For the fourth year running, Allens Arthur Robinson (AAR) has topped both the completed and announced 2003 Asia Pacific merger and acquisition tables. The firm’s successes this year took Allens to the peak of the Asia Pacific M&A market (excluding Japan) for the second time in four years.
AAR’s work on 45 transactions with a total value of US$27.95 ($35.94) billion, which spanned more than 12 countries in Asia, Europe and North America, moved the firm into the lead in both the announced and completed tables in Australia and New Zealand, according to Thomson Financial research.
Second in line came Mallesons Stephen Jaques with a rank value of US$21.24 ($27.21) billion for 52 announced deals and 51 completed deals valued at US$23.49 ($30.2) billion.
Making a jump from its ninth place rank the year before, Clayton Utz gained the third rank in the announced tables last year for advising on 46 announced deals amounting to US$18.26 ($23.48) billion.
Attributing AAR’s success to the depth of its M&A team, AAR M&A practice leader Tim Bednall credited “the partners [who were] supported by some very talented and dedicated younger lawyers”.
The enormity of AAR’s transactions have had an effect on their success on the table, including such deals as News Corps’s US$6.88 ($8.84) billion acquisition of a 34 per cent stake in Hughes Electronics Corporation.
AAR deals last year also included the Xstrata/MIM US$3.07 ($3.94) billion scheme of arrangement, TABCORP Holdings’ US$1.32 ($1.7) billion purchase of Jupiters Limited, as well as the US$1.78 ($2.3) billion bid for Tab Limited.
AAR partner Guy Alexander predicts that M&A activity will continue to strengthen this year. Attributing this at least in part to a greater confidence in cash flow and stronger equity market, “M&A will possibly not sky rocket, but it will most likely strengthen this year”, he said.
Pressed on whether AAR is likely to see similar successes this year, Alexander was hopeful. “There are some fantastic transactions in the pipeline. There is possibly more activity than last year, and hopefully last year’s trend will continue,” he concluded.