Last Thursday, champagne flowed, Murray was progressing seamlessly at Wimbledon and the M&A Awards took place at the Park Plaza Victoria. This was the eighth annual M&A Awards dinner to celebrate success, reward hard work and look forward to the economic future.
M&A deals which have been completed in a difficult economic climate were celebrated. And the quality of the deals was striking. Here are snapshots of some of the winners. Joelson Wilson LLP were the winners of the Law Firm of the Year category, having advised on Coca Cola’s acquisition of innocent drinks. Following this theme, Cross Border Deal of the Year was awarded to Bluefocus Communications buying a stake in We Are Social. UK Deal of the Year went to Tyrrells’ acquisition by Investcorp. The awards stretched across sectors recognising Merill DataSite as Technology Provider of the Year.
Entrepreneurs, financiers, lawyers and other professionals all came together to celebrate these major deals. Thanks must go to Vitesse media and Growth Business for organising an excellent evening. It not only provided networking opportunities, essential in creating valuable relationships and building on business growth, but also recognised hard work in a changing market.
So, can the legal sector expect to see any of this M&A activity? It reminded me of an Evening Standard article from the beginning of the year. According to industry expert, Sir Nigel Knowles of DLA Piper, consolidation of law firms will occur at an unparalleled rate. Sir Nigel explained that firms will have to become truly global or incredibly niche to succeed and triumph in the legal landscape. Mergers are set to increase; in order for firms to gain greater geographic exposure, particularly in the emerging markets. Sir Nigel predicts that some larger law firms may even secure 1% of the market share, which currently no firm has. In contrast, mergers may be the only options for some firms as they reduce costs. And how do law firms keep their individuality when they consolidate? Therein lies the importance of profile raising and a whole other blog.
There is a report in The Times today (1 July) that global markets are braced for a turbulent six months after stocks and bond prices rose in unison between January and June for the first time in 20 years, raising fresh concerns about economic instability. As 2014’s M&A Awards showed this should be no barrier to deals which will be celebrated next year.