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2016 sets M&A record: Cyril, AZB top league table by mile, ahead of Khaitan, Shardul • Luthra fails to capitalise

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas has acted on $40.4bn worth of mergers and acquisition in the 2016 calendar year, according to researcher mergermarket, with AZB & Partners having recorded $30.1bn of M&A deals in the same period.

According to the data disclosed by firms to mergermarket and independently researched by the organisation, those two firms also topped the league table by volume, with AZB having acted on 62 deals and Cyril Amarchand on 59.

The next two firms in the list - Khaitan & Co and Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas had nearly comparable deal volumes, at 54 and 46 respectively, though their values were much smaller than the two front-runners’.

Khaitan & Co had acted on $16.7bn of M&A deals, and Shardul Amarchand on $10.3bn.

J Sagar Associates (JSA) was fifth in terms of values ($8.1bn) and sixth by volumes (32 deals), while Trilegal recorded one more deal at 33, though the values of its deals ($2.8bn) placed it only in ninth position.

Also read: 2015 mergermarket league tables.

Everyone up (but one)

Talwar Thakore & Associates (TTA) and Vaish Associates also saw a big spike of 361% and 266% respectively, bringing TTA into sixth place with $7.3bn in 4 deals.

Nearly all the top 10 firms by value saw significant spikes in deal values this year - Cyril Amarchand saw an astounding 648% increase over its figures of $5.4bn last year, while AZB’s values grew by 147%, Khaitan’s by 126% and JSA by 113%.

The one notable exception is Luthra & Luthra, which according to mergermarket’s data was the only firm in the 2016 top 10 by value to have worked on a lower aggregate value of M&A deals this year than last at $2.2bn (32% less than its tally in 2015 of $3.2bn).

That brought Luthra a dive to 10th in those rankings from 7th place in 2015, which followed a drop in deal values of 40% from its 4th place in the 2014 M&A league table.

An all-round good year

Luthra's performance bucks the overall market: India and most its law firms (in contrast to a slowdown in the rest of Asia) benefited from a bumper year in M&A activity in India, which was up 90.5% to make it oneo of the best on record, according to mergermarket:

India has been a bright spot for Asian M&A activity during 2016, with 388 deals worth US$ 64.5bn up 90.5% by value compared to 2015 (421 deals, US$ 33.9bn) to reach its highest annual total on record.

According to Mergermarket intelligence, the Indian chemicals industry is expected to see an increased number of deals in 2017 on the back of a relative slowdown in Chinese manufacturing sector and growing appetite of multinationals to expand their presence in the country. The main areas of interest are speciality chemicals, aroma chemicals, agro chemicals, flavour and fragrances, and niche chemicals.

The law of averages

When averaging out reported deal values across the total number of deals, a parallel view emerges.

TTA had the largest average deal size, having only acted on 4 recorded M&A deals with a mean value of $1.8bn.

Trilegal had the lowest average deal size at only $85m. Cyril Amarchand and AZB by contrast had average deal sizes of $685m and $485m, with Khaitan on $309m, Shardul Amarchand on $224m, and JSA on $224.

Like TTA, S&R Associates too punched heavily on a few deals, tallying $4bn in 5 deals, averaging out to $800m.

Separate foreign law firm rankings to follow.

2016 M&A league table by value

Rank Firm 2016 Value ($m) 2016 Deal Count 2015 Value ($m) 2015-16 % Val. Change 2016: Avg size per deal ($m)
1 Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas 40,425 59 5,413 646.8% 685
2 AZB & Partners 30,058 62 12,195 146.5% 485
3 Khaitan & Co 16,706 54 7,381 126.3% 309
4 Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co 10,284 46 5,994 71.6% 224
5 J Sagar Associates 8,173 32 3,844 112.6% 255
6 Talwar Thakore & Associates 7,282 4 1,581 360.6% 1821
7 S&R Associates 4,024 5 2,284 76.2% 805
8 Vaish Associates 3,082 6 842 266.0% 514
9 Trilegal 2,792 33 2,443 14.3% 85
10 Luthra & Luthra 2,183 17 3,201 -31.8% 128
11 Nishith Desai Associates 2,131 13 2,057 3.6% 164
12 Veritas Legal 1,928 18 230 738.3% 107
13 Platinum Partners 1,635 7 763 114.3% 234
14 Crawford Bayley & Co 1,400 1 899 55.7% 1400
15 IndusLaw 1,339 9 1,481 -9.6% 149

Source: mergermarket

2016 M&A league table by volume

Rank Firm Value ($m) Deal Count Value ($m) Deal Change
1 AZB & Partners 30,058 62 85 -23
2 Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas 40,425 59 34 25
3 Khaitan & Co 16,706 54 53 1
4 Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co 10,284 46 34 12
5 Trilegal 2,792 33 30 3
6 J Sagar Associates 8,173 32 38 -6
7 HSA Advocates 408 21 10 11
8 Bathiya Legal 197 19 15 4
9 Veritas Legal 1,928 18 6 12
10 Luthra & Luthra 2,183 17 20 -3
11 Desai & Diwanji 644 17 27 -10
12 BMR Legal 965 15 21 -6
13 Nishith Desai Associates 2,131 13 19 -6
14 IndusLaw 1,339 9 14 -5
15 Krishnamurthy & Co 685 9 9 0
16 Tatva Legal 331 9 9 0
17 PDS Legal 101 8 8 0
18 Platinum Partners 1,635 7 8 -1
19 Vaish Associates 3,082 6 5 1
20 Phoenix Legal 253 6 4 2
21 Economic Laws Practice (ELP) 144 6 8 -2
22 DSK Legal 15 6 12 -6

Source: mergermarket

Methodology

Legally India has no responsibility for the figures pubilshed, much of which has been shared by law firms' communications teams with mergermarket and other league table providers. According to mergermarket:

All data is based on transactions over US$ 5m and is based on Mergermarket’s M&A deals database. Deals with undisclosed deal values are included where the target’s turnover exceeds US$ 10m. Deals where the stake acquired is less than 30% will only be included if the value is greater than US$100m.

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