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    • George Weston - Harneys

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Conyers Dill & Pearman is regularly involved in large, complex corporate transactions in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). BVI corporate head Robert Briant focuses on M&A, joint venture companies and investment vehicles; he also provides specialist advice to hedge funds and private equity funds. Briant acted as BVI counsel to North West Company, a Canadian-based, publicly traded retailer that specialises in serving smaller countries and regions, on its acquisition of a majority stake in Road Town Wholesale Trading. Anton Goldstein has particular expertise in M&A and private equity; he advised NYSE-listed US manufacturing giant Corning on its $305m acquisition of NASDAQ-listed Fiber Optics Products. Audrey Robertson and Cora Miller are the key counsels.

Harneysprovides an outstanding level of service; the team’s response times are very impressive, it always manages clients’ expectations, meets deadlines, and the advice is to the point’. The corporate practice spans high-value M&A deals and significant funds matters. Greg Boyd advised Emerson Electric Company’ on the BVI law aspects of its $3.15bn acquisition of the valves and controls business of Irish public limited company, Pentair. Key partners include BVI corporate and funds head Philip Graham; Greg Boyd, who has a strong emerging markets focus; BVI corporate and commercial head Jacqueline Daley-Aspinall, who is ‘very responsive, knowledgeable and gets to the point’; recently promoted partner Oliver Bell; and Peter Tarn, who returned to the BVI after several years as London managing partner. The recommended senior associates are George Weston and Sarah Rockhead. Nadia Menezes joined as counsel from Appleby.

Walkers BVI is highly rated for its advice on complex, cross-border transactions. Notable clients include, for whom the team acted, as BVI legal adviser, on its agreement to acquire Souq Group, the BVI holding company of the business, an e-commerce leader in the Middle East. BVI investment funds head Ashley Gunning specialises in the formation of hedge and private equity funds, as well as in all aspects of corporate work, restructuring and M&A, with experience in international transactions. BVI managing partner David Collins, Ashley Davies, as well as senior counsels Nick Egan and BVI regulatory head Lisa Penn-Lettsome are also highly regarded. John Gosling retired from the practice, while the ‘excellent’ Patrick Ormond joined from Carey Olsen and Rowena Lawrence relocated to the firm’s BVI office from Hong Kong.

Appleby’s ‘level of service is consistently high; the lawyers are extremely responsive, deliver prompt and clear advice, and take a commercial approach’. The practice is widely recognised for its experience in the energy, infrastructure and natural resources sectors, with regular instructions across Asia, Latin America and Africa. The office also has specialised insurance expertise. Highlights included acting as counsel for Repsol on the sale of shares in its BVI subsidiary to BP. The team also advised Alpine Partners VI on the establishment of Alpine Partners (BVI), as a professional mutual fund. Key contacts include BVI corporate group head Jeffrey Kirk, Andrew Jowett and the ‘technically very competent’ David Clark.

Maples and Calder’s corporate lawyers handle complex M&A deals, private equity matters, restructuring, and corporate advisory work. BVI managing partner and corporate and finance head Richard May acted for Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries on a $40.5bn acquisition of Allergan’s generics business, reportedly the largest M&A deal in Israeli history; the firm’s role primarily involved due diligence regarding the BVI subsidiaries within the Allegan group and advising on the reorganisation of the relevant board of directors. Recently promoted partner Ruairi Bourke is ‘very easy to deal with and attentive to clients’ needs’. Christopher Newton joined as partner from Ogier, while former funds and regulatory head Tim Clipstone left the firm.

Ogier’s BVI corporate head Michael Killourhy advises on a broad range of corporate transactional matters, with particular emphasis on public offerings, M&A deals and corporate restructurings. He acted for China Lending Corporation (formerly DT Asia Investments) on its acquisition of Adrie Global Holdings, China-incorporated Urumqi Feng Hui Direct Lending’s holding company. BVI finance head Ray Wearmouth as well as senior associates Rebecca Clark and Christian Burns-Di Lauro, who both relocated from the firm’s Jersey office, are recommended. Former senior associate Christopher Newton joined Maples and Calder.

Mourant Ozannes’ handles M&A transactions, joint venture and private equity transactions, and restructurings. Rachael McDonald heads the BVI finance and corporate department; she led advice to MegaFon on its $740m acquisition of a majority stake in Mail.Ru, which operates Russia’s three largest language social networks and Russia’s largest online gaming business. Nathaniel Luker is a key counsel; and Samuel Malpass, who is ‘a very hard worker’, and Jude Hanley are recommended associates. Former counsel Marie-Claire Fudge and former associate Marianne Wilson left the jurisdiction.

Carey Olsen acts in international M&A mandates involving the BVI; the team is well known for advising BVI-registered clients listed on the London Stock Exchange and other exchanges. The practice advised Lime Rock Partners on the sale of Tercel Oilfield Products to Rubicon Oilfield International. Clinton Hempel, who splits his time between South Africa and the BVI, leads the firm’s global BVI corporate practice. Counsel Elizabeth Killeen returned to the BVI office from the firm’s Singapore office and Sharon Mungall is a key senior associate.

Forbes Hareprovides good response times and value for money’. The practice is experienced in general corporate work and is regularly instructed on international cross-border transactions, including M&A, IPOs, joint ventures, public and private equity transactions, and corporate restructurings. Corporate head José Santos, who is ‘highly knowledgeable about BVI law’ has vast expertise in US and Latin American-related offshore transactions. Andrew Coddington left for Al Busaidy, Mansoor Jamal & Co in Oman.

O'Neal Webster’s ‘lawyers always make themselves available and provide a great service’. The practice is best known for advising on BVI laws in relation to corporate formation, corporate restructuring, M&A, and regulatory advice during cross-border deals. The team also has real estate and construction expertise. Vanessa King is corporate and commercial head; managing partner Kerry Anderson is ‘always calm and has great people skills’; Willa Tavernier is business and property head; and Christopher Simpson is also highly rated.

Price Demers & Co is ‘extremely responsive, thorough and precise in its work; and the team has a good understanding of clients’ business needs’. The practice conducts due diligence on international business transactions involving BVI companies, including the acquisition of BVI companies and purchase of assets through BVI holding companies. Susan Demers is ‘dedicated, thoughtful and precise’.

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