Goldman isn't the only investment bank using the technology, which started out in the military and is beginning to be used broadly in applications from package delivery to monitoring great white sharks. JPMorgan Chase, which has the world's largest capital markets business by revenue, is another firm that has leaned on drone technology in deals, according to a person with knowledge of the bank's processes.
Even boutique investment banks have been using them. When middle-market advisor TKO Miller helped SPI Lighting, a maker of architectural lighting fixtures, sell itself to a competitor, it made a two-minute sizzle reel that began with an aerial view of the 130,000 square foot headquarters, gliding across the firm's factory floor and warehouse.
"We've proven the benefits of drone footage," said Erik Eidem, a veteran TKO banker. "The pandemic made it a necessity, but people are very happy about it, they feel they're getting a better sense of the business early on."
Commercial drones cost roughly $1,000 and up, but bankers typically hire videographers who charge $10,000 and up for slickly produced and edited tours, Eidem said.
The new remote regime has held up during a blistering rebound in deals activity. After a lull in April, May and June, when American corporations focused on raising billions of dollars in debt and equity markets to survive the pandemic, companies then turned to takeovers to reposition themselves for the new reality. Deal announcements jumped 152% in the third quarter to $1.13 trillion, according to Dealogic.
Goldman is the top ranked advisor by deal count and transaction value, followed by Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan and Bank of America, according to the financial data provider.