M&A focus: A sign of things to come? Europe’s deal market ends 2018 with a whimper after a forceful start

M&A focus: A sign of things to come? Europe’s deal market ends 2018 with a whimper after a forceful start

The ghost of political turmoil did little to hinder deal-doing in Europe in the first half of 2018 but its presence appears to have made itself increasingly felt as the year wore on. With plcs wary of major investments ahead of the threat of mounting Brexit-related convulsions, not to mention a mainland European economy that lost some pace through 2018, it was an uneven run for corporate takeovers.

Globally, the latest figures from Mergermarket show the volume of deals completed in 2018 fell for the first time since 2010 to 19,232, after a decade of steadily rising. However, if overall activity was subdued, there was more cause for cheer with marquee deals; average deal value rose to $384.8m, the second-highest value on record, falling just short of the $400.3m notched up in 2015. Continue reading “M&A focus: A sign of things to come? Europe’s deal market ends 2018 with a whimper after a forceful start”

Mega-deals and convergence stoke M&A but subdued volumes and volatile conditions linger

Mega-deals and convergence stoke M&A but subdued volumes and volatile conditions linger

This time last year, a collective sigh of relief from City dealmakers was reverberating around the Square Mile as the M&A market regained momentum despite a backdrop of economic and political uncertainty. Since then, deal counsel have barely paused for breath, with many juggling multiple deals well into the parts of August in which even the most committed deal junkie would expect to be pretending not to check work emails on a sun lounger.

Such boom-time dynamics are borne out by the latest Mergermarket figures for H1 2018, which saw announced global M&A deals hit $1.94trn, its highest value since the financial crisis. Continue reading “Mega-deals and convergence stoke M&A but subdued volumes and volatile conditions linger”

Aviation focus: Winds of change

Aviation focus: Winds of change

Uncertainty seems to be the only thing lawyers working in Europe’s aviation sector can count on these days.

The recent collapse of two established major European airlines demonstrated the volatility facing many sections of the industry, with UK-headquartered Monarch Airlines and Air Berlin becoming the latest casualties of turbulence. Continue reading “Aviation focus: Winds of change”

The Brexit countdown – The Irish question

The Brexit countdown – The Irish question

‘A dense population in extreme distress inhabits an island’ – that is how Disraeli began to define the Irish Question in the Commons in 1844. Without much hyperbole, it also defines the current state of the UK. Over halfway through the two-year time limit prescribed by article 50, but with no Brexit deal in sight, the Irish Question still resonates: now less about a united independent Ireland, rather more about an independent but divided Britain.

The Irish Republic, whose economy and culture are closer to the UK than any other, is the only EU member state that also shares a land border. Resolving this 310-mile conundrum – maintaining the open border guaranteed by the Good Friday Agreement while finessing its position in the EU single market and customs union – has become a fault line between the government in London and EU leaders. The Irish taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, has ruled out tripartite talks on the issue and rejected Theresa May’s suggestion that customs arrangements on the US-Canada border could provide a post-Brexit model. Continue reading “The Brexit countdown – The Irish question”

Evolutionary forces – US body for legal ops hits Europe as new breed of client emerges

Evolutionary forces – US body for legal ops hits Europe as new breed of client emerges

Disruption looms as James Wood reports on first European conference for CLOC

Richard Susskind must have lost count of the number of times he has spoken about the future of law, but in his introductory remarks to the 2018 CLOC EMEA Institute gathering in London he seemed cheerfully off balance. Many of the concepts Susskind has prophesied are now realities at large US companies and even sceptics would concede that the emergence of sophisticated legal operations teams feels like a decisive shift for the industry.

Continue reading “Evolutionary forces – US body for legal ops hits Europe as new breed of client emerges”

Client profile: Neil Murrin, trainline

Client profile: Neil Murrin, trainline

The train puns were inevitable, but it took longer than expected. Towards the end of my conversation with the general counsel (GC) of online ticket retailer trainline, Neil Murrin, he says: ‘It’s a matter of getting people to join us on that journey.’ And adds: ‘Getting people on the right track and all that.’

Coming from a family of medics, Murrin was intent on avoiding a career in health services. He cites his earliest interest in law as originating from seminal-yet-cheesy drama series L.A. Law, in addition to the influence of his solicitor uncle. He recalls: ‘I’ve always been interested in economics and companies. There was an understanding that law gives you a good training in those areas and could move you towards the company side.’ Continue reading “Client profile: Neil Murrin, trainline”

International round-up: Mayer Brown launches in Japan as Mills & Reeve cements European ties

International round-up: Mayer Brown launches in Japan as Mills & Reeve cements European ties

Mayer Brown will open a new office in Tokyo next year after hiring the former head of Ashurst’s Tokyo office.

Rupert Burrows, Ashurst Tokyo’s former managing partner, will lead a new team at Mayer Brown as it looks to expand its offering in Japan in 2018. Continue reading “International round-up: Mayer Brown launches in Japan as Mills & Reeve cements European ties”

Autumn dealwatch: Euro mega deals keep Magic Circle busy

Autumn dealwatch: Euro mega deals keep Magic Circle busy

Freshfields and K&E act on Monarch administration

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s restructuring chief Ken Baird and finance partner Catherine Balmond led the team advising KPMG as Monarch Airlines filed for administration. Kirkland & Ellis and Reed Smith advised the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), while Stephenson Harwood acted for the Pension Protection Fund. Continue reading “Autumn dealwatch: Euro mega deals keep Magic Circle busy”