Linklaters beats rivals to top of global M&A rankings for Q3 2008
Linklaters has stormed to the top of the latest M&A rankings as clients continue their flight to quality for big-ticket mandates.Mergermarket tables for the first three-quarters of 2008, which are provided exclusively to Legal Week, put the magic circle law firm far ahead of its rivals by value for global, European and UK M&A, with Linklaters advising on 184 deals to date worth $602.3bn (£335bn). Over Q3 the firm has seen a stream of mandates coming from the credit crunch - winning roles on deals including the proposed takeover of HBOS by Lloyds TSB and Bank of America's takeover of Merrill Lynch. It is also advising on the largest deal of the quarter - InBev's unsolicited bid for rival drinks company Anheuser-Busch.The mandates mean Linklaters' quarterly tally has a higher value at $238.3bn (£134bn) than in both Q2 2008 and Q3 2007.Linklaters corporate partner Matthew Middleditch told Legal Week: "We have been lucky that our broad base of clients has been active this year. Given the uncertain climate, quite how much longer activity will continue is uncertain for everyone."The rankings demonstrate clients turning to top-tier law firms during the economic crisis. By value the rankings are dominated by leading international players such as the magic circle, Sullivan & Cromwell, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. All have significantly outperformed the wider M&A market. Q2 saw 3,407 deals announced globally worth $686.6bn (£380bn) while Q3 fell to 2,352 worth $735.3bn (£408bn).With the credit crunch already claiming global banking institutions such as Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and Washington Mutual as well as HBOS and Bradford & Bingley in the UK, firms are preparing for a further flurry of bank-related M&A activity. Freshfields head of corporate Barry O'Brien said: "There is no question we will see more work arising from financial institutions. The regulated balance sheets have not been as robust as people assumed and I would expect to see further financial services consolidation in the future."
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