Linklaters dropped out of the top 10 table for UK private takeovers last year, while the national firms, Pinsent Curtis and Dibb Lupton Alsop which have targeted such deals are still not there.
Freshfields retained its crown at the top of the table last year, according to Acquisitions Monthly, and Lovell White Durrant came second. But both firms benefited hugely from their involvement in Prudential Corporation's £2.9bn takeover of Scottish Amicable, the largest private takeover last year.
The Prudential/Scottish Amicable deal rocketed Scottish firm Maclay Murray & Spens into ninth place, despite the fact that many of the firms ranked below it advised on significantly more deals.
However, Linklaters dropped from fourth place in 1996 to twelfth in 1997 with only £1.8bn total deal value, less than a quarter the value of Freshfields' deals.
Even though 15th-placed Pinsent Curtis advised on the greatest number of private takeovers in the year, with 125, closely followed by 16th-placed Dibb Lupton Alsop, which advised on 112, neither firm has apparently managed to seize the big deals from the clutches of the top City firms.