Shoosmiths has consolidated its position at the top of the latest M&A adviser league tables, published by market research firm Experian.
New Experian figures, which cover deal activity throughout 2015, show Shoosmiths in joint first place, alongside Gateley, with both firms having advised on 148 UK deals in the calendar year.
In a year when nationwide deal volumes increased by 10.3%, Shoosmiths registered a 23% jump (up from 120 in 2014). In doing so, the firm, recently crowned as the UK Law Firm of the Year, moved up from 2014's 2nd place ranking to claim a share of the top spot.
Commenting on the rankings, Chris Garnett, head of the corporate practice group at Shoosmiths, said:
'I am delighted with the latest Experian results because they highlight how we have continued to steadily grow market share through doing a superb job for our clients and putting them at the centre of everything we do. The sheer number of deals we handle enables us to continually refine and improve the way we manage transactions and support our clients through the deal process. More efficient project management - borne out of experience - may not sound incredibly exciting but I believe it has proved critical to delivering the level of fantastic service which clients rightly demand.'
As well as the 10% deal volume increase, Experian also recorded a 56% jump in deal values, as activity returned to pre-recession levels.
Chris Garnett added:
'With deal activity back to pre-recession levels, it would be tempting to make optimistic noises about 2016 being a bumper year. The early signs are encouraging but the last recession has taught most corporate lawyers to exercise a little caution when looking beyond the next quarter's deal activity. Therefore, I don't think we shall see too many bullish predictions just yet.'
'Nevertheless, I would still expect to see the buoyant real estate market and the retail sector as two drivers of M&A activity in 2016, with overseas investors in particular seeing UK businesses as attractive targets - often by virtue of being an easier cultural fit or representing a pathway to lucrative European markets. The increased willingness of the banks to both refinance and look at new lends will underpin market confidence, while the investment appetite of Private Equity and Venture Capital outfits shows no sign of abating.'
As well as the strong national performance, there were also encouraging results in four of Shoosmiths' core regional markets:
- They outperformed the market in Greater London, where deal volumes increased by just 3%. They built on last year's 6th place ranking (with 42 deals) to move into 2nd place in 2015, courtesy of 51 deals done.
- In the South-East, where deal volumes actually shrank across the region as a whole, Shoosmiths consolidated its grip on 1st place, concluding 38 deals; twice as many as their nearest competitor.
- In the Midlands, the firm's steady rise continued. In 7th place just two years ago, Shoosmiths now ranks 3rd in the region, with 31 deals reported in the year.
- And in the North-West, investment in the firm's Manchester office has supported their rise to 6th place in the region (with 27 deals), up from 8th last year and 13th in 2013.
In addition, the firm registered top ten rankings in the East of England and the South-West as well as in the North-East; the first time Shoosmiths has featured in that particular region's rankings.
The rankings are based on data from Experian MarketIQ, which combines Corpfin's global M&A database with comprehensive Companies House data. Only completed deals worth more than £500,000 are included.