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M&A tables big business for law firms

M&A tables big business for law firms

The dye is cast, the deals have been counted, and law firms are angling for the top positions of the merger and acquisition leagues tables.

THE dye is cast, the deals have been counted, and law firms are angling for the top positions of the merger and acquisition leagues tables.

A host of newly released tables ranks law firms in terms of deal count, deal volume, region and market share. 

For Australian law firms, the high profile Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters and Mergermarket tables are a prestigious calling card to show clients which deals have been won, completed, and how many. The only problem is, the league tables, which have been released one by one in the past week, don't all agree on these points. 

Yesterday The New Lawyer revealed that Mallesons Stephen Jaques has topped the M&A leagues tables for the first three quarters in terms of deal value, based on the newly released Mergermarket tables. Freehills, meanwhile, did the most deals, with 36 deals worth US$12,847 (AUD$14,169) million. 

The Bloomberg tables, also just released, shows Freehills as leading the tally, with 61 deals worth US$16,304 (AUD$17,994) million. Mallesons, meanwhile, comes fifth on the tables, with 26 deals worth US$9,887 (AUD$10,909) million. 

In the Bloomberg tables, Mallesons is also topped by Allens Arthur Robinson, whose 43 deals were valued at US$18,489 (AUD$20,404) million, Clayton Utz, whose 41 deals were worth US$4,144 (AUD$4,573) million, and Blake Dawson, whose 40 deals were valued at US$13,644 (AUD$15,057) million. 

The Thomson Reuters tables show another picture, ranking Freehills first in terms of number of deals and deal value of completed deals. 

Andrew Pike, corporate and M&A partner at Freehills, noted today that each of the various M&A league tables have different methodologies. 

"I think the consistent message that comes out of them is that we rank number one or thereabouts in all of them in terms of number of deals, and we have done over time. And we think that's the real test of the market's choice - they are coming to us more than they are coming to others," Pike said in an interview with The New Lawyer.

Mergermarket says its rankings are different because the database criteria of the three providers are different from one another. Mergermarket has a threshold on deal value at US$5 million, and stake size at 30 per cent or more for inclusion in the global league tables.  

Mergermarket also has a set of criteria on what constitutes as an eligible M&A deal and how a deal is valued, which differs from that of Bloomberg or Thomson Reuters. Mergermarket also includes eligible deals that are announced within the calendar year, regardless of whether they are completes. For legal advisers, it also includes lapsed and withdrawn bids in its rankings, by default, it said today. The other two providers also provide tables of completed deals.

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