DLA Piper scales the AIM ranks as market confidence weakens

DLA Piper has added another four companies to its roster of AIM clients, but is still a few short of Norton Rose, which has the highest number of AIM clients in the market at 65.


DLA Piper has added another four companies to its roster of AIM clients, but is still a few short of Norton Rose, which has the highest number of AIM clients in the market at 65.

The two firms are followed in third place by usual AIM suspect Pinsent Masons, which has 53 AIM clients. Berwin Leighton Paisner, Eversheds and Lawrence Graham are tied in fourth place, taking care of 49 AIM clients each.

The rankings, published by financial data service Hemscott, contain figures on the quarter from October 2007 to January 2008.

DLA Piper was busy during the three-month period, taking companies such as CVS Veterinary Centres to AIM, raising around £90m. The firm also floated training provider Melorio for £27.5m and EAG for £175m.

DLA Piper Birmingham corporate partner Charles Cook said: “AIM is and remains a key market for DLA Piper – it suits our practice perfectly.”

Despite many firms seeing an increase in numbers of AIM clients during the three months, the total market capitalisations of clients have in many cases dropped since October 2007 due to recent market turmoil. In terms of the biggest AIM companies, DLA Piper advises five of the 50 largest AIM companies, placing it in pole position in that table. Meanwhile, Jones Day, Macfarlanes, Norton Rose, Pinsents and Taylor Wessing all advise three clients each and sit in joint second place.

In the previous quarter Norton Rose and DLA Piper were advisers to respectively five and six of the 50 largest AIM companies. As is often the case with AIM companies, many larger ones end up moving to the main FTSE list, as in the case of Russian mining giant and Norton Rose client Aricom.

Travers Smith is a new entrant to the league tables, albeit at a low position, with a total of 25 AIM clients, of which two are in the AIM UK 50. Part of Travers’ entry to the league was achieved by acting on such high-profile floats as Juridica Investments’ £80m AIM listing. The float was also the first third-party litigation fund to list on AIM.

Notwithstanding the flurry of activity at the end of 2007, January appears to have been a quiet month, not just for the official list, but also for AIM.

Norton Rose corporate partner Mark Lloyd Williams said: “I don’t think it’s just AIM, it’s also the full list, but perhaps AIM’s suffering a lot more. Over the back end of last year there were deals coming through to market, although it’s now become increasingly difficult.”

But not all markets are affected equally. Lloyd Williams said: “Certain sectors like minerals, emerging markets and the Russian emerging markets in particular are still coming to market.”

DLA London corporate partner Polly Owen agreed, saying: “Russia and Eastern Europe, that seems to be where the interesting work is going to come from in the next months.”

TOTAL AIM CLIENTS

Rank Rank Law firm No of clients No of clients
(Oct ’07- Jan ’08) (previous quarter) (Oct ’07 – Jan ’08) (previous quarter)
1 1= Norton Rose 65 64
2 2 DLA Piper 59 55
3 4 Pinsent Masons 53 51
4= 5= Berwin Leighton Paisner 49 49
4= 3 Eversheds 49 53
4= 7 LG 49 47
7 5= Halliwells 46 49
8= 9 Field Fisher Waterhouse 42 43
8= 8 Memery Crystal 42 44
10 1= Fasken Martineau Stringer Saul 37 35
11= 1= Carey Olsen 32 29
11= 12= Nabarro 32 28
11= 12= Stephenson Harwood 32 28
14 12= Osborne Clarke 31 28
15 15 Hammonds 30 27
16 16 Charles Russell 26 25
17 Travers Smith 25
18= Cobbetts 24
18= 17= Olswang 24 24
18= 17= Taylor Wessing 24 24

TOTAL AIM CLIENTS

Rank  Rank  Law firm No of clients No of clients
(Oct ’07- Jan ’08)  (previous quarter) (Oct ’07-  Jan ’08)  (previous quarter)
1 1 DLA Piper 5 6
2=  3= Jones Day  3 3
2=  3= Macfarlanes  3 3
2= 2 Norton Rose  3 5
2=  3= Pinsent Masons 3 3
2=  3= Taylor Wessing 3 3
7=   – Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld 2  –
7=  7= Ashurst 2 2
7=  7= Eversheds 2 2
7=   – Fasken Martineau Stringer Saul 2  –
7= 7= LG 2 2
7=   – Lovells 2  –
7=  – Mayer Brown 2  –
7=  7= Travers Smith 2 2