find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (1-3 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Sydney NSW 2000
· Join a dynamic Firm · Excellent career growth opportunity
View details
In-house lawyer 1-4 PAE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Leading Brand · Report to a Dynamic Legal Counsel
View details
Firms expect M&A recovery

Firms expect M&A recovery

Law firms believe M&A activity in Australia will strengthen in the early part of 2013 as the sector recovers from the significant hit it took last year.

According to a leading Mergermarket survey, bidders looking for a target in the Asia-Pacific region accounted for 414 announced M&A deals in Australia for 2012, totalling $US46.7 billion, third behind China and Japan.

The Australian result was down from $US79.3 billion the previous year, while the figure represents a fall of more than 50 per cent on the 2010 total of $US106.3 billion.

This slide is further highlighted by Australia’s dwindling market share of M&A activity in the Asia-Pacific in the past two years.

Mergermarket noted that M&A in Australia represented just 10.6 per cent of the region’s activity in value last year, down from 19.6 per cent the previous year and 22.9 per cent in 2010 - a year when Australia outstripped China in deals.

However, despite the shrinking figures, which the report blames on a “drop off” in energy and resources deals, law firms here have forecasted an improvement for the coming year as rising commodity prices rekindle investor interest.

“We’re seeing some encouraging signs for the coming year,” Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) corporate partner Rebecca Maslen-Stannage (pictured) told Lawyers Weekly.

“Last year was tough for M&A, particularly the classic form of it, due to confidence issues in the market, but we were kept busy with less traditional forms, such as mining services.”

HSF topped the Mergermarket deal value table on announced deals with US$21.63 billion, a  good distance clear of second-ranked Allens with US$15.56 billion, which was ranked first last year.

National firms Clayton Utz, Gilbert + Tobin and Minter Ellison all made the top 10. 

Maslen-Stannage said Freehills’ merger with Herbert Smith last year had strengthened the firm’s position as the leading player for M&A in the Asia-Pacific.

“The merger is doing very well for us in Asia across the board,” she said. “It gives us the ability to apply our M&A credentials and experience in Australia and combine that with the great platform Herbert Smith has in Asia.”

Moving on up

Other movements in the Mergermarket table saw King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) jump from 10th to third spot with deals worth US$12.59 billion, while Ashurst was the big improver, rising from 67th to fourth, with deals worth US$11.23 billion.

 Norton Rose was the other big mover, jumping from 53rd to 11th place.

In terms of deals completed, HSF (60) was again top, with Minter Ellison (52) and KWM (52) not far behind.

Maslen-Stannage said firms are keeping a keen eye on speculation surrounding a number of imminent multi-billion dollar deals, such as the Australand bid, which may trigger an upsurge in confidence in the M&A market.

“If you have one high-profile property transaction like that, and the deal goes through, it can genuinely be like the genie coming out of the bottle for property M&A,” she said.

“If one or two bravely do a deal you’ll find it will open up the market and others will follow … because they’ll have the confidence to go ahead with a deal they’ve wanted to make but were too nervous in a more skittish market in 2012.”

The Mergermarket survey showed that global M&A activity fell in 2012 from the previous year and was the lowest for deal values since 2010. The value of deals, at $US2.17 trillion, was down 2.7 per cent on 2011.

Meanwhile, the Dealogic M&A league tables for 2012 paint a similar picture for law firms in Australia.

HSF again ranked highest for both deals completed (90) and deal value, with US$25.97 billion, which represents a 23.1 per cent market share, pipping KWM (19%) and Allens (16.4%). Gilbert + Tobin broke up the top-tier monopoly at the head of the table by taking 13.8 per cent market share.

 Minters, Corrs Chambers Westgarth and Clayton Utz also all made the top 10.

According to Dealogic, Australian investment-banking revenue weakened to its lowest ebb since the GFC last year, falling almost one-fifth to $US1.9 billion from $US2.35 billion.

The study also showed that the Australian IPO market was particularly gloomy last year, with its results lagging well behind the global average and a fraction of the level of 2010.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Firms expect M&A recovery
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Unite
Aug 22 2017
Professionals unite in support of marriage equality
The presidents of representative bodies for solicitors, barristers and doctors in NSW have come toge...
Aug 21 2017
Is your firm on the right track for gig economy gains?
Promoted by Crowd & Co. The way we do business, where we work, how we engage with workers, ev...
Scales of Justice, Victorian County Court, retiring judges
Aug 21 2017
Replacements named for retired Vic judges
Two new judicial officers have been appointed in the Victorian County Court, following the retire...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...