European M&A rockets – but European firms miss out on the big mandates

The annual M&A league tables are coming out and it’s good news. Globally, M&A activity was back to pre-crisis levels in 2014.

In Europe the combined value of announced deals broke through the $1tr barrier to hit $1.3tr, up 35.5 per cent from 2013.

But the ever-increasingly cross-border nature of the market is heavily underlined by the league tables released by data providers. Thomson Reuters’ league table for announced European M&A activity, including the UK, is dominated by UK and US firms. In fact just four independent European firms show in the Thomson Reuters top 20 –  France’s Bredin Prat, Germany’s Hengeler Mueller, and Irish firms A&L Goodbody and Matheson.

US and UK firms also appear in numbers on the jurisdiction-specific league tables produced by Thomson Reuters. While Bredin Prat tops the table for deals in France last year, Franklin is the only other French firm to appear on the announced league table. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer comes top of the announced deals tables for Benelux, Germany and Spain, and Clifford Chance is top for Italy.

Domestic firms appear in the greatest numbers on the Nordic table, where Swedish firm Mannheimer Swartling comes top and three other regional firms are in the top five.

But in a growing market there should be work for all. Deal value was up last year across Europe, and deal volume up everywhere except the Nordics, so firms will be heading into 2015 with optimism.

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