Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP

The Scoop

One of the most respected law firms worldwide, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom has topped the AmLaw 100's list of the highest-grossing law firms more than 20 times. In 2008, Skadden defied the credit crisis gods to record revenue of $2.2 billion, one of only six firms in the world to break through the $2 billion barrier. Considered "the standard bearer" among corporate firms by industry surveyor BTI Consulting Group, Skadden consistently draws top accolades from the most esteemed publishers of law firm rankings, including Chambers, The American Lawyer, The National Law Journal and the Financial Times (not to mention Vault).

Take us to your fearsome leader

The firm's tough reputation can be attributed to Joe Flom, who started at Skadden three months after its 1948 founding and whose name graced the door a mere 13 years later. Flom, who was the firm's last living named partner until his death in 2011, participated in most of the major mergers and acquisitions of the 1970s and 1980s, forging Skadden's hard-nosed style and building a reputation for aggressive strategies. In 1999, in recognition of Flom's imprint on the legal industry, The American Lawyer named him one of "The Lawyers of the Century".

Ten years later, when Skadden Executive Partner Bob Sheehan stepped down, corporate partner Eric Friedman took his place as only the third EP in Skadden history. It didn't take long for him to impress industry watchers. In 2011, The National Law Journal named Friedman as one of three "most influential" law firm helmsmen.

London on the make

The firm has adjusted to economic downturns by branching out from its M&A base and fortifying other practice areas. These days, M&A is just one of the things Skadden does well. The brand also carries serious weight in arbitration and dispute resolution, restructuring, banking, capital markets, intellectual property, private equity and tax.

With 23 offices, the firm's global representation spans five continents. Skadden has had an office in London since 1988. Housing more than 120 lawyers, the office is the firm's largest in Europe and provides both English and US law capabilities in the firm's core areas. The dispute team in London has handled major matters stateside for the likes of Bank of America, Cendant Corporation, Citigroup, Farmers Insurance, Intel, JPMorgan Chase, Pfizer and Verizon. Skadden has advised on corporate investigations for French banks BNP Paribas and Société Générale. The London office recently added an investment management group, and the firm has also bulked up its global competition practice and earned kudos for its UK insolvency practice.

Milestone after milestone

Multifaceted as it's evolved to be, Skadden still houses an eminent M&A practice at its core. Deals such as the 1989 takeover of RJR Nabisco-then the second-largest LBO of all time-launched the firm into the top rung of American law firms. Landmark transactions since the start of the 21st century include representation of Mannesmann during its record-breaking $199 billion acquisition by Britain's Vodafone; the IPO of private equity powerhouse Blackstone, through which Skadden's client became the first large US buyout fund to sport a public listing; and advising on Nasdaq's brash (though ultimately unsuccessful) £4.2 billion bid for the London Stock Exchange.

Even during the 2008-09 recession, Skadden picked up roles on the biggest M&A deals around, including the $52 billion acquisition of Skadden client Anheuser-Busch by InBev and the $23 billion merger between Mars and Skadden client Wrigley. Among Skadden's credit crunch-related mandates was a key advisory role in Nomura's acquisition of Lehman's equities and investment banking units in Europe and the Middle East, as well as the acquisition of Lehman's Asia-Pacific operations.

Recent News


As industry experts predict an uptick in M&A activity worldwide, emerging markets-especially the "Big Four" nations of Brazil, Russia, India and China-are expected to be a focus of continued growth, and Skadden is getting in on the action. In the first few months of 2011, Skadden undertook a major deal for Companhia Brasileria de Metalurgia e Mineração, when it sold a 15 percent stake in CBMM to a Japanese and South Korean investor consortium for $1.95 billion. Skadden also advised Brazilian investment bank BTG Pactual on an agreement to sell a $1.8 billion stake to a consortium of international investors that includes, among others, the Government of Singapore Investment Corp, China Investment Corp and the Abu Dhabi Investment Council.

Skadden also advised Russian retail chain Kopeyka in its $1.7 billion sale to X5 Retail Group at the end of 2010, the largest deal ever in the Russian retail sector and one that may help fend off Wal-Mart's anticipated incursion into the Russian market.

Red Skype at night, Microsoft's delight

In May 2011, Microsoft agreed to purchase Luxembourg-based Skype for $8.5 billion in cash, representing the biggest deal in the Seattle software giant's history. Skadden advised Joltid Limited, one of Skype's shareholders, in connection with the sale. The firm is also counsel to Skype founders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis.

HP deal tops the charts

Just a few months after the Microsoft-Skype deal, Skadden played a major role in the largest transaction ever reported in the tech sector. In August 2011, Hewlett-Packard acquired software company Autonomy for $11.7 billion. Skadden was among the star-studded legal cast providing advice on the transaction-a roster that included Slaughter and May, Freshfields, Linklaters, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, and White & Case, among others. A team from Skadden's London office advised HP's board of directors and provided advice on tax matters.

Grin and bear it

Skadden is currently representing DENTSPLY International, a maker of professional dental products, in its $1.8 billion acquisition of Astra Tech. Astra Tech is a subsidiary of pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca that develops, market and distributes dental implants, among other products. The deal was announced in June 2011.

Fuel blockage

In May 2011, the firm helped Alfa, Access & Renova block a £8 billion joint venture between British oil giant BP and Russian government-owned energy colossus Rosneft to explore for oil in the Arctic Circle. Skadden lawyers persuaded a Stockholm arbitration tribunal to put on hold a deal that AAR claimed violated its right of first refusal on any other oil deals BP planned on pursuing in Russia.

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Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP

40 Bank Street
Canary Wharf
London E14 5DS
Phone: +44 (0)207 519 7000


  • Employer Type: Private
  • European Managing Partner: Bruce Buck
  • Total No. Attorneys 2011: 2,000

Major Office Locations

  • Sydney, Australia
  • Brussels, Belgium
  • Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Toronto, Canada
  • Shanghai, China
  • Beijing, China
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Palo Alto, CA
  • Wilmington, DE
  • Washington, DC
  • Chicago, IL
  • Boston, MA
  • New York, NY
  • Houston, TX
  • Vienna, VA
  • Moscow, Russia
  • Singapore, Singapore
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Paris, France
  • Munich, Germany
  • Frankfurt, Germany
  • Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • Tokyo, Japan
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