M&A so far this year: Survey says that Kirkland leads the pack

Planning a merger? A recent survey by Bloomberg Law says that when it comes to outside counsel, the firm Kirkland & Ellis is the leader in the law firm competition to advise on the most, and highest value, mergers and acquisitions.

The firm, which grew from its Chicago origins, beat out all others in the first quarter by guiding companies through 142 global deals valued at a collective $176.8 billion, according to Bloomberg’s data. It played a role in five transactions worth at least $10 billion each, including Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.’s pending $88 billion purchase of Celgene Corp.

“We’re continuing to see some of the regional firms that have gone national make inroads into a space they used to be excluded from,” Diane Holt, a Bloomberg Law legal analyst and former corporate transactions lawyer, was quoted by the news service. “Kirkland, originally a Chicago firm, is now bigger than the big boys.”

The top 10 are: Kirkland; Simpson Thacher & Bartlett; Davis Polk & Wardwell; Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz; Sullivan & Cromwell; Jones Day; Skadden; Mayer Brown; Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; and White & Case.

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