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IF Euronext was the winner in the bid for the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange (Liffe), the deal was also a major success for the US law firms in Europe.
The high-profile deal is a victory for US firms, which got a large slice of the work on the back of referrals from their European offices. Successful bidder Euronext secured Liffe with a £555m cash offer last week, pushing the London Stock Exchange into second place. It instructed Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton through the firm's highly-regarded Paris office. Partner John Brinitzer led the Paris team. UK advice was handled by Andrew Curran in Cleary Gottlieb's London office. Curran worked on Chase Manhattan's takeover of Robert Fleming & Co last year, and handled the firm's first big UK public takeover with the Federal Moghul deal in 1998. Since joining the firm in 1997, Curran has seen his team grow to 4 partners and 20 lawyers, but the Euronext work is still an impressive coup for Cleary Gottlieb.
"The deal is a victory for US firms, which got a large slice of the work on the back of referrals from their European offices"
Unsuccessful bidder Deutsche Börse also called on the European offices of a US law firm for its legal advice. Deutsche Börse general counsel Heiko Bech instructed Shearman & Sterling's German office, which the exchange has a strong relationship. The corporate UK work was handled by London partner Adrian Knight. Fellow London partner Chris Bright looked after competition issues alongside German antitrust specialist Hengler Mueller. Two UK firms acted on the deal. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer worked for the London Stock Exchange, with partner David Higgins leading the work. Clifford Chance represented long-term clients Liffe, which it has advised since the exchange was established 20 years ago. Clifford Chance expects to retain most of Liffe's UK-based corporate work, but it is less certain whether it will receive future transactional work from the exchange's new owners. The firm could also lose out if Euronext tries to launch an audacious bid for the London Stock Exchange.