According to Refinitiv data released on Tuesday, Bank of America ranked as the top financial adviser to businesses targeted by activist investors in 2021, leapfrogging three rivals to take the top spot.
Bank of America advised on 35 campaigns in 2021, compared to 28 the previous year.
Last year, the top nine advisers worked on 186 initiatives, almost the same as the 187 campaigns they worked on in 2020 when the pandemic slowed activism. Activists targeted 197 companies in 2019.
ExxonMobil, Duke Energy, International Flavors and Fragrances, LabCorp, and Dollar Tree were among the companies attacked by protestors last year.
According to Refinitiv statistics, Goldman Sachs, which was the top financial adviser in 2020 and 2019, fell to third place with 33 campaigns. In 2020, Goldman will have a hand in 52 campaigns.
According to the data, Morgan Stanley has climbed up to the second place with 34 campaigns, up from 29 in 2020.
JP Morgan advised on 30 campaigns in 2020, up from 9 in 2020, propelling it to fifth place from eighth.
Spotlight Advisors, which advises companies as well as activists, came in fourth place with 32 campaigns, approximately the same as in 2020 when it advised on 33 initiatives.
Various service providers generate league tables, which are frequently used to entice new customers. However, bankers claim that they rarely provide the whole picture, pointing out that differences might occur because many firms fight activists discreetly and want their advisers to keep quiet about their involvement.
Elliott Management remained the most active activist, starting 14 campaigns last year after launching 16 in 2020. Jana Partners came in second with eight campaigns, up from five in 2020, and Olshan Frome Wolosky was the busiest law firm with 85 activist engagements. The No. 2 firm was Vinson & Elkins LLP, which handled 40 campaigns, including one for an activist. With 36 campaigns, including one for an activist, Sidley Austin LLP came in third.
The leading proxy solicitors were Morrow Sodali and Innisfree.