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The ‘excellentCravath, Swaine & Moore LLP has a hugely impressive market share of headline and high-value M&A transactions, thanks partly to its illustrious client base that includes Time Warner, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Stanley Black & Decker, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson and IBM. In addition, it is frequently selected by one-off or occasional clients to advise on key deals, such as representing Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide in its $13.3bn sale to Marriott International. The firm has a prolific domestic M&A practice and despite its modest international presence (it has one overseas office in London) it has an outstanding record in cross-border deals. The broad-based offering crosses all key industries, including financial services, broadcasting, and media and entertainment, with healthcare and technology having been particularly active of late. The firm advised longstanding client Time Warner on its proposed $108.7bn acquisition by AT&T. In cross-border deals, the firm advised British American Tobacco on its proposed $93bn merger with Reynolds American. Showcasing the firm’s standing in the technology sector and reputation on the West Coast, it advised the strategic review committee of the board of directors of Yahoo! on the $4.83bn acquisition of Yahoo’s operating business by Verizon. It also represented Dreamworks Animation SKG in its $4.1bn sale to NBCUniversal. Despite the departure of former co-head of the corporate department Scott Barshay to Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP in 2016, the firm maintains a deep bench of leading senior practitioners and is also widely recognized for its ability to nurture young talent; it did however lose up-and-comer Jonathan Davis to Kirkland & Ellis LLP at the end of 2016. Ting Chen, Aaron Gruber and Keith Hallam are prominent names that have all achieved partner status in the last five years. At the senior end Faiza Saeed, Mark Greene and Richard Hall are outstanding names, along with Damien Zoubek and ‘awesome lawyer’ Robert Townsend, who was the lead partner on a series of major recent transactions. John White is ‘tremendously knowledgeable and responsive’.

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Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP’s standing in the US, Europe, Asia and Latin America helps it attract an impressive share of big-ticket domestic and cross-border M&A. Its Asia practice in particular has been key to a series of engagements in US-China deals. In addition, its expertise in antitrust and Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) issues makes it adept in US inbound deals. Clients include Aetna, AstraZeneca, Baker Hughes, Citigroup, ExxonMobil, Lockheed Martin, MasterCard, Morgan Stanley, Shire and Tyson Foods. In 2016, the firm advised Syngenta on its $43bn acquisition by ChemChina, the Chinese state-owned chemical company; this was China’s largest-ever outbound transaction. Before the deal, the firm represented Syngenta in fending off a hostile offer by Monsanto. The firm also advised Baker Hughes on its headline $25bn combination with GE’s oil and gas business; the transaction was executed as a partnership structure with GE Oil & Gas and Baker Hughes contributing their operating assets to the newly formed partnership. In addition, the firm represented information services company Markit in its $13bn all-share merger of equals with IHS. In 2016, the firm recruited Ronald Cami to its Menlo Park office; Cami was previously the general counsel at private equity sponsor TPG Global and is a former Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP partner. Other key partners include head of the corporate department and global head of M&A John Bick, global co-chairman of the M&A group George Bason, financial services sector expert Louis Goldberg, Leonard Kreynin, Michael Davis and Oliver Smith. John Amorosi, who is responsible for the firm’s rise in the private equity sector, and William Aaronson are ‘commercial and business-focused’ and Washington DC-based John Reynolds is consistently noted for his expertise in CFIUS issues. Named attorneys are based in New York, except where otherwise noted.

Latham & Watkins LLP has an impressive national and international platform, exposing it to a range of clients and deals that many other firms cannot match. Domestically, this includes strength on the East Coast, the Midwest, Texas and the West Coast, and this is allied to numerous overseas offices; cross-border and multi-jurisdictional deals are of course a strength. In 2016, it advised US-based FMC Technologies on its $13bn cross-border merger of equals with France’s Technip, a deal that involved lead partners from its Chicago, New York, London and Paris offices. The firm impresses with its record in energy deals, thanks to its notable Houston office and a number of New York partners that have an exceptional record in master limited partnership (MLP) related work. Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and healthcare are strong segments for the firm, on both east and west coasts, and communications is another key industry, in part thanks to the firm’s excellent regulatory credentials. The Silicon Valley office led a multi-office team that advised Broadcom on its $5.9bn acquisition of Brocade Communications Systems. Chicago partners Michael Pucker and Scott Hairston led the team that advised Bass Bro Shops on its $5.5bn acquisition of Cabela’s. Chicago and New York based partners Mark Gerstein and Bradley Faris are ‘smart guys’, ‘top tier’ and ‘a class act’ and are global co-chairs of the M&A practice alongside David Allinson. Orange County’s Charles Ruck has advised on a string of big-ticket transactions, especially in life sciences and pharmaceuticals, and William Finnegan is a key name in Houston. Adel Aslani-Far and Ted Sonnenschein are noted for high-value deals and Paul Sheridan and Daniel Lennon are top practitioners in Washington DC. Named attorneys are based in New York, except where otherwise noted. Since publication, Peter Harwich has joined from Allen & Overy LLP.

Frequently cited for its market-leading private equity buyout practice, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP continued to showcase its credentials in strategic transactions in 2016. Even with a slowdown in private equity deals, the firm had a tremendous year, advising on many landmark North American and transcontinental transactions. Clients enjoy the ‘outstanding level of service’ and the ‘thoughtful and actionable legal advice’. The ‘terrific team’ has ‘great bench strength’ and provides a ‘360 degree perspective of the situation’, is ‘well versed in public M&A’ and invests time into ‘understanding clients’ business priorities’. Clients also highlight the ‘deep expertise across a variety of practice areas needed in M&A transactions’, including corporate and securities law, technology licensing and IP. The firm’s market leading credentials in banking, on both the lender and borrower side, is another key attribute that attracts clients. Strength in tax, antitrust and employee benefits is also key to the successful completion of many headline transactions. Clients include ADT, ChemChina, Lorillard, Microsoft, NXP Semiconductors, Sumitomo Life Insurance and Walgreens Boots Alliance. The firm advised ChemChina on its $43bn acquisition of Syngenta, the largest foreign acquisition by a Chinese company. It also acted for NXP Semiconductors in its $40bn merger with Freescale Semiconductor and advised regular client Microsoft on its $26bn acquisition of LinkedIn, further demonstrating the firm’s expertise and track record in the technology sector. Alan Klein and Mario Ponce now lead the team, with the ‘terrific’ Klein recognized for his ‘experience in both domestic and international M&A’. William Curbow is another pivotal member of the team and is praised for his diplomacy and ability to handle contentious situations. Former department head Lee Meyerson continues to lead the financial institutions practice and Brian Stadler is a standout name in real estate and REIT deals. Up-and-coming partner Anthony Vernace is ‘one of the most thoughtful and effective lawyers around’. Chairman of the firm’s executive committee William Dougherty is also recommended by clients and Palo Alto-based Richard Capelouto is a market-leading M&A and private equity specialist on the West Coast.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP remains a global M&A giant and is consistently engaged in big-ticket domestic and cross-border transactions. The firm is also recognized for its expertise in contested deals, shareholder activism and proxy contests. While the firm’s New York office houses a huge team of M&A specialists, clients also praise its national and international capabilities, which includes a ‘very strong’ Palo Alto office. In December 2015, it became the first firm to handle more than $1tn in global announced M&A deals in a single year. In 2016, the firm maintained its hugely impressive market share of big-ticket M&A, advising DuPont on its $130bn merger of equals with Dow Chemical. In another major engagement, the firm advised Norfolk Southern on its evaluation and rejection of a $28.4bn unsolicited acquisition bid by Canadian Pacific Railway. The firm has an excellent record in TMT deals and advised NXP Semiconductors on its $47bn sale to Qualcomm, the largest semiconductor deal and second-largest technology deal in history, and represented Rockwell Collins in its $8.3bn acquisition of B/E Aerospace. Stephen Arcano has ‘a very good M&A practice’ and is recognized for his expertise in contested deals such as the previously mentioned Norfolk Southern matter. Allison Schneirov is another pivotal team member, with an impressive record in strategic M&A and private equity buyouts. Paul Schnell has an excellent record in cross-border deals, especially those involving Latin America. Eileen Nugent, Howard Ellin, Peter Atkins, of counsel Lou Kling and Chicago-based Charles Mulaney are also recommended. Palo Alto-based Kenton King is ‘very strong in the Bay Area’, ‘near the top of the list’ of M&A advisers and is a contributor to the firm’s excellent record in TMT deals. All individuals are based in New York unless stated otherwise.

Consistently engaged in substantial M&A transactions, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is ‘appropriately commercial’, has ‘no comparison’ in the market, according to one client, and provides ‘best-in-class service and quality of legal advice’. The attorneys’ generalist training makes them ‘more rounded lawyers and individuals’ and enables them to ‘think on their feet and to look outside the box to come up with alternative solutions’. Clients also praise the ‘partner time and investment’ applied to transactions. The firm has built an enviable client base and is frequently selected by one-off or occasional clients for their most complex and challenging deals. Healthcare, life sciences, pharmaceuticals, energy and telecoms have been key sectors for the firm in recent years and it maintains an unrivaled reputation in financial institutions deals. Key clients include Anheuser-Busch InBev, Bayer, Cablevision Systems, Columbia Pipeline and AT&T, the last of which it advised on the proposed $108.7bn acquisition of Time Warner. The firm also represented Bayer in its $66bn acquisition of Monsanto, the largest all-cash takeover in history and the largest-ever acquisition of an American company by a foreign entity, and it acted for Cablevision Systems during its $17.7bn acquisition by Altice. Managing partner of the M&A group Joseph Frumkin has an outstanding reputation and has ‘seen it all’; he ‘brings a unique perspective to things’ and has led on many of the firm’s headline deals of recent years. Francis Aquila is of similarly high repute, with Matthew Hurd and Keith Pagnani having made an impression in a range of deals, especially in the healthcare and life sciences sectors; Hurd was lead partner on the Bayer transaction. Seasoned figure Rodgin Cohen remains at the forefront of the financial institutions sector and Los Angeles partner and ‘great lawyerAlison Ressler is one of the leading M&A specialists on the West Coast, as is Eric Krautheimer, who was one of the lead partners advising AT&T in the Time Warner deal and Bayer on its acquisition of Monsanto. George Sampas is a ‘wise head’, ‘proactive’ and ‘goes the extra mile to understand the economics of the client’s business’. Melissa Sawyer is ‘intelligent’, ‘technically very bright’, ‘commercial and interested in getting the deal done’ and a ‘superb M&A lawyer’. All named partners are based in New York unless stated otherwise.

New York firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is a ‘superb firm’ that has an ‘enviable reputation amongst boards of directors’, making it a go-to firm for bulge-bracket deals, takeover defense and contested transactions, special committee engagements, shareholder activism and proxy contests. The firm advised Monsanto on its $66bn acquisition by Bayer to create the world’s largest agricultural supplier. It also represented Medivation in its $14.6bn acquisition by Pfizer, this after advising Pfizer on its proposed $160bn combination with Allergan, a deal which was eventually terminated. In addition, the firm advised CenturyLink on its $34bn acquisition of Level 3 Communications. The hugely experienced and seasoned Martin Lipton remains ‘the leading lawyer in the US’, according to one client, an assessment which attracts wider support. Adam Emmerich, David Katz and Steven Rosenblum are also outstanding practitioners and Edward Herlihy is ‘excellent by any measure’. Andrew Nussbaum, Daniel Neff, Andrew Brownstein and Igor Kirman are also highly regarded.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP has ‘very smart people’, is an ‘outstanding firm’ and has its ‘fair share of big and high-profile deals’. Clients commend the ‘quality and professionalism’ of its lawyers and the ‘caliber of attorneys from associate to partner’, as well as its expertise in ‘important strategic projects’. The firm has a market-leading antitrust practice, which has proved pivotal to closing a series of headline transactions. It has a strong record in tech deals, including on behalf of longstanding client Google/Alphabet and other Silicon Valley players. Beyond technology, the firm covers a wide range of industries from industrials to consumer goods. Other clients include The Coca-Cola Company, Western Digital, Air Liquide, Westlake Chemical, Tech Data, Henkel, Temasek and Warburg Pincus. The firm’s New York, London and Brussels offices advised Coca-Cola on the $21bn combination of the bottling entities of Coca-Cola Enterprises, Coca-Cola Iberian Partners and Coca-Cola Erfrischungsgetränke into a new entity called Coca-Cola European Partners. The firm also continued to advise Western Digital on its $19bn acquisition of the outstanding shares in SanDisk and represented Air Liquide in its $13.4bn acquisition of Airgas. Ethan Klingsberg is a ‘real star’, ‘incredibly smart’, ‘knows how to get the deal done’ and ‘knows when the other side is overreaching or being unreasonable’. Neil Whoriskey and Matthew Salerno ‘strike the right balance between protecting the client and getting the deals done’ and ‘do not hesitate to speak up when they think the client is taking undue risk or hasn’t considered an issue’. Salerno, who has led several of the firm’s headline deals, is also ‘an excellent communicator’, ‘grasps concepts quickly’, and clients ‘always have the confidence that he is on top of the details’. Victor Lewkow, Christopher Austin and Paul Shim are also highly regarded, as are Benet O’Reilly and Glenn McGrory. All named partners are based in New York.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP has a ‘strong team of creative, motivated partners and associates’ and the level of service is always ‘top notch’. Clients view the team as a ‘top-tier practice with an expanding talent pool’, which is ‘poised to compete on all major deals for years’; it is ‘confidently recommended for any complex transaction’. The firm’s expansive strategy has seen a series of eye-catching lateral hires over the years, including the recruitment of Jonathan Davis from Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP at the end of 2016. Building on its market-leading presence in the private equity sector, the firm is now a recognized leader in strategic M&A and has built up an impressive corporate client list. It is also notably strong in corporate governance and shareholder activism, advising a range of corporates and boards of directors on proxy contests. In 2016, the firm advised longstanding client Teva Pharmaceuticals on a series of transactions, including its $40.5bn acquisition of Allergan Generics; this included the largest-ever US antitrust drug divestiture order in a pharmaceutical merger, involving divestitures to 11 different buyers with an aggregate value of $1.7bn. The firm also represented Baxalta in a $32bn unsolicited takeover bid by Shire, including the initial rejection of the bid and subsequent agreed transaction, which closed in June 2016. In another multibillion-dollar deal, the firm advised Molson Coors Brewing on its $12bn purchase of the 58% stake in MillerCoors that it did not already own, from SABMiller; the carve-out of the MillerCoors business was pivotal to the completion of Anheuser-Busch InBev’s $106bn acquisition of SABMiller. Illustrating its strength in technology deals, the firm advised Micro Focus International, the global software company, on its $8.8bn acquisition of Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s software business through a Reverse Morris Trust structure. Key partners include David Fox, Daniel Wolf, Sarkis Jebejian, William Sorabella, Chicago-based Scott Falk and Washington DC-based George Stamas. David Feirstein is also recommended by clients. All partners are based in New York unless stated otherwise.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP is ‘outstanding’, ‘one of the elite’, ‘technically excellent’ and has ‘great breadth and reach’. The firm has ‘fantastic clients’ and rose to greater prominence with the ‘amazing hire’ of Scott Barshay from Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP in 2016; Barshay is hailed as being in ‘pole position at the M&A bar’ and brings an array of investment bank and corporate client relationships to a team that provides a ‘best-in-class service’, unrivaled ‘industry insight’, ‘commercial sensibilities’ and ‘deal creativity’. Barshay and the team advised Alere on its $5.8bn acquisition by Abbott Laboratories, a deal that Abbott subsequently sought to terminate through a lawsuit. In other headline deals, the firm continued to advise Time Warner Cable on its $78.7bn merger with Charter Communications and represented Qualcomm in its $47bn acquisition of NXP Semiconductors. In addition, it advised Agrium, a Canada-based producer and distributor of agricultural products, on its $36bn merger of equals with Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan. The team benefits from the firm’s leading litigation and regulatory expertise and is noted for its strength in shareholder activism work, where it handles both the defense and activist investor sides. Other senior figures include Robert Schumer, who is another elite practitioner and led on the Time Warner Cable and Agrium deals, as well as John Scott, Taurie Zeitzer and Brian Finnegan, who are pivotal to the firm’s connection to marquee private equity sponsor Apollo Global Management. Ariel Deckelbaum is another key member of the team and Justin Hamill is an emerging talent, known for his expertise in entertainment having advised WME IMG Holdings on its acquisition of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Jeffrey Marell, Steven Williams and David Klein are also commended by clients. Former partner Toby Myerson left to launch advisory boutique Longsight Strategic Advisors.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP is consistently selected for bet-the-company deals and is frequently engaged in shareholder activist situations and contested transactions. The firm delivers ‘great expertise in a timely and efficient manner’, is ‘consistently client-oriented’ and has ‘out-of-the-box strategic thinkers’. It has a formidable presence in New York, where corporate department chair Michael Aiello continues to earn accolades, but in 2017 it lost a strong team in Silicon Valley to Hogan Lovells US LLP, including Kieth Flaum and Richard Climan. The practice has deep public company expertise and an especially strong record in merger of equals transactions, and it is frequently engaged in cross-border transactions involving Europe and Asia. In 2016, it continued to advise Dow Chemical on its $130m merger of equals with DuPont, a deal that involved significant shareholder activism. The firm also advised Sanofi on its $25bn exchange of Merial, its animal health business, for the consumer healthcare business of Boehringer Ingelheim. In technology deals, the firm advised Reid Hoffman, a co-founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn, on the $26bn sale of LinkedIn to Microsoft. It also advised Oracle on its $9.3bn acquisition of NetSuite, its $663m acquisition of Textura and $532m purchase of Opower. Kyle Krpata is the remaining key name in Silicon Valley. In New York, Frederick Green is another senior name, along with Howard Chatzinoff, Michael Lubowitz, Jackie Cohen and Matthew Gilroy.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has ‘fantastic private equity relationships’ and ‘long-term relationships with white shoe corporate clients’. The firm’s ‘fantastic white-collar crime litigation and SEC enforcement practice’ adds to the credibility of its corporate practice. It has an especially strong record in financial services, TMT and healthcare. Clients include, International Paper, Johnson & Johnson, Nestlé, Pernod Ricard and Tribune Media, as well as major private equity houses such as Apollo Global Management, Carlyle and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. Healthcare continues to be a growth area for the department, which advised leading biopharmaceutical company Allergan on its $2.9bn acquisition of LifeCell from Acelity. It also advised relatively new client Envision Healthcare on its $15bn merger with AmSurg. In the TMT sector, the firm has longstanding relationships with Verizon as well as the Dolan family, the controlling shareholder of Cablevision Systems, which it continued to advise on Cablevision’s $17.7bn sale to Altice. The firm also advised Activision Blizzard on its $5.9bn acquisition of King Digital Entertainment. In addition, the firm represents a number of private equity sponsors in the TMT space, such as Carlyle’s TMT group and Providence Equity Partners. Jeffrey Rosen is chair of the corporate department and a big name in high-value M&A. Paul Bird is another senior practitioner with an impressive record in major transactions, including the Envision Healthcare deal. Andrew Bab and Kevin Rinker lead the firm’s focus on healthcare M&A. Michael Diz is another key team member and is especially active in the TMT sector. Co-heads of the M&A group William Regner and Gregory Gooding are also recommended. All named partners are based in New York.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP has a ‘premier practice’ and has ‘some really strong players’. The firm has expanded its global footprint, notably with several key hires in London, and is seeing an increase in China outbound work. This added strength has helped the US team expand its share of bulge-bracket M&A transactions. It advised Marriott International on its acquisition of Starwood Hotels, creating the largest hotel chain in the world; the firm’s notable strength in contested deals, shareholder activism and corporate governance would have been a major asset in what was, reportedly, one of the most contentious M&A battles in history. The firm also advised St Jude Medical on its $30.7bn sale to Abbott, the global healthcare company, and it represented General Electric Capital in the $16bn sale of GE Capital Bank’s US online deposit platform to Goldman Sachs. Washington DC’s Stephen Glover is a ‘fantastic attorney’ and co-chairs the M&A practice with Dallas-based Jeffrey Chapman, who has earned national and international accolades for his advice to key client Lone Star, and New York’s Barbara Becker, a prominent figure in M&A and activist situations. Seasoned New York partner Dennis Friedman is also a big name in M&A, including contested deals and activist matters. Jonathan Layne is a key name in Los Angeles.

Providing ‘extraordinary response times’ and an ‘overall service that is outstanding’, Jones Day is hailed as ‘exceptional in every way’. In particular, the firm is praised for its ‘focus on practical business issues, not the technical points which have no value’, its ‘understanding of a client’s business, industry and M&A goals’ and its ‘seamless’ and ‘collaborative’ approach across offices. The firm has extensive client relationships and is noted for its closeness to traditional corporate America. While impressing with its role in a variety of multibillion-dollar transactions, it also brings to bear its wider resources and expertise in everything from antitrust, to employee benefits and tax. The firm shows particular prominence in technology (including semiconductors), retail and consumer products, and energy. Highlights included advising Reynolds American on its $49.4bn sale to British American Tobacco; it had previously represented Reynolds in its $27.4bn acquisition of Lorillard in 2015. It also advised Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan on its $36bn merger of equals with Agrium and assisted Newell Rubbermaid with its $16bn acquisition of Jarden, bringing together two of the world’s premier designers and marketers of durable consumer goods. In addition, it continued to advise longstanding client Procter & Gamble on the $11.4bn merger of 43 of its beauty brands along with the hair styling brands of Coty through a Reverse Morris Trust transaction. Global chair of M&A Robert Profusek remains the firm’s most recognized M&A specialist, ‘brings decades of experience and practical thinking’ and was the lead partner on several of the firm’s most notable transactions in 2016. Cleveland-based Lyle Ganske is global practice leader for M&A and Randi Lesnick was the lead partner on the Reynolds American transaction. In Silicon Valley, Daniel Mitz is another key name, as is Andrew Levine, who is recommended for both strategic M&A and private equity buyouts. Chair of Americas M&A James Dougherty is also recommended by clients. All named partners are based in New York unless stated otherwise.

Shearman & Sterling LLP has ‘a very deep bench, capabilities and expertise’ and clients are consistently impressed with the firm’s ability to provide ‘high-quality and competent people’. The firm is especially ‘well positioned for big global and multi-jurisdictional M&A deals’, thanks to its ‘extensive network’. Among its impressive recent work, it advised GE on the combination of GE Oil & Gas with Baker Hughes to create a market-leading oilfield technology provider; the transaction was structured as a partnership, with GE Oil & Gas and Baker Hughes contributing their operating assets. It also advised Altice on its $17.7bn acquisition of Cablevision Systems Corporation, creating the fourth-largest US cable company. In addition, it represented Liberty Global in its $8.2bn acquisition of Cable & Wireless Communications; the transaction was implemented through a two-stage integration process involving a scheme of arrangement under the UK’s Companies Act and a subsequent merger with a Dutch subsidiary of Liberty Global by forming a new company under the UK’s cross border merger regulations and the Dutch Civil Code. Head of the global M&A group George Casey is ‘unflappable’, provides ‘calm amidst the storm’ and ‘carefully navigates the client through contentious issues’. Scott Petepiece, the head of the firm’s New York M&A group, has an impressive record in strategic M&A and private equity buyouts. The highly experienced Creighton Condon plays a pivotal role in significant transactions, such as advising B/E Aerospace on its $6.4bn sale to Rockwell Collins. Robert Katz is another important figure in New York. San Francisco-based Steve Camahort, Michael Kennedy and Dana Kromm joined Paul Hastings LLP in 2016 and former partner David Connolly joined client Altice as US general counsel.

White & Case LLP is an ‘exceptionally strong firm with very broad expertise in many different markets’, is ‘very responsive and knowledgeable’ and has ‘broad transactional experience’. It has made a concerted effort to build its M&A standing in the last few years, with particular growth in New York and London. Its investment appears to have paid off in the form of a series of key roles in major transactions across the US, Europe and Asia. In 2016, the practice continued to advise Anthem, the US health benefits company, on its $54.2bn acquisition of global health insurance company Cigna. In addition, it advised the special committee of the board of directors of CBS on the proposed $40bn merger between CBS and Viacom, and it represented Dr Dennis Gillings, the founder and significant shareholder of Quintiles, on the $23bn merger of Quintiles and IMS Health Holdings. The firm has an especially strong record in pharmaceuticals and energy deals, and regularly advises financial advisers. Its standing in bankruptcy and restructuring also makes it a key player in distressed deals. John Reiss is global head of M&A and was the lead partner on several of the firm’s highest-profile deals. Morton Pierce is a senior name with genuine board-level credibility and co-global head of the private equity practice Oliver Brahmst is also recognized for cross-border deals, including those involving Latin America. Head of the Americas corporate and M&A practice Gregory Pryor is another key name. Energy specialist Michael Shenberg has ‘very deep experience’, is ‘very hands on’, ‘practical’ and ‘extremely sensitive to the client’s needs’.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP is ‘absolutely excellent’, ‘well attuned to clients’ challenges’ and has an ‘outstanding ability to execute quickly and focus on the important issues’. Partners are ‘extremely responsive’, ‘extremely knowledgeable in their specialty areas from a legal and business perspective’, and ‘take time to really understand a client’s business and develop relationships’. The high-quality team is frequently engaged in big-ticket public M&A and private equity transactions. The pharmaceutical, healthcare and media sectors are particularly active for the firm. Recent examples include advising Media General on its $4.6bn merger with Nexstar Broadcasting and its proposed $2.4bn merger with Meredith Corp; it also continued to advise Humana on its proposed $37bn sale to Aetna. In cross-border matters, the team represented Terex in connection with a $3.28bn unsolicited bid from Zoomlion, one of China’s leading crane manufacturers. Other clients include Aleris Corporation, Genesys and Goldman Sachs. Co-head of the department Philip Richter is an ‘excellent M&A and corporate governance lawyer with great business acumen’, and is at the forefront of many of the firm’s headline and big-ticket deals, as is global head of M&A and private equity Robert Schwenkel. Christopher Ewan, Steven Steinman and Washington DC’s Brian Mangino are also recommended. Global chair of the corporate department Steven Scheinfeld is an ‘expert corporate lawyer’, who delivers a ‘superior client service’. Steven Epstein and Matthew Soran are ‘top notch’. All named partners are based in New York unless stated otherwise.

Hogan Lovells US LLP has emerged as a major player in high-value and complex cross-border M&A, with clients including the likes of 3M Company, Dell, Lockheed Martin, Novartis, Honeywell, Allergan, Daimler and General Electric. The firm has ‘significant resources to support the transaction, significant sector experience and knowledge, deep resources to complete time-sensitive transactions in an expeditious manner and is good value for the services provided’. It also ‘anticipates issues’, ‘understands the art of the possible’, ‘tirelessly works to achieve the client’s goals’ and is ‘professional in the highest sense of the word’. Key sectors for the practice include real estate and highly regulated industries such as aerospace, defense, government contracts and healthcare. Recent works includes advising Dell on its $3.05bn sale of its global IT services division to Japan-based NTT Data and representing Lockheed Martin in its $5bn agreement to separate its Information Systems & Global Solutions business and combine it with Leidos Holdings through a Reverse Morris Trust structure. In addition, it advised a consortium of Daimler, Audi and BMW on their $3.1bn acquisition of HERE, the digital mapping business held by Finland’s Nokia. Washington DC-based Joseph Gilligan is an ‘excellent team leader’ and has ‘significant deal experience and leadership capabilities to coordinate a large work scope’. New York and Washington DC-based global head of the M&A practice William Curtin is praised for his ‘M&A experience, creativity, availability and business understanding’, making the ‘client look smarter’, and is ‘more prepared and more sophisticated than the client has any right to expect’. Glenn Campbell in Baltimore, Washington DC-based Elizabeth Donley and Paul Manca and New York-based Adam Golden are also highly regarded. In 2017, the firm hired a prominent team in Silicon Valley, including Richard Climan and Kieth Flaum, from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. Flaum is described as ‘the Jedi Master of lawyering.

Mayer Brown is commended for its ‘deep bench’ and strong ‘capabilities and expertise’. Clients highlight its consistent ability to deliver ‘high-quality’ teams. The M&A practice covers a broad geography in the US and globally as well as a wide range of industries; these include life sciences, financial institutions, energy, technology, gaming and private equity. In 2016, the firm continued to advise Wells Fargo on its $32bn acquisition of the commercial distribution finance and vendor finance business of GE Capital; finance sector specialist Elizabeth Raymond was the lead partner. The firm also advised TransCanada Corporation on its $13bn acquisition of Houston-based Columbia Pipeline Group, which operates a network of natural gas pipelines extending from New York to the Gulf of Mexico. Despite the recent collapse in oil prices, the energy sector is a key growth area for the firm. The firm’s illustrious client base also includes the likes of AT&T, Caesars Entertainment, Caterpillar, Dow Chemical, ExxonMobil, Macquarie and Yum! Brands. Seasoned partner Frederick Thomas has genuine boardroom credibility. Global head of corporate and securities Marc Sperber is the relationship partner for Dow Chemical and was also lead partner on the previously mentioned TransCanada deal; clients say he is ‘great at managing relationships and transactions’. William Kucera and Jodi Simala are co-chairs of the M&A practice in the Americas, while Andrew Noreuil has ‘a lot of expertise in the securities, corporate formation and dissolution space’. New York-based Philip Brandes is a key name in M&A and private equity. Up-and-coming Jason Wagenmaker is ‘incredibly pragmatic’, ‘very quick on his feet’ and ‘does a good job of managing the project’. All partners are Chicago based unless stated otherwise.

Morrison & Foerster LLP has made huge progress in M&A in recent years, building on its already impressive market share of major TMT deals. The firm is noted for deals involving a strong intellectual property component and is commended for its ‘responsive, timely and practical’ advice and ‘creative solutions’. Aside from TMT, the firm has an excellent record in life sciences and healthcare, as well as cross-border deals with Japan, and it has a burgeoning practice in energy thanks in part to the presence of Jonathan Melmed in New York, who is especially active in private equity-related deals. Other growth areas include board-level engagements and work with investment banks. San Francisco-based Robert Townsend has a strong reputation and led the team that advised Henry Nicholas, the co-founder and former CEO of Broadcom, on Broadcom’s $37bn acquisition of Avago Technologies. He also headed the group advising VMware on Dell’s $67bn acquisition of VMware’s parent company, EMC. In addition, the firm advised Japan’s SoftBank on the US aspects of its $31.4bn acquisition of UK-based ARM and represented Ducera Securities as financial adviser to Monsanto regarding Monsanto’s $66bn sale to Bayer. Furthermore, it advised the independent members of the board of directors of Polycom on the company’s $2bn merger with Siris Capital Group. Other key partners include the ‘very responsive and practical’ Eric McCrath in San Francisco; New York-based Spencer Klein, who is a leader in life sciences and healthcare; and TMT and government industry-related M&A specialist Lawrence Yanowitch in Northern Virginia. Washington DC-based David Slotkin is noted for real estate M&A.

Sidley Austin LLP has a ‘deep bench’, provides a ‘first-class service’ and is a ‘top-tier firm in energy’. It is capturing additional market share in the $1bn-plus category thanks to further investment in its teams in the US, notably the West Coast, and in Europe. Energy and financial institutions are key sectors for the practice and the firm’s strong regulatory capabilities brings it numerous deals in the telecoms, healthcare and life sciences industries. Telecoms and media deals have grown considerably since the firm launched a Century City office with the hire of Dan Clivner and a team from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP in 2015. Clients include Aon, eBay, General Electric, KPMG, Starwood Property Trust, Walgreen Co, Wells Fargo and Western Union. The firm advised Yum China Holdings on its $10bn cross-border spin-off from Yum! Brands, which involved Yum! Brands selling a stake in its Chinese operations to Primavera Capital and Ant Financial Services, then listing the new independent company on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). It also advised Keurig Green Mountain on its $13.9bn going-private acquisition by JAB Holding. In addition, it represented Duke Energy in its $6.7bn acquisition of Piedmont Natural Gas. Key members of the team include Paul Choi and Brian Fahrney, San Francisco’s Sharon Flanagan, Mark Metts in Houston, and Dan Clivner, who operates between the Century City and Downtown Los Angeles offices. New York’s Irving Rotter is ‘exceptionally brilliant’ and Houston-based David Denechaud is ‘thorough’, has ‘great attention to detail’, ‘understands complex concepts quickly’ and ‘cares about his clients and protects their interests’. Seasoned practitioner Thomas Cole retired from the partnership in January 2017 but remains a senior counsel in the firm. Individuals mentioned are based in Chicago unless stated otherwise.

Bracewell LLP combines an impressive record in M&A transactions with market-leading energy sector knowledge. The firm also has an impressive record in bank sector M&A and is frequent counsel to financial advisers such as Evercore Partners. In addition, it has a solid reputation for smaller-sized technology transactions. The Houston-based group has an enviable list of upstream and midstream oil and gas clients, including several MLPs, with notable names such as Kinder Morgan, Phillips 66 and Apache Corporation. Recent highlights include advising utility company Great Plains Energy on its $12.2bn acquisition of Westar Energy, the largest public utility in Kansas; the deal involved Great Plains securing an $8bn bridge loan from Goldman Sachs and a $750m preferred stock investment in Great Plains by Ontario Employees Retirement System. In another major engagement, the firm advised the conflicts committee of the board of directors of the general partner of Tallgrass Energy Partners in a series of transactions that led to the acquisition of Pony Express Pipeline for more than $2bn. Key names are managing partner Gregory Bopp, William Anderson, Cleland Dade, Jason Jean, Troy Harder, Gary Orloff, Alan Rafte and Charles Still. Dallas-based bank sector M&A specialist Sanford Brown joined Alston & Bird LLP.

Dechert LLP cemented its impressive standing in cross-border transactions with a series of impressive deals during 2016. The team’s ‘overall level of service is very high’ and individual lawyers are ‘very well informed’, ‘very responsive’, ‘take the initiative’ and ‘think like business people’. It is highly acclaimed for financial services, life sciences and healthcare transactions, as well as contested deals, and the firm’s notable experience in the hedge fund world makes it especially well positioned for activist situations. Private equity continues to be pivotal to the success of the wider corporate practice. Established clients include Amkor Technology, B&G Foods, Celgene, CIT Group, Johnson & Johnson and Select Medical. New clients include CIFC, Diffusion Pharmaceuticals, Doosan Infracore and Lisi Medical. It advised EGS, a One Equity Partners portfolio company, on its acquisition by Alorica, a global customer relationship management services company. The firm also advised the special committee of independent directors of Nasdaq-listed Steiner Leisure on the $925m sale of the company to private equity house Catterton Partners. Mark Thierfelder is chair of the firm’s corporate and securities group, chair of the global private equity practice and leads many of the firm’s most challenging transactions. Other key partners include Jonathan Kim, Derek Winokur, Christian Matarese and Markus Bolsinger, who is ‘a trusted adviser’ and ‘takes the time to understand a client’s business and motivations before undertaking any way’. Howard Kleinman is ‘extremely well informed and connected in Latin America’. In Philadelphia, Henry Nassau, William Lawlor, Carmen Romano and Geraldine Sinatra are key names. All named attorneys are based in New York unless stated otherwise.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP has a lean and impressive practice with a sizable market share of headline and big-ticket deals. Private equity continues to be a growing sector for the practice and it remains prominent in cross-border deals, especially those involving Latin America. It advised Zuffa and its controlling owners on the $4bn sale of the UFC to WME IMG and its private equity partners Silver Lake, KKR, MSD Capital and MSD Partners. It also advised Eldorado Resorts on its $1.7bn acquisition of Isle of Capri Casinos. Aside from these deals, the firm has an especially strong record in energy, power, natural resources and infrastructure transactions. New York partner John Franchini and Los Angeles-based Kenneth Baronsky lead the corporate practice, which also includes Los Angeles’ Deborah Conrad and New York’s Charles Conroy.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP is ‘excellent’ and has an impressive practice in public and private sector M&A. Its international expansion over the last few years has enabled it to advise on a greater number of cross-border transactions. It is particularly noted for its strength in life sciences, energy, technology, retail, financial services, healthcare and media deals. In 2016, the firm advised Acerta Pharma, the clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, on its $4bn sale of a majority stake in the company to AstraZeneca; this was one of the largest sales of a private biotechnology company. It also advised BASF on its coatings division’s $3.2bn acquisition of Chemetall, the global surface treatment business of Albermarle. On the technology side, it advised eBay on its $925m sale of eBay Enterprise, its e-commerce business, to Permira and Sterling Partners. Key partner on the deal, Philadelphia-based leader of the M&A practice Richard Aldridge, is a real ‘M&A expert’ and does a ‘fine job’. Fellow Philadelphia partner Justin Chairman provides ‘outstanding contributions’ to M&A transactions. In Boston, deputy leader of the M&A practice Laurie Cerveny is also highly recommended, as are Steven Browne and John Utzschneider. Steven Navarro and Floyd Wittlin in New York and James Loss in Orange County are other key names. Since publication, John Crespo has joined from King & Spalding LLP

Proskauer Rose LLP now consistently operates in the $1bn-plus bracket, although it maintains an impressive share of middle-market deals. Key industries for the practice are healthcare and life sciences, leisure and hospitality, real estate and sports. In 2016, the firm advised Accor on its $2.9bn acquisition of FRHI Hotels and Resorts. It also advised the senior management team of Multiplan on its acquisition by Hellman & Friedman from Starr Investment Holdings and represented Grifols in its $1.85bn acquisition of Hologic’s blood screening business. Its impressive client list also includes Ares Management, Celgene and Inspired Gaming Group. Los Angeles managing partner Michael Woronoff and Ron Papa co-head the M&A department. Jeffrey Horwitz is noted for real estate and leisure and hospitality deals and was the lead partner on the Accor transaction. Daniel Ganitsky is another key member of the team. All named partners are based in New York unless stated otherwise.

Ropes & Gray LLP has a ‘strong team with great skills and knowledge that is totally dedicated to the process and outcome’. The firm is praised for its life sciences expertise and for its consistent ability to assemble a ‘functioning team with different skills and areas of expertise’ that delivers ‘an aligned and seamless service’. Over the last few years, the firm has managed to develop a hugely impressive strategic M&A practice alongside its longstanding position as a private equity buyouts heavyweight. The life sciences, pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors continue to be its forte. Recent work includes advising Shire Pharmaceuticals on its headline $32bn acquisition of Baxalta, a deal which involved significant tax complexities and regulatory issues connected to Shire being a Jersey incorporated company that has an Irish tax domicile and is listed in London and on Nasdaq. The firm also advised Shire on its $6.5bn acquisition of biotech company Dyax. Jane Goldstein is co-head of the M&A group and splits her time between New York and Boston. Christopher Comeau has an exceptional record in high-value life sciences transactions. Julie Jones has an impressive mix of private equity and corporate relationships and Paul Kinsella is noted for life sciences and medical technology transactions. John Sorkin provides additional senior level credibility in the New York office, where he is also noted for representing financial advisers. New York-based Othon Prounis and Carl Marcellino are also strong in M&A and private equity. In February 2017, Paul Scrivano joined the firm's San Francisco office from O’Melveny & Myers LLP as global head of M&A.All named partners are based in Boston unless stated otherwise.

Vinson & Elkins LLP is praised for its ‘strong understanding of oil and gas’, enabling it to ‘understand how to be commercial and drive a process forward’. Clients are ‘extremely impressed with the team from partners to associates’, including its ‘good response times’ and ‘fully baked answers and advice’. In 2016, the firm saw an uptick in deals, in line with a recovering energy industry. Clients include Devon Energy, Rice Energy, Pioneer Natural Resources, Ridgewood Energy, Teva Pharmaceuticals, White Deer Energy and a long list of private equity houses such as Apollo Global Management, Ares Capital, Morgan Stanley Capital Partners, Quantum Energy Partners, Riverstone and Warburg Pincus. The firm boosted its technology M&A and private equity credentials in 2016 with the hire of Paul Tobias from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and previous recruits have solidified the firm’s position in real estate and REIT deals. In a recent example, it advised NorthStar Realty Finance on its three-way all-stock merger of equals with NorthStar Asset Manegement and Colony Capital to create Colony NorthStar. In another highlight, the firm advised Memorial Resource Development on its $4.4bn acquisition by Range Resources. Illustrating its standing with major private equity houses, the firm advised TPG Capital portfolio company Nexeo Solutions on its $1.57bn merger with WL Ross Holdings. Head of department Keith Fullenweider remains the firm’s marquee name in M&A and has a number of key relationships, especially with private equity houses such as TPG. Fellow department head Matthew Strock is another prominent name, as are Stephen Gill and New York-based James Fox. All named partners are based in Houston unless stated otherwise.

Allen & Overy LLP has an impressive mix of domestic and cross-border M&A work in sectors such as software, life sciences, energy and utilities, financial institutions, telecoms and media. Clients include Total, SAP, GlaxoSmithKline, Associated British Foods and General Electric. In 2016, the firm advised Thomson Reuters on the $3.55bn sale of its Intellectual Property and Science Business to Onex and Baring. It also advised Deutsche Börse on the $1.1bn sale of International Securities Exchange Holdings to Nasdaq. In addition, it advised Computer Sciences on its $11bn Reverse Morris Trust merger with Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s enterprise services business. Head of the US corporate practice Eric Shube has an impressive M&A record. Since publication, Peter Harwich has moved to Latham & Watkins LLP.

Baker Botts L.L.P. impresses with its connection to a range of large-cap public companies in Texas. The energy sector giant continued to work on a multitude of headline deals, despite the recent challenging environment for oil and gas clients. In the first ten months of 2016, the firm worked on well over 50 M&A transactions, with an aggregate value in excess of $60bn. This included advising Schlumberger on its $14.8bn acquisition of Cameron International, creating the world’s largest oilfield company. The firm also advised Westar Energy on its $12.2bn sale to Great Plains Energy and assisted Liberty Media with its $8bn acquisition of Delta Topco, the parent company of Formula One, from CVC Capital Partners. Co-chair of the firm-wide corporate department David Kirkland is a prominent figure in Houston and Renee Wilm is a notable name in the New York office. In February 2017, a nine-partner team including David Peterman, Efren Acosta and Edward Rhyne joined from Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP.

Baker McKenzie LLP has a particularly impressive record in cross-border transactions, thanks to its immense global platform, though it has genuine domestic credibility especially in key sectors such as technology (including semiconductors and software), healthcare, aerospace and defense, pharmaceuticals, transportation and energy. Clients include Cardtronics, FedEx, Intel, Quest Diagnostics, Safran and Symantec. The firm recently advised Intel on a restructuring and integration process following its $16.7bn acquisition of Altera. It also continued to advise Symantec on the $7.4bn sale and separation of Veritas, its information management business, to Carlyle; the deal involved over 50 jurisdictions. In another key deal, it advised FedEx on its €4.8bn acquisition of TNT Express to expand its European operations; chair of the firm’s global M&A practice Michael DeFranco has worked on several deals for FedEx. Palo Alto partner Matthew Gemello is noted for technology transactions. Olivia Tyrrell, David Malliband, San Francisco’s Veronika Nemeth and New York partner Alan Zoccolillo are also recommended. Partners mentioned are Chicago based unless stated otherwise.

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP has a broad-based public and private M&A practice, with particular expertise in healthcare and financial services mandates. Corporate governance expertise and investment fund clients are very much at the heart of the firm, providing a basis for its flourishing shareholder activist work on behalf of activists as well as managers and directors. Clients include The Medicines Company, Willis Towers Watson, AngioDynamics and Access Industries. Fund clients include Pershing Square Capital Management and Elliott Capital Management. It advised The Medicines Company on the sale of three of its marketed cardiovascular products, and it assisted Bill Ackman’s hedge fund Pershing Square with its investment in Valeant Pharmaceuticals. Richard Brand is recognized for his public M&A and shareholder activism expertise and William Mills has an excellent record in healthcare deals. Christopher Cox has retired from the partnership and is now senior counsel at the firm in addition to holding a senior position at key client The Medicines Company.

Clifford Chance is recommended for ‘larger and international M&A deals’ and is praised for its ‘extraordinary level of service’. The team is ‘very loyal and engaged’ and demonstrates real familiarity with clients’ businesses, according to one client. It has an impressive record in cross-border transactions thanks to its broad international network and integrated teams. It is notably active in deals involving Latin America and advised Actis on its sale of a 92% stake in Energuate, Guatemala’s largest electricity distribution company, to IC Power, a wholly owned subsidiary of NYSE-listed Kenon Holdings. The firm’s New York office has attracted an impressive client portfolio, including The Coca-Cola Companies, Mondelēz International, Pfizer, McGraw-Hill and Informa. In 2016, it advised Mondelēz on the $13.9bn take-private acquisition of Keurig Green Mountain by JAB Holdings. Real estate and financial institutions are also key sectors; the firm is especially active in the insurance segment thanks in part to the presence of Gary Boss, who is recognized for his record in reinsurance, including advising several hedge fund-backed reinsurers. Former Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP counsel Kevin Lehpamer joined the firm as a partner at the end of 2016 to reinforce the senior ranks, which include David Brinton, a big name in energy and Latin America transactions, and Benjamin Sibbett, who is ‘smart, responsive and practical’, and has a strong record in healthcare, media and information services deals. Sarah Jones is another key team member and has close relationships with The Coca-Cola Companies, Mondelēz and AEI. Senior practitioner John Healy is praised for his understanding of ‘business and strategic objectives’ and is recommended for public M&A and corporate governance issues.

Covington & Burling LLP is widely recognized for its strength in regulated industries and has demonstrated an especially impressive record in sectors such as life sciences and healthcare, financial institutions, energy, aerospace and defense, hospitality and leisure, telecoms and technology. The firm’s M&A standing was enhanced by the arrival of David Schwartzbaum from Greenberg Traurig LLP, who is known for his advice to financial advisers and corporates in M&A transactions. In addition, Tom DeFilipps joined the Silicon Valley office from Sidley Austin LLP to lead the firm’s West Coast corporate practice. Clients include Allergan, AstraZeneca, MidFirst, Illumina, Johnson & Johnson and UCB. In 2016, the firm advised AbbVie on its $5.8bn acquisition of Stemcentrx, and assisted UCB with the $1.23bn sale of its Kremers Urban Pharmaceuticals division to Lannett Company. New York’s Scott Smith and Washington DC partner Catherine Dargan head the M&A practice, which also includes JD Weinberg and Frank Conner in New York and Michael Reed in Washington DC.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP has a tremendous record in cross-border M&A, especially US inbound transactions, and is ‘excellent value for money’ for larger transactions. Since 2010, it has advised on more US inbound M&A transactions than any other firm and now frequently advises on deals valued at over $1bn. In 2016, the firm advised Henderson Group on its $6bn all-stock merger of equals with Janus Capital to form Janus Henderson Global Investors. It also advised Formula One Group and CVC Capital on the $8bn sale of a 38.8% stake in F1 to Liberty Media. The team is known for its private equity connections and represented MSD Capital in its investment (alongside WME IMG, KKR and Silver Lake) in the $4bn buyout of UFC. Peter Lyons, the co-head of global M&A, is hugely experienced and has extensive experience in high-value transactions. Matthew Herman is an equally influential member of the team and Mitchell Presser is ‘smart’, ‘thoughtful’, ‘an excellent tactician and negotiator’ and ‘understands both legal and business issues’. All named attorneys are based in New York.

Greenberg Traurig LLP is praised for its ‘structuring advice and strategy suggestions’, leading to a ‘deep and extremely positive experience’. Clients describe team members as ‘business partners’ and an ‘extension of their own internal capabilities’. Clients also appreciate the team’s ‘negotiating skills and willingness to provide introductions and deal leads’. The firm benefits from its extensive network across the US and its solid international presence, which includes an especially strong record in cross-border deals involving Latin America; it has an office in Mexico City and a large Latin America focused team. Healthcare, life sciences and pharmaceuticals are key sectors for the M&A practice. Clients include Jarden, OPKO Health,, Platform Specialty Products, Amaya, Ryder Systems, Mednax and Teva Pharmaceuticals. Deal highlights included advising global consumer products company Jarden on its $15.4bn acquisition by Newell Rubbermaid, and assisting Vizient with a $2.7bn three-step transaction to acquire the Spend and Clinical Resource Management business of MedAssets from Pamplona Capital Management. Dennis Block is the senior chairman of the firm’s global M&A practice and Patricia Menéndez-Cambó chairs the global corporate and securities practice. David Schwartzbaum has joined Covington & Burling LLP.

O’Melveny & Myers LLP has an impressive record in technology deals, particularly West Coast-originated transactions, as well as cross-border deals involving Asia. Media, life sciences, industrials and energy are also key sectors. Deal highlights included advising Alaska Air Group on its $4bn acquisition of Virgin America, creating the fifth-largest airline in the US, and assisting Dealertrack Technologies with its $4bn sale to Cox Automotive; the firm advised Dealertrack on more than a dozen M&A deals over the preceding three years. In another major deal, it advised BB&T Corporation on its $1.8bn acquisition of National Penn Bancshares. Silicon Valley-based Warren Lazarow is chairman of the firm’s global transactions department and Paul Sieben is known for technology transactions. New York-based Tobias Knapp is also recommended. In February 2017, former global head of M&A Paul Scrivano moved to Ropes & Gray LLP.

Paul Hastings LLP impresses with its roles in US-Asia transactions, thanks partly to its ‘good outbound Chinese practice’ and ‘high-quality people in Beijing’. Illustrating its strength in US-Asia deals, it advised Samsung Electronics on its $8bn acquisition of Harman International Industries, in what was the largest-ever Korean outbound M&A transaction. The firm is also strong in cross-border deals outside of Asia and in addition has a sizable domestic M&A practice. As an example of the latter, the firm advised longstanding client and NYSE-listed ExamWorks on its $2.2bn sale to private equity house Leonard Green & Partners. In another key transaction, the firm advised Brocade Communications on its $1.5bn acquisition of Ruckus Wireless via a part cash and part stock exchange offer; this was a rare instance of an M&A transaction structured as an exchange offer. Key partners include Los Angeles-based David Hernand and Robert Miller, head of the New York M&A practice David Shine, New York partner Samuel Waxman and San Diego-based global chair of the M&A group Carl Sanchez.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLPprovides an excellent service’, is ‘very quick to respond’, ‘very knowledgeable about current events and market terms’, and has ‘great depth in its energy practice’. The firm has made considerable headway in the energy sector following the launch of a Houston office in 2014, having built on the already impressive standing of legacy New York partner Bruce Herzog, who now splits his time between the two offices. The firm is also active across multiple industry sectors and is frequently engaged in high-value deals. In 2016, it advised Level 3 Communications on its proposed $34bn sale to CenturyLink, and assisted Colony Capital with the three-way merger of equals between Colony Capital, NorthStar Asset Management Group and NorthStar Realty Finance, creating Colony NorthStar. Key partners include heads of department David Boston and Steven Seidman and chairman of the firm Thomas Cerabino. ‘Excellent’ Houston partner Michael De Voe Piazza is recommended by clients for energy deals. Named attorneys are based in New York unless stated otherwise.

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati remains the benchmark firm for technology M&A. Though known for its presence in Silicon Valley, it now has genuine national and international reach. In 2016, the firm advised NetSuite on its $9.3bn sale to Oracle; Linear Technology on its $14.8bn sale to Analog Devices; Yahoo! on its $4.83bn acquisition by Verizon; and LinkedIn during its $26.2bn acquisition by Microsoft. Michael Ringler and Martin Korman are two of the leading M&A practitioners on the West Coast, and Larry Sonsini has an unrivaled reputation within the technology and growth company sector.

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