India law firms advised on fewer and smaller mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in the 2011 calendar year than in 2010, which lowered revenue, but still kept corporate lawyers busy.
AZB and Partners was involved in at least 31 India-related M&A deals worth $11.4 billion in 2011, a 64% decline from the deal value in 2010, according to data provider Mergermarket.
Firms such as AZB, Amarchand and Mangaldas and Suresh A Shroff and Co., Khaitan and Co., J Sagar Associates, and Desai and Diwanji picked up most of the remaining M&A transactions.
“We’ve had our hands full,” but deal sizes in 2011 were smaller than in 2010, said Ashwath Rao, a corporate partner at Amarchand in Mumbai, adding that this did impact the revenue legal firms could generate.
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“Obviously, the larger deals tend to generate larger billings and given that a lot of our clients are global players, the pain they were experiencing resulted in pressure in pricing.”
The largest deal of 2011 was the $7.2 billion transaction between BP Plc and Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), under which BP agreed to acquire a 30% stake in 21 oil and gas blocks of RIL.
Talwar Thakore and Associates advised BP together with its London-headquartered relationship firm Linklaters Llp, while AZB, which worked with Allen and Overy, advised RIL.