WestLB instruction catapults Travers into top quarter of international firms

Travers Smith Braithwaite has been thrust into the top quarter of the worldwide legal rankings on the back of its role on WestLB’s potential takeover of water utility AWG.

Thomson Financial ranked the firm 25th for its $6.06bn (£3.86bn) worth of deals announced in the first quarter of the year – a huge improvement on the same period in 2002, when it ranked 119th.

Although the firm experienced a steady flow in private equity work, it was the $5.75bn (£3.66bn) bid by WestLB vehicle Bream Investments for AWG that propelled Travers into the upper echelons of the worldwide rankings. Partner Philip Sanderson is acting for Bream, which is led by WestLB head of private equity Robin Saunders.

Travers declined to comment on this deal, but other bids that the firm was involved in announced in the same period have already reached a successful conclusion.

In the previous year, Travers lawyers were hunkered down on the NTL restructuring, according to corporate partner Chris Hale, but this time its lawyers were able to focus on other deals.

The sale of Gardner Aerospace, for example, saw Hale act for the buyout team, which was led by the division’s management, private equity groups ABN Amro Capital and Dunedin Capital Partners.

Travers also capitalised on its relationship with Baker Botts after the UK firm was brought in to act for Halliburton on the sale of oil pipe business Wellstream to Candover.

Elsewhere, Spanish firm Suarez de Lezo & Asociados ranked seventh for advising Gas Natural on its $29.7bn (£18.92bn) unsolicited hostile tender offer for Iberdrola. Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom’s Italian ally Chiomenti Studio Legale ranked eighth after advising Telecom Italia on its merger with Olivetti.