Sard Verbinnen & Co was the top M&A PR advisor in the U.S. for 2012 by both deal value and volume, according to mergermarket, as the firm counseled 123 transactions worth nearly $216B.

Globally, Brunswick Group topped M&A PR firms in both categories, working 217 transactions worth more than $296B.

Mergermarket said global M&A activity was flat from 2011, while the U.S. saw its best year by value since 2007. In the fourth quarter, alone, U.S. transactions were up more than 45% by value to $305.4B. Energy, mining and utilities were the most active sectors domestically.

Among its big U.S. deals, Sard counseled Softbank Corp. in its $35.5B acquisition of Sprint Nextel (Abernathy MacGregor Group), as well as Equity Residential and Avalonbay Communities in their $16.3B buy of Archstone-Smith Trust (Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher) from Lehman Brothers.

By deal value among U.S. transactions, Sard was trailed by Brunswick Group ($169B), Kekst ($118B), Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher ($116B) and Abernathy MacGregor Group ($101B).

Ranked by number of deals, Kekst ranked second with 115 transactions, followed by Brunswick (103), Joele Frank (90) and FTI Consulting (85).

Globally by deal value, Brunswick was followed by Sard Verbinnen ($227B), RLM Finsbury ($138B), Pelham Bell Pottinger ($135B) and FTI ($124B). By volume, FTI (217) was second, with Sard (132), Kekst (121) and Joele Frank (94) rounding out the top five.

Brunswick, FTI, Pelham Bell Pottinger and Stockwell Communications worked the target in the second largest global deal of the year -- Glencore International's $46B stake in Xstrata. RLM Finsbury repped Glencore. Brunswick also repped Mondelez' Kraft unit in its $26.B spinoff, and Anheuser-Busch InBev in its $20B purchase of nearly 50% of Grupo Modelo.

View full rankings at mergermarket (PDF).