Restructuring the advisers
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Restructuring the advisers

The explosion in M&A and restructuring activity across Europe has triggered a transformation in the types of financing structures employed. Law firms are already restructuring themselves to take advantage of the shift. By Nigel Page

Author: Nigel Page

There has never been a better time to be an M&A lawyer in Europe - or to be advising on the financing of the continuing rush of mega-deals breaking out across the continent. With activity related to the new economy continuing to rise, M&A activity has accelerated sharply. The number and size of M&A deals are at unprecedented levels. The figures speak for themselves. The record $3.4 trillion worldwide deal value recorded in 1999 is set to be dwarfed by this year's transactions, with $1.14 trillion of M&A deals racked up in the first quarter of 2000 alone. For once, Europe is claiming the lion's share of the action, and is widely expected to outpace the US in total value of deals this year.

Amid this surge in activity, the obvious question is: who is financing these deals - and how? Shareholders can hardly be expected to stump up all the breathtaking sums required, and other financing routes are having to come into play.

There is evidence that more syndicated loans of over $10 billion were arranged last year than during the whole of the previous decade - with the $291 billion raised through this route in 1999 to 2000 eclipsing the $280 billion raised between 1990 and 1998.

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