Privatisation work continues to grow

Freshfields has kept its place at the top of the global privatisation tables for the fourth year running, in a year in which nearly all law firms increased both the number and value of deals they worked on.

1997 broke the records for the total number and value of deals transacted, according to the latest league tables from Privatisation International. The year before was itself a record breaker – a sign that national governments around the world are gaining an increasing taste for privatising.

The main loser appears to be Allen & Overy, which dropped out of the top 10 table by value. In 1996 it came third by value advising on 22 privatisations worth $23.7bn, but last year it only managed a mere eight deals worth just over a quarter of that ($6.5bn).

Hammond Suddards and Australian firm Clayton Utz also dropped out of the top 10 for deal value, while Denton Hall and Simmons & Simmons dropped out of the top 10 table for number of deals.

US firm Skadden Arps came back into the top 10 last year, after a year away, and Australian firm Blake Dawson Waldron reached it for the first time.

Stephen Revell, head of international securities at Freshfields, said his firm's showing in the tables showed the “global scope of our work”. “All our offices have significant privatisation practices.”