City refutes slump in UK M&As work

City lawyers are disputing figures that show a record boom in European merger and acquisition work and a downturn in UK deals.

Figures from Thomson Financial Securities Data show a 15 per cent drop in UK M&A activity and a record u215bn of M&As in Europe in the first quarter of the year.

But City lawyers report a surge in activity in the UK and Europe. Peter Charlton, partner at Clifford Chance, says: “We are still busy and are not seeing a drop in UK work. There is greater activity in Europe but that does not mean a fall in UK mergers and acquisition work.” He adds that there is more consolidation globally, not just in Europe.

Derek Reynolds, Nabarro Nathanson head of corporate and finance agrees: “There is an equal amount of work going on across the board.”

The largest Euro merger in the first three months of 1999 was Siebe plc's acquisition of BTR plc for an estimated u4bn.