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270% India Q1 M&A boost as AZB ties in ranking with fast climber Khaitan

Exclusive: AZB & Partners, Khaitan & Co and Desai & Diwanji have topped mergermarket’s M&A league table by volume, each having recorded 11 deals in the first three months of 2011.

However, despite having been reported on eight deals fewer than over the same period in 2010, AZB topped the Q1 2011 list with an aggregate deals value of $9.7bn, the lion’s share of which was made up by the major $7.2bn gas contract between Reliance Industries Limited and oil major BP.

That deal also boosted the ranking of Allen & Overy, which had teamed up with AZB and Vinson & Elkins for Reliance, and Linklaters and best friend Talwar Thakore & Associates that represented BP.

The second-largest deal this quarter in the tables was the Hero Honda $851m joint venture exit that was a boon for AZB, yet again, in addition to Desai & Diwanji, J Sagar Associates (JSA) and Khaitan & Co.

Up and come?

The biggest winner this quarter was Khaitan & Co, which had a role on 11 deals (eight more than in the first quarter of 2010) with a total value of $3.4bn.

This took Khaitan from seventh position in the rankings in Q1 of 2010 to second place just behind AZB, where the deal values were still more than double those of Khaitan.

Essar’s $750m Zimbabwean steel takeover saw AZB notch up another large mark in the table with Norton Rose’s African merger firm.

The next largest deal on record was fourth-ranked Amarchand Mangaldas’ and Khaitan & Co’s $680m FDI in Reliance by Nippon Life.

Desai & Diwanji added one over its 2010 Q1 tally but its deal values were the lowest in the top five with an aggregate of $881m between 11 transactions.

Bird’s eye view

According to mergermarket data total M&A deals amounting to $18.3bn were recorded in the first quarter of this year, representing a 270 per cent increase compared to the same quarter in 2010 although total deal volumes decreased by nine to 53 deals.

The largest five deals were all cross-border deals, with four inbound takeovers and one outbound acquisition. All in all, 35 deals of $16.9bn went into India or were domestic, with Indian companies buying $2.3bn of assets abroad.

Data provider mergermarket collated legal advisers on announced transactions over $5m in value, deals where the target’s turnover exceeded $10m or where a 30 per cent stake sale’s value was greater than $100m, excluding restructurings or property transactions where no ultimate shareholders’ interests changed.

Looking back: 2010 full-year rankings

AZB had also topped the 2010 full-year mergmarket league table racking up 63 deals worth $31bn, followed by Desai & Diwanji with 46 deals worth $1.6bn and Amarchand with 29 deals worth $9.5bn.

Tatva Legal in 2010 had completed 17 deals worth $661m and Khaitan & Co was in fifth position with 14 deals worth $3.4bn.

Trilegal was involved in 13 deals of $11.4bn while Nishith Desai Associates came seventh with 10 deals with an aggregate value of $482m.

Coming in between 12th and 15th position behind international firms, Indian firms JSA and DSK Legal each had five deals (worth $322m and $89m respectively), while Talwar Thakore Associates and S&R Associates were on four deals each (worth $11.0bn and $9.3bn respectively).

Legal Adviser M&A League Table India by Volume - Q1 2011

Q1 2010 Q1 2011 House Value ($m) Deal Count Deal count
1 1 AZB & Partners 9,676 11 -8
4 2 Khaitan & Co 3,412 11 8
2 3 Desai & Diwanji 881 11 1
3 4 Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & Co 2,456 4 -2
47 5 J Sagar Associates 1,515 2 1
5 6 Trilegal 361 2 -1
- 7 Majmudar & Co 49 2 -
6 8 Nishith Desai Associates 24 2 -1
44 9 Jones Day 19 2 1
- 10 Bird & Bird 14 2 -
8 11= Allen & Overy LLP 7,200 1 -1
13= 11= Linklaters 7,200 1 0
13= 11= Talwar Thakore & Associates 7,200 1 0
- 11= Vinson & Elkins LLP 7,200 1 -
- 15 Ashurst 1,213 1 -

Source: mergermarket

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