Sidley, Cahill and Cravath cash in on M&A frenzy

The last seven days has seen unprecedented M&A activity on both sides of the Atlantic, gifting work to a slew of the world’s top firms.

More than £50bn has been put on the table in just five deals since 17 November. US heavyweights Sidley Austin, Cahill Gordon & Reindel and Cravath Swaine & Moore have profited most from the boom, each scoring a place on at least two of the five most high-profile deals this week.

Sidley chairman Tom Cole was lead partner on both deals that the firm worked on – a private equity consortium’s £14bn buyout of Clear Channel and the £18.9bn take-private of Equity Office Properties Trust (EOP), the world’s largest buyout. The firm acted for the special advisory committee and Equity Office Properties on the respective deals.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld advised Clear Channel, while Ropes & Gray and Dow Lohnes advised the private equity consortium led by Thomas H.Lee Partners and Bain Capital. Cahill and Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz advised the banks.

On EOP, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett advised longstanding client Blackstone, and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton represented the banks.

There were also three major acquisitive corporate offers made last week.

Nasdaq’s much-anticipated £2.7bn bid for the London Stock Exchange, which gifted work to six firms in both London and New York: Allen & Overy, Baker & McKenzie, Cahill, Cravath, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom.

Brazilian steel company CSN’s £4.3bn has also made a counter-bid for Anglo-Dutch group Corus. Advising CSN are Macfarlanes and Cravath.

Corus had already instructed counsel in the form of Slaughter and May, Shearman & Sterling and De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek when it was the subject of a bid from Indian behemoth and Herbert Smith client Tata in October.

Meanwhile, American mining giant Freeport McMoran Cooper & Gold (FCX) made a £13.7bn offer for rival Phelps Dodge, represented by longstanding counsel Debevoise & Plimpton. Davis Polk & Wardwell and New Orleans firm Jones Walker Waechter Poitevent Carrere & Denegre are advising FCX.