Linklaters tops Q1 M&A rankings

Linklaters has overtaken Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to become Europe’s top M&A firm so far this year, according to the latest research announced today by Mergermarket.

The magic circle firm landed the top spot in the rankings of legal advisers, both by the number of deals firms have worked on in the first three months of 2007, and by the value of those deals. The last rankings of 2006 saw Freshfields in pole position (see The Lawyer, 22 December), with Linklaters in second place.

Linklaters also beat Freshfields to become top adviser in China by both volume and value, acting on a total of ten deals worth $15.1bn. But Freshfields retained the top spot by value in the Asia-Pacific region as a whole (excluding Japan).

The triumvirate of Linklaters, followed by Freshfields, then Clifford Chance scored the top three places in the European tables of both volume and value. Allen & Overy (A&O) nudged into fifth place behind US firm Sullivan & Cromwell on the European table ranked by value, and dropped two places to sixth in the volume table.

Mid-market firms DLA Piper and CMS Cameron McKenna both managed to outperform A&O in the European volume table.

Globally, Sullivan scored top spot by value, followed by Davis Polk & Wardwell. Both firms are currently tied up in the £80bn exploratory talks between Barclays and ABN Amro.

Sullivan also advised private equity houses Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Texas Pacific Group on the biggest buyout in history so far, the $44.2bn buyout of utilities group TXU in February.

Linklaters also made an appearance in the global elite, scoring third place in the global tables ranked by volume, behind Latham & Watkins and Jones Day. The magic circle firm has acted on 56 global deals so far in 2007, worth a total of $52.2bn.