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Freehills, Blakes top Bloomberg M&A tables

Freehills, Blakes top Bloomberg M&A tables

FREEHILLS HAS again dominated mergers and acquisitions deals, with a strong third-quarter result in the Bloomberg 2006 Q3 Australia & New Zealand league tables.The M&A Legal Advisory…

FREEHILLS HAS again dominated mergers and acquisitions deals, with a strong third-quarter result in the Bloomberg 2006 Q3 Australia & New Zealand league tables.

The M&A Legal Advisory announced deals tables recorded Freehills in number one position as of the end of September. With a hefty market share of 38.5 per cent, the firm raked in $65,731 million from 90 deals, down just 0.9 per cent on its share of the market from this time last year.

“What we’ve been really happy with … is that we’ve managed to top a number of league tables over time,” Rebecca Maslen-Stannage, partner in corporate mergers and acquisitions, told Lawyers Weekly.

“Because you recognise that, with any one league table result, you can do particularly well in one six-month period, and that’s good, but what we’re proud of is that over the past few years, we’ve continued to do well in the league tables,” she said.

According to Maslen-Stannage, when a firm performs consistently well in M&A deals tables, it reassures across the board. “We find with prospective clients, and existing clients, and also potential recruits, if they can see that external evidence of us being a leading player in the market … it helps to endorse their choice of firm.”

Such external recognition is also a good way of motivating the Freehills M&A team, which is comprised of around 150 partners and solicitors nationally. “We have a team of bright M&A lawyers,” she said. “It’s really a good endorsement for them, and it helps maintain esprit de corps in our team, if they can see that externally, we’re being recognised as the number one team.”

Blake Dawson Waldron, in second place, held 20.9 per cent of the market from 70 deals, or $35,797 million. This was a slight improvement of 0.3 per cent on their market share takings for 2005, but enough to see the firm climb from fourth to second place.

“This result highlights our M&A reputation and depth,” Bill Koeck, joint practice head of M&A for Blakes, said.

“The year to date has been a great one for our firm, and our leading position in the league tables reflects the strength of our M&A practice. We are proud to have worked on a number of significant deals for a range of very highly valued clients.”

Securing third, Allens Arthur Robinson took $24,242 million from 40 deals, which gave the firm 14.2 per cent of the market. Dropping from second place for the equivalent period last year, Allens suffered a drop of 22.6 per cent of their market share between 2005 and 2006.

Fourth place went to Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, with a tenth of the market from only six deals, netting $17,111 million. This was better than the firm’s seventh place in 2005, but down on the 14.3 per cent of the market it held at the time.

New Zealand firm Bell Gully represented the other side of the Tasman in fifth place, with 8.5 per cent of the market, $14,534 million and 34 deals; considerably better than last year’s 13th place ranking, be it with 2.3 per cent less of the market share.

Very little separated the next three firms. Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom (6th) won 7.6 per cent of market share, $13,002 million and 12 deals, a jump from its 2005 performance of 5.6 per cent and 18th place. Gilbert & Tobin (7th) had 7.5 per cent of the market with $12,876 million and 14 deals, also an improvement on last year’s 25th place ranking and 3.6 per cent. Next came Mallesons Stephen Jaques (8th), also grabbing 7.5 per cent of the market from 34 deals and $12,789 million, down from the firm’s 29.0 per cent market share and third place ranking of 2005.

Linklaters rose from 33rd to ninth position this year, with a jump from 1.7 per cent to 6.6 per cent in 2006. The UK firm took in $11,361 million from only 7 deals, while Minter Ellison (10th) got $8,941 million from 41 deals. Minters’ 5.2 per cent of the market was a considerable drop from its sixth place, 19.4 per cent effort in 2005. Sullivan Cromwell also slid, going from eighth place and 13.4 per cent of the market in 2005 to 11th position and 5.1 per cent, bringing in $8,777 millionfrom only four deals.

The remaining nine firms all obtained less than 5 per cent of the M&A market. Clayton Utz (12th) had 4.8 per cent of market share with $8,270 million from 13 deals. Slaughter & May (13th) announced just 2 deals, for $7.989 million or 4.7 per cent, closely followed by Clifford Chance, with 18 deals, $7,958 million and 4.7 per cent.

The next three firms were not ranked in 2005. They included Lovells (15th) with 4.0 per cent, $6,861 million and 3 deals; O’Melveny & Myers (16th) with 3.7 per cent, $6,377 million and 1 deal; and LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & Macrae LLP (17th), acquiring 3.6 per cent from 2 deals and $6,200 million.

Rounding out the top 20 were Hogan & Hartson LLP (18th), Baker & McKenzie (19th) and Shearman & Sterling LLP (20th).

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