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This Article is written by Abhishek Dubey from Chanderprabhu Jain College of Higher Studies and School of Law and Srishti Kausha from Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala. This article discusses the details about the Top Law Firms of India in Merger and Acquisition, their structure, composition, as well as their awards and achievements in merger and acquisition.

Introduction 

India is one of the growing markets for mergers and acquisitions. The challenges and opportunities of mergers and acquisitions in India have brought a great change in the skills of the lawyer. The increase in competition and legal fees has encouraged new law firms to enter the market. In India, Mergers and Acquisitions have always been dealt with by top law firms; but recently certain changes have been observed in the legal market by the emergence of Platinum Partners and S&R associates. These mid-sized law firms are doing great in mergers and acquisitions. Platinum Partners is a law firm consisting of 50 lawyers and they have given advice in the deal in which UPL corporation acquired Arysta life science which amounts to 4.8 billion dollars. According to a research conducted by the Indian Business Law review, AZB and Partners were ranked second in merger and acquisition in 2018. It advised 99 deals with a value of 48 million USD. In 2019, it has advised more than 100 deals and has a high volume of work relating to merger and acquisition. This was based on research conducted by Indian Business Law Review 2019. They uploaded a form on their website and the rank was decided on the basis of the votes received.

This article would act as a report or reports. In this, we will study about the best 10 Mergers and Acquisitions law firms by understanding their achievements in the past 5 years and understand their working by looking at the M&A advice they have given to various clients over the years. 

AZB and Partners

About

AZB and Partners were founded in the year 2004 with an objective to provide full-time practical services to clients in all sectors. It consists of more than 400 lawyers and has more than 100 partners with 6 branches across India; two situated in Mumbai and Delhi along with one in Bangalore and Pune, each. The practice areas of AZB and Partners are mergers and acquisitions, insurance, real estate, banking, and finance, etc. They have been recognized as a country leader in the volume of work they undertake. Some of the key clients of AZB and Partners include the Tata Group, HDFC, Bharti Airtel, Reliance, various investment banks, and more than 100 multinational companies.

Awards and Achievements

  • Outstanding for the following practice areas such as banking and finance, capital markets, corporate merger and acquisition, private equity according to “Asian law Profile” in the year 2020.
  • Awarded as merger and acquisition law firm of the year in India by the “Corporate Intl Global Awards Winner” 2020.
  • Ranked as a Tier 1 law firm for the practice in banking, capital markets, merger and acquisition, insolvency, private equity, and restructuring, by International Financial Law Review 2020.
  • In 2019, it was awarded in the category of mergers and acquisitions by Business Law journal.
  • In 2018, Asian Legal Business gave it the rank ‘ tier 1 firm’ for Mergers and Acquisitions.
  • In 2017, it ranked 1 in M&A announced legal table for deal value and deal volume by Thomson Reuters
  • In 2016, it was ranked as a ‘Band 1 Firm’ in the practice areas: M&A and Banking and finance and corporate by Chambers Global
  • In 2016, it also was awarded the ‘M&A deal of the year – South Asia’ in the Asia Legal Awards for advising ATC Viom in buying a controlling stake in India’s Viom Network ltd.
  • Ranked as a Tier 1 firm for merger and acquisition by “Asian Legal Business”.

Top advice by AZB and partners

  • In 2020, it advised Sterlite to acquire a 12.8 percent stake in 5G Virtual Radio Access Innovator.
  • In 2019 and 2018, it advised Tata Steel in its acquisition of Bhushan Steel through the IBC process.
  • In 2018, it acted for IDFC Bank in its merger with a capital first. This merger was worth $1.5 billion
  • In 2017, it advised the Idea in its merger with Vodafone. This deal is considered to be one of the greatest M&A deals in India.
  • In 2017, it advised in the mergers of 6 small banks with the State Bank Of India for a deal value of US $ 120 million.
  • In 2016, it advised MAX life in the $9.75 billion insurance mega-merger.
  • They advised in Tata steel acquisition of Nat steel. The deal size was $468 million (2004). 

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas

About

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas is a full-service Indian law firm. It came into existence on 11th May 2015 from its predecessor Amarchand and Mangaldas Suresh and shroff. It has its headquarters in Mumbai. The firm is located across India at 6 different places i.e., in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Banglore, Chennai, Delhi, Ahmedabad. It has more than 700 lawyers and more than 90 partners. The practice areas of Cyril Amarchand and Mangaldas include merger and acquisition, financing, capital markets, litigation and dispute resolution, etc. Some of the key clients of Cyril Amarchand and Mangaldas include the BlackRock group, Tatas capital, ICCI, Kotak Mahindra, Axis Bank, etc.

Awards and Achievements

  • In 2019, it got awarded in the ALB India LAw awards for best M&A deal for AION Capital Partners and JSW Steel’s Acquisition of Monnet Ispat.
  • Awarded as India law firm of the year 2019 by Business Worlds Global Legal.
  • Won 10 awards by “Indian Business Law Journal” Indian Law Firm in the year 2019 in fields of merger and acquisition, banking and finance, capital market, etc”.
  • In 2018, it was awarded the ‘M&A deal of the year: South Asia’ award at the Asian Legal Awards for Walmart’s acquisition of Flipkart.
  • In 2017, it was awarded in the category of ‘Most Responsive Domestic Law Firm’ and ‘In-House Community Firm of the Year 2017’ by the Asian-MENA Counsel in 11 practices including Mergers and Acquisitions.
  • In 2016, The IBLJ India Deals of the Year, 2016, had featured 11 deals of AZB. 
  • In 2016, it also got awarded ‘M&A Deal of the Year: Energy’ for Tata’s $1.4B Acquisition of Welspun Renewables
  • In 2015, In the Asian Layers Emerging Markets Awards, the managing partner Cyril Shroff got the ‘Mergers & Acquisitions – Corporate Lawyer of the Year’ Award.

Top Advice by Cyril Amarchand and Mangaldas

  • They advised Walmart’s acquisition of Flipkart.
  • In 2019, it advised the Committee of Creditors of Monnet Ispat & Energy Limited in its sale to AION Capital for $420 million.
  • In 2019, it advised Standard life for the acquisition of a 95 percent stake in HDFC Life Insurance Company.
  • In 2019 it advised in the acquisition of Essar steel acquisition, worth 42000 crores, by ArcelorMittal.
  • In 2018, it advised Restro Power Ventures in its purchase of Ostro Energy for $1.66 billion, the biggest acquisition deal in the renewable energy sector. 
  • In 2017, it advised Adani Transmission in its acquisition (worth $2.65 billion) of Reliance Infra Power.
  • In 2016, it acted for Essar oil in one of the biggest inbound M&A deals worth $13 billion
  • In 2015, it advised ATC in the Viom’s American Tower buy deal worth $1 billion+.

Khaitan and Co

About

Khaitan and Co are one of India’s oldest law firms established in the year 1911, founded by Devi Prasad Khaitan. It consists of more than 500 lawyers and 150 partners approx. It has its four branches across in Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Kolkata. The key practice areas of  Khaitan and Co are banking and finance, merger and acquisition, antitrust, dispute resolution, etc. Some of the key clients of Khaitan and Co are Harley Davidson India, LN Bangur Group, I Gate, Nippon Life, Blackstone, Vedanta resources, etc. 

Awards and Achievement

  • In 2020, Awarded as a top tier firm by the “International Financial Law Review” for Merger and Acquisition, capital markets, restructuring, and insolvency.
  • In 2019, in IDEX Legal Awards, it was awarded in the category of the Largest merger and acquisition law firm of the year. This year, it was also given the rank of a Tier 1 Law Firm by the Asian Legal Business.
  • In 2018, it got awarded by Asian-Mena Counsel in the category of ‘Deals of the year 2018’ for Walmart’s acquisition of Flipkart.
  • In 2017, it was awarded in the Global Awards CorporateLiveWire in the category of private equity law services. It also got awarded ‘Firm of the Year 2017 – India’ in mergers and acquisitions category, in the Asian-Mena Counsel awards.
  • In 2016, it was awarded by the Indian Business Law Journal in the category ‘Deals of the Year 2016’ for advising in the purchase of a 74% stake in Tata Communications.

Top Advice by Khaitan and company

  • In 2019, it advised Music Broadcast Limited is buying Reliance broadcast network from RCap, REntertainment, in a deal worth $150 million.
  • In 2018, it advised Flipkart group comprising, inter alia, of Flipkart, Myntra, Jabong, and PhonePe in its sale to Walmart. This acquisition was worth $16 billion and is considered the largest acquisition in the e-commerce space in the world and is one of the largest M&A transactions ever involving a principally Indian company.
  • In 2017, it acted as the legal counsel of Torrent Pharma in its purchase of Unichem Labs Domestic Biz. This purchase amounted to $556 million.
  • In 2016, it acted for Aircel in its merger with reliance to make India’s third-largest telecom operator.
  • In 2015, it advised in the buy out of Crompton greaves electricals by Advent International and Temasek. The deal size was 315 million dollars. This year, It also advised in the acquisition of free charge by the snap deal, which was worth $400 million. 

Platinum Partners

About 

Platinum Partners is an Indian Corporate law firm. It was established in the year 2008. It has its branches in Delhi, Bangalore, and Mumbai. Its headquarters are in Delhi and Mumbai. The firm specializes in merger and acquisition, infrastructure and securities law, employment law, etc. They advise many domestic and international clients. The reputation of partners of the Platinum law firm is excellent and they have more than 30 years of experience working in International Law Firm and Multinational companies. The major practice areas of Platinum Partners are merger and acquisition.

 Awards and Achievement

  • Band 2 in corporate and merger & acquisition by Chambers and Partners 2019.
  • Band 2 in corporate and commercial by chamber practice 2017 and 2018.
  • Karam Daulat Singh and Ankit Majumdar recognised as band 1 lawyer in general corporate and mergers and acquisitions 2017 and 2018.
  • Gautam Bhatt recognised as a rising star by RSG consultancy in 2017. 
  • In 2017, it got Rank 16 in 2017 M&A league tables by Mergermarket 2016.

Top Advice by Platinum Partners

  • In 2019, Platinum Partners advised People Combine Group and its promoters in its sale to Nord Anglia Education Inc, in a deal worth $206 million.
  • In 2019, It also advised in the acquisition of Arysta life science by UPL Corporation, which had a deal value of 4.2 billion dollars. 
  • In 2018, Platinum Partners represented the advertising giant WPP in its acquisition of digitally-led creative agency, The Glitch, for an undisclosed sum.
  • In 2018, it also acted as the counsel of the internet in its sale to French outsourcing firm Teleperformance for $1 billion.
  • In 2017, it advised Essar on the sale of its subsidiary Aegis to Capital Square Partners for $300 million.
  • In 2016, Platinum partners acted for HP in its sale to Blackstone for $1.1 billion.
  • Danone’s acquisition of the Wockhardt Group, a nutritional business, the deal size was 250 million dollars. (2012)

S&R Associates

About

S&R Associates is a very successful law firm, founded in the year 2005. It has its two branches. It practices most of its work on an international level. Their work includes 20 percent on a domestic level and 80 percent on an international level. The lawyers of S&R associates have experience of practicing in India as well as other jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Singapore, etc. It consists of a total of 15 partners and among whom 7 partners are women also they have approx 65 associates.  It has practice areas in merger and acquisition, litigation and arbitration, capital markets, private equity, competition, etc. 

Awards and Achievement

  • Ranked as top tier law firm in corporate merger and acquisition, dispute resolution, investment funds by Asia Pacific 2020.
  • In Ranked 2 in private equity rights and offering by Bloomberg Indian Capital Markets in the year 2019.
  • Ranked 6th By India League Tables in merger and acquisition in the year 2019.
  • Ranked 5 for announced deals in terms of volume by Bloomberg Indian Capital Markets.
  • Ranked 6th by the Market merger and acquisition report 2019.
  • In 2019, it was awarded in the category of mergers and acquisitions by India business law journal.
  • Merger and acquisition deal of the year by Asia Legal Awards in 2017.
  • Sanjeev Adlaka lawyer of merger and acquisition is recognized as the most mature and sensible lawyer by Chamber Asia Pacific 2020.
  • Rajat Sethi was recognized as a high quality and good knowledgeable lawyer by Chamber Asia Pacific 2020.

Top Advice by S&R associates:

  • It 2019 it advised ArcelorMittal on its joint bid with Nippon Steel, for Essar Steel India Limited (Essar Steel), under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code procedure
  • In 2018, S&R associates advised  Vodafone in a transaction in the Bharti infrared and Indus tower merger which created PAN India tower giant, worth $14.6 billion
  • In 2017, it advised Qatar Foundation in its acquisition of a 5 percent stake in Bharti Airtel Telecom.
  • They advised Dana’s group to have a joint venture in India with Rayant Group. 
  • In 2016, it advised Make My Trip in its acquisition of Ibibo in a deal worth $720 million.

Shardul Amarchand and Mangaldas 

About

Shardul Amarchand and Mangaldas is one of the largest law firms in India. It is a full-service law firm in India. The firm came into existence from its predecessor Shardul and Shroff Amarchand and Mangaldas on 11 May 2015. It consists of 119 partners and 550 lawyers having its headquarters in New Delhi and Mumbai. The firm has 7 branches across India in New Delhi, Mumbai, Gurugram, Kolkata, Chennai, and Bengaluru. The firm practice areas include general corporate, banking and finance, competition law, etc. the key clients of Shardul Amarchand and Mangaldas are Microsoft, State Bank of India, standard chartered bank, Vodafone, Facebook, etc.

Awards and Achievements 

  • In 2019, it won the award of M&A Deal of the year by Business Law Journal for Walmart’s acquisition of Flipkart.
  • In 2019, it won legal expertise award by the Asia Pacific awards.
  • Ranked 1 in deal count and deal value in the merger market by India league tables.
  • In 2017, it was awarded as the national law firm of the year in the Asia-Pacific Awards
  • In 2016, it was awarded in the category of M&A law firm of the year by Idexlaw.
  • It has been awarded 3 ‘country’s law firm of the year’ 3 times.
  • The best law firm of the year for 9 years by business law journal. 

Top Advice by Shardul Amarchand and Mangaldas

  • In 2019, it advised the merger of Gruh Bandhan finance bank with Argus for a deal value of 3 billion dollars.
  • In 2019, it advised the Merger of Baroda, Vijaya and Dena bank the deal which amounted to 1.37 billion dollars.
  • In 2018, it advised Life Insurance Company(LIC) India to take Industrial Development Bank via open offer for a deal value of 4.4 dollar billion.
  • In 2018, it also advised Walmart in the $16 billion acquisition of Flipkart.
  • In 2017, it advised DLF Limited in relation to the sale of a stake in DLF Cyber City Developers Limited (DCCDL) to GIC Group, for $1.9 billion.
  • In 2016, it advised on Brookfield Reliance towers deal, which was worth $1.6 Billion.
  • In 2015, it advised BIF India in its acquisition of Gammon Group, worth Rs 563 crores.

Trilegal

About

Trilegal is an Indian based law firm founded in the year 2000. It consists of 300 lawyers and 50 partners. It is located at four places across India in Bangalore, Mumbai, New Delhi, and Gurgaon. The practice areas of Trilegal include corporate, merger and acquisition, capital markets, etc. The lawyers are focused on providing commercial solutions to legal problems. The key clients of Trilegal include tata power, standard chartered and Mumbai international airport.

Awards and Achievements

  • In 2019, it was ranked 7th in the top 10 law firms by RSG Report in merger and acquisition and competition law.
  • Harsh Pais and Nisha Kaur and Neeraj Menon recognized as growing leaders of the year 2019 by RSG report.
  • Ranked as tier 1 law firm by Asian law business.
  • For its work in 2018, it was awarded as the best overall law firm and best law firm in mergers and acquisitions by India business law journal. 
  • In 2017, it got awarded in Global Awards CorporateLiveWire for best in private equity law services. 
  • In 2015 and 2016, Trilegal was awarded the award for Law firm of the year by Idexlegal.

Top advice by Trilegal

  • In 2019, it advised the Alibaba Group in a deal worth $150 million with Big Basket.
  • In 2018, Trilegal advised Ultratech Cement on its acquisition of Binani Cement. This was the first merger under the IBC regime.
  • In 2017, Trilegal acted for International Finance Corp (IFC) in a deal with MAX worth $65.3 million.
  • In 2016, Trilegal advised Ibibo in a $720 million deal with Make my trip.
  • In 2015, it advised Godrej in a deal worth $25 million with Astec LifeSciences for acquiring a 45% stake in the company.
  • They advised the Sriram group for the indirect acquisition of Sanlam Ltd for paid-up equity share capital, (2012).
  • They advised standard chartered for acquisition for Morgan Stanley’s wealth non-institutional wealth business of India (2013).

J Sagar Associates

About

J Sagar Associates is a leading national law firm. It was founded by Jyoti Sagar in 1991. It has around 90 partners and more than 300 lawyers. It operates through 8 offices located in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, GIFT City, Gurugram, Hyderabad, Mumbai, and New Delhi. It has successfully provided legal services to many top Indian corporates, Fortune 500 companies, multinational banks, and financial institutions, as well as governmental and statutory authorities. It handles a full range of M&A transactions including Acquisitions and divestments of shares, assets, and businesses (by private, public and listed entities), Schemes of the arrangement, mergers, demergers and amalgamations, Sale and purchase of distressed assets, management of buyouts, tender and exchange offers, capital and debt restructuring. 

Awards

  • Mergers and Acquisitions law firm of the year award in the BW Legal Leaders Awards  
  • Won in the category of Best overall law firms category in the Indian Law Firm award, 2019
  • In 2018, it was awarded in the category of Global legal advisory by Bloomberg
  • In 2018, it was ranked 3rd by Thomson Reuters by deal count in M&A deals.
  • In 2017, it was ranked 15th in the most innovative law firms by Financial Times.

Top Advice by J Sagar Associates

  • In 2019, it advised Indiabulls to sell itself out completely to Blackstone for $394 million
  • It also advised Enzen Global Solutions Private Limited on a $100 million deal with J Sagar Associates, in 2019.
  • In 2018, J Sagar Associates has assisted PE Giant Carlyle on the majority buy of the Visionary RCM Infotech. 
  • In 2017, it advised Union Bank to acquire 49% of the shareholding of KBC Participations Renta in Union KBC Asset Management and Union KBC Trustee.
  • In 2016, J Sagar Associates acted on the record $1.6 Billion Brookfield Reliance Towers Buy.
  • In 2015, it had advised Reliance Infra on its Rs 819 crore ($130m) acquisition of an 18 percent stake in Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering.
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L&L Partners

About

L&L Partners, previously known as Luthra & Luthra Law offices, was founded in 1991 by Mr. Rajiv K Luthra ( who started his career in 1978). It got rebranded in 2018. It has a team of over 350 counsels and has offices in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Bangalore. L&L partners are now considered amongst the top law firms in India and has expertise in many areas, including mergers and acquisitions. Some of its clients in this area are Ascott, Tata Group, Essel Group, JSN Steel, etc.

Awards

  • In 2019, it won 5 awards in the India Business Law Journal’s 2019, including the best overall law firm.
  • In 2019 it was awarded in the category of ‘M&A Deal of the year’ by the International Financial Law Review.
  • In 2018, it was awarded under the category of best overall law firms by India Business Law Journal.
  • In 2017, it got rewarded the TMT Law Firm of the Year award.
  • In 2016, it was awarded in the category of Best National Law Firm for Innovation, Strategies & Continuous Growth

Top advice by L&L Partners

  • In 2020, it advised Clarivate Analytics PLC in its purchase of the Decision Resources Group owned by Piramal Enterprises Limited for $950 million.
  • In 2019, it advised Peepul Capital in its sale to Fuji Electronics in a deal worth INR 7200 million.
  • In 2019, it advised JSW Steel Limited in its acquisition of Bhushan Steel through the IBC route.
  • In 2018, it advised Fortis Healthcare limited in the deal with Malaysian-Singaporean healthcare group IHH Healthcare Berhad. In the deal, IHH Healthcare acquired Fortis Healthcare.
  • In 2016, it acted for Dish TV in its merger with Videocon D2H.

Nishith Desai Associates

About

Mr. Nishith Desai, who is originally from Gujrat, came to Mumbai and established Nishith Desai Associates (NDA) in 1989. NDA follows an “Anticipate-Prepare-Deliver” strategy. It is a research and strategy-driven international firm.  It has offices in Mumbai, Silicon Valley, Bangalore, Singapore, New Delhi, Munich, and New York.

Awards

  • In 2020, Nishith M. Desai (M&A) & Nishchal Joshipura (Private Equity, M&A) were ranked as Highly Regarded lawyers.
  • In 2019, it was recognized as the most innovative law firm by the Financial Times.
  • In 2019, Legal 500 Asia Pacific, in its Law Firm rankings ranked it in Tier 1, in many practice areas, including corporate M&A.
  • In 2018 and 2017, IFLR ranked it in Tier 1 for Private Equity (PE).
  • In 2015, it was awarded in the category of ‘M&A deal of the year (Domestic)’.

Top advice by Nisith Desai Associates

  • In 2019, it advised the promoters of Euro Kids International in its sale (worth $205 million) to KKR and Co.
  • In 2018, it advised acted as the legal counsel of Providence in Bharti Infratel-Indus Tower mergers, which created a $14.6 Billion tower giant.
  • In 2018, it also advised Mapletree Investment in its purchase amounting to (approximately 2300-2400 Crores) of a Chennai-based information technology park SP Infocity.
  • In 2017, it acted as the legal counsel of Zensar in its purchase of a US-based supply chain management firm, Keystone Logics.
  • In 2016, it advised Birla Cooperation on its $706.7 million acquisition of Reliance Cement.

Conclusion

After analyzing the accolades won and the M&A advice given by various M&A law firms, We have made out a list of the 10 best M&A law firms in India. 

These are:

  • AZB and partners;
  • Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas;
  • Khaitan and Co.;
  • Platinum Partners;
  • S&R Associates;
  • Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas;
  • Trilegal;
  • J. Sagar Associates;
  • L&L Partners;
  • Nishith Desai Associates.

These firms have outshined and have impressed the world with their impeccable work.


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