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Canadian firm leaves top tier trailing

Canadian firm leaves top tier trailing

A Canadian firm with a small Sydney office has out-performed Allens, Mallesons and Freehills, according to an M&A survey.Stikeman Elliot has rocketed to the number two position on the…

A Canadian firm with a small Sydney office has out-performed Allens, Mallesons and Freehills, according to an M&A survey.

Stikeman Elliot has rocketed to the number two position on the Thomson Reuters Legal Advisor Tables for announced deals in Australia and New Zealand for the first nine months of 2010.

This is a stunning result for the firm, as at the same period in 2009, it was ranked 63 for announced deals in Australia and New Zealand.

Stikeman Elliot has over 500 staff spread across five offices in Canada, with additional smaller operations in New York, London and Sydney.

It is used to dominating the Canadian M&A tables, but the firm does not usually act on major transactions emanating from Australia. It has acted for Australian clients including Telstra, One Steel and Westfield on major financial and commercial transactions in Canada.

Stikeman Elliot's big ticket item was acting as the adviser to Canada'a Potash Corp in relation to BHP Billiton's US$39 billion (A$39.5 billion)hostile takeover bid, the largest announced deal globally for the first three quarters of 2010.

Stikeman Elliot Sydney managing principal Brian Hansen was unavailable for comment when contacted by Lawyers Weekly.

Only Blake Dawson finished ahead of the Canadian firm, advising on announced deals worth over $US 72 million, as compared to the Canadian firm's $55.8 million deal value.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, Slaughter & May and Jones Day round out the top five. The American firms Skadden and Jones Day also have offices in Sydney.

The Australian firms performed better in terms of deals completed.

Blake Dawson also topped this table, coming out ahead of Allens, Mallesons, Freehills and Sidney Austin LLP. Blakes acted on 39 deals, with a value of $18.6 million. Allens acted on slightly more deals (42), but with a total value of around $17.7 million.

Stikeman Elliot finished sixth on this table (up from 55 last year), ahead of Gilbert + Tobin, Minter Ellison, Clayton Utz and Corrs Chambers Westgarth.

According to Thomson Reuters, worldwide M&A was up 21 per cent from comparable 2009 levels. Australia recorded a modest increase of 10.6 per cent as compared to M&A deals in the first three quarters of 2009.

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