Shearman, Skadden oust UK rivals on Ebookers sale

Cendant Corporation’s $404m (£210.3m) public bid for Ebookers is a significant milestone for US law firms in London, with both bidder and target advised by the UK arms of US firms.

The bid saw Shearman & Sterling complete its first big deal for Ebookers, a former Linklaters client, while Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom advised US travel company Cendant on US and UK aspects of the acquisition.

Shearman partner Peter King advised Ebookers when he was at Linklaters and brought the client with him when he joined the US firm almost two years ago. Skadden has represented Cendant in the US for some time.

King, who led for Shearman on the deal, said: “It’s true that this is part of a pattern whereby what used to be standard UK work is being done by US firms.”

The former Linklaters partner is starting to reap the benefits of a concerted push by Shearman on the UK M&A market. This year the firm has had bit parts in high-profile deals such as the Abbey National-Banco Santander merger, where the firm advised Northern Rock on possible implications.

But it has also won some impressive major roles, one such being on the auction of The Daily Telegraph, where it advised unsuccessful bidder Axel Springer, and another on a corporate restructuring of mm02, which was traditionally a client of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.