Mathesons tops deal table

Riverdeep deal catapults Mathesons to the top spot as Ashursts maintains its stronghold on the Irish M&A market


Matheson Ormsby Prentice’s primary role on the largest corporate deal seen in Ireland this year has catapulted the Irish firm to the top of the Thomson Financial M&A league tables for deals completed in the first quarter of 2003.

The firm, which advised the management and venture capitalist Alchemy Partners on the management buyout of Riverdeep Group, failed to make it into the top 20 for completed Irish deals in 2002, but has had a remarkable start to 2003. It has completed four deals totalling e679.4m (£470.7m), including acting for Ryanair on its acquisition of budget airline Buzz from Dutch carrier KLM.

Ashurst Morris Crisp, Dewey Ballantine and White & Case, which also worked on the Riverdeep deal, rank joint second in the table. White & Case advised Alchemy Partners alongside Mathesons and Macfarlanes.

Curiously, William Fry, which jointly advised Riverdeep together with Dewey Ballantine does not appear in the table at all. Last year, William Fry ranked fourth after acting for long-term client Jefferson Smurfit when it was acquired by Madison Dearborn Partners for €3.7bn (£2.56bn).

Ashursts, which acted for Barclays Leveraged Finance and Royal Bank of Scotland on the financing aspects of the Riverdeep deal, has retained its stronghold in the Irish M&A market. This is the third successive year in which the firm has been involved in deals that have dominated the Irish M&A market. In 2001, Ashursts worked on the Eircom deal, while in 2002 it worked on the Jefferson Smurfit acquisition.

Ashursts corporate partner Steven Fox said: “We’ve always had a strong franchise in Ireland, even though we don’t have an office there. Historically, we’ve advised relatively small but active companies in the country.”
Overall, Ireland saw €1.323bn (£916.6m) worth of deals completed in the first quarter of 2003.

Irish League table based on deals completed – first quarter 2003
Rank Legal adviser Rank value €m (£m) Market share (%) Number of deals
1 Matheson Ormsby Prentice 679.4 (470.7) 51.4 4
2= Ashurst Morris Crisp 539.6 (373.9) 40.8 1
2= Dewey Ballantine 539.6 (373.9) 40.8 1
2= White & Case 539.6 (373.9) 40.8 1
5= Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton 185.0 (128.2) 14.0 1
5= Lovells 185.0 (128.2) 14.0 1
7 Eversheds 156.2 (108.2) 11.8 2
8= Lyons Davidson 135.5 (93.9) 10.2 1
8= Arthur Cox & Co 135.5 (93.9) 10.2 1
10= A&L Goodbody 57.8 (40.0) 4.4 1
10= Nabarro Nathanson 57.8 (40.0) 4.4 1
12 dla 20.8 (14.4) 1.6 1
13 Maclay Murray & Spens 0.8 (0.6) 0.1 1
14 Debevoise & Plimpton 0 0 1
Source: Thomson Financial

Irish League table based on deals completed – 2002
Rank Legal adviser Rank value €bn (£bn) Market share (%) Number of deals
1 Arthur Cox & Co 7.164 (4.963) 77.8 13
2 Ashurst Morris Crisp 5.000 (3.464) 54.3 3
3 Herbert Smith/Gleiss Lutz/Stibbe 4.972 (3.445) 54.0 3
4 William Fry 4.878 (3.380) 53.0 4
5 Linklaters 4.819 (3.339) 52.4 2
6 Allen & Overy 4.683 (3.245) 50.9 2
7 Shearman & Sterling 4.674 (3.238) 50.8 2
8= Jeantet & Associés 4.646 (3.219) 50.5 1
8= Kirkland & Ellis 4.646 (3.219) 50.5 1
8= Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz 4.646 (3.219) 50.5 1
8= Cuatrecasas 4.646 (3.219) 50.5 1
8= Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom 4.646 (3.219) 50.5 2
13 Clifford Chance 1.994 (1.382) 21.7 2
14= Mannheimer Swartling Advokatbyra 0.413 (0.286) 4.5 1
14= White & Case 0.413 (0.286) 4.5 1
Source: Thomson Financial