Freshfields crowned kings of M&A for 2006

Magic circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has retained its position at the top of the European M&A league table for the second year in a row.

According to Mergermarket’s preliminary end of year league table for 1 January to 20 December, each of the top three firms finished in the same position as last year.

Freshfields knocked off Linklaters after advising on 266 deals, worth €378.3bn. Linklaters finished second with 275 deals, worth €337.3bn.

Clifford Chance ended the year with 305 deals worth €269.9bn, despite leading the pan-European table by volume, having been involved in six out of the ten largest deals in Europe this year to date.

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom made a respectable showing to finish a close fourth behind Clifford Chance. The US firm, which advised on 98 deals worth €262.2bn, advised on three out of the five biggest transactions in 2006, including E.ON’s €56bn bid for Endesa.

An extraordinary two week pre-Christmas boom has assisted a 29 per cent increase in the total value of announced deals over the year.

The top firms have seen an increase in both the value and volume of deals that they have worked on this year compared to the end of 2005.

The UK and Ireland continues to lead the pack as the hottest region in Europe, accounting for 26.9 per cent of activity by value and 26.8 per cent by volume in the year to date.