Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer was top M&A legal adviser by deal value for H1 2020, says GlobalData

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer was the top mergers and acquisitions (M&A) legal adviser in the first half (H1) of 2020 based on deal value, having advised on 64 deals worth US$112.8bn, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom occupied the second position with 72 deals worth US$110.2bn followed by Weil Gotshal & Manges with 84 deals worth US$99.2bn.

Aurojyoti Bose, Financial Deals Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom were the only two advisers that managed to surpass the US$100bn mark during the COVID-19-hit H1.

“Interestingly, these firms advised on relatively fewer deals compared to their peers, but involvement in some of the big ticket deals (such as US$33.4bn Aon – Willis Towers Watson merger) helped them secure the top spots. Meanwhile, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer managed to advise on 14 billion-dollar deals, and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom advised on 16 such deals during H1 2020”.

“However, these three firms, along with 14 others from the top 20 (by total deal value), witnessed decline in advised deal value in H1 2020 compared with H1 2019.”

Kirkland & Ellis was the top M&A legal adviser in H1 2020 based on deal volume, having advised on 190 deals worth US$96.7bn. Jones Day occupied the second position with 175 deals worth US$28.7bn followed by Latham & Watkins with 173 deals worth US$96.6bn, according to GlobalData.

Bose comments: “In terms of deal volume, Kirkland & Ellis emerged as the top legal adviser in H1 2020. It also secured the fourth position in terms of value. However, 11 out of the top 20 advisers by volume could not even make it to the list of top 20 advisers by value. This could be attributed to these firms’ involvement in low-value transactions.”

“Moreover, 11 of the top 20 advisers (by total deals volume) also witnessed decline in advised deal volume in H1 2020 compared with H1 2019.”

Deal activity remained subdued during H1 2020 on the back of volatile market conditions due to COVID-19 outbreak. In H1 2020, 24,698 deals were announced globally, marking a 15.1% decrease from 29,096 deals in H1 2019, according to GlobalData’s Financial Deals Database. Deal value also decreased by 44.7% from US$1,852.7bn in H1 2019 to US$1,024.2bn in H1 2020.

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