Deal watch: Finsbury tops December as 2005 sees M&A high

Finsbury beat Brunswick to the top of the final Deal Watch of 2005, a year that saw the highest volume of mergers and acquisitions since 2000.

Both firms advised on Violet Acquisitions' £1.3bn purchase of Somerfield. Finsbury and Gavin Anderson (tenth) advised Violet, while Brunswick acted for Kaupthing Bank, part of the Violet consortium.

The deal was also a boon for Cardew Group (ninth), which advised Somerfield.

Finsbury nipped ahead of Brunswick through advising the Goldfish credit card business, which Lloyds TSB has sold to Morgan Stanley Bank International for £1bn.

The Maitland Consultancy (third) counselled Exel on Deutsche Post's acquisition of the company for £4.1bn.

M: Communications (fourth) advised Deutsche Post.

Citigate Dewe Rogerson (fifth) is advising Macquarie London Exchange Investments on its £1.5bn bid for the London Stock Exchange.

Tulchan Communications (sixth) and College Hill (seventh) were new entries. Tulchan is retained adviser to Drax Group, which debuted on the stock market last month. College Hill is working on  Punch Taverns' £2.6bn Spirit Group deal.

Table compiler Zephyr head of research Ed Mountifield said the volume of deals increased in December as firms raced to complete them before the year's end.

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