Evercore Partners (EVR), the investment bank led by Roger C. Altman, is climbing the ranks of Wall Street's top advisers on mergers and acquisitions. Its latest coup: helping AT&T (T) on its $39 billion takeover of T-Mobile, announced on Mar. 20—the year's biggest acquisition. The bank also advised optionsXpress (OXPS) on its $1 billion sale to Charles Schwab (SCHW), unveiled the next day. The deals extend a winning streak for Evercore. The firm advised Sanofi-aventis (SNY) on its $20.1 billion purchase of Genzyme (GENZ), announced in February, and worked with Lubrizol (LZ) on its $9 billion sale to Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) in March.
Altman, a former deputy secretary of the U.S. Treasury, has expanded Evercore, which he founded in New York in 1996, into a more than 600-employee firm. "We are not a small boutique anymore," says Altman, 64.
Evercore holds the No. 9 slot for mergers-and-acquisitions advisers so far this year, capturing 10 percent of the market, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Last year the bank was 20th, with a 3 percent share. In the T-Mobile deal, Evercore joined Greenhill (GHL), another independent investment bank, and JPMorgan Chase (JPM), the top-ranked M&A adviser this year, in working with AT&T. Evercore's relationship with AT&T started in 2006 when it advised the company on its $102 billion acquisition of BellSouth.
The company gets most of its revenue from investment banking, which brought in $301.9 million in 2010, compared with $293.3 million in 2009, according to a regulatory filing. Evercore also has an investment management business, which had revenue of $77.6 million last year, up from $23.3 million.
Since 2007, Evercore has more than doubled its head count. It has 58 partners, typically adds five to seven annually, and is likely to do so again this year, Altman says. On Mar. 21 the company announced the hiring of Eric Mandl, a UBS (UBS) banker who has advised clients including Dell (DELL) on takeovers, to focus on technology and Internet companies. Last year the firm hired Perk Hixon, formerly of Lazard (LAZ), to lead its new mining, metals, and materials advisory group. It also added Philip Kassin, a former executive at billionaire Len Blavatnik's Access Industries Holdings, to advise chemical and energy companies.
Corporate restructurings are also part of the firm's mission. In 2009, Evercore helped lead General Motors through bankruptcy, and in 2010 it advised the carmaker on its $23.1 billion initial public offering, which was the year's largest.
The bottom line: After the AT&T deal, Altman's Evercore holds the No. 9 slot for U.S. mergers and acquisitions in 2011.