INDIAN LAW FIRMS IN GLOBAL M&A LEAGUE

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INDIAN corporate law firms seem to have come of age globally. According to a recent report on legal firms’ services sought in M&A activity released by Mergermarket, India ranks fourth in the Asia-Pacific region with three Indian law firms doing deals in excess of $3 billion this year.

Indian law firm, Desai & Diwanji & Co (D&D) also features in the top ten across the region. By sealing 14 deals accounting for over $3.6 billion, it is ranked eight in the region.D&D advised Quippo Telecom Infrastructure in its acquisition of Wireless TT Service. The firm was also involved in advising Avendus Capital and W.L. Ross in the acquisition of Satyam Computer Services by Tech Mahindra. The other large transactions where D&D was involved was Shantha Laboratories’ acquisition by Sanofi Pasteur and the sale of SPS Ltd’s steel facility’s sale to Essar Steel.

"Things were quiet from January to May. Starting June, we are seeing a significant increase in the flow of transactions,” said Vishwang Desai, senior partner at D&D. He added that the second half of the year will witness more deals. Among other Indian firms, Khaitan & Co. was involved in 13 deals aggregating $3.23 billion, while Amarchand Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & Co. worked on nine deals worth $3.03 billion.

Khaitan & Co. was a part of Bahrain Telecom’s investment into S Tel as well as NTT DoCoMo’s investment in Tata Teleservices. It was also involved in Sterlite Industries’ acquisition of Asarco. “We feel that the effect of slowdown is almost over, now we are witnessing large foreign investment in the domestic market.

Many international investors are looking at new opportunities. All those deals which were abandoned or jeopardized because of the slowdown are now being revived because of increased confidence in the India Story,” says Rabindra Jhunjhunwala, senior partner with Khaitan & Co.

The report also says that between January 1 and September 22, 2009, China topped M&A activities in the region with a 38.8% market share. It was followed by Japan (23.1%) and Australia (12.7%), while India stood fourth with a 9.7% share.

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