Slaughter & May at the top

SLAUGHTER & May topped Acquisitions Monthly's league table for legal advisers in mergers and acquisitions in the first half of 1994, writes Diane Coyle. It acted for companies in five public takeovers worth a total of pounds 1.6bn - including LWT during its pounds 766m acquisition by Granada, and Westland in its takeover by GKN.

City law firms dominated the league, but Wragge & Co, based in Birmingham, made its debut in the rankings through its involvement in the pounds 59m In Shops acquisition by Birkby, and Suters' pounds 33m takeover of James Wilkes.

Regional law firms enjoyed a much stronger presence in the league table for advisers in private takeovers. They included Hammond Suddards, Dibb Lupton Broomhead and Simpson Curtis, all based in Leeds.

The regional firms claim they can always undercut City firms on fees, which could explain their growing presence in the tables. Law firms charge by the hour, but 'no win, no fee' arrangements are becoming much more usual.

Acquisitions Monthly said there had been an improvement in every kind of merger and acquisition activity in Britain during the first half of 1994. There were 697 deals worth pounds 9.1bn, compared with 549 worth pounds 6.8bn in the first six months of last year.

----------------------------------------------------------------- LAWYERS' M&A LEAGUE TABLE ----------------------------------------------------------------- Top 10 legal advisers acting for a financial adviser or company in UK public takeovers Jan - June 1994 ----------------------------------------------------------------- Legal adviser No. of deals Value pounds m Slaughter & May (1) 5 1,636 Ashurst Morris Crisp (6) 3 1,063 Lovell White Durrant (19) 2 768 Clifford Chance (3) 5 757 Freshfields (5) 3 608 Linklaters & Paines (4) 6 383 Macfarlanes (18) 3 199 Norton Rose (9) 2 153 Travers Smith Braithwaite (11) 2 130 Wragge & Co (-) 2 92 ----------------------------------------------------------------- Bracketed figures indicate ranking in first half of 1993 Source: Acquisitions Monthly -----------------------------------------------------------------

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