Magic Circle firms’ Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Slaughter and May have emerged as the top earners in the £47bn merger between Royal Dutch Shell and BG Group. Slaughters acted as the principal legal counsel for Shell, whose legal fees are estimated to range from £21.7m to £23.8m, of which Slaughters is expected to bank the majority. Freshfields will be cashing in on their role in advising BG, whose costs are estimated to be significantly lower, within the range of £15.2m and £16.45m, due to the fact that Shell had to be advised on a larger range of aspects including raising cash and dividend access arrangements.
The takeover of BG by Shell is set to be one of the largest mergers between UK companies and has triggered a number of complications due to the deal being a cash and share offer, which requires regulatory approvals from all over the world. The fees brokered from this merger are also breaking records as they are expected to exceed those spent during Glencore’s merger with Xstrata back in 2013. Freshfields was present throughout this deal also, garnering a significant proportion of the £38.9m worth of legal fees.