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Desai, Khaitan dominate M&A league table to Q3 '09

MnA-pie_lrg
MnA-pie_lrg

For the first time this year, Desai & Diwanji and Khaitan & Co are leading the third quarter Indian M&A rankings both by value and volume of deals, pushing Amarchand Mangaldas two places down mergermarket's value league table compared to three months ago.

M&A data for the first three quarters of the 2009 calendar year shows both Desai & Diwanji and Khaitan & Co having advised on 14 deals each, with Khaitan doubling its tally in the last three months and Desai adding four mandates.

This puts both law firms just out of reach of AZB & Partners and Amarchand, which respectively advised on 12 and nine transactions each (see tables). AZB has added five mandates and Amarchand three in the last quarter.

Desai & Diwanji and Khaitan & Co already led the rankings by number of deals done at the 2009 half-year point, but both are now also leading in the value stakes.

Desai & Diwanji advised on deals amounting to a total value of $3.7bn (Rs 17,000 crore) and Khaitan & Co on a total of $3.2bn (Rs 14,800 crore).

Echoing the sentiment that a lot of Indian firms were seeing an increased activity and growth in the market, Desai & Diwanji partner Vishwang Desai said: "We were fortunate that we did deals for clients who were active and that the deals we worked on closed. There are many firms out there which are doing good work."

Almost all other top firms have maintained their positions over the last three months, with AZB ranking third followed by Amarchand Mangaldas, Trilegal and J Sagar & Associates (JSA).

Trilegal in particular, again drew level with Amarchand by also closing nine deals though with a total aggregate value of only $412m (Rs 1,900 crore) – Amarchand's total stands at $3bn (Rs 13,900 crore).

In the international firm stakes Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer holds on to its 7th rank, while Mayer Brown and CMS Cameron Mckenna making a new appearance at numbers 10 and 13 respectively with two deals each.

According to mergermarket's data, most international firms have not seen much India-related M&A activity this quarter with Jones Day, Davis Polk & Wardwell, Latham & Watkins, Shearman & Sterling and Baker Botts failing to add to their deal counts since the last quarter.

Davis Polk has left the way free for Luthra & Luthra and Platinum Partners to move in, which added two and one deal to their respective score cards.

Market bottoming out but still at record low
The largest deal this quarter also brought a new international firm entrant to the rankings with French firm Clement Vivien & Associes. Alongside Desai & Diwanji, it advised the buyer in the $783m stake sale of Shantha Biotechnics to Sanofi Pasteur, which was advised by Mayer Brown.

Amarchand Mangaldas advised Wockhardt Hospitals on its sale of 10 hospitals for $ 189m to Fortis Healthcare with managing partner Cyril Shroff and corporate partner Nivedita Rao advising Wockhardt, as first reported by Legally India 26 August.

Desai & Diwanji and JSA picked up the mandate on the next largest deal this quarter, acting for Essar Steel's $135m acquisition of Shree Precoated Steel (LegallyIndia.com, 13 August).

Mergermarket data shows Indian M&A deal volumes dip slightly quarter-on-quarter with overall values bottoming out. However, values and volumes are still at levels not seen since 2005.

So far this calendar year, a total of $11.2bn of M&A transactions have been or are taking place. This is almost a third of the 2008 full-year totals and almost a quarter of 2007's record total of $40.9bn.

Law firms' corporate practices are all hoping for and eagerly expecting a revival in M&A market activity.

When quizzed on what clients would ideally want from a law firm in this evolving market, Vishwang Desai said: "The legal landscape in India has been changing rapidly over the past 10 or 15 years and will continue to change.

"Firms which were once large and respected, but which have not maintained their dynamism and evolution have become less relevant and new firms which have adopted these approaches are doing well."

He added: "I also believe that with the right approach and dynamism any firm, no matter how new or small, can set out on a path of growth."

Rankings by value of transactions:
Q1-Q3 2009
(HY 2009)
Firm Value ($m) Deal count
1 (2) Desai & Diwanji 3,677 14
2 (3) Khaitan & Co 3,247 14
3 (1) Amarchand & Mangaldas
3,034 9
4= (4) Baker Botts 2,570 1
4= (4) Shearman & Sterling 2,570 1
6 (6) AZB & Partners 1,988 12
7 (7) J Sagar Associates 1,082 7
8 (-) Mayer Brown 832 2
9 (-) Clement Vivien & Associes 783 1
10 (13) Luthra & Luthra Law Offices 617 4
11 (14) Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer 597 5
12 (8) Jones Day 578 2
13 (-) Latham & Watkins 578 1
14 (8) P&A Law Offices 578 1
15 (8) Talwar, Thakore and Associates 578 1

Source: mergermarket

Ranking by volume:

Q1-Q3 2009
(HY 2009)
Firm Value ($m) Deal count
1 (1)
Desai & Diwanji 3,677 14
2 (2)
Khaitan & Co 3,247 14
3 (3)
AZB & Partners 1,988 12
4 (4)
Amarchand Mangaldas
3,034 9
5 (5)
Trilegal 412 9
6 (6)
J Sagar Associates 1,082 7
7 (7)
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer 597 5
8 (9)
Luthra & Luthra Law Offices 617 4
9 (10)
Platinum Partners 159 3
10 (-)
Mayer Brown 832 2
11 (15)
Jones Day 578 2
12 (8)
Davis Polk & Wardwell 388 2
13 (-)
CMS Cameron McKenna
263 2
14 (11)
DSK Legal 31 2
15 (-)
Nishith Desai Associates 15 2

Source: mergermarket

Methodology: mergermarket included announced transactions over $5m in value from 1 January to 30 September 2009. Deals with undisclosed values were included if the target's turnover exceeded $10m. Deals where a stake of less than 30 per cent is acquired were only included if the value exceeded $100m.

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