Slaughter and Mays corporate practice ended its bumper 2004 by landing a lead role on another major M&A deal.

THE LAW MARKET REPORT: CorporateThe firms corporate group, which scooped roles on many of last years biggest M&A deals, is advising pan-European stock market Euronext on its contested 1.4bn bid for the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

The instruction was a further endorsement for Slaughters reputation in the corporate arena because the firm won the work following a recommendation from Euronexts investment bank Morgan Stanley last December.

Morgan Stanley, which historically has close ties with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters, got closer to Slaughters after the US investment bank worked with the firm on three major deals last year: the Canary Wharf acquisition, the Abbey National-Banco Santander merger (where Slaughters and the bank advised Abbey) and Marks & Spencer, where the two teamed up to fend off Philip Greens failed 9bn bid for the retailer.

Additionally, New York firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, which has until now managed to keep a tight rein on Euronexts UK corporate work, has only been retained on some minor UK aspects of the deal and the competition law filing.

Euronexts offer came after the LSE rejected a 1.35bn offer from Germanys Deutsche B? on 14 December. Deutsche B?, which historically has used Norton Rose, turned to Ashurst corporate partner Chris Ashworth, giving the top 20 City firm its first major instruction from the German client.

As Lawyer 2B went to press, the LSE, which is being advised by its usual corporate adviser Freshfields, said it was continuing discussions with both Euronext and Deutsche B?.