Linklaters has once again topped The Lawyer's initial public offering (IPO) survey.
In the 2001 survey, Linklaters has come out on top, acting on 14 IPO flotations (valuing over £7bn) between July 2000 and December 2001, in a market where most firms struggled to keep their equity capital market teams above water. Compared with 2000, the IPO landscape has been desolate, even for Linklaters, whose success will be tainted slightly when it is forced to compare this year's figures against last year's 22 IPOs, valuing £17.2bn. Linklaters' success stems from its previous ability to capitalise on the technology boom, which really began when it scooped the Freeserve float in 1998. This deal assisted in carving its reputation as the IPO team for technology clients, a label that some say it is now finding difficult to shed. The reality is not that extreme, as in 2001 it only acted on three out of nine technology IPOs for issuers. The firm did manage to straddle two worlds, acting not only for issuers, but also for investment banks, on a total of five IPOs. It acted for its customary clients - Merrill Lynch International, Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein and Credit Suisse First Boston - as well as Goldman Sachs International and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter. Although several of the deals it appeared on were in the software and IT sector, it also sat comfortably in the old economy sector, acting for residential mortgage lender Kensington Group on its £130m float in Nov-ember 2000, as well as for electricity company Innogy Holdings on its £2.3bn float in October 2000. Linklaters may well maintain its premier position in 2002 if its most recent activities in equity capital markets are a realistic indicator. This year it has already advised on the largest London-listed IPO of 2002 by Xstrata, the natural resources company, a placing which was seven times oversubscribed. The float is worth £650m and also combines a $2bn (£1.4bn) debt facility for Xstrata's new mining company. A full analysis of The Lawyer's IPO Survey 2001 will be published later this month.