Slaughters holds off Links for FTSE 100 top spot

Slaughter and May has retained its corporate crown despite falling victim to the frenzy of takeovers of UK companies during the past three months.

According to research conducted by Hemscott Group, Slaughters advises more FTSE 100 companies than any of the magic circle firms.

Slaughters acts for 28 FTSE 100 clients, followed by Freshfields and Linklaters which represent 20 FTSE 100 clients each.

But Slaughters has recently lost major clients Abbey National and Exel after they were purchased by foreign companies. It also stands to lose FTSE 100 client BOC, which has been bought by Germany’s Linde for £8.2bn.

Slaughter and May corporate partner Nigel Boardman commented: “It is noticeable that since 2000 no UK companies have merged with overseas
companies. However the UK has been a target market for foreign companies.
It’s not a bad thing because it encourages entrepreneurs to set up business
in the UK and the market will regenerate. We remain confident that the UK is
a good place to be.”

With more FTSE 100 companies identified as potential takeover targets by foreign companies, law firms such as Slaughter and May, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Ashurst and Herbert Smith may have to scramble to keep their top five rankings, in relation to volume of FTSE 100 clients.

While Allen & Overy, Freshfields and Linklaters have made it into the top five, Clifford Chance languished in seventh position, advising seven FTSE 100 clients.

Clifford Chance London managing partner Peter Charlton told The Lawyer the firm had lost BPB as a result of the takeover by France’s Saint-Gobain, but had picked up work by Hammerson, Brambles and HSBC.

“We’ve jumped two spots from ninth, which we are happy with,” he said. “But securing FTSE 100 clients has not been a priority for us. We’ve thrown the net much wider than that.”

Lovells has jumped two places to tenth position, however it advises just four FTSE 100 clients.

While Slaughters takes pole position in terms of the volume of FTSE 100 clients, Linklaters is ranked number one in relation to market capital of FTSE 100 clients with £647bn and Slaughters comes in second place with £368bn.