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Freshfields leads European M&A advisory

The global law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (‘Freshfields’) is the undisputed leader in Europe according to Bloomberg and MergerMarket. Globally, Freshfields advised on the most cross-border transactions according to Bloomberg. This marks several years in a row that the firm has held its top position.

According to Bloomberg, the firm is the clear leader in the European M&A advisory market in 2021, with 239 transactions worth more than 241 billion US dollars. MergerMarket concludes for 2021 that the firm once again holds the lead in Europe with 253 transactions worth over 391 billion US dollars. Especially in the DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland), the value of the transaction volume has doubled compared to the previous year.

This is in line with the trend of global growth in M&A activity. The Freshfields M&A Monitor puts the total value for global mergers and acquisitions at 5.5 trillion US dollars at the beginning of December 2021. This already surpassed the previous record of 5.13 trillion US dollars for the whole of 2020 at that point.

Rick van Aerssen, Global Managing Partner and Partner in Global Transactions: "The pandemic is not holding back the transaction business. On the contrary, continued favourable financing conditions, digitalisation and consolidation strategies have led to further intensification, and many expect these trends to continue – despite the weakening inflation picture and expected impact on interest rates. In addition, we will increasingly see transactions to improve ESG alignment in the future. SPAC-driven activity is also likely to increase in Europe."

Freshfields had its finger on the pulse of economic developments in Europe in 2021 with its transaction advisory services. In Germany, for example, the firm assisted Vonovia on its merger with Deutsche Wohnen and headlight specialist Hella on its merger with French automotive supplier Faurecia. In the Netherlands, Universal Music Group was advised on its separation from Vivendi and its IPO on Euronext Amsterdam. The Global Transactions team also supported Apax Partners and Warburg Pincus on their joint acquisition of T-Mobile Netherlands. A highlight in Spain was advising on Másmóvil's bid for rival telecoms operator Euskaltel and in France assisting a consortium led by Volkswagen on its acquisition of Europcar.

"Our teams across Continental Europe were again extremely successful and not only involved in market-shaping transactions in Continental Europe", says Markus Paul, Regional Managing Partner Continental Europe and Partner in Global Transactions. "2021 was also a year in which transatlantic cooperation increased. Outstanding examples included our work for AstraZeneca on the acquisition of Alexion Pharmaceuticals and Saint Gobain on the acquisition of GCP Applied Technologies."