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Private equity: LBO
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Latham & Watkins advises the largest private equity funds on the largest LBOs and secondary transactions. It advised Partners Group on the €1.8bn buyout of Foncia and acted for Ardian on the €700m sale of Novacap. Astorg Partners, Bain Capital, BC Partners and Bridgepoint are other clients. Leading figures Thomas Forschbach and Olivier du Mottay are recommended along with Gaëtan Gianasso and Denis Criton.
Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP’s team is ‘best in class’, according to clients, and routinely advises the largest private equity funds on LBOs and secondary transactions. Highlights included advising Qualium Investissement with the divestment of Quick, acted for PAI Partners on the sale of Global Closure Systems, and helped Carlyle to sell B&B Hotels. Advent International, Apax Partners, Ardian, Astorg Partners and Chequers Capital are all clients. Practice head David Aknin is the rain-maker. The ‘experienced, hardworking and creative’ Jean Beauchataud is also recommended along with Frédéric Cazals, Alexandre Duguay and Emmanuelle Henry.
Ashurst LLP was recently instructed on a series of large LBO and other transactions for Charterhouse, including its buyout of Cooper and its €1bn divestment of Webhelp. The firm also advised ICG with the sale of Parkeon. The 14-lawyer team is led by the highly regarded Guy Benda, Bertrand Delaunay, Yann Gozal and Nicolas Barberis.
Clifford Chance advises leading private equity houses, such as Apax Partners, Carlyle and KKR on large LBOs. Highlights included assisting PAI Partners with the €800m acquisition of B&B Hotels, advising CD&R on the buyout of BUT and assisting Cinven with the sale of Prezioso. Fabrice Cohen, Gilles Lebreton and Laurent Schoenstein are the key names in the practice. Marianne Pezant is now a partner.
A market leader for mid-cap deals, DLA Piper fields over 30 lawyers and handles a high volume of transactions for a wide range of clients. The team is also increasingly earning large-cap mandates. Highlights included advising on Ardian’s acquisition of Solina and Montefiore Investment’s LBO of Isabel Marant. Abenex, BPI France, Bridgepoint and Carlyle are also clients. Xavier Norlain heads the practice, which notably also includes Michel Frieh, Laurence Masseran and Jérémy Scemama.
The ‘excellent’ team at De Pardieu Brocas Maffei includes ‘strong, rapid and smart professionals’. The practice often advises on mid-cap deals while also picking up instructions on the largest instructions. It assisted Siparex and Crédit Agricole with the acquisition of a minority stake in Prosol and assisted Cathay Capital with its LBO of DataWords. Jean-François Pourdieu is the key name in the practice, which also notably includes the ‘smart, quick and efficient’ Cédric Chanas. Maxime Dequesne joined Lamartine Conseil in December 2016.
US firm Goodwin made headlines when it opened in Paris in summer 2016 by hiring a top private equity team from the defunct King & Wood Mallesons Paris. The highly experienced 20-lawyer team is retained by major investment funds, is a leader in the mid-cap market and regularly attracts large transactions. Highlights included assisting the management with Foncia’s €2bn LBO led by Partners Group and acted for Equistone Partners Europe in the secondary buyout of Adista. The six partners are Maxence Bloch, Jérôme Jouhanneaud, Thomas Maitrejean, William Robert, Pierre-Louis Sévegrand and the ‘quick, courageous and loyal’ Christophe Digoy. The firm also hired Arnaud David, who co-headed King & Wood Mallesons Paris’ leading fund formation practice.
Linklaters ‘consistently outperforms clients’ expectations’. The team is ‘autonomous, provides sound and constructive advice, and approaches tough negotiations strategically’; the practice is ‘fully committed to its clients and shows an amazing degree of responsiveness’. It advises many leading international private equity firms on large transactions and is able to leverage complementary leading expertise in banking and tax. The team recently advised BC Partners and PSP Investments on their acquisition of a majority stake in Keter. Other work included acting for CVC Capital Partners, Eurazeo, ICG and other minority shareholders on the sale of Petit Forestier. Fabrice de La Morandière heads the practice. The ‘amazingly talented’ Vincent Ponsonnaille is ‘down-to-earth and gives insightful advice on how to approach a transaction’.
Mayer Brown’s 21-lawyer team assists many leading investment funds and ‘benefits from excellent tax and very good finance complementary expertise’. The practice is a recognised leader in the mid-cap market and ably handles large-cap transactions, where it often advises the management. Highlights included advising Alpha on the acquisition of Feu Vert, as well as acting for Sandro-Maje-Claudie Pierlot during its sale by LBO. LBO France, Eurazeo, Activa, Argos Soditic and Bridgepoint are also clients. The excellent Guillaume Kuperfils heads the practice. Xavier Jaspar, tax partner Laurent Borey and Olivier Aubouin are also highly recommended; Emily Pennec, Alexandre Dejardin, Thomas Philippe and Jean-François Louit are other names to note.
Paul Hastings LLP’s lawyers ‘do deliver, work hard and are experts’. The team is a leader in the mid-cap market and is slowly gaining market share in larger transactions. It assists investment funds as well as management clients. Highlight included advising Astorg Partners on the sale of Saverglass. Practice head Olivier Deren is recommended along with Pascal de Moidrey and Alexis Terray, who ‘combines diplomatic flairs with sound knowledge of how to structure a deal’.
Scotto & Associés has top-rated practice for management advice in large or mid-cap LBO transactions. The team notably assisted the respective management boards during SGD’s €800m acquisition by JIC and Armacell’s €960m buyout by Blackstone. The 25-lawyer team is led by the highly regarded Lionel Scotto le Massese. Other key figures in the practice include Nicolas Menard-Durand, Claire Revol-Renié and Isabelle Cheradame. Thomas Bourdeaut, who joined from Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP and who ‘perfectly understands clients’ expectations’, provides the firm with complementary M&A and capital markets expertise.
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP has strong experience of large LBO transactions and is entrusted by major private equity firms. The firm recently assisted PAI Partners with its €750m acquisition of Ethypharm and advised IK Investment Partners on the purchase of a majority stake in Marle International. Ekkio, Qualium and Latour Capital are also clients. Eduardo Fernandez, Christophe Garaud, Daniel Hurstel and Gabriel Flandin are the key contacts.