Get in Touch

The Top Sell Side Investment Banks – 2024

Business
Top Investment Banks Tn

Last Updated: 1/18/2024

This report ranks the top sell side investment banks active in 2024. It consists of 8 banks, which we narrowed down from an initial analysis of 80+ organizations using public data. Our team then rank ordered the 8 banks according to the following criteria:

  • Total Annual Deals (45%) – How many deals the investment bank closed over the last calendar year. If this information wasn’t readily available for a bank, we estimated the number of deals based on data from the previous calendar year, close competitors, or a third-party database. 
  • Principal Experience Score (30%) – A numerical scoring from 1 to 5 measuring the qualitative experience of a firm’s principals, including tenure at large investment banks and personal involvement in the firm’s negotiations with acquirers.
  • Notable Rankings & Awards (25%) – Accolades or notable recognition from an established industry publication within the last calendar year. 

For each criterion, we allocated ranking points to firms based on the percentile they fell within relative to their peers after a normalization of the range.

Top Sell Side Investment Banks

# Investment Bank EBITDA Range Total Annual Deals (Estimated) Principal Experience Score Notable Rankings & Awards Specialty
1 Goldman Sachs $50M+ 180-220 5.0 #1 in WSJ Global M&A Advisor Ranking M&A advisory for large private enterprises and public companies, including international
2 Sica | Fletcher $1-30M 65-85 5.0 #1 in S&P Global Market Intelligence League Tables Boutique M&A advisory for small to midsize businesses
3 Morgan Stanley $50M+ 110-130 5.0 #8 in S&P Global Market Intelligence League Tables M&A advisory for large private & public companies
4 Perella Weinberg $5-40M 45-55 4.6 Top Financial Advisory for Financial Services Deals in Merger Markets Middle Eastern M&A Awards Consumer, Energy, Tech, and  Healthcare
5 BMI $10-100M 5-10 4.3 #17 in Canada’s Top Investment Banks Architecture & Interior Design
6 Falls River Group, LLC $15-40M 15-25 4.1 Best Transaction Above $300M in 2021 IMAP Awards Cross-border advisory for international sellers
7 The Hatteras Group  $500k-$1M 2-5 3.8 #12 in Top 25 Lower Middle Market Investment Banks (Q3 2022) Buy side advisory for the Industrial sector
8 Focus Investment Banking $5-15M 10-20 3.5 N/A Agricultural Products, Apparel, Brewers & Distillers, and Household Appliances 

Note: There is confusion among some business owners as to the difference between investment banks and M&A advisors, which largely overlap in services. The technical difference is that investment banks provide capital raising services while M&A advisors do not; however, colloquially, the terms are interchangeable. 

Goldman Sachs

Easily the most well-known name in banking, Goldman’s reputation in investment banking comes from a long and practiced history spanning more than 150 years. Goldman distinguishes itself from other enterprise-level institutions by focusing on a cross-border model that works with international companies. 

While most of the other entries on this list would fall in the middle market range, Goldman Sachs focuses largely on enterprise level companies with an EBITDA range above $50M. They work across several Industries, but tend to specialize in competitive spaces rewarding aggressive negotiation tactics.

  • EBITDA Range: $50M+
  • Total Annual Deals: 180-220
  • Principal Experience Score: 5.0
  • Notable Rankings & Awards: #1  in WSJ Global M&A Advisor Ranking
  • Industries & Specialties: M&A advisory for large private enterprises and public companies, including international
  • Contact: Goldman Sach Website

Sica | Fletcher

Within the middle market sector, Sica | Fletcher has been consistently ranked the #1 firm since 2014. Despite being a smaller shop, they close 40-70 deals per year. This amount of deal flow is likely related to the fact that their two founders personally touch every engagement. 

Sica | Fletcher works with clients in professional services, manufacturing, finance, and technology, making them an ideal fit for private businesses of almost any size that are seeking closer guidance through the M&A process.

  • EBITDA Range: $1-30M
  • Total Annual Deals: 65-85
  • Principal Experience Score: 5.0
  • Notable Awards & Rankings: #1 in S&P Global Market Intelligence League Table
  • Industries & Specializations: Boutique M&A advisory for small to midsize companies
  • Contact: Sica Fletcher Website 

Morgan Stanley

Despite working with the same enterprise-level companies as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley is seen as more conservative by those within the investment banking industry. Their GCM team handles IPO options and capital raising needs by weighing the viability of going public against current market trends to ensure a profitable trajectory for their clients. 

Because of their reputation within the industry, Morgan Stanley may be priced out of smaller companies’ budgets, however larger enterprise companies looking for loss mitigation services are likely to make ideal clients. 

  • EBITDA Range: $50M+
  • Total Annual Deals: 110-130
  • Principal Experience Score: 5.0
  • Notable Rankings & Awards: #8 in S&P Global Market Intelligence League Tables
  • Industries & Specialties: M&A advisory for large private & public companies
  • Contact: Morgan Stanley Website

Perella Weinberg Partners

Perella Weinberg Partners is an investment bank specializing in a wide array of related services, including providing growth capital & capital markets, restructuring & liability management, as well as shareholder engagement. Based on their website, they specialize more in financial and structuring advice, including everything from balance sheet recapitalizations to distressed M&A. They also help companies going public by weighing in shareholder-related votes and annual proxy matters.

Perella Weinberg Partners has historically focused on the consumer sector, however their experience encompasses companies across a wide variety of consumer goods. 

  • EBITDA Range: $5-40M
  • Total Annual Deals: 45-55
  • Principal Experience Score: 4.6
  • Notable Awards & Rankings: Top Financial Advisory for Financial Services Deals in Merger Markets Middle Eastern M&A Awards
  • Industries & Specializations: Consumer, Energy, Tech, and Healthcare
  • Contact: Perella Weinberg Partners Website

BMI

BMI provides investment banking targeted at companies within the architectural and interior design niche. Their standard services include items like document preparation and company valuation, but they also provide advanced services to help their clients navigate complex SEC regulations. BMI works as an M&A advisor in addition to investment banking, making them an option for companies hoping to go public or wishing to sell to various types of buyers.

BMI specializes in architectural and interior design, however their website indicates that they are branching into basic construction services. Businesses seeking a company capable of managing government laws during the sale of their businesses would also be a suitable match.

  • EBITDA Range: $10-100M
  • Total Annual Deals: 5-10
  • Principal Experience Score: 4.3
  • Notable Awards & Rankings: #17 in Canada’s Top Investment Banks
  • Industries & Specializations: Architecture & Interior Design
  • Contact: BMI Website

Falls River Group 

Specializing in global Mergers & Acquisitions, the specialists at Falls River Group facilitate cross border transactions to help business owners sell their companies to a wider pool of prospective buyers. The firm manages complex sell-side deal types (e.g. roll ups, carve outs, strategic alliances) as well as capital advisory services to serve businesses in various stages of growth.

Falls River would be best for a client who is not worried about a longer deal process since international M&A often requires more paperwork. Their transaction history indicates a preference for clients within the industrial and commercial retail sectors.

  • EBITDA Range: $15-40M
  • Total Annual Deals: 15-25
  • Principal Experience Score: 4.1
  • Notable Rankings & Awards: Best Transaction Above $300M in 2021 IMAP Awards
  • Industries & Specialties: Cross-border advisory for international sellers
  • Contact: Falls River Group Website

The Hatteras Group 

The Hatteras group has become a known name within their industry by targeting a niche specialty; smaller industrial companies will find a team uniquely suited to their needs, as most of their principals have experience within this sector, having owned or run in Industrial company of their own prior to signing on with the Hatteras group. Their services focus on growth capital, allowing prospective sellers to grow their company over several years before closing in order to get a more appealing deal. 

Because they primarily target companies in HVAC, contracting, trucking, and manufacturing, we would primarily recommend companies within that sector work with this firm. However their experience working with companies in small EBITDA ranges may also make a good fit for smaller family-owned businesses.

  • EBITDA Range: $500k–$1M
  • Total Annual Deals: 2-5
  • Principal Experience Score: 3.8
  • Notable Rankings & Awards: #12 in Top 25 Lower Middle Market Investment Banks (Q3 2022)
  • Industries & Specialties:  M&A advisory for the Industrial sector
  • Contact: The Hatteras Group Website

Focus Investment Banking

Focus Investment Bank specializes in two major practices related to investment banking: First, they offer sale preparation advisory services designed to help clients grow their companies if they are not yet ready to sell. Second, they offer capital raising services targeted across a variety of deal types including leveraged buyouts, recapitalizations, dividend recaps, and acquisition financing. 

Clients seeking specialization in either of these services are likely to find expertise in Focus Investment Banking’s team. 

  • EBITDA Range: $5-15M
  • Total Annual Deals: 10-20
  • Principal Experience Score: 3.5
  • Notable Rankings & Awards: N/A
  • Industries & Specialties: Agricultural Products, Apparel, Brewers & Distillers, Household Appliances
  • Contact: Focus Investment Banking

Evan Bailyn

Evan Bailyn is a best-selling author and award-winning speaker on the subjects of SEO and thought leadership. Contact Evan here.