Freshfields tops German M&A

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has netted the largest share of Germany’s deals despite the slow market, as revealed by Thomson Financial’s M&A tables for announced deals, January-June 2003. It is understood that some of the firm’s German offices are now matching, or are slightly outperforming, London.

Meanwhile, Slaughter and May‘s best friend Hengeler Mueller has had a very quiet six months. It has also been a very successful year for Allen & Overy‘s developing German practice. Last year the firm came sixth for announced deals, racking up $19.93bn (£11.91bn) worth of work. So far this year, it has handled up $11.28bn (£6.74bn) of work and is second in the deals table, beating magic circle rivals Clifford Chance and Linklaters and US giant Shearman & Sterling.

Last year, Hengeler topped the announced deals table, advising on $30.68bn (£18.33bn) worth of deals. However, in the first half of this year, the firm had acted on just $6.35bn (£3.79bn) worth of deals.

One Hengeler partner said: “In one or two cases, we’ve had bad luck with conflicts.” The firm was conflicted out of Procter & Gamble’s (P&G) friendly takeover of Wella because of its relationship with P&G rival Henkel. The firm was also conflicted out of the slew of work to come from the Kirch insolvency.

Freshfields, by contrast, had a slice of the Wella deal, although the firm’s involvement was restricted to antitrust advice. The magic circle firm also advised US entrepreneur Haim Saban on a planned deal to buy Kirch’s back catalogue, although the deal fell over this month.

Freshfields’ M&A partner Burkhard Bastuck attributed freshfields’ success to activity in the firm’s longstanding industrial client base.