Linklaters pulls clear in dealmakers' league

Linklaters & Paines has scored a hat trick, coming top of Corporate Money's takeover table for deals over £1m published this week, as well as last week's Acquisitions Monthly public takeover league table and the The Sunday Times' UK dealmakers league table.

Corporate Money's table, which includes cross-border deals and lists only advisers to companies, shows Freshfields in a close second place and Allen & Overy and Slaughter and May a long way behind in third and fourth place respectively, handling deals totalling less than half the value of their two big City rivals.

Clifford Chance has slipped a long way since last year's table when it was at number three with 32 deals totalling £17.7bn. It is now at number nine with 94 deals totalling £9.8bn.

The table includes two US firms – Simpson Thacher Bartlett and Shearman & Sterling in fifth and sixth place – but they each got there on only two mega-deals. The two were on opposite sides of the massive £13bn BT/MCI merger and Simpsons advised on Rank's £270m acquisition of the Hard Rock Cafe, while Shearman & Sterling had a hand in Allied Colloids' £234m acquisition of CPS Chemical Company.

Ashurst Morris Crisp shows what is probably 1996's best improvement, at number five of the UK firms with £13bn worth of deals, up from eleventh position last year with only £2.8bn.

Gouldens came in at number 10 but more than 90 per cent of its total £6.18bn deal value is accounted for by the fact that it acted for long-standing client Hanson in two massive demergers totalling £5.81bn.

Freshfields will take comfort from the Corporate Money table. The Acquisitions Monthly table on UK public takeovers had the firm dropping from first to third place last year, and Freshfields' head of corporate finance Barry O'Brien felt it necessary to issue a press release pointing out that it had been conflicted out of both sides of the £3.6bn Granada/Forte bid and that some of its biggest deals that year – BT/MCI for example – had not been included in that table because they were cross- border transactions.

Acquisitions Monthly calculates that lawyers made a record £300m from takeovers last year, compared with around £200m last year.