Linklaters advised on 13 deals worth $79bn (£49bn) involving at least one US company against Sullivans, which advised on 20 deals valued at $82.5bn (£51.2bn), according to The American Lawyer’s corporate scorecard.
Five other UK firms secured a place in the top 35, with magic circle rivals Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in 11th place, Slaughter and May 18th and Allen & Overy (A&O) 22nd. Norton Rose and Clifford Chance (CC) were 23rd and 31st respectively.
The UK firms’ performance reflects the relative strength of the European M&A market with six of the 10 largest global M&A deals involving European companies.
However, Linklaters’ ranking will have been boosted significantly by its role advising US company Pfizer on the largest M&A deal of 2002. The firm advised the pharmaceuticals giant on the Swedish aspects of its $60.7bn (£37.7bn) takeover of Pharmacia. Linklaters also had a hand in the second-largest deal of the year — advising Lattice Group on its acquisition of National Grid, which was advised by CMS Cameron McKenna.