The pan-European ‘Best Friends’ network of elite legislation corporations excelled for the duration of the pandemic. A end result not all observers expected.
The network of five top rated EU corporations posted a powerful effectiveness in European M&A for both of those 2020 and for 2021, the two years in which the earth was shaken by the coronavirus pandemic. The info, supplied by Dealogic and Mergermarket, demonstrates that the thought of uniting as a collective of more compact, informally joined firms helped at a time companies were consolidating methods and redeploying lawyers to busier locations.
In 2020, the network—which incorporates Slaughter and May perhaps in the U.K., Bonelli Erede in Italy, Bredin Prat in France, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek in the Netherlands, Hengeler Mueller in Germany and Uría Menéndez in Spain—undertook $206 billion really worth of promotions across 128 transactions, representing 17% of the total market place, in accordance to details from Dealogic.
Very similar details from Mergermarket set the community in top placement for 2020, ahead of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Latham & Watkins, and in next situation for 2021, powering Freshfields.
The network’s normally robust functionality through the two pandemic a long time has astonished some.
“Having a community network and currently being in a position to supply at scale has come to be super-important for men and women [when choosing a law firm],” claims a debt fund running director. “The smaller properties are absolutely battling to hold up.”
“I feel that type of joint venture network has appear under very a ton of pressure for the reason that these law firms in their local marketplaces are most likely pretty chaotic,” they include about the most effective mates particularly. “How do [the EU firms in the network] prioritise the get the job done for Slaughter and Could in London as opposed to the operate that they can likely get domestically, and has that intended that, frankly, they have not been capable to supply?”
But that has not been the case. A husband or wife at a significant German agency explained: “What the network is able to do is display that, in unsure periods, what is valued over all else is abilities. And if that indicates expending a small extra cash, then it’s value it.”
Conveying how the network has been equipped to pull by way of the pandemic, Slaughter and May perhaps practice husband or wife David Wittmann explained: “We have considerable and prolonged expertise of functioning with each other with colleagues at our connection firms. These extended time period associations indicate that we have continued to deliver substantial high-quality effective deal groups with the right combine of deal expertise, country specific skills and information of the client [during the pandemic].”
The Private Fairness Question
1 of the crucial motorists of the currently booming European offer industry is private fairness. But this critical region of European dealmaking is arguably a weakness for Slaughter and Could. Although its best mates are mainly remarkably rated by lawful directory Chambers & Associates for domestic private equity in their possess international locations, Slaughter and Might is not. And no member of the community seems on the Chambers and Partners pan-European private fairness rankings.
When asked to remark on this subject, a spokesperson for Slaughter and May well stated: “Increased personal fairness action in M&A is a pattern and 1 where we are active on equally the personal fairness fund and corporate side a new illustration would be our Fortress get the job done in relation to Morrisons.”
Slaughter and Could recommended the non-public fairness organization on its bid created in July this yr for the U.K. supermarket chain, which was eventually purchased in Oct by a further personal equity company, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice.
Yet, just one field commenter stated there was however a “dearth of PE talent” readily available at Slaughter and Could and its very best friends, and that this gap in pan-European PE experience “could see it shrink its current market measurement in the decades to occur, as PE grows in significance to European markets”.
“It’s been a bugbear for people firms. How can they line up in opposition to say a Freshfields, a Latham or a Kirkland, which have this kind of good bench power.”
The commenter concludes: “But the focus on European and domestic M&A places them in a robust situation for now. I just marvel for how lengthy.”