Global law firm Clifford Chance has taken the number one slots in th…

Global law firm Clifford Chance has taken the number one slots in the
European and UK end of year M&A league tables for announced deals published
by Thomson Financial.

The firm was also ranked 2nd for worldwide M&A.
Clifford Chance also took the number one slot in Mergermarket’s Pan-European
M&A league table for announced deals. Across Europe, the firm came 1st in
Spain, 2nd in Germany, France and the UK.
Clifford Chance was also No 1 in Europe in the Bloomberg Legal Advisory
League Tables.

Highlight deals for 2003 included:
* Advising Safeway on its drawn-out takeover battle, culminating in a
EUR4.3bn offer by Wm. Morrison supermarkets.
* Advising Canary Wharf in relation to the recommended acquisition of
Canary Wharf Group plc by Silvestor UK Properties Limited for £1.56bn.
* Advising Vivendi Universal S.A. on the competition aspects of the
sale of Vivendi Universal Entertainment to NBC (a subsidiary of GE) for
* Advising Cinven and Candover Deutschland on the EUR1.1bn acquisition
of Bertelsmann Springer.
* Advising Barclays Bank S.A. on its acquisition of the entire issued
capital of Banco Zaragozano for EUR12.7 per share in cash, representing a
total consideration of EUR1.143m.

David Childs, global head of the corporate practice, commented:
“Naturally, we are very pleased to have come through a very tough year at
the top of the M&A tables and it’s particularly satisfying to see the
consistency of performance across our offices that is evidenced by these
results. There’s no standing still in what has become a globally very
competitive market for top-level legal service – we’ve been developing this
part of our business pretty steadily for the last ten years and we intend to
keep up that momentum. In 2004, we’ll need to be even better at executing
against our strategy, which is to forge closer connections with our clients
and more effective connections among the teams of lawyers we have working
for them on local and cross-border matters.

As for the market as a whole, there has been a steady increase in volume of
deals through 2003 (at least in Europe, although the US market has been a
bit more sluggish) which I expect to continue in 2004. The encouraging
signs, though, are that we are now seeing higher values coming through as
well – you just have to look at some of the big premiums being paid to get
deals done and the competitiveness of some of the auctions. Companies are
looking to M&A again to provide the long-term growth they need. The
unpredictable element will be whether this recovery can withstand a major
political or economic shock during the year. ”

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