FORTUNE -- Experience wins out. It was supposed to be a rebound year for M&A, but the soft global economy, euro fears, and antitrust issues put a lot of deals on ice. Two sectors -- energy and technology -- picked up steam, though, and a few dealmakers stood out. --Anne VanderMey
Hugh "Skip" McGee III
Head of global investment banking, Barclays Capital
A Texan who has worked in energy M&A for 24 years, mostly at Lehman, McGee closed 10 such transactions in 2011, and he helped oversee the firm's 150 deals so far this year. His biggest coup? Advising Kinder Morgan (KMP) on its $37.9 billion acquisition of El Paso -- the second-largest deal of 2011 -- and providing Kinder with a $13.3 billion loan to help seal the deal. As McGee told the New York Times, the loan showed that Barclays now has the "big-boy checkbook" to go along with its "big-boy M&A business."
After his stint taking companies like Netscape public during the dotcom boom -- and another few years on the sidelines because of a prolonged court battle -- Quattrone's semi-eponymous new firm, Qatalyst, has become the go-to broker for tech M&A. In 2011, according to Dealogic, Qatalyst did eight deals worth more than $1 billion and two at more than $10 billion: Google's (GOOG) buyout of Motorola Mobility and Hewlett-Packard's (HPQ) purchase of Autonomy. Only Goldman Sachs (GS) did a higher volume of big tech deals in 2011. It may not be long until the upstart firm "qatches" Goldman too.
The best and worst of Wall Street 2011
This article is from the December 26, 2011 issue of Fortune.
A look back at the highs and lows of the past year in the financial markets.
FORTUNE -- To borrow from the 1978 camp classic, "Greece" is the word. Looking back at 2011, the European debt crisis -- particularly Europe's protracted will-they-or-won't-they debate over coming to the aid of their Greco-roamin' common currency partners -- was probably the single biggest factor to impact the financial markets. As if that weren't enough, MOREDec 12, 2011 5:00 AM ET
|GM's recalled Cobalt was a failure from the start|
|Pope Francis challenges the free market - The Buzz|
|Why you should pay off your car loan ASAP|
|Americans have fallen in love with real estate once again|
|Your Internet security relies on a few volunteers|