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Freehills remains strong in M&A

Freehills remains strong in M&A

FREEHILLS HAS extended its leading run in mergers and acquisitions in Australia, securing the most money and recording the highest number of announced deals in the second quarter of…

FREEHILLS HAS extended its leading run in mergers and acquisitions in Australia, securing the most money and recording the highest number of announced deals in the second quarter of 2007.

Retaining its year-end number one position for 2006 in Australasia, the firm advised on 38 deals worth $50,108 million, which was more than twice the value attributed to second place Blake Dawson Waldron, according to Mergermarkets’ preliminary tables for legal advisors in mergers and acquisitions.

Adding just one more announced deal for the Asia-Pacific (ex-Japan) tables, Freehills’ 39 deals also won the firm first place for both value and volume, beating major international firms Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters.

“We have enjoyed a stellar year in M&A and we are delighted and very encouraged by these preliminary results,” Freehills partner Rebecca Maslen-Stannage said. “We’re also aware that there are deals currently being submitted by our competitors and that these results are not final.”

Maslen-Stannage said the combined deal experience of the M&A team was crucial to the firm’s ongoing success.

“With so many highly talented lawyers with strong deal experience, we have worked simultaneously from coast-to-coast on a large number of M&A deals over the past six months,” she said. “The calibre of our people and our focus on achieving client outcomes together form the cornerstones of our M&A practice.”

Some of the major deals Freehills has been involved wit this year include CEMEX’s $17 billion bid for Rinker Group, Suncorp Metway’s $7.87 billion merger with Promina Group, Fairfax Media’s $9 billion merger with Rural Press, as well as advice given to the Coles Group.

Asked how Freehills plans to maintain a competitive advantage in M&A, Maslen-Stannage said “we recruit the best, we coach our solicitors and we foster a high level of quality amongst our team”.

Improving on third position for the end of 2006, Blakes was involved in $23,039 million from 25 deals in Australasia to come in second. Leaping from 10th position to third for the previous quarter, Minter Ellison had 30 announced deals with a value of $22,322 million.

Very close behind was Allens Arthur Robinson in fourth position, with $22,285 million from 14 deals, down from second place for the end of 2006, and Clayton Utz up from 20th to fifth, with $22,007 million and 30 deals.

Mallesons Stephen Jaques improved on its 2006 ranking of eighth to move into sixth place with 20 deals and $20,398 million, while Chang Pistilli & Simmons bolted from number 83 in 2006 to seventh position with $15,263 million from only 5 deals.

Rounding out the top 10 was Gilbert + Tobin (up from 9th to 8th) with $9,682 million from 12 deals; Freshfields (up from 15th to 9th) with $8,897 million and seven deals; and Baker & McKenzie (up from 23rd to 10th) with 16 deals and $8,160 million.

According to the Mergermarkets’ results for announced Asia-Pacific M&A deals, the second quarter for 2007 accounted for US$189.5 billion ($223.3 billion), which was an 18.3 per cent increase over the same period for 2006.

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