By overall deal amount and number of deals, 2019 was a bit of a down year when it came to M&A work. According to league tables compiled by data research firm Refinitiv, overall M&A performance was down year over year from 2018, with the first nine months showing a worldwide 10% drop in deal value. The number of worldwide deals was also down 10% compared to 2018, although the number of deals in the Americas was up 17%.

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz continued its yearlong hold on highest deal value as of the end of the third fiscal quarter with $522 billion in deals, according to Refinitiv. That represents a sizable lead over second place Kirkland & Ellis, which brokered $462 billion through the first three quarters of 2019. Rounding out the top five firms in terms of global deal value were Davis Polk & Wardwell, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Sullivan & Cromwell, which knocked Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom from the top five at the end of Q3. 

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