By Kylie MacLellan
LONDON, July 6 (Reuters) - U.S. law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom nailed the most lucrative tally of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) worldwide in the first half of 2010, advising on $137 billion of deals.
Securing top deals in telecoms and media helped the New York-headquartered firm hold on to the top spot from 2009, despite its market share falling more than 8 percentage points to 12.8 percent since the first half of 2009.
Skadden’s 82 deals included the second largest of the six-month period, U.S. phone operator CenturyLink’s $22 billion acquisition of Quest Communications International Inc Q.N.
It is also advising on News Corp’s (NWSA.O) proposed $13.7 billion bid for British satellite broadcaster BSkyB BSY.L.
Just 30 deals propelled U.S. firm Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz into third place from sixth a year earlier, while Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, which is advising on Coca-Cola’s acquisition of Coca-Cola Enterprises’ North American bottling operations, jumped to second place from 17th.
U.S. firm Jones Day clinched the heaviest volume of deals. Its 175 transactions worth $50.8 billion gave it a 4.8 percent share of global M&A activity, ranking it 15th, according to Thomson Reuters data released on Tuesday.
U.S. law firms dominated the top rankings, making up eight of the top 10 advisors in the table.
Linklaters, one of the “magic circle” of leading British law firms, was pushed into 11th place from fourth in 2009, having been involved in 22 fewer deals than the previous year, while Clifford Chance did not feature at all in the top 25.
The number of global deals rose 3.8 percent from the first half of last year, while their value jumped 9.4 percent, taking the total to $1.1 trillion — the strongest opening six month period for global deals since 2008 — and underpinning the gradual recovery in M&A activity.
Deals in the energy and power sector dominated M&A activity, accounting for 19.3 percent, while financials and telecoms contributed 15 percent and 11.8 percent respectively.
Here is a table of worldwide rankings in H1, 2010:
Rank Legal advisor Value of deals US$m Mkt share No. deals 1 Skadden 136,667.8 12.8 82 2 Cleary Gottlieb 111,026.6 10.4 57 3 Wachtell Lipton 93,622.0 8.8 30 4 Simpson Thacher 90,997.7 8.5 76 5 Dewey & LeBoeuf 77,562.5 7.3 34 6 Freshfields 69,213.6 6.5 88 7 Blake Cassels 66,547.1 6.3 63 8 Sullivan & Cromwell 65,770.7 6.2 46 9 Davis Polk 62,454.8 5.9 39 10 Gibson Dunn 62,390.6 5.9 56 (Editing by David Cowell)