Top 20 global M&A legal advisers for coronavirus-hit Q1 2020, according to GlobalData

GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, has revealed its global league tables for legal advisers by value and volume for the coronavirus-hit Q1 2020, which witnessed subdued deal activity worldwide.

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom leads by value

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom has secured number one position in the latest global mergers and acquisitions (M&A) legal advisers league table based on deal value in the first quarter of 2020, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

The American law firm advised on 33 deals worth US$84.2bn, including a major transaction during the period – Aon’s acquisition of Willis Towers Watson for US$33.4bn.

GlobalData, which compiles league tables using real-time data tracked from all M&A, private equity/venture capital and asset transaction activity globally, confirmed that Latham & Watkins occupied the second position with  transactions worth US$81.6bn, marking a 27.23% year-on-year decrease in deal value.

Aurojyoti Bose, Financial Deals Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “In terms of deal value, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom (Skadden) emerged as the top legal adviser in Q1 2020 despite advising on relatively lesser number of deals compared to its peers. On the other hand, Kirkland & Ellis, which held the top spot in terms of deal volume, stood at the fifth position in value terms. Interestingly, eight of the top 20 advisers (by total deal value) including Skadden advised on US$33.4bn Aon – Willis Towers Watson merger deal.

“11 of the top 20 advisers (by total deal value) witnessed decline in advised deal value in Q1 2020 compared with Q1 2019.

“Globally, overall M&A Activity dropped both in value and volume terms in Q1 2020 compared to the previous quarter as well as Q1 2019, which could also be attributed to COVID-19 concerns. According to an insight on impact of COVID-19 on M&A by Skadden released on March 18, 2020, the firm stated that COVID-19 crisis outbreak is continuing to affect M&A activity. However, it also states that companies with higher risk appetite continue to pursue M&A deals.”

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Sullivan & Cromwell advised on 34 transactions worth US$77.0bn while Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer worked on 19 deals worth US$71.1bn. With 103 deals worth US$65.9bn, Kirkland & Ellis held the fifth position.

Kirkland & Ellis tops by volume

Kirkland & Ellis has secured number one position in the latest global M&A legal advisers league table based on deal volume in Q1 2020.

The American law firm advised on 103 deals worth US$65.9bn, including a major transaction during the period – Thyssenkrupp’s $18.7bn sale of elevators division.

GlobalData revealed that Jones Day occupied the second position with transactions worth US$21.3bn, marking a 22.48% year-on-year decrease in deal value.

Aurojyoti Bose comments: “In terms of deal volume, Kirkland & Ellis emerged as the top legal adviser in Q1 2020. However, it lagged behind its peers in terms of value. While Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom held the top spot in terms of deal value, Kirkland & Ellis settled for the fifth position.

“13 of the top 20 advisers (by total deal volume) witnessed decline in advised deal volume in Q1 2020 compared with Q1 2019. COVID-19 outbreak impacted deal making during Q1 2020 with M&A activity witnessing decline in volume as well as value terms.”

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Latham & Watkins advised on 65 transactions worth US$81.6bn while DLA Piper worked on 57 deals worth US$9.2bn. With 48 deals worth US$0.9bn, CMS held the fifth position.

The overall announced deal value stood at US$575.2bn in the first quarter of 2020, a decline of 35.51% from the first quarter of 2019.

In the first quarter of 2020, 12,605 deals were recorded globally, marking a 12.13% decrease from the first quarter of 2019.

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