Legal advisers Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Kirkland & Ellis emerged as the top mergers and acquisitions (M&A) legal advisers in North America in the first half (H1) of 2020, based on deal value and volume, respectively, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company..
Inspite of advising on fewer deals, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett secured the top position in terms of value because of its involvement in big-ticket deals such as Thermo Fisher Scientific’s acquisition of Qiagen for $11.5bn and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company’s sale of 49% stake in ADNOC Gas Pipelines to consortium of investors for $10.1bn,
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett advised on 53 deals valued at $69.3bn, making it the highest among all advisers.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom took the second position in terms of value, advising on 50 deals worth a total $56.5bn.
Kirkland & Ellis, which led in terms of volume for having advised on 163 deals worth $55.7bn in the first half , took the third position in terms of value.
Latham & Watkins bagged the second position by volume with 113 deals worth $38.4bn. It was followed by Jones Day with 104 deals worth $26.8bn
GlobalData financial deals analyst Aurojyoti Bose said: “Kirkland & Ellis, Latham & Watkins and Jones Day were the only three advisers that managed to advise on more than 100 deals by volume during the Covid-19 hit H1, thereby outpacing most of their peers by a great margin. However, none of these players could top the list by value and Jones Day did not even feature in the list of top advisors by value.”
Deal landscape of North America in H1 2020
The count of deals announced in North America fell by 25.3% from 14,462 in H1 2019 to 10,804 in H1 2020, according to GlobalData’s Financial Deals Database.
Deal value declined by 60.1% from $998bn in H1 2019 to $398.3bn in H1 2020.
The tepid deal activity was because of the volatile market conditions due to Covid-19 outbreak.
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, which led the North American deals league table by value, took the eighth position (by value) in the recently released global league table of top 20 M&A legal advisers by GlobalData. Similarly, Kirkland & Ellis, which topped the North American league table by volume, also occupied the top position (by volume) in the global league table.
To ensure further robustness to the data, the company also seeks submissions from leading advisers, through adviser submission forms on GlobalData’s website