Which Firm Closed the Biggest Deals in Q1?

Global M&A deal activity remained hot during Q1 2022, surpassing $1 trillion in activity for the 7th consecutive quarter. But even this historically robust pace was down 23% from the blistering open to 2021. And while 98 large deals closed in the United States during Q4 2021, 83 closed this quarter, representing $242 billion in activity. Matterhorn’s M&A database tracks publicly-announced deals over $25 million in value, harnessing both AI and attorneys to digest the granular deal points of each transaction to allow for comparisons across industries, specific deal terms, and both legal and financial advisors.

Skadden tops the league table this quarter, advising on 6 blockbuster deals closed during the quarter. Whether advising the acquirer or target company, Skadden appeared in the deal documents for 7% of all deals closed – and those were among the largest deals of the quarter, with an aggregate value of almost $100 billion. Skadden’s volume pushed it past Simpson Thacher, which closed 4 large deals this quarter. The two firms were propelled by Microsoft Corporation’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard Inc. for $68.7 billion, with Skadden representing Activision while Simpson Thacher represented Microsoft. 

While Kirkland & Ellis had fallen off the league table last quarter, it returned to sit in the number 3 spot. As is often the case each quarter, Kirkland & Ellis closed a large quantity of deals. During the start to 2022, the firm closed 10 deals (12% of all deals closed) valued at $53.5 billion. Wilkie Farr joined the top 5 firms this quarter by closing two large deals: Take-Two Interactive Software’s acquisition of Zynga Inc. for $12.7 billion and Berkshire Hathaway’s $11.6 billion  acquisition of Alleghany Corporation. Wachtell rounded out the top 5, just as it did in Q4, advising on 6 deals valued at $23.5 billion. 

Notably absent from the table this quarter is Latham & Watkins, which had snagged the top spot in Q4, but fell just shy with $22.7 billion closed. 


Technology, media, and telecom was hot this quarter, with transactions in the industry accounting for 21% of all activity, followed by business services deals, which had held the top spot last quarter but made up 16% of deals in Q1. Along with financial institutions, these top three industries accounted for a slim majority of all M&A transactions closed during the period.           

While Q1 2022 represents a deceleration in activity from the robust deal volume of Q4 2021, analysts anticipated that the M&A boom will continue throughout 2022.