Freshfields and Slaughter and May advised on the £18bn merger of retail giants Kingfisher and Asda. The deal will create the biggest shopping group in the UK and the 10th biggest in the world. Freshfields corporate partner Edward Braham led a 10-strong team including partners Nick Spearing (competition), Roger Berner (tax), and Simon Evans and Jocelyn Mitchell (employment). Corporate support was provided by partner Andrew Renshaw from the firm's Brussels office. The Slaughters team was led by corporate partner Nilufer von Bismarck, assisted by Kathy Hughes, and also included competition and regulation partner Malcolm Nicholson and tax partner Fiona Ferguson. Freshfields involvement means it is starting this quarter where it left off. The firm came top of the M&A league tables for the first quarter of 1999, as reported in The Lawyer (12 April).