GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, has revealed its global league tables for legal advisers by value and volume for the first quarter of 2020, which witnessed subdued deal activity worldwide due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom tops by value
Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom has dominated the latest global mergers and acquisitions (M&A) legal advisers league table based on deal value in the first quarter of 2020.
The American law firm advised on 33 deals worth $84.2bn, including a major transaction during the period – Aon’s acquisition of Willis Towers Watson for $33.4bn.
GlobalData has published a top 20 league table of legal advisers ranked according to the value of announced M&A deals globally.
Latham & Watkins took the second place with a total deal value of $81.6bn. In third position was Sullivan & Cromwell, which worked on 34 transactions worth $77.0bn.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Kirkland & Ellis secured fourth and fifth positions, having worked on 19 deals worth $71.1bn and 103 deals worth $65.9bn, respectively.
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 $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.”
Kirkland & Ellis leads 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.
According to GlobalData, the American law firm advised on 103 deals worth $65.9bn, including a major transaction during the period – Thyssenkrupp’s $18.7bn sale of elevators division.
Jones Day occupied the second position with transactions worth $21.3bn, while Latham & Watkins stood at third place, having worked on 65 transactions worth $81.6bn.
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.”
DLA Piper and CMS secured fourth and fifth positions, having worked on 57 deals worth $9.2bn and 48 deals worth $0.9bn, respectively.
The overall announced deal value stood at $575.2bn in the first quarter of 2020, a decline of 35.51% from Q1 2019.
A total of 12,605 deals were recorded globally in the first quarter of 2020, marking a 12.13% decrease from Q1 2019.
To ensure further robustness to the data, the company also seeks submissions from leading advisers, through adviser submission forms on GlobalData’s website