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Sandler atop bank M&A league tables again in Q1'17

Sandler O'Neill & Partners LP topped SNL Financial's first-quarter financial adviser rankings for bank and thrift M&A, recording the highest number of deals and the largest cumulative value.

During the first quarter, Sandler advised on 13 deals with a total value of $5.32 billion. Of those, Sandler's largest deal was advising Lake Success, N.Y.-based Astoria Financial Corp. on its roughly $2.2 billion pending acquisition by Montebello, N.Y.-based Sterling Bancorp. Sandler's second largest deal came when it served as a financial adviser to BNC Bancorp on its pending $1.9 billion sale to Pinnacle Financial Partners Inc.

The buy-side adviser on the BNC and Pinnacle deal announcement was Stifel Financial Corp. unit Keefe Bruyette & Woods Inc. The Pinnacle role was KBW's largest M&A transaction of the first quarter, and that helped the investment bank rank second in the bank and thrift deal value league table with a total of $4.32 billion from six deals.

Stephens Inc. finished the first quarter tied for second with Hovde Group LLC for number of deals with seven. Stephens' deals had a total announced value of $1.25 billion. In all of 2016, Stephens advised on nine M&A deals in the bank and thrift space, with a total value of about $2 billion. In its biggest deal in the first quarter of 2017, Stephens served as financial adviser to Fort Worth, Texas-based First Texas BHC Inc. on its pending sale to Pine Bluff, Ark.-based Simmons First National Corp.

Among legal advisers, Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz topped the deal value rankings with $3.99 billion from two transactions. Squire Patton Boggs, which came in second, advised on two deals in the first quarter with a combined value of $3.01 billion.

In terms of number of deals, Fenimore Kay Harrison & Ford LLP took the top spot, with a total of six deals in the period, followed by Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg LLP's five transactions.

SNL Financial is an offering of S&P Global Market Intelligence.

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