Linklaters pulls into pole position for M&A league

Linklaters & Paines clinched more City deals in the first three months of 1996 than any other law firm, according to figures published by Corporate Money, the weekly newsletter for mergers and acquisitions.

Linklaters accounted for deals worth over £5 billion compared to around £4 billion notched up by its nearest rival, Allen & Overy.

Freshfields, Ashurst Morris Crisp and Slaughter and May came in at third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

Last year's comparable figures were swollen by the £9 billion GlaxoWellcome merger. Slaughters advised Wellcome and Clifford Chance represented Glaxo.

High up in the league table were a number of US firms including Davis Polk & Wardwell and Cahill Gordon and Reindel.

Birmingham firm Pinsent Curtis was among a number of regional UK firms in the top 50.

Corporate Money reports that 350 deals involving sums of more than £1 million were struck in the first three months, in transactions where at least one of companies involved was British.

Observers expect the tide of merger and acquisition activity to continue into the second and third quarters of 1996. But there is disagreement about prospects nearer the general election, which could be called this autumn.

However, full year figures for City deals will receive a massive increase if the proposed £35 billion merger between British Telecom and Cable & Wireless goes through this summer.