Legal Business Blogs

Magic Circle duo to take home £102m in fees from mega stock exchange merger

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters are expected to take home £102m in fees as they advise on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and Deutsche Börse’s attempted tie-up.

Documents filed to LSE show legal advice could reach up to £112m. LSE expects it will spend a minimum of £55m on legal fees while Deutsche Börse has calculated it will spend £47m. Total aggregate fees and expenses are calculated to be at least £276m.

Freshfields partners Andrew Hutchings London M&A co-head Piers Prichard Jones led the team representing LSE. Former corporate partner Mark Rawlinson also headed up the magic circle team before leaving the firm last year. Linklaters corporate partner Roger Barron acted for Deutsche Börse, along with Simon Branigan in London and Ralph Wollburg and Staffan Illert in Germany.

In March last year LSE and Deutsche Börse agreed terms for a merger of equals that is set to create one of the largest exchange companies in the world, with a combined value of about £21bn. Under the terms of the deal, LSE shareholders will own 45.6% of the new holding company, while Deutsche Börse shareholders will own 54.4%.

Freshfields took home a chunk of the $261m in fees arising from the $1.94bn in advisory fees generated by Anheuser-Busch InBev’s (AB InBev) $108bn takeover of SABMiller. Freshfields took the lion’s share of AB InBev’s $185m legal fees, which the scheme circular states is based on completion of the deal, with Wall Street firms Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Sullivan & Cromwell next in line having handled the US law element. SullCrom ran the brewer’s filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the US firms handled several disposals.

Linklaters took the biggest share of the $76m in legal fees spent by SABMiller with a team led by senior partner Charlie Jacobs and M&A partner Nick Rumsby. Hogan Lovells were next in line having advised the brewer on certain aspects of the deal. Hogan Lovells, which has long been SABMiller’s go-to law firm, were thought to be overlooked to run the deal, with Linklaters deemed to have more M&A firepower. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton are regular advisers on SABMiller’s US tax issues.