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Magic circle pair top London IPO table

Posted by: Laurence Simons 21/10/14

A couple of Britain's magic circle legal firms have made the most of the growth in IPOs in London this year.

The recent growth in the economy has led to plenty of merger and acquisition activity taking place in London, while other companies have felt a year of strong recovery is a good time to list themselves on the stock market for the first time.

When it comes to main market IPOs, a study by the Lawyer has found two firms have dominated the market; Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters.

This duo were by far the most prominent in the growing IPO market. While there were just 20 new listings in the first eight months of 2013 with a combined share value of £7.8 billion, the total between January 1st and August 30th this year was 49 companies at a combined value of £29.5 billion.

Freshfields managed to grab some serious pieces of the action, advising sponsor side mandates for Exova, Spire Healthcare, Zoopla, Poundland, SSP and Saga. With all of these expected to raise £220 million or more, they were members of the top 20 IPOs in the period.

In the case of Poundland and SSP, these companies represented something of a coup, as both had previously used the services of Clifford Chance.

Linklaters was the most successful on the banking side, with seven IPO clients, followed by Clifford Chance and Norton Rose Fulbright with four each. Ashurst and Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) had two apiece.

Linklaters also had three sponsor-side stakes, jointly third behind Ashursts, which had four. Other firms with three IPO clients in this sector included Carey Olsen, HSF, Mourant Ozannes and Stephenson Harwood.

Major law firms in the UK may not be alone in having more opportunities to work on IPOs, according to an analysis by PricewaterhouseCoopers earlier this year.

It found that in the first half of 2014 there were 213 IPOs in Europe, compared with 121 in the same period of 2013. The overall value of these, €33.7 billion (£26.7 billion), was the highest since 2007.