Magic circle dominates 2007 Thomson M&A league

The magic circle firms have grabbed a record volume of the European 2007 M&A pie, which has grown by 36 per cent to $1.8tr (£911bn), despite a weak finish to the year.

The magic circle have this year all but sewn up the European M&A market between them off the back of the $193bn Rio Tinto, $99bn ABN Amro and $19bn Boots KKR megadeals, reported service provider Thomson Financial’s latest fourth quarter league tables.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has retained the top spot by year end (also coming in first in the third quarter results) by advising on 312 European deals with a total value of $526bn. A total of 261 deals with a value of $507bn, the majority of Freshfields’ deals, have already completed, also placing it in pole position for European deals completed.

The next five spots in the table of European deals announced in the last year go to Allen & Overy (A&O), Slaughter and May, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, Linklaters and Clifford Chance, with total deal volumes ranging from a record $498bn (in the case of A&O) to $364bn (in the case of Clifford Chance).

In term of deals completed the runner-ups are A&O, Linklaters, Sullivan & Cromwell, Clifford Chance and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, with deal volumes between $408bn and $279bn.

Private equity has been a major driver of global deal volumes, making up 19.4 per cent of over M&A volume which is up 9 per cent on last year at $871bn. However, the credit crunch has bitten hard as since July 2007 only one transaction over $5bn had been announced, compared to 32 transactions over $5bn over the first half of the year.

Global buyside M&A sponsor volume has increased by 24 per cent in 2007, however, European buyside M&A sponsor volume has dropped by 13.8 per cent over the same period and has plummeted by a massive 40.9 per cent in the second half of 2007 against the same period in 2006.