Herbert Smith’s share of deals market plummeted in 2011

Herbert Smith and its former European alliance partners suffered a considerable drop in their share of the M&A market in 2011, new data shows.

The total value of announced deals on which the UK firm, German independent Gleiss Lutz or Benelux firm Stibbe advised fell by over 80 per cent in 2011 compared to 2010, from $64.4bn (£41.1bn) to $12.7bn (£8.1bn).

The drop means Herbert Smith and its former best friends fell from third to 27th place by market share for UK announced deals, behind the likes of Australian firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth.

The City firm’s longstanding alliance with Gleiss and Stibbe came to an end at the end of 2011 (22 December 2011).

US and Australian firms, meanwhile, were the big winners, with Sullivan & Cromwell jumping up to fourth place by total deal value, behind Linklaters, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Allen & Overy, according to data from information provider Thomson Reuters.

The New York firm roughly doubled its market share, from $22.8bn (£14.5bn)  in 2010, when it was ranked twelfth, to $44.9bn (£28.6bn) in 2011.

US firms Latham & Watkins, Morgan Lewis & Bockius, Shearman & Sterling, Vinson & Elkins, Baker & McKenzie and White & Case all enjoyed significant jumps, as did Wall Street firm Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, which does not have a London office but has frequent roles on UK deals.

Australian outfits Blake Dawson, Allens Arthur Robinson, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Mallesons Stephen Jaques and Minter Ellison also saw large hikes in UK M&A market share.

Magic circle rivals Linklaters and Freshfields held on to first and second place respectively, with A&O nudging up to third place from fifth following Herbert Smith’s large drop and a slight downturn suffered by Slaughter and May, which went from fourth to sixth.

Linklaters had regained top spot for 2010 after previously lagging rivals (3 January 2011).

Ashurst enjoyed a healthy increase in total deal value in 2011, while Norton Rose and the CMS network, including CMS Cameron McKenna, were both hit by large falls in market share.

Overall deal value was slightly up on 2010, at $325.4bn (£207.4bn) compared with $312.5bn (£199.2bn), a similar trend seen in the first six months of 2011 (4 July 2011).

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