Freshfields, Slaughters M&A partners dethroned

Six-month performance tables of individual partners see last year’s kings slip

The current Merger-Market European tables for individual M&A lawyers have thrown up some surprises, with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Slaughter and May partners absent from the rankings.
In the M&A individual tables for the first half of 2001, William Underhill of Slaughters and James Davis of Freshfields were the star performers. This time, not only are these partners nowhere to be seen, but there are no other representative partners from either firm.
Last year, Underhill was top of the tables for deals ranked by value, completing six deals at a value of e66.7bn (£42.8bn). These included high-value transactions such as the £20bn Abbey National-Lloyds TSB merger and that of American General and Prudential, which created a company worth £31.6bn.
Underhill told The Lawyer: “Last year I was doing a large number of M&A deals, but this year I’ve been working on some smaller transactions, including private equity and securities issues.
“These league tables ignore the fact that some firms are competing in all markets while others aren’t. In Europe, there are many transactions where we wouldn’t seek the principal role but our best friends would.”
Freshfields’ Davis topped last year’s tables by volume of deals, acting on nine transactions. Most notable was the Granada Compass £3.5bn hotel auction.
But now there is a whole host of mid-tier partners making an appearance, many for the first time. Top of the value tables this time around is Sean Watson from CMS Cameron McKenna, who advised on three transactions, worth in total almost e25bn (£16.1bn). Watson was involved with a raft of mega-deals, including acting for National Grid on the £14.8bn merger with Lattice and the £2bn acquisition by client Enterprise Inns of the Unique and Voyager pub estates. Another Camerons partner, Gary Green, also features, completing just one deal, worth e20.3bn (£13bn).
Ashurst Morris Crisp partners dominate the rankings, both in volume and value of transactions. Adrian Clark and Paul Gadd take second and third slots in terms of value, with deals worth e21.9bn (£14.1bn) and e21.2bn (£13.6bn) respectively. It is a case of volume over value for Ashursts, with Clark, Gadd and partners Steven Fox, Charlie Geffen and Chris Ashworth all featuring highly in the volume rankings.
The firm has acted on deals such as Parking International of National Car Parks’ (NCP) £820m acquisition of (Geff-en); the restructuring of Rail-track (Ashworth); Imperial Tobacco’s e5.8m (£3.7m) acquisition of Reemtsma (Fox); easy-Jet’s acquisition of Go-Fly (Geffen and Gadd); and Johnston Press’s £560m acquisition of Regional Independent Media Holdings (Clark).
Addleshaw Booth & Co partner Yunus Seedat also makes a debut entry with four deals worth e962m (£617.9m). One of these was acting for the management team of Regional Independent Media.
David Cheyne at Linklaters is the only partner who appears in both this year’s and last year’s rankings, moving up to fifteenth place in terms of value. Roger Barron and Mark Stamp appear because of their work on Lattice.
Stamp is advising on deals worth e20.4bn (£13.1bn), including Balfour Beatty’s joint venture with Consignia. He said: “There’s an element of luck as to what you’re clients are doing. I act for clients who want to do things whatever the market conditions.”

Individual legal advisers, first half 2002, ranked by value
Rank Adviser Firm name Value (Ebn/£bn) No of deals
1 Sean Watson CMS Cameron McKenna 25/16.1 3
2 Adrian Clark Ashurst Morris Crisp 21.9/14.1 6
3 Paul Gadd Ashurst Morris Crisp 21.2/13.6 4
4 Scott Simpson Skadden Arps 21.2/13.6 5
5 Mark Stamp Linklaters 20.4/13.1 2
6= Gary Green CMS Cameron McKenna 20.3/13 1
6= Roger Barron Linklaters 20.3/13 1
6= Anthony Cann Linklaters 20.3/13 1
6= Bonnie Greaves Shearman & Sterling 20.3/13 1
10 Bill Hobbs Linklaters 19.6/12.6 3
11 Michael Hatchford Skadden Arps 18.2/11.7 5
12 Mark Dighero Allen & Overy 15.9/10.2 2
13 George Sampras Sullivan & Cromwell 12.8/8.2 3
14 Sarah Jones Clifford Chance 12.6/8.1 3
15 Peter-Jean Wilson Cravath Swaine & Moore 12.5/8 3
16 Francois Prat Bredin Prat 12.5/8 5
17 Georg Thoma Shearman & Sterling 12.4/8 3
18 David Cheyne Linklaters 12.3/7.9 3
19 Nigel Stacey Ashurst Morris Crisp 12.3/7.9 2
20 Chris Ashworth Ashurst Morris Crisp 12/7.7 4
Source: MergerMarket

Individual legal advisers, first half 2002, ranked by volume
Rank Adviser Firm name Value (Ebn/£bn) No of deals
1 Adrian Clark Ashurst Morris Crisp 21.9/14.1 6
2 Hans Diekmann Shearman & Sterling 11.1/7.1 6
3 Scott Simpson Skadden Arps 21.2/13.6 5
4 Micheal-Jean Hatchard Skadden Arps 18.2/11.7 5
5 Francois Prat Bredin Prat 12.5/8 5
6 Patrick Speller Allen & Overy 7.3/4.7 5
7 Stephen Fox Ashurst Morris Crisp 5.7/3.7 5
8 Charlie Geffen Ashurst Morris Crisp 5.1/3.3 5
9 Paul Gadd Ashurst Morris Crisp 21.2/13.6 4
10 Chris Ashworth Ashurst Morris Crisp 12.1/7.8 4
11 Jeremy Parr Linklaters 6/3.9 4
12 David Pearson Clifford Chance 5.2/3.3 4
13 Alberta Figari Clifford Chance 3.2/2.1 4
14 Alessandro Pedersoli Pedersoli Lombardi 2.7/1.7 4
15 Andrew Sheach CMS Cameron McKenna 2.4/1.5 4
16 Francis Aquilla Sullivan & Cromwell 1.3/0.8 4
17 Micheal Schler Cravath Swaine & Moore 1.2/0.8 4
18 Charles Martin Macfarlanes 1/0.6 4
19 Yunus Seedat Addleshaw Booth & Co 1/0.6 4
20 Daniele Raynaud Ashurst Morris Crisp 0.9/0.6 4
Source: MergerMarket