Norton Rose tops legal bid table

NORTON ROSE has become the leading law firm for financial advisers and companies involved in UK public takeovers after acting for Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation's pounds 3.7bn bid for Midland Bank. The firm was top in terms of number of deals and value of transactions during the first six months of this year, according to Acquisitions Monthly.

Its involvement in 10 bids with a total value of pounds 4.5bn put it ahead of the City's largest firm, Clifford Chance, which represented Midland and had seven bids worth pounds 3.9bn. Norton Rose also advised in the pounds 613m Redland-Steetley deal; the pounds 72m bid by Robert Bosch for Worcester Group and Carlton Communications' pounds 69m offer for Pickwick Group.

Herbert Smith and Linklaters & Paines came third and fourth, both with five deals, worth pounds 1.2bn and pounds 755m respectively. Freshfields, second in the 1991 full-year table, was fifth on the strength of seven bids worth pounds 654m. Slaughter and May, top in the last annual list, came seventh, with six bids worth pounds 129m.

Philip Healey, editor of Acquisitions Monthly, said Norton Rose had fared considerably better than most of its rivals 'in what can only be described as a less than fruitful period in a very competitive sector'.

He added that firms were being kept busy by private deals, particularly management buyouts, as well as corporate rescues, restructurings and receiverships. Public bids, however, carried the biggest fees, he said.