One of the big winners should the AT&T-Time Warner deal get done would be Morgan Stanley.
The blockbuster $85.4 billion proposed unification of the two communications heavyweights pushed the investment bank to the top of the standings this year for U.S.-targeted mergers and acquisitions activity, according to Thomson Reuters figures updated Monday.
In the largest deal of 2016, AT&T will pay $85.4 billion to acquire the media giant, should it get past significant regulatory hurdles. The deal has a total value of $108.7 billion when it includes Time Warner's net debt.
M&A had been lagging in the U.S. and globally but has gotten some juice lately. The AT&T-Time Warner deal pushes the U.S. total to $1.23 trillion, lagging 2015's total of $1.61 trillion at the same juncture.
Morgan Stanley has been in on 101 deals this year totaling $408.4 billion, lifting it from second place to first in the so-called league standings, ahead of JPMorgan Chase, which actually has done more total deals at 137 but for a value of $399.9 billion.
Morgan Stanley did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The lift in revenue did little to boost the bank's share price, which was down slightly and trailing a broader market rally Monday.
Other banks involved in the deal were JPMorgan, which moved up from third to second; Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which solidified its hold on fourth place; Citigroup, which moved from seventh to fifth; and Perella Weinberg Partners, which leaped from 32nd to 14th.
Perella Weinberg, Bank of America and JPMorgan advised AT&T, with Bank of America and JPMorgan also offering bridge financing, while Sullivan & Cromwell and Arnold & Porter provided legal advice.
Allen & Co, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley acted as financial advisors to Time Warner, while Cravath, Swaine & Moore was its legal advisor.
— Reuters contributed to this report.