Australasian M&A on the rise

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Several top firms made major moves in the Australasian mergers and acquisitions league tables for the first half of the year, according to data from Thomson Reuters.

Completed deals slightly dipped by 6.4% to US$37.53bn compared to the same period last year, although deals were up 90.9% compared to the last six months of 2016 and volume was up 6.3% or 5,614 deals.

Announced deals increased 16.6% to US$49.8bn compared to the first half of 2016, and jumped 125.3% compared to the second half of last year. The massive gain over the preceding six-month period comes despite a precipitous drop in M&A in the first quarter of the year.

King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) topped the rankings for completed deals in Australia and New Zealand, a major move from its 10th place rank in the first half of 2016. It advised on 18 deals, with an aggregate value of US$12.29bn. KWM is followed by Allens, which slipped from first place last year in completed deals, as the firm advised on 17 deals, with a total value of US$11.34bn.

Next is Canadian firm Stikeman Elliott, which advised on only two deals but posted an aggregate value of $11.05bn. It was 94th in the first half of last year. The UK’s Magic Circle makes an appearance at fourth with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which advised on a single US$9.46bn deal to improve from its 43rd-place finish last year.

At fifth is Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF), down from the second spot last year. The firm advised on 31 deals worth US$9.46bn. Baker McKenzie is at the sixth spot for completed deals, up from 36th last year, after it advised on 16 deals worth US$6.26bn.

Finishing seventh is Clifford Chance, which moved up from 58th after advising on five deals worth a total of US$5.06bn. At eight is Ashurst, which improved from 12th in 2016. The firm advised on eight deals worth a total of US$4.98bn.

UK-headquartered firm CMS improved from 34th in 2016 to ninth this year with two deals worth US$4.65bn. Completing the top 10 for completed deals in Australia and New Zealand is Linklaters, up by one spot from the first half of last year. The firm advised on five deals worth US$4.58bn.

Worth pointing out is the four-way tie for the 11th spot, with a single deal giving Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton; Maclay, Murray & Spens; Hogan Lovells; and Eversheds Sutherland an aggregate deal value of US$4.55bn.

On announced deals, HSF led the pack, an improvement from its second place finish in the same period last year, with 42 deals worth a total of US$17.21bn. Gilbert + Tobin moves up from fourth to take this year’s second spot with 26 deals worth a total of US$10.77bn.

KWM retained its third-place finish, with 27 deals valued at US$6.55bn, while Allens dropped from first place last year, with 19 deals worth US$5.51bn. Baker McKenzie move up one spot and finished fifth in the first half, with 13 deals valued at US$4.2bn.

Allen & Overy finished sixth, a major improvement from 18th last year, with nine deals worth US$4.09bn. Down from fifth is MinterEllison, which finished at seventh after advising on 21 deals worth US$3.43bn.

Slaughter and May finished at the eighth spot after not making the Australia and New Zealand rankings last year. The firm advised on three deals worth US$2.94bn. At ninth is Ropes & Gray, which also did not make the rankings last year. The firm acted on two deals worth US$2.28bn in the first half. Completing the top 10 is Clifford Chance, moving up from 39th last year, with seven deals worth a total of US$1.97bn.

Bell Gully, which finished 18th in announced deals, is the top New Zealand-headquartered firm. It advised on 6 deals for an aggregate worth of US$505m.

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US firms dominate global M&A as businesses make fewer – but bigger – deals
Australasian M&A drops in first quarter