Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Kirkland & Ellis were top M&A legal advisers by value and volume in global consumer sector for 2020

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Kirkland & Ellis were the top mergers and acquisitions (M&A) legal advisers in the global consumer sector for 2020 by value and volume respectively. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett advised on 16 deals worth US$20.1bn, which was the highest value among all the advisers. Meanwhile, Kirkland & Ellis led in volume terms having advised on 57 deals worth US$17.2bn. A total of 3,405 M&A deals were announced in the consumer sector during 2020, marking a 33.2% decline over the 5,099 deals announced during 2019, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

According to GlobalData’s report, ‘Global and Consumer M&A Report Legal Adviser League Tables 2020’, deal value increased by 33.3% from US$399bn in 2019 to US$266bn in 2020.

Aurojyoti Bose, Lead Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Kirkland & Ellis, despite being the sole company to advise on more than 50 deals, lost the top position by value to Simpson Thacher & Bartlett due to its involvement in low value transactions. While the average deal size for Simpson Thacher & Bartlett was US$1.3bn, it stood at just US$302m for Kirkland & Ellis. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett was also the only firm to surpass the US$20bn mark amid the challenges brought by COVID-19.”

Kirkland & Ellis also occupied the second position in GlobalData’s ranking of legal advisers for M&As in the global consumer sector by value, followed by Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz with nine deals worth a total US$12.6bn. Interestingly, Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz was among the only two firms (the other firm being Slaughter and May) in the top 10 adviser ranking by value despite advising on a single digit deal volume.

Baker McKenzie occupied second position by volume with 47 deals worth US$11bn, followed by Latham & Watkins with 38 deals worth US$10.7bn and Allen & Overy with 35 deals worth US$7.2bn.

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