* Skadden holds top seat with $268.8 bln of deals worldwide
* Sullivan & Cromwell pips Freshfields to take second place
* Linklaters leaps into fourth place from 12th
By Kirstin Ridley
LONDON, Jan 5 (Reuters) - U.S. law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom has hung onto the top legal adviser spot for the second year, while compatriot Sullivan & Cromwell leapfrogged British arch-rival Freshfields into second place.
Although the value of worldwide deals surged by 23 percent to $2.4 trillion in 2010, Skadden’s tally of announced transactions fell in value by around 24 percent to $268.8 billion from 2009, according to the Thomson Reuters legal league table published on Wednesday.
But the top 17 law firms all saw market share fall in 2010, as the number of deals up for grabs was broadly flat on 2009 — leaving players jostling to secure mandates for richly-valued deals in telecoms, energy and power and healthcare sectors.
Securing an advisory role on one of the largest deals of 2010 — Mexican telecoms giant America Movil’s (AMXL.MX) $27.5 billion purchase of peer Carso Global Telecom — helped propel Sullivan & Cromwell into second place, from seventh in 2009, with deals worth $243.3 billion under its belt.
That pushed Freshfields, one of the top “magic circle” law firms in Britain, into third place with a tally of $209 billion — despite having secured a role on GDF Suez’s GSZ.PA planned deal with British energy group International Power IPR.L, valued at $25 billion.
Other deals with hefty price tags, including Russian telecoms group Vimpelcom’s VIP.N designs on assets owned by Weather Investments and Kuwaiti peer Etisalat’s ETEL.AD hopes of clinching Abu Dhabi-based Zain (ZAIN.KW), helped ensure emerging markets accounted for a third of all M&A.
Linklaters, armed with an advisory mandate in Sanofi-Aventis’ (SASY.PA) $18.5 billion hostile bid for drugs rival Genzyme Corp GENZ.O, swept into fourth place from 12th with deals worth almost $195 billion, a whisker ahead of fifth-ranked Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.
Here is a table of worldwide rankings in 2010:
Rank value Mkt No
US $bln share deals Legal advisor Skadden 268.8 11.0 227 Sullivan & Cromwell 243.3 10.0 163 Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer 209.0 8.6 234 Linklaters 194.2 8.0 243 Simpson Thacher & Bartlett 194.0 8.0 149 Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton 181.1 7.4 136 Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz 169.1 7.0 62 Latham & Watkins 165.2 6.8 221 Allen & Overy 134.6 5.5 226 Dewey & LeBoeuf 130.9 5.4 110