Freshfields and Linklaters win roles on proposed LSE and Deutsche Boerse tie-up

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is advising longstanding client London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) on its potential merger with Linklaters’ client Deutsche Boerse.

LSE is seeking counsel from Freshfields partners Andrew Hutchings, Mark Rawlinson and Piers Prichard Jones, with the deal expected to be an all-share merger of equals under a new holding company.

Meanwhile, Linklaters London partners Roger Barron and Simon Branigan are working with German-based exchange organisation Deutsche Boerse, with partners Ralph Wollburg and Staffan Illert advising in Germany.

Discussions are still on-going, but the merger would significantly expand both LSE’s and Deutsche Boerse’s reach across Europe. The companies would also continue to operate under their current brand names.

Both firms declined to comment.

Background to the deal 

Freshfields has long represented LSE on a number of transactions, with Hutchings working as a senior associate on the company’s IPO in 2001. He then advised on a clutch of bid approaches, such as a failed £1.6bn takeover offer from Australia’s Macquarie Group at the end of 2005, which was quickly followed by talks with Nasdaq that also broke down.

After several failed talks, LSE eventually merged with Borsa Italiana in 2007, while a strategic partnership with Oslo Børs was also agreed a year later.

LSE’s potential merger partner Deutsche Borse is also no stranger to combination talks, working with Linklaters on its blocked deal with NYSE Euronext in 2011. In this case, partner Ralph Wollburg was understood to have led on negotiations