A&O and Clifford Chance top M&A league

Allen & Overy and Clifford Chance have maintained their lead in announced European M&A deals during the first three-quarters of the year despite a slump in deal volume during the last quarter.


Allen & Overy (A&O) and Clifford Chance have maintained their lead in announced European M&A deals during the first three-quarters of the year despite an alarming slump in deal volume during the last quarter.

In European deals completed to date, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer comes out on top with almost $240bn (£117.1bn) in front of A&O, Clifford Chance, Linklaters and Sullivan & Cromwell. Deals in the bank may prove to be the most valuable by year-end with the credit crunch upping its pressures on the markets.

Worldwide M&A in 2007 to date has broken $3.6 trillion, already beating even the 2006 all-time record full-year figure. However, this third quarter has seen M&A activity slide 66 per cent against July 2007 figures on the back of the global markets’ jitters. Global deals announced in September 2007 amounted to just $192bn (£94.2bn), the lowest monthly total since August 2005.

According to the latest statistics from Thomson Financial, A&O has continued its impressive growth from last year, registering a near four-fold increase in the value of its European deals to almost $450bn (£218.7bn).

Clifford Chance and Sullivan come in at second and third place respectively, with Clifford Chance doubling its 2006 third-quarter figure at almost $420bn (£205.6bn).

These figures have been buoyed by the ABN Amro (ABN) saga where A&O is acting both for ABN negotiating the dowry with its suitors and for Bank of America in its now successful marriage to ABN’s US daughter company LaSalle for more than £10bn. Sullivan and Clifford Chance are both co-advising Barclays on its £40bn bid for ABN.

In worldwide rankings Sullivan still rules the roost, but it and stalwarts Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, Linklaters and Davis Polk & Wardwell are again joined by global M&A newcomers A&O and Clifford Chance in second and fourth positions respectively. Shearman & Sterling have dropped to 15th place from third place on the back of a disappointing year.

Any European Involvement Announced (1 Jan-30 Sept 2007)













Rank Legal Advisor Value (US$m) Rank (1 Jan-30 Sept 2006)
1 Allen & Overy 445,937.5 13
2 Clifford Chance 419,998.3 4
3 Sullivan & Cromwell 363,909.4 3
4 Linklaters 362,554.2 2
5 Freshfields 313,042.5 1
6 Skadden Arps 291,443.1 5
7 Uria Menendez 233,520.6 47
8 Slaughter & May 214,785.0 21
9 Cleary Gottlieb 208,625.6 18
10 Shearman & Sterling 191,172.6 8
(Source: Thomson Financial)