Europe's leading dealmaker last year was an intense 37-year-old from Portugal. Paulo Pereira, head of the telecom group at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter in London, figured in an eye-popping $178 billion in mergers, according to London-based mergermarket.com.
No matter that Pereira was on the losing side of the biggest of those--Vodafone AirTouch PLC's $163 billion hostile takeover of Germany's Mannesmann. He helped orchestrate Mannesmann's defense, which made clear the potential of the mobile Internet. "There are many definitions of winning," Pereira says. He also advised France Telecom on its $46 billion acquisition of Orange PLC from Vodafone AirTouch on May 30.
Accustomed to working all-nighters, Pereira also helped upstart cable operator NTL Inc. snatch the residential cable unit of Cable & Wireless Communications away from Telewest Communications PLC and its backers, Microsoft Corp. and Liberty Media Group. This $19 billion gambit made NTL the leader in cable in Britain.
Pereira thinks telecom deals, once a sleepy backwater, will get even hotter. Morgan Stanley is planning to double its corps of 30 bankers dedicated to telecom. Maybe that means Pereira will have more time for his wife and two daughters. Last year he spent most of the Christmas holidays at the side of Mannesmann Chairman Klaus Esser.