International firms dominate M&A in Australasia

By Lara Bullock|13 January 2016

Two global law firms topped the charts in the M&A space last year, according to a new report. 

Mergermarket’s Global and regional M&A: 2015 report has revealed that last year was a record year for both the Asia-Pacific region and globally in terms of total deal value.

The report included rankings of the law firms that secured the most M&A deals by value in various regions. In Australasia, Herbert Smith Freehills came in first place, working on 68 deals with a total value of US$61,075 million.

King & Wood Mallesons came second, working on 59 deals with a total value of US$38,196 million, and Allens came third, working on 47 deals with a total value of US$33,827 million.


Ashurst, Gilbert + Tobin, Minter Ellison and Clayton Utz came next on the list. ENSafrica, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and Slaughter and May rounded out the top 10.

In the Asia-Pacific region excluding Japan, M&A activity reached a new record in 2015 with 3,797 deals worth US$927.8 billion announced, a 43.7 per cent increase on 2014’s total value.

This was the third consecutive annual increase by value, and the largest yearly value on record. The report stated that this increase was due to growing investor confidence in the region.

Seven mega-deals larger than US$10 billion worth a total value of US$168.4 billion were announced in 2015, up from five worth US$138.5 billion in 2014.

The energy, mining and utilities (EMU) sector was the most common area for deals and was up 50.6 per cent from 2014.


“Due to the prolonged drop in oil prices, this trend is likely to continue into 2016, as companies within the region continue to sell their assets to raise much needed equity,” the report read.

Interest in the EMU sector was driven by Chinese investors looking to take advantage of the assets coming to market, according to the report.

Globally, 2015 was a record year for global M&A with the highest total deal value of US$4.28 trillion on record. This is a 16.6 per cent increase on the previous record from 2007 and 29.9 per cent above the total deal value of 2014.

Last year also experienced three consecutive quarters experiencing a value above US$1 trillion, with Q4 recording US$1.38 trillion, the highest valued quarter on record.

Very large deals were plentiful in 2015. According to the report, there have only ever been six transactions above US$100 billion, two of which were announced in 2015. There were a total of 10 transactions above US$50 billion that amounted to US$814.6 billion.

Seven industries have reached an all-time record value in 2015. These were consumer, technology, business services, real estate, transport, defence and pharma, medical and biotech.

International firms dominate M&A in Australasia
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