Kirkland & Ellis lead the table of legal advisers for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deals in the first quarter of 2021, according to the latest data from GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
The leading legal adviser led both in terms of deal value and volume following the successful completion of 213 deals valued at $132.3 billion in the first quarter of 2021.
During the quarter, Kirkland & Ellis was the only adviser that advised on over 200 deals during the first quarter of the year, this was in addition to 32 deals worth over or equal to $1 billion the company advised on.
Aurojyoti Bose, a lead analyst at GlobalData, said: “Kirkland & Ellis was the only adviser that managed to advise on more than 200 deals during Q1 2021. The firm also advised on 32 deals worth greater than or equal to $1bn, and was among the few advisors that managed to surpass the $100bn mark.
“Kirkland & Ellis witnessed 36.5% growth in deal volume and 48.2% growth in deal value during Q1 2021 compared to Q1 2020. This growth, coupled with involvement in big-ticket deals, helped the firm top the list.”
Sullivan & Cromwell followed with 36 deals worth $120.1 billion while Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison came third with 52 deals worth $114.9 billion. In fourth place was Simpson Thacher & Bartlett with 51 deals worth $113 billion.
Latham & Watkins occupied the second position by volume with 119 deals worth $111.9bn, followed by Jones Day with 92 deals worth $27.9bn and Goodwin Procter with 85 deals worth $34.5bn.
Bose adds: “Akin to Kirkland & Ellis, the majority of the top 20 advisors witnessed growth in both deal value and volume in Q1 2021 compared to Q1 2020, which could be indicative of a revival of optimism for deal making.”
Of the top 20 advisers by total deal value, 18 witnessed growth in value in Q1 2021 compared to Q1 2020.
Further, 12 of the top 20 advisers by total number of deals witnessed growth in advised deal volume in Q1 2021 compared to Q1 2020.
Nvidia’s Arm Acquisition Now Highly Unlikely to Go Through
Gartner semiconductor analyst Alan Priestly has said that Nvidia’s planned $40 billion acquisition of United Kingdom Chip Designer Arm is becoming more unlikely to be successful.
Priestly attributed this possible failure to the increasing number of regulatory inquiries which the deal is facing, also making mention of concerns in the United Kingdom, the European Union, the United States of America and China. Priestly said this to CNBC on Wednesday, with both Nvidia and Arm failing to respond immediately to a request for comment by CNBC.
The deal had previously eyed a completion date of March 2022, but the CEO of Nvidia Jensen Huang had admitted in August that the deal may go beyond the anticipated date.
Arm was born out of an old computing company known as Acorn Computers back in 1990. The energy-efficient chips designed by the company are used in about 95% of smartphones around the world and 95% of chips designed in China. The company was bought by Japan-owned SoftBank in 2016 for about 24 billion pounds ($32 billion), authorizes its chip designs to over 500 companies who use these chips when making their own semiconductors.
Critics have concerns that the merger with Nvidia – who is responsible for designing its own chips – could hinder Arm’s semiconductor designs which have been dubbed neutral, and may then lead to increased prices, less available choices and reduced innovation across the industry. Nvidia however argues that the deal will result in more innovation and that Arm will benefit from an increase in investment.
American chip giant Broadcom has publicly shown support for the deal, but many others remain against it.
Qualcomm has stated that Nvidia could proceed to limit the supply of Arm’s technology to competitors, or even raise prices. Bloomberg reports that Google and Microsoft have raised similar concerns with regulators.
The United Kingdom announced back in November that it would be launching a full investigation into the takeover of Arm by Nvidia, with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigating antitrust concerns and national security issues over the period of 24 weeks.
United Kingdom Ordered Meta, Formerly Facebook, to Sell Giphy
The United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has instructed Meta – formerly known as Facebook – to sell Giphy, the American search engine that allows users search for and share short looping videos which are without sound, that are similar to animated GIF files.
The CMA stated that the merger deal could possibly be harmful to social media users and advertisers in the UK. It also found that the deal would further boost Meta’s already strong market power, as it would limit other platforms’ ability to use Giphy GIFs, which will, in turn, drive more traffic to sites owned by Facebook (WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook).
According to the CMA, Meta’s sites dominated social media usage time up to around 73 percent, and could eventually outperform social media rivals like TikTok, Twitter and Snapchat by leveraging Giphy. The Authority then added that before the merger, Giphy had launched ”innovative advertising services” which brands like Dunkin’ Donuts and Pepsi which it could possibly have brought to the United Kingdom.
The CMA also stated that at the time the merger was made, Giphy’s advertising services were terminated by Facebook. That move removed a vital part of potential opposition in the market. The CMA was concerned by this move, calling it particularly concerning considering that Facebook is in control of about half of the £7 billion display advertising market in the UK.
Facebook had acquired Giphy for a reported fee of $400 million, with an aim of integrating the service into Instagram. After a month, the CMA started an investigation into the merger and decided in August that Facebook could hinder social media rivals such as TikTok and Snapchat from tapping into Giphy’s GIFs.
Meta had initially stated that the CMA did not have jurisdiction because Giphy was not operational in the United Kingdom, adding later that Giphy’s paid services were not display advertising by the definition of the CMA.
In October, Meta was fined $70 million by the CMA for breaking some rules related to the deal by failing to report necessary information and changing its chief compliance officer on two different occasions without receiving permission.
Seplat Energy to Acquire ExxonMobil’s Nigerian Shallow Water Business
Seplat Energy Plc, Nigeria’s leading indigenous energy company, has confirmed that it is in the process of acquiring ExxonMobil’s Nigerian shallow water business.
ExxonMobil has been selling off its businesses in Europe, Africa, and Asia in recent years to focus on a few mega-projects at home and abroad.
The statement reads, “Seplat Energy Plc, a leading Nigerian energy company listed on the Nigerian Exchange and the London Stock Exchange, notes the recent press speculation and confirms that Seplat Energy, together with a partner, is in competitive discussions to acquire ExxonMobil’s Nigerian shallow water business.”
According to Seplat, there is no certainty as to the outcome of the ongoing discussions.
“Deliberations are ongoing and accordingly, there can be no certainty as to the outcome. A further announcement will be made as and when appropriate, in line with regulatory requirements,” Seplat stated.
The announcement is coming a few days after Seplat Chairman, ABC Orjiako resigned from his position as the Chairman of the company following a debt scandal with Zenith Bank Plc.
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