Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) kept its pole position among legal advisors in Australia’s M&A market, as other top firms and rivals from other countries jostled for deals.
HSF was the top legal advisor by both value and volume, after capping 2017 with 80 deals worth $69.58bn, data from Mergermarket reveal.
Second by deal value is Allens, with $64.89bn spread over 44 deals. Rounding out the top five by value are King & Wood Mallesons ($57.44bn), Clifford Chance ($37.87bn) and Debevoise & Plimpton ($36.64bn).
By deal volume, the next in the top five are Gilbert + Tobin (44), KWM (53), MinterEllison (52), and Ashurst (46).
The Mergermarket league tables can be found below.
The year was marked by a boom in inbound M&A, which offset a decrease in outbound deals for another growth year for Australian M&A. With 243 deals worth $80.5bn, inbound M&A in Australia rose 141.5% year-over-year in 2017.
That compares to 206 deals worth $33.3bn in 2016. The boom offset a decrease in outbound deals for another growth year for Australian M&A.
At 128 deals worth $24.7bn, outbound M&A dropped 27.9% from 2016’s 111 deals worth $34.2bn.
Overall, Australia’s M&A activity last year was worth $113bn, spread over 580 deals. This is an increase of 63 in terms of volume and nearly 30% in terms of value.
The largest deal last year was French real estate giant Unibail-Rodamco’s $32.6bn bid for Westfield corporation. The outsized transaction boosted real estate to become the top inbound sector of 2018.
Last year’s top sector was energy, mining and utilities (EMU), which overtook the transportation sector, with 77 deals worth $37.1bn. Mergermarket said that Australia’s mid-tier mining industry may see an uptick in M&A activity this year, as bigger and cash-rich companies enjoy high commodity prices coupled with a lower Australian dollar.
Australia year-to-date inbound M&A jumps 27.5%
These firms dominated Greater China into Australia deals in 2017