S. bank deal for Jefferies, Northfield Bancorp Inc.'s acquisition of Hopewell Valley Community Bank.

Before the team that Cicero helped assemble moved to other firms, Jefferies had success in the bank space, with its largest transaction being the 2013 deal between PacWest Bancorp and CapitalSource Inc. with an announced value of $2.38 billion.

The announced value of the Texas Capital assignment tops the PacWest/CapitalSource deal and is a sign that Jefferies is once again competing for the biggest deals in U.S. bankland.