Linklaters, Freshfields trail as Slaughters maintains its status as FTSE100 darling

Linklaters, Freshfields trail as Slaughters maintains its status as FTSE100 darling” />M&A powerhouse Slaughter and May is still king of the FTSE100, according to research conducted by Hemscott Group.

Slaughters, which topped the Hemscott adviser rankings for the second quarter of 2006, acts for 29 FTSE100 clients, including British Airways, Diageo, Royal Dutch Shell and Schroders. Magic circle firms Linklaters and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, meanwhile, act for 21 and 20 clients respectively.

A frenzy of foreign takeovers has resulted in client wins and losses for Slaughters, Freshfields and Linklaters.

Both Slaughters and Freshfields have recently lost clients after they were taken over by foreign bidders. Slaughters has lost banking giant Abbey and logistics company Exel. It also stands to lose industrial gases business BOC, which is being pursued by Germany’s Linde. On the up side, Slaughters has gained Australian logistics operator Brambles Industry as a new client.

Freshfields has lost Mark Rawlinson’s client P&O, which was taken over by Linklaters client DP World in March. In addition to gaining P&O, Linklaters has also bagged former Slaughters client Exel after it was taken over by Deutsche Post. Conversely, Linklaters has lost drinks giant Allied Domecq, which was taken over by France’s Pernod Ricard last year.

Meanwhile, Freshfields is poised to gain Herbert Smith client BAA thanks to its own client Ferrovial Group’s successful bid approach for the UK airports operator.

Freshfields UK head of corporate Tim Jones said: “Although the table shows we act for 20 clients, we regularly act as corporate advisers to at least five more FTSE100 companies, such as AstraZeneca.”

Slaughters corporate partner Nigel Boardman said UK companies will continue to be takeover targets for overseas bidders. “The UK remains the most takeover-friendly market in the world,” he said.

He also insisted that, despite Slaughters’ tiny international footprint, the firm is well placed to handle cross-border M&A. “Criticisms of our international strategy have been proven wrong because of our performance in the table,” he insisted.

Further down the pecking order, Lovells is in joint tenth place with SJ Berwin. Lovells head of corporate finance Hugh Nineham defended his firm’s performance. “How these tables are presented depends entirely on what the clients say. We’re doing plenty of deals for significant UK corporates,” he said. “What matters more to us than the tables is the quality and quantity of work we’re doing and the fees we’re generating.” There has been little change in the FTSE250 table, with Slaughters continuing to top the rankings. Ashurst and Linklaters, meanwhile, have held on to joint second place, with both firms picking up one new client each.

Top 20 law firms by number of FTSE100 clients (second quarter)
Rank Law firm No of clients
1 (1)* Slaughter and May 29 (28)*
2 (2) Linklaters 21 (21)
3 (2) Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer 20 (21)
4 (4) Allen & Overy 19 (19)
5 (5) Herbert Smith 9 (8)
6 (7) Clifford Chance 8 (7)
7 (5) Ashurst 7 (8)
8= (8) Addleshaw Goddard 5 (5)
8= (8) Eversheds 5 (5)
10= (10) Lovells 4 (4)
10= (10) SJ Berwin 4 (4)
12= (14) Berwin Leighton Paisner 3 (3)
12= (14) Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw 3 (3)
12= (10) Norton Rose 3 (4)
12= (10) Pinsent Masons 3 (4)
12= (14) Simmons & Simmons 3 (3)
17= (17) Burges Salmon 2 (2)
17= (17) CMS Cameron Mckenna 2 (2)
17= (17) Denton Wilde Sapte 2 (2)
17= (17) Hammonds 2 (2)

* Brackets denote previous quarter’s figure
Source: Hemscott Group

Top 20 law firms by number of FTSe250 clients (second quarter)
Rank Law firm No of clients
1 (1)* Slaughter and May 38 (39)*
2= (2) Ashurst 33 (32)
2= (2) Linklaters 33 (32)
4 (4) Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer 24 (26)
5 (5) Allen & Overy 22 (23)
6 (6) Herbert Smith 20 (20)
7= (7) Clifford Chance 14 (14)
7= (7) Pinsent Masons 14 (14)
9 (9) Eversheds 12 (13)
10 (10) Norton Rose 11 (11)
11 (11) CMS Cameron Mckenna 8 (7)
12= (11) Addleshaw Goddard 7 (7)
12= (11) Dickson Minto 7 (7)
12= (11) Lovells 7 (7)
12= (18) Shepherd & Wedderburn 7 (5)
16 (15) DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary 6 (6)
17= (15 ) Nabarro Nathanson 5 (6)
17= (18) Hammonds 5 (5)
17= (18) Maclay Murray & Spens 5 (5)
17= (15) Dickinson Dees 5 (6)
* Brackets denote previous quarter’s figure
Source: Hemscott Group