22. M&A Team of the Year (Large Deal)-Article-201612070518

(L-R): Awards host David Mitchell, Linklaters partner Michael Cutting, Intralinks UK & Ireland divisional manager Babita Maria

Finalists: Allen & Overy, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Macfarlanes, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom (highly commended), Slaughter and May

Linklaters took the award in this category – which was sponsored by Intralinks – for the firm’s work for SABMiller on its acquisition by Anheuser-Busch InBev, a transaction that has created a $275bn (£177bn) company in one of the largest corporate deals in history.

AB InBev owns beer brands including Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois, while SABMiller is home to brands such as Fosters, Grolsch and Peroni. The deal, announced in August 2015, closed in October this year.

Advising on this deal allowed a world-class firm to show off its world-class credentials, according to the judges. Praised for a novel structure and a tactical coup, the magic circle firm’s work saw it help to secure five price increases.

Linklaters’ team was led by corporate partners Nick Rumsby and Charlie Jacobs, while Brussels partner Gerwin Van Gerven advised on competition issues.

The team helped to secure the largest UK break fee ever, a best efforts commitment in relation to AB InBev’s antitrust commitments, and a range of protections for SABMiller employees.

Once a recommended deal had been reached, Linklaters worked with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (lead adviser to AB InBev), to finalise a deal structure involving a Belgian offer and Belgian merger process in addition to the UK scheme of arrangement.