Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer client The London Stock Exchange Group has been told that it cannot proceed with its £21bn merger with Deutsche Börse, which was advised by Linklaters.
The prohibition from the European Commission brings to an end over a year of negotiations between the two financial groups.
The deal would have significantly expanded both LSE’s and Deutsche Boerse’s reach across Europe and was expected to have been an all-share merger of equals under a new holding company.
Deutsche Börse was advised by Linklaters from the outset, with London partners Roger Barron and Simon Branigan leading from the London. They worked alongside partners Ralph Wollburg and Staffan Illert in Germany.
LSE meanwhile sought counsel from Freshfields partners Andrew Hutchings and Piers Prichard Jones. Former partner Mark Rawlinson additionally worked on the early negotiations until he left for Morgan Stanley in June.
The European Commission ruled that the merger would have reduced competition by creating a “de facto monopoly” for clearing fixed income instruments.
It said the proposed remedy of divesting interests in French-based clearing house LCH. Clearnet was not sufficient enough to satisfy its concerns. LCH.Clearnet was formed in 2003 with Clifford Chance and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton advising on the merger.
Despite the deal falling apart at the final hurdle, Freshfields and Linklaters are set to pick up bumper legal fees for their advice. In February, it was revealed that Freshfields would be likely to receive at least £55m while Linklaters was in line to pick up at least £49m.
Latham & Watkins is further expected to pick up significant fees, advising Deutsche Boerse’s financial adviser Perella Weinberg Partners. London partner Richard Butterwick led the team.
Corporate partners in the City appears unsurprised by the news claiming the situation had become politically difficult, particularly after the Brexit vote.
“It was the most politically difficult deal to do,” said one corporate partner.
“I don’t think there was any way to resolve it and it’s an outcome people will be relatively happy with. They’ll keep the status quo and see how things go.”