The Lawyer’s newest product is the most comprehensive overview of the Asia-Pacific legal market yet produced. With rankings of the top 100 local law firms by lawyer headcount as well as analysis of the leading 50 international players in the region, it is essential reading for anyone interested in the strategic future of the world’s fastest growing legal market
Champagne corks were flying just before Christmas as a swathe of megadeals were rushed through before the end of 2006 and before massive bonus handouts.
There was so much M&A activity on both sides of the Atlantic that 50bn for just five deals was put on the table in one week.
US heavyweights Cahill Gordon & Reindel, Cravath Swaine & Moore and Sidley Austin profited most from the boom, each scoring a place on at least two of the five most high-profile deals.
Sidley advised Equity Office Properties Trust (EOP) in what will be, if successful, the worlds largest buyout. First, an 18.9bn offer to take private EOP was made by longstanding Simpson Thacher & Bartlett private equity client Blackstone. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton advised the banks. But the New Year brought another consortium to the table, igniting a bidding war for EOP.
Vornado/Realty Trust trumped Blackstones bid by offering 19bn. Vornado is being advised by Sullivan & Cromwell, while Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz is advising another consortium member, Starwood Capital Group.
But that was the only ray of light in what has been a sombre January. Perhaps hungover from all that bonus-bought champagne, forecasts of doom and gloom for M&A activity in 2007 have been predicted.
Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft London-based corporate partner Richard Nevins said: The good times are in the rear-view mirror. After conducting a poll of 100 private equity houses, hedge funds and companies that had experienced restructuring, Nevins said 83 per cent of private equity respondents expected restructuring to start by the end of the year or by early 2008, and that they thought at least 20 per cent of their portfolios would be subject to restructuring.
This means that corporate-heavy firms need to think about deploying their partners into restructuring roles. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is one firm that may be ahead of the pack in restructuring, having highlighted it as a strategic priority for 2007. It hired restructuring partner Nick Segal from Davis Polk & Wardwell last year.
But it is not all bad. Restructuring normally causes its own surge in M&A, so do not feel too sorry for those corporate lawyers yet.