The Legal 500

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It was a story of two halves for capital markets in 2015. The first six months saw a continuation of the strong activity that had characterised trading on exchanges across the world, while the second half of the year saw concerns over the Chinese economy and the drop in commodity prices, fuelling a drop in activity. This downward trend continued into 2016 and the UK markets were particularly affected by investor concerns surrounding the EU referendum. There were, however, a few noteworthy offerings during this period, such as Motorpoint’s £240m AIM flotation.

Global macro-economic and political headwinds also contributed to a slowdown in M&A deals in the first quarter of 2016. This represents a notable contrast to 2015, which had been a blockbuster year for global M&A: more than $5tn of deals were announced throughout 2015, surpassing the $4.6tn record set in 2007. Pharmaceuticals, financial services and TMT have been active sectors, and plenty of distressed M&A has been seen in the energy space following continually low oil prices. On the competition side, more merger control enforcement from the CMA and sector regulators has been a notable trend, and state aid work is becoming a larger part of firms’ remit.

The OECD’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project really came to the fore for tax lawyers, with clients increasingly seeking advice on its implementation and compliance requirements. This has resulted in the tax practices of City firms seeing a rise in standalone instructions, particularly as M&A support work has dipped. These practices are also increasingly diversifying, adding indirect tax as well as litigation capabilities, which are now of greater concern to clients.

Commercial contracts

Index of tables

  1. Commercial contracts
  2. Leading individuals

Baker & McKenzie LLP has ‘an impressive ability to advise on wide-ranging as well as country-specific legal issues’. Duncan Reid-Thomas’s expertise spans various types of commercial agreements, including public and private procurements, manufacturing agreements and services agreements. Reid-Thomas and Michelle Bawn are advising CSL on matters arising from its $275m acquisition of Novartis’ global influenza vaccine business. Other key names include Steve Holmes, an expert in the telecommunications and media sectors, and technology and outsourcing lawyer Harry Small.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLPrecognises its role not just as lawyers, but also as business advisers’. The firm’s extensive practice handles commercial and IT outsourcing, as well as all other contract types for a roster of blue-chip UK and international clients including Dell, Nike and Travelex. Richard Shaw and Mark Lewis head the group, which include Marcus Pearl, whose experience ‘enables him to troubleshoot issues encountered in negotiations’, and IT and outsourcing expert Usman Wahid.

Bird & Bird LLP has ‘a depth of industry knowledge’ that covers large-scale commercial and IT/technology outsourcing transactions, as well as commercial agreements involving supply and manufacturing, sales, distributorship and joint ventures. Clients include TomTom, EE and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Simon Shooter and Ronald Hendrikx lead the team, which includes data protection and cyber law expert James Mullock, who recently joined from Osborne Clarke.

DLA Piper’s sizeable global footprint makes the firm well placed to advise on UK and multi-jurisdictional commercial contracts, distribution transactions and outsourcing. Kit Burden worked with the Stockholm office to advise HCL Technologies on its acquisition of Volvo’s IT services arm. Iain Bowler leads the team, which includes new recruits Mark Dewar and senior associate Michiko Jo, who joined from Simmons & Simmons.

Fieldfisher’s workload includes joint ventures, brand and technology licensing agreements, and franchising contracts. Simon Briskman advised eBay on its joint venture with Argos for click and collect services. The firm also acts for customers and suppliers in global technology outsourcing projects. Robert Shooter and David Bond head the group, which was joined by Rob Sheldon and Sam Jardine from DWF and Watson Burton LLP, respectively.

Hogan Lovells International LLP is ‘up there with the best’ in the commercial contracts arena, and attracts particular praise for its ‘partner-level engagement’. Peter Watts and Helen McGowan acted for Twentieth Century Fox on its sponsorship agreement with Manchester United. Paul Joukador, Richard Welfare and Andrew Skipper are also recommended. Other clients include ITV, SABMiller and Uber. Mark Taylor joined Osborne Clarke in 2015.

Travers Smith LLP’s team ‘advises on commercial realities rather than just pure legal positions’. In addition to handling day-to-day commercial issues, the team deals with outsourcing arrangements, joint ventures, supply agreements and distribution, among other matters. Recent highlights include assisting Cuba Mountain Coffee Company with its European distribution arrangements. Tom Purton’s team includes ‘creative thinker’ Ben Chivers, Dan Reavill and Richard Brown.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP’s clients include Sainsbury’s, Aviva, HSBC and Diageo, as well as start-ups and public sector bodies. Jonathan Davey is advising a subsidiary of the Danish government on various aspects (including procurement) of an undersea road and rail tunnel between Denmark and Germany. Fiona Ghosh and managing associate Robert Garwood are ‘exceptional’ and Paul Bentham is also recommended. Toni Vitale joined from Willis Towers Watson.

In an illustration of Allen & Overy LLP’s ability to leverage cross-disciplinary expertise to handle high-end projects, Jim Ford acted for The Yokohama Rubber Company on the negotiation of a five-year, $300m sponsorship agreement with Chelsea Football Club. Other clients of Jane Finlayson-Brown’s highly rated team include Novartis, Amazon and Virgin Group. Nigel Parker made partner in 2015.

CMS regularly undertakes international commercial and outsourcing work across a wide range of sectors, and has particular strengths in regulated industries such as life sciences, financial services, energy and utilities, and e-health/telemedicine, which is a notable growth area. Sarah Hanson, John Armstrong, Ian Stevens, Alan Nelson and ‘phenomenally talented’ senior associate Paul Silver are recommended. Juan Crosby joined PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal LLP, while senior associate Loretta Pugh recently joined from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP.

In addition to advising on day-to-day matters, Dentons has notable strength handling sizeable UK and cross-border deals. The group’s client base is drawn from a wide range of industries, and has a particularly notable following among retail sector clients, including ASOS, Argos and John Lewis. Martin Fanningbrings a wealth of experience to any deal’.

Led by David Lowe, Gowling WLG’s team assists with R&D contracts, shareholders’ agreements and joint ventures, as well as large-scale outsourcing arrangements and other big-ticket matters requiring strategic commercial solutions. Highlights included acting for Transport for London on the re-letting of its cycle hire scheme. Aston Martin, CBRE and Rugby Football Union are other notable clients.

Jeremy Schrire’s team at King & Wood Mallesons provides ‘practical and robust solutions’ on outsourcing, procurement and all other types of commercial arrangements. Schrire and Gretchen Scott (who relocated to the London office from Dubai) are advising Ladbrokes on a joint venture to introduce online betting to the Chinese market. James Walsh joined from Eversheds LLP.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP has a first-rate reputation for complex multi-jurisdictional outsourcing projects. In 2015, Sean Keaton, Joel Harrison and others acted for WPP in a number of global outsourcing services agreements, covering WPP’s agencies in more than 100 countries worldwide. Global practice head Laurence Jacobs is particularly well known for his outsourcing expertise.

Norton Rose Fulbright advises customers and suppliers on high-value, complex commercial contracts, including franchising arrangements, procurement and outsourcing agreements. The firm’s broad geographical coverage sees it act for multinational clients including Pfizer, Saab and GlaxoSmithKline. Mike Knapper handles commercial matters involving intellectual property, technology transfer and licensing, among other issues. James Russell and Peter Hall are also recommended.

Olswang LLP’s highly regarded practice handles IT outsourcing, BPO and procurement transactions, among other matters, and its clients include BP, Marks & Spencer and Vodafone. Dominic Dryden led advice to Unilever on outsourcing its service desk, desk-side support and device management operations to Unisys. Dryden jointly heads the practice with Matthew Bennett.

Pinsent Masons LLP recently advised Equiniti on its bid to provide primary care support services procurement to NHS England. The firm also advises on major BPOs for public sector clients such as the Ministry of Justice and the Department for Work and Pensions. Other strengths include distressed outsourcing projects, and advice to financial services clients on payments, platform and renegotiation projects. Simon Colvin has ‘comprehensive sectoral knowledge’. David Isaac, who was recently appointed as Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, remains a key member of the team.

RPC’s commercial contracts expertise is complemented by strengths in areas such as data protection, advertising/marketing, digital, and intellectual property. The firm is also a go-to for big-ticket strategic matters. Oliver Bray and Robert Johnson assisted Coca-Cola Enterprises with various matters, including negotiating a major online sales agreement with Amazon. Other clients include Google, Betfair and Virgin Media. Anna Cook joined Bristows LLP.

Slaughter and May handles the full spectrum of outsourcing matters. In a recent highlight, Rob Sumroy acted as lead adviser to Royal Mail on a £1bn transformational IT multi-sourcing project. In another highlight, Sumroy, David Ives and others assisted RSA with re-tendering its strategic, long-term and multi-jurisdictional IT infrastructure outsourcing arrangements.

Ashurst’s outsourcing work spans technology and BPO transactions, as well as defence, technology and government services mandates. Philip Vernon and others advised DEFRA on government outsourcing of the Thames Tideway Tunnel. Elsewhere, the firm’s commercial contracts work included assisting Merlin Entertainments with procurement of a new passport ticketing system. Hiroyuki Iwamura made partner in 2015.

Bond Dickinson LLP undertakes large-scale outsourcing mandates and advises on commercial contracts for clients across a number of sectors, including retail, chemicals and transport. Paula Bartlett is leading a multi-disciplinary team on the delivery of the Post Office Network Transformation programme. Other clients include Citibank, Network Rail and Kingfisher. Kim Walker has expertise in projects with intellectual property aspects.

Tim Sewart’s team at DAC Beachcroft LLP advises private and public sector clients on a wide range of matters, including outsourcing agreements, technology licensing, PFI and PPP. Reg Dhanjal is another key name in the group, whose clients include AXA, EE and the Department of Health.

Eversheds LLP negotiates outsourcing agreements and other business-critical transactions (often involving an international component) for clients such as Anglo American and Selfridges; Simon Gamlin advised the latter on a logistics outsourcing contract with DHL. Richard Prowse and Alison Brearey are also recommended. Agnes Koko made partner, while Craig Rogers joined the firm from IBM.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s multi-disciplinary team ‘operates to a high standard’ in large-scale, cross-border and business-critical matters. Global TMT head Nick Elverston and senior associate Hayley Brady are advising Google on legal and commercial issues concerning its expansion into new products. Nick Pantlin heads the commercial, outsourcing and IT practice for the UK and Europe.

Latham & Watkins’ team acts on high-value and complex global business process, IT and network outsourcing transactions for clients including Aviva, Endurance and Markit. It has a particularly strong track record handling transformational, business-critical projects for financial services clients. Andrew Moyle is recommended along with Ulrich Wuermeling, who recently relocated to the London office from Frankfurt.

Linklaters LLP advises customers and suppliers on the full spectrum of public and private sector IT and BPO transactions. Richard Cumbley led the team’s advice to Sainsbury’s on outsourcing IT support and infrastructure to Tata Consultancy Services. Marly Didizian is ‘unshakeable in negotiations’ and James Harbach is noted for his ‘superb intellect’.

John Buyers’ team at Osborne Clarke acts for clients ranging from start-up businesses to multinationals in the financial services, retail, energy, transport and automotive, and digital business sectors. The group’s varied workload covers smart meter procurements, logistics contracts and retail sector franchise and concession agreements. Insignia, Fitbit and Vodafone are notable clients.

Noted for its strengths in complex multi-jurisdictional transactions, Simmons & Simmons handles cutting-edge outsourcing and technology deals for UK-based and international clients across the finance, consumer products and life sciences sectors, among others. O2 Telefónica and Virgin Media are among its key clients. Alexander Brown, Hinal Patel and James Cotter are recommended. Mark Dewar joined DLA Piper.

Helen Scott-Lawler’s team at Burges Salmon LLP has a strong track record for novel and complex national and cross-border commercial matters. John Houlden, Keith Beattie and Matthew Ramus are acting as lead advisers to Ascent Flight Training, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Babcock, on its 25-year contract with the Ministry of Defence for the provision of a groundbreaking training system for the UK’s armed forces.

Although Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’s expertise spans a wide range of sectors, the firm has a particularly strong reputation in sport, retail and TMT. Practice head Jason Saiban was lead adviser to Nike on the expiry of its sponsorship deal with Manchester United. Other clients include Westfield, which the team assists with strategic matters and day-to-day issues. David Berry, Natalie Elsborg and Jaclyn Wilkins are also recommended.

Highly regarded for complex UK and international mandates, Covington & Burling LLP has a strong focus on the life sciences, technology, chemicals and sports sectors. Highlights included advising Astra Zeneca on an agreement with ProStrakan Group for the rights to Moventig in Europe. Other clients include Microsoft, Sanofi and Indivior. Louise Nash (who is a ‘strong negotiator’) and Daniel Pavin are recommended.

Holman Fenwick Willan combines wide sector coverage and a track record in high-value cross-border mandates. Anthony Woolich worked with the Hong Kong office to advise Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company on issues concerning the high-profile restructuring of two joint venture companies. Energy and resources head Alistair Mackie and head of logistics Craig Neame are other key names. In 2015, Jayson Marks joined from Pinsent Masons LLP.

Kemp Little LLP’s team advises on BPO and IT outsourcing for customers and suppliers, in addition to handling advertising and sponsorship, procurement and product supply chain issues. In 2015, ‘exceptional business partner’ Tania Williams and Susan Biddle joined from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP and Pinsent Masons LLP, respectively. Calum Murray and Paul O’Hare are other key individuals.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP is highly regarded for complex, multi-jurisdictional mandates and large-scale matters that are business-critical and strategically significant. Mike Pierides and Terence Lau are assisting Fujitsu with renegotiating its HMRC Aspire IT services agreement with the HMRC. Tim Wright is ‘a pleasure to work with’.

Radiant Law undertakes contract reviews, advises on day-to-day issues, and assists clients with navigating business-critical transactions. Justin Cornish led the advice to SABMiller on global cloud computing outsourcing transactions with Microsoft, Dimension Data and IBM. Jason McQuillen and Andrew Sutherland are also recommended.

Reed Smith LLP’s multi-disciplinary team assists clients with a broad cross-section of matters, including outsourcing and procurement, licensing, franchising and distribution. Sakil Suleman is advising Debenhams on its launch of local international websites in various jurisdictions, and is assisting Channel 4 with a licensing and software integration project associated with its VoD offering.

David Jackson leads Shoosmiths LLP’s national team, which acts for clients such as Coca-Cola Enterprises, DB Schenker and Honda. In addition to handling business-critical outsourcing projects, the group advises on a variety of other matters, including marketing and advertising, and supply chain management. Paul De Vince acted as lead adviser to British American Tobacco in a supply chain and logistics project with DHL.

Christopher Jeffery and Graham Hann are the key contacts at Taylor Wessing LLP, which has particular expertise in financial services, data centre and recruitment sector outsourcings. Clients include Visa, esure and DC Thomson.

At Bircham Dyson Bell, pathology sector expert Peter McLoughlin is particularly experienced in pathology outsourcings. Elsewhere, the firm advises clients from a wide range of sectors on joint ventures, distribution agreements, and IT and software contracts. Hollie Gallagher, Paul Voller and senior associate Penny Bygrave are also recommended.

Carol Osborne and Paula Levitan jointly lead the team at Bryan Cave, which has particular sector specialisms in retail and luxury brands, as well as hospitality and leisure. Cross-border work is a key facet of the practice, which acts for clients including Sephora USA, Byredo and Estée Lauder. Sarah Atkinson recently joined from Hogan Lovells International LLP.

Clifford Chance is highly regarded for global technology and business outsourcing transactions. André Duminy advised EVRY on its billion-dollar IT outsourcing agreement with IBM. In another highlight, Jonny Myers acted for Inmarsat on its strategic alliance with Deutsche Telekom for a combined LTE-based ground and satellite network.

Farrer & Co undertakes high-end mandates in the media, arts and heritage, education, technology and outsourcing arenas. Paul Jones acted for The Art Fund on its acquisition of the Minton collection from WWRD, and subsequent gift to Stoke-on-Trent City Archives. Peter Wienand and David Copping are recommended. Anthony Misquitta joined Keystone Law.

Fladgate LLP’s Eddie Powell led the advice to MLCG on the negotiation of a multi-year exclusive supply agreement with NISA as part of its acquisition of 140 convenience stores from Morrisons. In another highlight, Alan Wetterhahn assisted BGO with an online and TV advertising campaign. Other clients include Digital Cinema Media and Krannich Solar.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is a strong choice for big-ticket, cross-border and business-critical matters. It covers the full spectrum of advice to clients, including outsourcing and procurement, licensing, distribution and franchising. Andrew Craig handles IP aspects of M&A, technology-related transactions and standalone outsourcing work.

Robert Lands’ team at Howard Kennedy LLP acts for clients from a wide variety of industries, including sport, publishing and retail. Intellectual property expert Jonathan Sellors acts for clients in the media and technology sectors. Another key name in the group, Brian Eagles, advised Liberty Bell Television on commercial agreements connected with its TV show Money Pit.

Jonathon Little leads Jones Day’s practice, which assists clients with IT, BPO and other outsourcing arrangements. It also advises on a broad range of commercial contracts, including agency and distribution agreements, and e-commerce arrangements. Clients include Goldman Sachs, Esselte and Spanx.

Led by Neil Baylis, K&L Gates LLP’s team advises on a range of commercial issues, including data protection, intellectual property, media rights and IT. Baylis advises The Works Products Limited on various types of agreements, including those concerning manufacturing, marketing and design consulting. Jeremy Davis, Andrew Danson and Jennifer Marsh are other notable individuals.

Lewis Silkin LLP has a number of core sector strengths, including creative industries such as technology, media and publishing, as well as gaming and financial services. James Gill’s team was joined by Nathalie Moreno from Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, and David Deakin from Wiggin LLP. Consultants Nigel Gibb and Alan Davis are other key additions.

Rupert Casey and Jeremy Courtenay-Stamp are the key figures at Macfarlanes LLP, which advises on a wide range of matters, including advertising, outsourcing, franchising and distribution, for a client base drawn from a range of sectors, including food and drink, financial services and sport.

Peter Dickinson and Mark Prinsley jointly lead Mayer Brown International LLP’s London outsourcing practice, which has a first-rate reputation in domestic and multi-jurisdictional transactions in the financial services, TMT and consumer goods sectors. In 2015, Dickinson led the advice to Zurich Insurance on a global networking and telecommunications agreement with BT.

Mills & Reeve LLP recruited Jayne Hussey and principal associate Ruth Andrew from Pinsent Masons LLP in 2015, bolstering the firm’s capabilities in outsourcing arrangements and supply chain management work in the manufacturing sector. The firm also has a strong public sector capability, where it acts for clients including the Department of Health, Ministry of Defence and Financial Conduct Authority. Greg Gibson heads the team.

Alistair Maughan leads Morrison & Foerster (UK) LLP’s commercial and technology practice, which acts for public and private sector clients in strategic, business-critical projects. Maughan is advising three UK government departments on issues arising from their contracts with Airwave Services for the provision of emergency mobile radio coverage.

Squire Patton Boggs handles a mix of UK and international commercial contracts work covering a diverse range of sectors including advertising/media, IT and pharmaceuticals. Robert Wegenek is acting for Ogilvy & Mather and J Walter Thompson in their prospective re-appointment to provide global advertising and marketing services to Unilever. Andrew Wilkinson leads the group.

In 2015, Stephenson Harwood’s Dan Holland acted for Chef Express on its tender to provide catering services on East Midlands trains. Jonathan Kirsop is experienced in negotiating franchising and distribution agreements for corporates and financial institutions.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP’s multi-disciplinary team includes Riccardo Abbate, who has particular knowledge of the interplay between IT and intellectual property and handles issues such as database licensing; and James Hawkins, who is recommended for commercial contracts in the public sector, including outsourcing, environmental services and social care projects. Helen Randall and Adrian Jones are also recommended.

Bates Wells Braithwaite undertakes a significant amount of work for charities, not-for-profit organisations and public bodies; clients include the Royal College of Nursing and British Council. Richard Marke, heads the practice, which also acts for well-known brands, such as Nikon UK, Olympus and Thomson Directories. Areas of expertise include franchises, distribution and supply arrangements, and joint ventures.

At Blake Morgan LLP, Simon Stokes and his team assist with negotiating technology and outsourcing contracts, in addition to various other commercial contracts, for clients in the retail, manufacturing and financial services sectors.

Bristows LLP’s varied commercial workload includes BPO and IT outsourcing, advertising and sponsorship, and licensing agreements. Practice head Matthew Warren is particularly experienced in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors. Laura Anderson, Fiona Nicolson and Marek Petecki are other key individuals.

Clarkslegal LLP assists UK-based and international clients with complex joint ventures and procurements, as well as all other types of multi-party commercial transactions. Senior consultant Kirstin Parker and Ashan Arif jointly lead the team, which acts for clients including Carillion and Royal Berkshire Fire Authority.

Fox Williams LLP mainly acts for clients in the fashion and technology industries, and the majority of its instructions have a cross-border component. It has a particular specialism in agency, distributorship and supply agreements. Stephen Sidkin leads the practice, which acts for Duck and Cover Clothing, Hudson Shoe Agencies and SuperGroup.

Irwin Mitchell handles a wide variety of commercial agreements for clients such as Nuffield Health, Purdicom and Greenwich Leisure. Stuart Padgham and Daniel Hedley, who ‘combine technical expertise with commercial sense’, are recommended alongside Kim Walker.

Keystone Law made several hires in 2015, including Anthony Misquitta, formerly of Farrer & Co. Sports law specialist Morris Bentata, who joined from Sheridans, is another name to note. Clients include Artis Education, Inbay and Chartered Trading Standards Institute.

Tim Ryan’s team at Memery Crystal LLP won new work in 2015 from clients such as Bigballs Media and Ubiquitous. It handles a broad spectrum of agreements, including franchise and distribution, and those concerning the supply and purchase of goods and services.

Mishcon de Reya LLP handles a range of commercial agreements in matters that are particularly complex, high-profile or otherwise strategically significant. The firm’s clients span a variety of sectors, including sport, life sciences, IT/digital and financial services. Lewis Cohen is a key contact.

Penningtons Manches LLP has particular core strengths in retail and fashion, technology, life sciences and publishing. Clients include Tata Group, Kimal and Catexel. Anna Frankum and Chris Shelley are key contacts.

Juan Crosby, who joined from CMS, heads PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal LLP’s practice, which has expertise in intra-group agreements, distribution agreements and joint ventures, among other matters. The ABS law firm also has access to a sizeable international legal network.

Simon Goldberg leads Simons Muirhead & Burton’s practice, which has particular sector expertise in retail, IT, publishing, and media and entertainment. Sports and broadcasting sector expert Marc Sobol joined in 2015 from an in-house role at Wasserman Media Group. Clients include Premiership Rugby, Alexa Chung and C3UK.

Stevens & Bolton LLP’s clients range from SMEs to large companies including Kia Motors and SABMiller. Beverley Whittaker leads the team, which includes franchising expert Nicola Broadhurst and Beverley Flynn. Gary Parnell joined from Clyde & Co LLP.

At Wedlake Bell LLP, practice head Adrian Heath-Saunders is advising Axpo on commercial arrangements for the cross-border transportation of nuclear waste. Other clients include Lufthansa, Hugo Boss and Jumeirah Carlton Tower.

Weightmans LLP advises on a wide range of contracts and assists with major transactions for clients such as universities, local authorities and large corporates. Paul Raftery’s team acted for Queen Mary University of London on its establishment of a medical school in Malta. Capita, Sonoco and Whitbread Group are also clients.

Corporate tax

Index of tables

  1. Corporate tax
  2. Leading individuals

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s sizeable team includes Colin Hargreaves, Sarah Falk and Helen Lethaby, who have handled high-profile transactions for key clients BG Group, Anheuser-Busch InBev and BT. Practice head David Haworth advises a number of prominent financial institutions on high-profile cross-border transactions, legislative changes and tax structuring. Also recommended are finance specialist Paul Davison and Murray Clayson, who leads on international transfer pricing.

Sara Luder heads the ‘consistently impressive’ team at Slaughter and May, which covers high-profile transactions, as well as standalone tax advisory work and transfer pricing. Highlights included acting for Royal Dutch Shell on the tax aspects of its proposed £47bn acquisition of BG Group. Other names to note include Steve Edge, who ‘impresses with his intellectual ability and practical approach’, Tony Beare, ‘whose advice is always considered, comprehensive and reliable’, Mike Lane, Gareth Miles and ‘clear communicatorWilliam Watson.

The ‘excellent’ Vimal Tilakapala heads Allen & Overy LLP’s five-partner team, which experienced an increase in deal flow and expansion at associate level in 2015. Lydia Challen advised a group of banks, including Bank of America and Credit Suisse, on the financing of Cerberus Capital Management’s acquisition of approximately $20bn in loans previously held by Northern Rock from the UK government. In another highlight, Christopher Harrison assisted HSBC with the tax implications of the separation of its retail and investment banking businesses. VimpelCom and Coca-Cola Iberian Partners are also clients.

Clifford Chance has ‘excellent industry knowledge and its partners are deeply involved in matters’. The ‘very client-focused’ Chris Davies and his team regularly handle complex cross-border tax issues, both advisory and transactional. Deutsche Telekom, Blackrock and Barclays are recent clients. Other key figures include Dan Neidle, who is ‘highly regarded in the banking industry’, and David Harkness, who is ‘knowledgeable as well as pragmatic’.

Linklaters LLP’s practice, led by ‘pre-eminent tax practitionerYash Rupal, handles a balanced spread of high-profile transactions and complex international tax consultancy work in the corporate, real estate, private equity and finance sectors. Recent highlights include Dominic Winter’s advice to Hutchison International on its £10.25bn purchase of Telefónica, and Mark Kingstone’s advice to Anglo American on its $1.6bn disposal of a 50% interest in Lafarge Tarmac. Timothy Lowe joined Kirkland & Ellis International LLP.

Ashurst attracts praise for its ‘excellent response times, business acumen and technical knowledge’. Energy, transport and infrastructure expert Nicholas Gardner is advising China General Nuclear Power Corporation on the tax aspects of its joint venture with EDF relating to various UK nuclear power projects. Practice head Richard Palmer, private equity and funds specialist Alexander Cox and financial products expert Paul Miller are also recommended.

Baker & McKenzie LLP has a sizeable and fast-growing team of lawyers, tax advisers, accountants and economists who ‘work together to get the job done across disciplines and jurisdictions’. The group handles innovative tax-planning projects and high-profile transactions for clients including Fedex, Towers Watson and Coca-Cola European Partners. Mark Delaney has taken over as practice head from Alex Chadwick, who has been appointed London managing partner. M&A expert James Smith, transfer pricing head Richard Fletcher and Patrick O’Gara are also recommended.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s sizeable practice, headed globally by the ‘technical and very commercialMichael Wistow*, is ‘a go-to team for property tax advice’, and also stands out for its broader transactional expertise. Recent transactional highlights include advising Banque Fédérative du Crédit Mutuel on its acquisition of GE’s equipment finance and receivables finance businesses in France and Germany. The practice also handles private client related tax mandates for family offices and financial institutions. Neal Todd, Elizabeth Bradley and Richard Harbot are also recommended. *Michael Wistow joined White & Case LLP in September 2016.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s recent highlights span real estate, where it assisted private equity fund manager Benson Elliot on the acquisition of a property portfolio; oil and gas, where it advised Antin Infrastructure Partners on its purchase of a 36.2% stake in a North Sea gas pipeline; and IT, which included acting for Atlassion Corporation on its $4.4bn Nasdaq IPO. Global tax head Isaac Zailer, William Arrenberg (whose broad expertise includes cross-border tax planning and structuring), Howard Murray and newly promoted partner Aurell Taussig are all recommended.

Hogan Lovells International LLP acted for GE on the sale of its global real estate equity and debt portfolio business, and advised a leading European retailer on the sale of a business in China. Key figures include Karen Hughes, Philip Harle, Philip Gershuny and transfer pricing expert Fabrizio Lolliri.

The sizeable tax team at Macfarlanes LLP is rated for its combination of ‘technical supremacy and excellent client service’. The ‘creativeAshley Greenbank acted for Altria – the largest shareholder in SAB Miller – on the tax aspects of the brewing giant’s £73bn merger with Anheuser-Busch InBev. Other key figures include practice head Mark Baldwin, who is ‘technically brilliant and a great communicator’, and ‘knowledgeable and very user-friendly’ partners Damien Crossley and James McCredie.

Norton Rose Fulbright attracts praise for its ‘real appreciation of underlying commercial issues’. The firm’s sector-led approach is replicated in the tax team, which includes EMEA tax head and insurance, banking and technology sector specialist Dominic Stuttaford; Matthew Hodkin, who stands out for transport finance and renewable energy; and structured finance experts Chris Bates and Angela Savin. The ‘proactive’ Savin also regularly acts for real estate funds.

At Simmons & Simmons, Nick Cronkshaw’s highlights included advising Macquarie Capital on its acquisition of a 25% stake in an offshore wind farm, while Martin Shah assisted The British Land Company on the structuring, establishment and launch of Broadgate REIT Limited. Finance expert Mark Sheiham is also recommended.

The ‘extremely smart and solutions-oriented’ James Anderson leads Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP’s compact team, which stands out for its cross-border tax capabilities. In addition to its transactional workload, the practice regularly handles standalone tax matters for clients including The Coca-Cola Company and Highbridge Capital. Newly promoted partner Alex Jupp is also recommended. Tim Sanders retired.

DLA Piperprovides a very professional service’ and has ‘an extremely broad level of knowledge in both corporate and real estate tax’. Neville Wright advised Market Tech Holdings on the £900m refinancing of its Camden property portfolio. Practice head Richard Woolichfinds creative solutions to difficult problems, always with an emphasis on practicality and value’. The team was strengthened by the addition of three transfer pricing specialists in 2015.

Gareth Amdor’s team at King & Wood Mallesons regularly handles complex tax structuring mandates for the firm’s private equity and investment fund clients such as Bowmark Capital and Ardian. Recent highlights include advising the UK Green Investment Bank on the establishment of its £1bn fund. Laura Charkin, Stephen Pevsner and real estate expert Clive Jones are key contacts. Giles Bavister joined K&L Gates LLP and former practice head Heather Corben has left the firm.

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP’s ‘excellent practice’ saw considerable change in 2015 and 2016: former Weil, Gotshal & Manges tax head Jonathan Kandel joined in August 2015 alongside Ian Ferreira and Frixos Hatjantonas, and Timothy Lowe joined in February 2016 from Linklaters LLP. These hires add to the already deep expertise of the team, which includes Ian Taplin and the ‘knowledgeable and practicalJane Scobie. They handle private equity, real estate and investment fund related tax matters. Molson Coors Brewing and BNP Paribas are also clients. Oliver Currall left for Sidley Austin LLP.

Latham & Watkins’ tax practice works closely with the firm’s corporate and finance teams to handle the tax aspects of high-profile transactions. Recent highlights include advising Onex Partners on its $4.6bn acquisition of the SIG Combibloc Group, and assisting the initial purchasers with the bond financing of their $2.4bn acquisition of ICBPI. In another highlight, Sean Finn advised Sorin Group on its cross-border merger with Cyberonics, which involved the first-ever dual listing of a newly inverted group formed of US and EU parties. The ‘extremely client-focusedKarl Mah is also recommended.

McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP stands out for its structuring and international tax planning capabilities. Matthew Herrington sits on the business and industry advisory committee to the OECD, giving him significant knowledge of BEPS-related issues, while on the transactional side, practice head Tom Scott advised Olam International on the tax aspects of its $1.3bn acquisition of Archer Daniels Midland Company’s global cocoa business. James Ross regularly works with US-based clients.

In an illustration of Nabarro LLP’s strength in real estate, Nick Burt and his tax team advised LaSalle Investment Management on the establishment of the East India Dock Club fund, and acted for Stratford City Business District on complex pre-let structuring deals. The ‘technically strong and business-minded’ Philip Anderson was promoted to partner, while Kirsten Prichard Jones joined Macfarlanes LLP.

Mark Joscelyne heads Olswang LLP’s ‘technically and commercially very strong and supportive team’, which includes Cliona Kirby, who is ‘very savvy on property and IP tax issues’, Stephen Hignett, whose wide-ranging tax expertise impresses, and the ‘solutions-orientedGraham Chase. TMT and retail are particular sector strengths.

Stephenson Harwood regularly advises on M&A deals, and has been particularly active in complex reorganisations involving significant tax input. Key figures include the ‘responsive and thoroughMaryanna Sharrock, and practice head Hugo Jenney, who is noted for his ‘ability to find creative solutions’. TfL and Schroder UK Real Estate Fund are recent clients.

Private equity and asset management related mandates underpin much of Travers Smith LLP’s tax work. Recent highlights for Emily Clark include advising new client SV Life Sciences on the launch of The Dementia Discovery Fund, while Simon Skinner, who is lauded for his ‘deep technical knowledge’, assisted longstanding client 3i Group with its £105m acquisition of Aspen Pumps. Kathleen Russ heads the practice.

At White & Case LLP, Prabhu Narasimhan advised on the structuring of Novator Partners’ multibillion-dollar fund. Peita Menon, who heads the growing team, is a key contact for transactional tax matters.

At Addleshaw Goddard LLP, Elaine Gwilt has been particularly active on private equity related transactions for clients such as ECI Partners and Bridges Ventures. Peter Sayer has handled a number of real estate deals, including advising Diageo on the sale of Gleneagles Hotel to Enismore Capital.

Stuart Sinclair and his team at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld regularly handle the tax aspects of restructuring and investment funds matters. The group, which includes Jonathan Ivinson, also provides standalone tax advice to a range of clients and acts as principal UK tax adviser to a leading financial institution.

CMS has a transactional tax practice that attracts praise for its ability to ‘make complicated tax accessible’. Key figures include Sam Dames, whose recent clients include Exceptional Innovation, Diageo and Viatel, and Aaron Fairhurst, who is ‘a leading adviser in the M&A insurance industry’.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s diverse team includes a mix of UK and US qualified lawyers who provide both tax advisory services and transactional support, with a particular emphasis on private equity and investment fund related matters. Clients include The Carlyle Group, HarbourVest Partners and Triton Partners. Richard Ward and practice chair Matthew Saronson are key contacts.

Dentons is recommended for its ‘excellent business acumen and client care’. Alex Thomas and his team handle a mix of transactional support and tax-led structuring mandates for a broad client base that includes KSL Capital Partners, Enbridge International and Virgin Group. Jeremy Cape has ‘market-leading knowledge of African tax matters’. Newly promoted partner Andrew Thornton is ‘a rising star of tax law’.

Fieldfisher’s practice includes Andrew Prowse, who is a key contact for transactional tax matters, Nicholas Noble, who is a financial services and funds expert, and employee-owned businesses specialist Graeme Nuttall. Time Warner, Currencies Direct and John Lewis are recent clients.

With partners spread across London and Birmingham, Gowling WLG combines a standalone advisory practice with transactional support capabilities, and acts for a mix of clients ranging from start-ups to multinationals. Key contacts include practice head Lee Nuttall, who regularly handles real estate transactions, and Michael Murphy.

Mayer Brown International LLP’s tax practice is noted for its cross-border reach and its balance of transactional support and standalone advisory capabilities. Practice head Sandy Bhogal advised Brookfield Property Partners on the acquisition of Center Parcs by one of its global real estate opportunity funds. James Hill is the other name to note.

Boutique tax firm NGM Tax Law LLPprovides excellent service in terms of technical knowledge, response times and value for money’. It handles a broad range of transactional and advisory matters, and benefits from strong referral relationships with major law firms. Mark Nichols, Keith Gregory, Stephen Hoyle and Simon Meredith are key contacts.

Ropes & Gray LLP is singled out for its ‘reputation and knowledge of the alternative investment funds and private equity markets’. Practice head Brenda Coleman, whose ‘superb technical skills and solution-driven approach make for a highly impressive tax adviser’, assisted longstanding client Bain Capital with its £414m acquisition and subsequent refinancing and listing of Ibstock. Counsel Andrew Howard is also recommended.

The ‘efficient and very responsive’ team at Shearman & Sterling LLP regularly provides tax advice on multibillion-dollar transactions, including Liberty Global’s $8.2bn acquisition of Cable & Wireless Communications. Newly promoted partner Simon Letherman led advice to Liberty and is recommended alongside practice head Sarah Priestley, whose clients include a number of private equity houses.

Sidley Austin LLP is noted for its ‘state of the art advice’ as well as the diversity of its workload. Practice head Drew Scott is ‘a passionate corporate adviser who brings added value’, and is ably supported by Will Smith and new recruit Oliver Currall, who adds to the team’s private equity credentials.

At Taylor Wessing LLP, ‘attention is paid to properly understand the client’s objectives’. The practice is headed by Peter Jackson, who ‘combines good tax knowledge with an understanding of business practicalities’ and handles a mix of transactional support and structuring work for clients such as Canada Life, McLaren and Inflexion. Nikol Davies is ‘particularly knowledgeable and a pleasure to work with’.

At Weil, Gotshal & Manges, the ‘thoughtful and responsive’ Oliver Walker handled Providence Equity’s £374m acquisition of Chime Communications. In addition to his transactional expertise, Walker also handles employee share scheme matters, and is supported by David Irvine, who is recommended for fund restructuring and insolvency-related tax work. Both were recently made partner, while former practice head Jonathan Kandel left for Kirkland & Ellis International LLP.

Customs and excise

Baker & McKenzie LLP’s ‘very responsive, effective and knowledgeable’ team covers the full spectrum of customs and excise advice, from classification and valuation to investigations and litigation. Practice head Ross Denton and of counsel Jennifer Revis are recommended. Clients include some of the world’s leading multinationals.

At Pinsent Masons LLP, Stuart Walsh and senior associate Jake Landman advise major brewers and global retailers on contentious and non-contentious excise duty matters.

The Khan Partnership LLP is recommended for customs disputes and investigations involving the HMRC, as well as compliance audits. Hassan Khan and Michelle Sloane, who ‘knows the field of tax duties inside out’, regularly act for domestic and international clients from a range of industries.

At Eversheds LLP, Giles Salmond, who is head of indirect tax and tax disputes, recently advised a number of manufacturers and industrial groups on customs compliance matters and HMRC audits.

EU and competition

Index of tables

  1. EU and competition
  2. Leading individuals

Clifford Chance’s ‘very strong’ team had an impressive year, and counts Samsung, NBCUniversal, Cinven and Booker Group among its clients. Led by the ‘calm and practical’ Alex Nourry, who gives ‘robust, cerebral’ advice, the department advised Just Retirement Group on its notification to the CMA of the group’s £1.7bn merger with Partnership Assurance Group. Greg Olsen advised NBCUniversal on the European Commission (EC) investigation of cross-border premium pay-TV content licensing. Jenine Hulsmann and ‘client-focused’ senior associate Chandralekha Ghosh are also recommended.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s team has ‘vast experience and knowledge’, and is praised for its ‘excellent response times’. John Davies advised AB InBev on all antitrust aspects of its £71bn acquisition of SABMiller’s share capital; this included antitrust filings in over 30 jurisdictions. Simon Priddis heads the practice, in which Alastair Chapman is also recommended, and the ‘outstanding’ Martin McElwee is singled out for his impressive handling of Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigations. Senior associate Erika Rittenauer relocated from the Vienna office in December 2015.

Linklaters LLP’s ‘pragmatic’, ‘user-friendly’ department is led by the ‘strategic, client-focusedNicole Kar. The team advised Alent on the merger control aspects of its takeover by Platform Specialty Products, including competition filings in eight jurisdictions. Other clients include Barclays, BP, Glencore and J Sainsbury. Christian Ahlborn, Christopher Bellamy and Simon Pritchard are recommended along with the ‘responsive, commercially focused’ Natura Gracia, who gives ‘clear, concise’ advice.

Philippe Chappatte’s ‘excellent’ nine-partner department at Slaughter and May counts Asda, British Airways, Google and Royal Dutch Shell among its client roster. Recent client wins include Equinix, John Lewis and Ladbrokes. Claire Jeffs, John Boyce and Jordan Ellison assisted Ball Corporation with securing phase two clearance of its acquisition of Rexam. Bertrand Louveaux is praised for his ‘breadth of knowledge’ and ‘spot-on advice’, as is Lisa Wright, for her ‘superb technical knowledge’.

Allen & Overy LLP’s ‘practical’, ‘top-notch’ team counts Lloyds Banking Group, Tullet Prebon and 21st Century Fox among its clients. Jonathan Hitchin and Philip Mansfield, who is described by one client as ‘an absolute rockstar in the competition field’, acted for Hitachi in an EC investigation into cartel conduct in the automotive parts sector. Mark Friend and Antonio Bavasso head the practice, which includes ‘smart and effective’ senior associate Dominic Long, as well as Alasdair Balfour and counsel Thomas Masterman, who have ‘in-depth knowledge’.

Ashurst’s ‘very responsive’ team provides ‘friendly service’; its recent client wins include Countrywide, Pirelli and Nomura. Practice head Nigel Parr acted for Lloyds Banking Group in the CMA’s market investigation into current accounts and the provision of finance to SMEs. Ross Mackenzie advised West of England Trust on the competition elements of the sale of its Jordans Legal Publishing business to LexisNexis. ‘Seasoned veteran’ Duncan Liddell ‘cuts through the detail and draws out the key issues’.

James Quinney heads the team at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, where Veronica Roberts acted for Telefónica on the merger control aspects of its attempted sale of O2 to Hutchison Whampoa, and Stephen Wisking assisted Sky during the EC’s investigation into cross-border premium pay-TV content licensing. Other clients include Pilkington, Reckitt Benckiser and Virgin Atlantic Airways. The ‘very engaging’ Susan Black has ‘a good business focus’, is ‘technically excellent and extremely good at risk assessment’.

Angus Coulter and Suyong Kim jointly lead Hogan Lovells International LLP’s department, which acts for Alstom, Google and Trinity Mirror, among others, and Ofgem is a recent client win. Known for its work on transactions and investigations, the team advised SABMiller on the merger control elements of its £71bn acquisition by AB InBev. In January 2016, Ciara Kennedy-Loest transferred to London from Brussels, and Paul Castlo was promoted to counsel.

Samantha Mobley heads the ‘very strong’ practice at Baker & McKenzie LLP, which advised ADM on an EC filing regarding the acquisition of AOR. Other clients include British American Tobacco, Cargill, Antalis and EDF, the last of which Keith Jones represented during the CMA’s energy market investigation. The ‘technically excellentLuis Gómez is singled out for his ‘good strategic sense and invaluable sense of humour’; Ross Denton is ‘commercially minded and very approachable’. Barclays’ former global competition head Nicola Northway is expected to join the department in the autumn of 2016.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s ‘practical, commercial’ team advised several large banks on the FCA’s market study of investment and corporate banking. Practice head Andrew Hockley and the ‘very approachableJames Marshall assist Thames Water with all competition and regulatory matters; Marshall gives ‘succinct and clearly presented’ advice. Other clients include Hermes Investment Management and Arcadia.

King & Wood Mallesons’ ‘excellent’ department is headed by Tom Usher and Simon Holmes; clients include RBS, Expedia, Diageo and the BBC. Usher advised Ladbrokes on its proposed merger with Gala Coral’s betting and gaming business, a deal which has been fast-tracked to phase two. Stephen Kon and Christophe Humpe are praised for their ‘unrivalled commercial acumen and strategic analysis’. The ‘hugely knowledgeableCameron Firth is also recommended, as is the ‘awesomePhilipp Girardet.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s team is ‘responsive, practical and great value for money’. The ‘excellentIan Giles assisted Delta Air Lines with all its EU competition matters and advised First Utility Limited on the CMA’s investigation of the energy market. Practice head Martin Coleman acted for HSBC in an EC investigation into alleged collusion in connection with the Euro IBOR. Mark Trickeralways goes the extra mile’, and of counsel Caroline Thomas is also recommended.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s ‘responsive’ department includes various ‘well-respected experts’, and delivers ‘first-class service’. The ‘very practical, client-focused’ Guy Lougher heads the team, which acted for E.ON in the CMA’s energy market investigation. Giles Warrington advised Hanson Quarry Products Europe on remedies imposed by the CMA following an investigation into the UK’s aggregates, cement and concrete markets. The ‘hugely experienced’ Jenny Block shows ‘determination’ and has ‘in-depth knowledge’. Angelique Bret made partner in May 2015.

The ‘very good’ practice at Addleshaw Goddard LLP is headed by the ‘solid’, ‘level-headed’ Bruce Kilpatrick, who advised a major international bank on the CMA’s investigation into retail banking, the authority’s largest investigation to date; he also acted for JT Global on its proposed acquisition of Jersey Airtel and Guernsey Airtel from Bharti Group. The team also counts J Sainsbury, Jersey Telecom and William Hill among its clients. Rona Bar-Isaac is also recommended.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s ‘high-calibre’ practice advises clients on merger control, market investigations and territorial broadcasting exclusivity. Practice head Davina Garrod, who is particularly strong in the financial services and technology sectors, is ‘very knowledgeable’ and ‘always up to speed’. She assisted Harman International Industries with obtaining clearance of its €145m purchase of Bang & Olufsen’s automotive audio business, and acted for LEO Pharma regarding the merger control aspects of its €675m acquisition of Astellas Pharma.

Arnold & Porter (UK) LLP’s ‘creative, responsive’ team counts Fair Wear Foundation, Western Digital, GHX and SABIC among its recent client wins. Susan Hinchliffe* heads the practice, which served as co-counsel to General Electric Company on the competition aspects of its £10bn purchase of Alstom. Other clients include Monsanto, Mondeléz International and Philip Morris International. The ‘very personable’ Tim Frazer is ‘fantastic’ and gives ‘clear, practical and succinct advice’. Susan Hinchliffe* left the firm following completion of research for the 2016 edition of The Legal 500 UK.

CMS’ practice head Caroline Hobson, who is ‘a real pleasure to work with’, acted for Didix International in the CMA’s post-transaction investigation of Didix’s acquisition of Taste Marketing. Other clients include Eurostar, SSE, CKI and Pfizer. ‘Rising starSatyen Dhana, who has particular experience in financial services, consumer products and energy and infrastructure, joined in September from Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP; Dhana is ‘excellent’, provides ‘high-quality service’ and is ‘always willing to go the extra mile’.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s key figures are Maurits Dolmans, Nicholas Levy and Romano Subiotto. Dolmans acted for Google in several CMA market investigations; Levy advised Coca-Cola Company on the antitrust elements of its $2.15bn purchase of a 16.7% stake in Monster Beverage Corporation, and acted for Ryanair in the CMA’s investigation into its minority shareholding in Aer Lingus. Other clients include HarperCollins and GlaxoSmithKline.

DLA Piper’s ‘extremely high-quality’ department is particularly strong on the merger control side. The ‘very reassuring’ Sam Szlezinger heads the practice, having joined from Dentons in December 2015; he is supported by Alexandra Kamerling and ‘excellent’ Sarah Smith. Kamerling advised Celesio AG on the CMA’s investigation of Celesio’s purchase of 271 Sainsbury’s in-store pharmacies. The practice’s recent client wins include AkzoNobel, National Grid, Duke Street and Heineken.

Eversheds LLP’s ‘responsive, experienced’ practice is led by the ‘outstandingRos Kellaway, who advised RWE npower on the CMA’s energy market investigation. Stephen Rose assisted Dairy Crest Group with Müller Wiseman’s acquisition of its dairy business, which was cleared by the CMA at phase one. Other clients include Compass Group, Vodafone, Volkswagen Group UK and Association of British Insurers. Principal associate Nicola Holmes is also recommended, as is ‘commercial’ legal director Aysha Fernandes.

Jones Day welcomed the ‘strategic’, ‘responsive’, ‘extraordinarily versatileAlan Davis from Pinsent Masons LLP into its ‘very classy’ competition team. Davis leads the practice alongside the ‘wonderfulMatt Evans. Davis advised FP McCann on a CMA investigation into an alleged cartel among suppliers of concrete drainage products. AB Electrolux is a client in the context of merger control.

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP’s ‘pragmatic’ team was augmented by the recruitment of the widely recommended Paula Riedel, who joined from Linklaters LLP in August 2015. The ‘responsive, commercial and technically strongSarah Jordan acted for Montagu Private Equity in a CMA investigation of the £170m sale of CliniSys Group to Roper UK; the transaction was cleared in December 2015. Recent client wins include Accenture, CapVest and Teva Pharmaceuticals, which is one of Shaun Goodman’s clients.

Macfarlanes LLP’ ‘remarkable’ team is led by the ‘experienced, practicalMarc Israel, with support from the ‘calm and measuredMalcolm Walton. Walton acted for Pork Farms on the phase two merger clearance aspects of its acquisition of Kerry Foods’ chilled savoury pastry business. Israel advised Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank on the merger control aspects of their €288m purchase of the National Bank of Greece’s private equity portfolio. Recent client wins include Finsavio, Exor and Associated British Ports.

The ‘outstanding’ team at Shearman & Sterling LLP handles a range of work, including merger control, CMA investigations and EC cartel investigations; James Webber is singled out for his ‘impressive state-aid expertise’. The practice, led by the ‘practical, commercialMatthew Readings, advised Intercontinental Exchange on the CMA’s investigation of the client’s $650m purchase of Trayport. He also assisted Liberty Global with the UK antitrust aspects of its $195m acquisition of a stake in Lions Gate Entertainment Corporation.

Simmons & Simmons combines ‘responsiveness, good value, a strong international network and personable lawyers’. Clients include Ofgem, Cheyne Capital, Nippon Electric Glass Co and Schlumberger. The firm acted for Plastipak Holdings on the merger control aspects of its acquisition of APPE, which received unconditional EC clearance. Charles Bankes and Tony Woodgate head the practice, in which the ‘extraordinaryPeter Broadhurst is recommended for his ‘clear, concise and insightful’ advice.

Travers Smith LLP is praised for its response times, value for money, and ‘ability to distil dense detail into clear and concise conclusions’. ‘Top-class’ practice head Nigel Seay, who shows ‘broad commercial acumen’, advised Pace on its $2.1bn merger with Arris. Recently promoted partner Stephen Whitfield gives ‘pragmatic, reliable’ advice; he assisted ForFarmers with securing merger clearance for its $158m acquisition of Countrywide Farmers’ feed-and-forage business.

Peter Willis’s department at Bird & Bird LLP specialises in sectors undergoing rapid technological change, such as telecoms, energy and e-commerce. It handles large merger filings, competition authority investigations and CMA dawn raids. Richard Eccles advised The Football Association on the competition aspects of certain commercial pay-TV agreements. Other clients include BT, Sanofi Pasteur, TomTom International and Polar Air Cargo.

The ‘excellent’ practice at Bristows LLP is praised for its ‘efficiency’ and ‘in-depth knowledge of the TMT sector’. Practice head Pat Treacy, who ‘skilfully translates the complexities of competition law into pragmatic legal advice’, advised Kimberly-Clark during an investigation launched by the Groceries Code Adjudicator. Sophie Lawrance ‘delivers highly bespoke advice in a measured and digestible way’, and has ‘extremely good knowledge’. Stephen Smith joined from RPC.

Burges Salmon LLP’s key figures include Laura Claydon, John Houlden and Simon Coppen. The ‘outstanding, measured and methodical’ Claydon acted for FirstGroup on the merger control aspects of its bid to acquire the TransPennine Express Franchise. She also assisted Oasis Healthcare with obtaining CMA clearance for Oasis’ purchase of Total Orthodontics. The team also represents The Co-operative Group, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water and The Racecourse Association.

Dentons brought in the ‘experienced, knowledgeable’ Adrian Magnus from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP to lead the competition practice; effectively, he replaced Sam Szlezinger, who moved to DLA Piper in December 2015. The ‘responsive, effective’ team has been handling more transactional work, acting for World Fuel Services on the merger control aspects of its purchase of ExxonMobil’s aviation fuel operations in 83 airports globally. Other clients include Flextronics and SMBC Europe.

Dickson Minto WS’ ‘pragmatic, speedy’ team is headed by the ‘commercial’ Ajal Notowicz, who has the ‘rare ability to explain difficult concepts clearly’. The department has been handling much more behavioural work recently, for clients such as AG Barr, Wood Mackenzie and Aggreko. Notowicz advised Compass Partners on the antitrust aspects of its investment in a $2bn portfolio of Bridgepoint’s assets. Other clients include Allflex Holding France, BC Partners and Fishers Laundry Group.

Fieldfisher’s practice head Charles Whiddington acted for Kikkoman on its proposed acquisition of a rival. John Cassels advised Invisalign on a market analysis to determine whether the client is dominant in the supply of dental braces. Nick Pimlott recently assisted Pearson VUE with its disposal of the Driving Theory Test service to Learndirect and advised Digital UK on the competition aspects of its new Freeview Play service.

Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP’s department head Gillian Sproul is supported by Lisa Navarro and senior associate Simon Harms. Navarro acted for Bristol Water during an Ofwat investigation into an alleged abuse of dominance in the infrastructure installation market; she also assisted the client with winning a CMA redetermination of prices set in December 2014, essentially safeguarding £128m of revenue. Other clients include Atlas Mara, Rentokil Initial and Platform Specialty Products Corporation.

K&L Gates LLP combines ‘superb service’, ‘first-class knowledge’ and ‘strategic advice’. ‘Very sharp’ practice head Scott Megregian, who divides his time between London and Brussels, acted for Ampco-Pittsburgh Corporation on the proposed $80m acquisition of various Akers businesses. Neil Baylis advised CRH on its purchase of Lafarge’s UK business, a necessary condition of the Holcim-Lafarge merger. Senior associate Gabriela da Costa is ‘incredibly efficient and very personable’.

Latham & Watkins is particularly strong on the transactional side, such as its advice to Actavis on its acquisition of Auden Mckenzie, but also has experience in several major cartel investigations, including an investigation in the automotive parts sector. Practice head John Colahan assisted Aviva Life & Pensions UK with securing EC clearance of a joint venture with Public Sector Pension Investment Board of Canada to acquire a portfolio of London real estate. John Kallaugher is another name to note. Jonathan Parker joined from the CMA in February 2016.

Nabarro LLP’s ‘impressive’ department, which ‘punches above its weight’, is headed by the ‘very strong’ Cyrus Mehta and Brian Sher, with support from senior associate Russell Hoare. The team is sole counsel to GlaxoSmithKline in the UK’s first investigation into reverse patent settlements. Mehta acted for Hospital Corporation of America in its appeal against a proposed CMA remedy that would force the client to sell several of its facilities in London.

Olswang LLP’s practice has a strong TMT sector focus and handles merger control work for Cineworld and CityFibre, among others. It advised Audible, BPI and Viacom on competition issues arising from IP licensing and distribution agreements. Senior associate Dervla Broderick is a key contact. Former team head Howard Cartlidge recently moved to DWF.

Reed Smith LLP’s department is headed by Edward Miller and Marjorie Holmes; Miller continues to advise IDEXX Laboratories on a range of competition matters, and acted for International Beverages Group on competition matters surrounding its worldwide distribution structures. Sonoco Products Company, a recent client win, was advised by the team on phase two clearance of its €280m purchase of Weidenhammer Packaging Group. Other clients include Debenhams, Hapag-Lloyd AG and Hyundai Merchant Marine Co.

Taylor Wessing LLP is particularly strong in the technology and pharmaceuticals sectors, where clients include Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Ericsson, Ricoh Europe and Ferrero UK. Practice head Robert Vidal acted for Ranbaxy Laboratories in its appeal to the General Court against the EC’s decision to fine Ranbaxy and other pharmaceuticals companies €146 million for certain settlement agreements deemed to be anti-competitive. Senior counsel Louisa Penny and senior associate Richard Craig are other names to note.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’s ‘very effective’ department is led by Paul Henty and the ‘incisive, thoroughPaul Stone, who shows ‘excellent technical knowledge and strategic thinking’; he acted for Celesio to obtain immunity from fines following a CMA investigation into an alleged care home medicines cartel. The team also advised YouView TV on the competition issues surrounding the launch and roll-out of its YouView platform. Other clients include WS Atkins and ITV.

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s clients include Royal Mail Group and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. State aid work included advising North East Finance on its proposed launch of the second-generation JEREMIE fund to provide investment capital – financed by public sector grants and a loan from the European Investment Bank – for SMEs in the region. The team is headed by Alexandra von Westernhagen, with support from legal director David Harrison.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s ‘personable, communicative’ team is ‘first-rate, tactically and strategically’ – its lawyers are praised as having the ability to ‘think outside the box’ and to handle regulators well. Practice head Ali Nikpay is ‘technically outstanding’ and ‘very effective’; he is supported by ‘very clever, hardworking’ of counsel Deirdre Taylor and ‘strong litigatorPatrick Doris. Nikpay advised Gala Coral on its £2.3bn merger with Ladbrokes. Other clients include Marriott International, Schlumberger and UBS.

Gowling WLG’s clients include Dixons Retail, Estée Lauder Companies, Aston Martin Lagonda and Origin Enterprises. Bernardine Adkins acted for AstraZeneca UK on merger control aspects of its $300m sale of Caprelsa to Genzyme. Principal associate Samuel Beighton is also active in the space and the practice recently recruited senior associates Oyebola Ajayi and Chantal Encavey from Linklaters LLP and the CMA, respectively.

Anthony Woolich leads the ‘dedicated, invaluable’ team at Holman Fenwick Willan, with support from Daniel Martin. Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company is a recently acquired client: it instructed the practice on competition clearance of the $328m restructuring of two joint-venture companies it had formed with Rolls-Royce and Singapore International Airlines. Other clients include DHL, Morgan Stanley, Hellas Gold and ECOM Agroindustrial Corporation.

Mayer Brown International LLP recruited of counsel Warsha Kalé from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP, replacing Gillian Sproul, who moved to Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP. Department head David Harrison assisted Wells Fargo with all of the non-US merger control elements of its $32bn purchase of General Electric’s commercial distribution finance business. He also advised Interoute on its £400m acquisition of Easynet. Other clients include Mittal Investments UK and Agility Logistics.

Omar Shah and of counsel Joanna Christoforou recently joined Frances Murphy’s team at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP from Latham & Watkins and Ashurst, respectively. Izzet Sinan and Kevin Robinson are also active in the space. Murphy and Sinan acted for CRH on the global merger filings and antitrust issues pertaining to CRH’s $6.5bn purchase of assets from Lafarge and Holcim. Murphy continues to advise Sanofi-Aventis on various cross-border competition issues.

The ‘effective’ Douglas Lahnborg leads the team at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP, with support from Matthew Rose. Lahnborg advised Telenor on the proposed $1.36bn merger of its Danish operations with those of TeliaSonera and, alongside Rose, continues to act for Lucozade Ribena Suntory in antitrust matters. Sony, Prudential Greenfield LP and Crane Co are also clients.

Shepherd and Wedderburn’s ‘responsive, knowledgeable and highly experienced’ department head John Schmidt, who is qualified in Scotland and Germany, advised FanDuel on the applicability of EU merger regulations to an extra funding round desired by the client; phase one clearance was obtained. Schmidt is supported in the London office by Gordon Moir, who has particular experience in telecoms. Recent client wins include SAS/Scandinavian Airlines, while Heineken, John Lewis and Teva UK are more longstanding clients.

Stephen Kinsella heads Sidley Austin LLP’s ‘responsive’ practice, which has ‘good industry knowledge’ and ‘a collaborative approach’. The team advised Heineken on the antitrust elements of its $781m purchase of assets from Diageo. Other clients include MasterCard, Recall and Archer Daniels Midland. Patrick Harrison is another name to note, as is senior associate Rosanna Connolly, who combines ‘strong technical skills and great client service’.

Martin Rees and Diarmuid Ryan lead Squire Patton Boggs’ ‘excellent’ department. The ‘approachable and knowledgeable’ Ryan assisted Poundworld with securing phase two clearance of its merger with 99p Stores. Other clients include Cathay Pacific, INEOS, S.A Industrias Celulosa Aragonesa, GB Group and new client, Peninsula Business Services. The firm recently hired new partner Francesco Liberatore from Jones Day where he had been a senior associate.

Marta Garcia and Mike Pullen are key figures in Stephenson Harwood’s ‘thorough, high-level’ practice, and give ‘clear, considered and decisive advice’. The ‘incredibly thorough, patient and flexible’ Garcia – whom clients rate as being ‘among the very best in the field’ – advised DIF Infra on the competition aspects of its deal to acquire shareholdings in two Irish toll-road projects from Cintra. The team advises clients such as Ceva Logistics and Acadia Healthcare on a wide range of competition issues.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is particularly strong on merger control: department head Juan Rodriguez acted for ZF Friedrichshafen on obtaining merger clearance of its $13.5bn acquisition of TRW Automotive Holdings Corp in 14 jurisdictions, and advised Alcatel-Lucent on the competition aspects of Nokia’s offer to purchase all of the client’s equity securities, totalling €15.6bn. Rodriguez is supported in the London office by European counsel Axel Beckmerhagen, who is admitted under the EU and in Germany.

Peter Crowther’s department at Winston & Strawn London LLP has attracted more merger control work recently but also remains active on the state aid side, where it has been assisting Siemens Project Ventures, Socar Trading and GEM Holdings as sponsors with the state aid aspects of an LNG-to-power project that is set to become Malta’s principal source of electrical energy. Panasonic Corporation, Actavis and XL Catlin are also clients.

Becket McGrath leads the team at Cooley (UK) LLP, with support from senior associate Trupti Reddy, who handles merger control and is a life sciences expert. Most of the practice’s work has a TMT focus and Guardian Media Group is a longstanding client; the team is also active in the retail and insurance sectors. The department is especially strong in advising clients on EC and CMA market studies and investigations, and regularly provides behavioural advice.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s ‘proactive, flexible’ team is commended for its ‘breadth of experience’ and its strength in multi-jurisdictional merger filings. ‘Pragmatic, strategic and highly responsive’ practice head Timothy McIver has ‘a very good grasp of the competition landscape of specialty chemicals’; he advised American Securities on the merger control aspects of its $855m acquisition of Blount International. Other clients include HarbourVest Partners, Access Industries, Mitsui & Co and Amazon.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (London) LLP’s ‘exemplary’ department is ‘extremely responsive and cost-effective’. Department head Tobias Caspary is ‘a true expert’ and works in ‘seamless’ cooperation with the firm’s international offices to execute cross-border antitrust work. He advised a third party to the phase two CMA investigation of Reckitt Benckiser’s purchase of the K-Y brand from Johnson & Johnson. Other clients include CVC, Goldman Sachs and New Mountain Capital.

The team at Mishcon de Reya LLP is headed by the ‘personable, experiencedAndrij Jurkiw, who acted for Bidvest Foodservice International on the merger control implications of its purchase of Cimandis, and secured a phase one clearance of the transaction. He also advised Tottenham Hotspur Football Club on state aid issues relating to its proposed new stadium. Rob Murray and Sarah Houghton are also recommended.

Osborne Clarke’s competition team is led by Simon Neill, who divides his time between London and Bristol; he is supported in the London office by Andrew Bartlett. Microsoft, Holcim and are recent client wins, which join longstanding clients such as TalkTalk, Dyson, Arriva and Carphone Warehouse. Neill acted for Tech Mahindra on the international merger filings relating to its acquisition of SOFGEN. He also advised Green Deal Finance Company on state aid matters.

RPC is especially active in behavioural work, with particular expertise in the insurance and retail sectors, and the team acted for Royal and Sun Alliance Insurance during the CMA’s investigation into the private motor insurance market. It also advised Independent Print on the competition aspects of its £24m sale of the i newspaper to Johnston Press. Other clients include DMG Media, Johnson Controls and Snap-on Holdings UK. Lambros Kilaniotis heads the practice.

The ‘very responsive’ Jeremy Robinson joined Watson Farley & Williams LLP from Hill Dickinson LLP in September 2015; he has ‘strong business acumen and industry knowledge’. The two-lawyer team specialises in aviation and transport, and advised Airport Strategy & Marketing on state aid matters. Budapest Airport, Peel Airports, Flybe and Swiss International Air Lines are other recent client wins.

Mark Powell heads the team at White & Case LLP, which is supported on the non-contentious side by James Killick. Jacquelyn MacLennan acted for Toshiba in an appeal to the General Court against a €115m fine imposed by the EC. GlaxoSmithKline, Microsoft, Nordic Capital and Pfizer are also clients of the practice. MacLennan, Charles Balmain and John Reynolds are particularly active in litigation.

EU and competition: Trade, WTO, anti-dumping and customs

Index of tables

  1. EU and competition: Trade, WTO, anti-dumping and customs
  2. Other recommended firms
  3. Leading individuals

The ‘practical, solution-oriented’ team at Baker & McKenzie LLP had a very strong year; it is commended for its responsiveness and ‘cross-office coordination’. Led by the ‘personable, pragmatic and commercially mindedRoss Denton, the department’s remit is broad: among other things, it advises many FTSE-listed and Fortune 100 companies on export controls, sanctions, customs and anti-dumping. The practice is notably strong in the energy sector, where its clients include Shell. Sunny Mann and of counsel Jennifer Revis are particularly active.

Covington & Burling LLP is praised as having ‘deep knowledge covering the EU and other jurisdictions’. The team is jointly led by Lisa Peets and the ‘extremely professional, responsive and focusedDavid Lorello. Lorello advised a major pharmaceuticals company on disclosing information to relevant authorities regarding potential violations of the Iran sanctions. Peets assisted a large company in the pharmaceuticals sector with a post-acquisition investigation of the purchased company’s trade control practices; she also advised an energy supplier on EU sanctions and export controls.

John Forrest’s ‘responsive, helpful and pragmatic’ team at DLA Piper counts Reckitt Benckiser, AAB International Holdings and 101 Media Lab among its client roster; recent client wins include Asda, Michelin France, Visa UK and Amec Foster Wheeler. The practice advised Ever Smart International Enterprise on the sanctions elements of its IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The ‘very knowledgeable’ Forrest is ‘technically excellent’ and ‘a clear communicator’. Associate Chloe Barker, who divides time between Birmingham and London, is commended for her ‘expertise’ and ‘attentiveness’.

Miriam González leads the ‘responsive’ team at Dechert LLP, which is praised for its ‘depth of expertise’. It regularly advises clients on trade and sanctions compliance, as well as export controls. Senior director Roger Matthews has ‘a sound technical understanding of the law’ and ‘a realistic outlook’; fellow senior director Richard Tauwhare ‘provides excellent, practical advice’ and ‘finds solutions’. White-collar criminal law specialist Neil Gerrard is also active in the space, and is recommended.

The ‘well-connected’ department at Eversheds LLP is headed by James Robinson and ‘very personable’ tax expert Giles Salmond, with support from ‘exceptional, invaluable’ principal associate James Lindop; the practice has been increasingly busy with export controls and sanctions, particularly the enforcement aspects. Key clients include Open University.

Squire Patton Boggs’ department is headed by Martin Rees and recently promoted partner Aline Doussin. Export controls and sanctions work are the key tenets of the practice, though it also handles trade investigations and litigation before the EU courts. Clients include China Iron and Steel Association, Gadot Biochemicals, Lubrizol Corporation and ET Solar.

Equity capital markets

Index of tables

  1. Equity capital markets
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Allen & Overy LLP’s ‘extremely responsive team’ has handled a high volume of issuer and bank-side IPO mandates. Highlights for David Broadley and newly promoted US-qualified partner Jeff Hendrickson included advising Worldpay on its dual-track £2.48bn IPO, the largest ever in the UK Fintech arena, while James Roe acted alongside Adam Wells for the underwriters on Softcat’s £153m IPO. Michael Bloch was promoted to counsel.

Ashurst’s practice is ‘a trusted adviser’ that clients rate for its ‘outstanding quality of work and reliability’. The practice handles a balanced workload of issuer and underwriter representations for clients including PureCircle, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and Softcat. Highly regarded practice head Nicholas Holmes and US securities partner Jennifer Schneck are key contacts. Jonathan Parry left for White & Case LLP, while US-qualified Eric Stuart joined from Jones Day.

At Clifford Chance, global practice head Adrian Cartwright acted for the underwriters, including Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch International, on the £2.35bn IPO of Auto Trader Group. In other highlights, Iain Hunter advised Apax Global Alpha on its £585m IPO, and Simon Thomas assisted the underwriters with the £716m flotation of John Laing. The highly regarded John Connolly provided US securities advice on all these deals.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP acts for the majority of the bulge-bracket banks, and the ‘excellent’ Mark Austin has recently acted on the IPOs of McCarthy & Stone, Worldpay and Sophos. Additional key contacts include Christopher Mort and US-qualified partners Doug Smith and Sarah Murphy.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s team advises issuers and underwriters on high-profile issuances, and combines this transactional expertise with particularly noteworthy regulatory capabilities. Practice head Charles Howarth led the advice to Lonmin on its $400m rights issue. On the US securities side, Stephen Thierbach and Chris Haynes left for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, while Tom O’Neill arrived from King & Spalding International LLP and Dinesh Banani was promoted to partner.

At Linklaters LLP, practice co-head and US securities expert Jason Manketo acted for the underwriters on Flow Traders’ €599m IPO on Euronext Amsterdam, and Charles Jacobs advised household retailer Steinhoff International on its Frankfurt Stock Exchange listing by way of a South African scheme of arrangement. Other highlights included advising JUST EAT on its £450m placing and Aldermore Group on its £650m IPO. Practice co-head John Lane, newly promoted partner James Wootton and Iain Wagstaff are additional key contacts.

In keeping with the firm’s heavyweight corporate client base, Slaughter and May’s highly regarded ECM practice regularly handles high-profile issuer-side mandates. Highlights have reflected a strong financial services sector bent: The practice advised Standard Chartered on its £3.3bn capital raise, challenger bank Shawbrook on its £725m IPO, and Non-Standard Finance on its £100m flotation. Nilufer von Bismarck, Jeff Twentyman and Susannah Macknay are some of the key names in the sizeable team.

Baker & McKenzie LLP’s London capital markets practice acts as a hub for EMEA-wide work; highlights included Adam Farlow’s recent advice to Biocartis on its €115m IPO on Euronext Brussels, and Edward Bibko’s advice to Edita Food Industries on its $300m listing of LSE-listed global depository receipts (GDRs) as well as a listing on the Egyptian Exchange. James Thompson joined from Linklaters LLP, enhancing the group’s domestic capabilities. Roy Pearce is ‘always responsive and very thoughtful in analysing an issue’.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLPdemonstrates a high level of knowledge and experience complemented with brilliant communication and valuable advice’. In an illustration of its global strength, Raj Panasar advised Russian retail chain Lenta on a series of Regulation S/Rule 144A offerings, including a $275m October 2015 issue, while Simon Ovenden acted for the underwriters in the $1bn-plus Regulation S/Rule 144A secondary offering by Habib Bank, which was Pakistan’s largest-ever equity offering. Sebastian Sperber is also recommended.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP’s London team, headed by Paul Kumleben and Simon Witty, focuses on EMEA equity offerings. John Banes advised ABN AMRO Group on its €3.3bn IPO on Euronext Amsterdam. Citigroup Global Markets and Barclays are recent underwriter clients. Jeffrey Oakes has retired.

Latham & Watkins handles a steady flow of LSE listings, including Richard Brown’s recent advice to J.P. Morgan Cazenove and UBS Investment Bank as underwriters on Ibstock’s £771m IPO. Olof Clausson regularly handles high-profile Europe-wide mandates. Other recent clients include Sunrise Communications and Dometic Group. Claire Keast-Butler is another key contact.

Norton Rose Fulbright fields a team with extensive experience advising issuers as well as underwriters. The firm also benefits from a strong base of US-qualified lawyers such as the highly regarded Thomas Vita. Practice head Raj Karia, transport and infrastructure expert Mark Lloyd Williams and the ‘knowledgeableFiona Millington are also key figures in the practice, which has particular strength in natural resources mandates and handled recent work for Anglo Pacific Group and Petropavlovsk.

Shearman & Sterling LLP attracts praise for its ‘commercial approach to issues, and its focus on providing solutions’. The London team handles complex cross-border offerings such as acting on the underwriter side on the multibillion-euro IPO and privatisation of ABN AMRO Group. Other highlights included advising Eurobank on its recapitalisation, which involved a private placement and the issuance of new ordinary shares in exchange for outstanding debt. The ‘business-orientedApostolos Gkoutzinis and ‘global capital markets expertDavid Dixter co-head the practice, while Richard Price heads the London-based South Africa desk.

Recent highlights for Simmons & Simmons reflect the strong bankside relationships of the practice; these include advising Numis Securities as global coordinator on the £240m IPO of On the Beach Group, a deal which included a private placement pursuant to Regulation S/Rule 144A, and acting for J.P. Morgan Cazenove and Peel Hunt as underwriters on the £275m placing and open offer by Circassia Pharmaceuticals. Powerflute and Funding Circle SME Income Fund are recent issuer clients. Practice head Chris Hortonably handles complex transactions, always remaining cool under pressure’. Colin Bole, Charles Hawes and Julian Perlmutter are additional key contacts.

A go-to firm for cross-border corporate matters, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP regularly acts on complex international equity offerings. Recent highlights include advising the underwriters to Lenta’s £275m public offering of GDRs listed on the LSE, and acting for Israel Corporation on its spin-off of Kenon Holdings, which involved a dual listing of ordinary shares on the Tel Aviv and New York stock exchanges. European capital markets head Danny Tricot, London office head Pranav Trivedi and US-qualified lawyer James McDonald are recommended.

In an illustration of the cross-border expertise Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s London office brings to the table, George White led the advice to Anheuser Busch InBev on the SEC registration and NYSE listing of the new holding company set up as part of the acquisition of SABMiller. The team, which includes David Rockwell, Vanessa Blackmore and Kathryn Campbell, has a strong track record acting as underwriter and issuer counsel for banks including Goldman Sachs and Standard Chartered.

White & Case LLP’s London office, which acts as a hub for Europe-wide capital markets work, has handled deals in the Milan, Istanbul and Madrid stock exchanges, and is continuing to make inroads into the UK market, most recently recruiting the ‘outstanding’ Jonathan Parry from Ashurst. Inigo Esteve represented the underwriters on Sophos’s IPO, which gave the UK software company a market capitalisation of $1bn. US securities experts Laura Sizemore and Michael Immordino are also recommended.

Daniel Winterfeldt, who heads the international capital markets practice at CMS, is ‘a go-to person for advice on complex US securities matters’ and acts as a key regulatory adviser to the LSE. He works closely with ‘highly responsive and diligent’ listed funds specialist Cathy Pitt and equity capital markets head Gary Green, whose client base includes FTSE corporates and AIM-listed companies.

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP is noted for its ‘excellent advice on US securities law issues affecting European equity capital markets transactions’. Philip Boeckman’s recent work includes advising Deutsche Pfandbriefbank on its €1.16bn IPO on The Frankfurt Stock Exchange, and acting for HDFC Bank on its $1.27bn offering of American depositary shares (ADRs). On the underwriter side, Alan Grinceri assisted a number of bulge-bracket banks with Actavis’s $5.1bn offering of convertible shares on the NYSE. David Mercado and George Stephanakis are also recommended.

In an illustration of Hogan Lovells International LLP’s strength in the mid-market space as well as the fast-growing Fintech sector, the firm advised Paysafe Group on its move from AIM to the premium segment of the Official List. The ECM practice, headed by Maegen Morrison, handles a balanced workload of issuer and underwriter mandates for clients including SABMiller, Numis Capital and J.P. Morgan Cazenove. Dual UK and US-qualified partner John Basnage and Daniel Simons are also recommended.

Mayer Brown International LLP’s ‘commercial and flexible’ team ‘understands the nuances of working in different jurisdictions’. The highly regarded Robert Flanigan advised the underwriters on Euskaltel’s €764m IPO. On the issuer side, Robert Hamill and Kate Ball-Dodd acted for Entertainment One on its £200m LSE rights issue.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP fields ‘a compact team that punches above its weight’, and which is rated for its ‘technically excellent and extremely diligent approach’. Its US securities law expertise means it attracts a steady diet of referrals from UK-based law firms such as Slaughter and May and Macfarlanes LLP. Highlights included advising on the US law aspects of Shawbrook’s £725m IPO. Mark Bergman heads the practice and is ‘a trusted adviser’.

Travers Smith LLP’s clients view it ‘not just as a legal adviser, but as a business partner’. The firm fields a sizeable team of capital markets experts, including Anthony Foster, who is ‘a pleasure to work with’; corporate finance head Neal Watson, who ‘has the gravitas to work at the highest board levels’; and corporate head Spencer Summerfield. The practice has a long list of established clients, with particular strength in private equity, and also won new instructions from Hostelworld and Gresham House in 2015.

Covington & Burling LLP is particularly active in the life sciences space; recent LSE-listed issuer clients include Consort Medical and Indivior. Paul Claydon leads the team, which includes US-qualified Kristian Wiggert and which has additional sector strengths in technology, media and clean energy.

DLA Piper has an increasing focus on mandates for bulge-bracket banks such as Deutsche Bank, which it advised as sponsor on Paysafe Group’s admission to the premium listing segment of the Official List. The firm continues to be highly active on the issuer side for clients including Bonmarché Holdings and PureTech Health. EMEA and US securities head George Barboutis and practice head Alex Tamlyn are recommended.

Dechert LLP attracts praise for its ‘commercial yet personal service’. Key figures include Camille Abousleiman, who heads the emerging markets practice, and Sean Geraghty, who regularly acts on LSE and Nasdaq deals. Life sciences company Poxel and technology company Kofax are recent issuer clients. Wayne Rapozo left the practice.

At Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP, practice head Andrew Caunt and James Mountain advised Nomad Foods on a number of offerings including a $320m placing by way of an accelerated bookbuild. US-qualified Dorothee Fischer-Appelt has recently handled a number of issuances on the Warsaw Stock Exchange.

At King & Wood Mallesons, practice head Delphine Currie is lauded for her ‘tremendous subject knowledge’ and acted alongside the firm’s Melbourne office for Transurban Group on its A$1bn capital raising. Currie also acted for The Automobile Association on a £200m placing as part of the organisation’s more than £1.1bn debt refinancing. Also recommended are Joseph Newitt and new arrival Greg Stonefield, who joined from Mayer Brown International LLP.

Macfarlanes LLP attracts praise for its ‘combination of technical supremacy and excellent client service’. Harry Coghill has acted for a number of management teams and third parties, and recently advised the management of Shawbrook on its £725m IPO. Practice head Robert Boyle is ‘excellent in the boardroom’.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP stands out both for its ‘excellent service’ and its expertise in cross-border deals; recent matters have involved, among other jurisdictions, Slovakia, Russia, the British Virgin Islands and the US. Timothy Corbett and Carter Brod are the key contacts.

Paul Hastings LLP leverages the diversity of its London team, which includes US-qualified lawyer Peter Schwartz, Italian-qualified Ugo Giordano and German-qualified Karl Balz, to act on deals across Europe. In one of many Frankfurt Stock Exchange related matters, Balz advised the underwriters, including Deutsche Bank, on the IPO of automotive engineering group EDAG. Technology and real estate are additional sector strengths. James Cole is also recommended.

Proskauer Rose LLP is ‘a top-drawer firm for US securities advice, and is prepared to sit in the trenches with the client at the business end of transactions’. Practice head Peter Castellon (a ‘true problem solver’) acted for Cairn Homes on its €440m IPO. Citigroup and Jefferies are underwriter clients.

Noted for its work in the high-yield space, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s London office also regularly handles equity offerings for issuers and underwriters, including recently advising Ascential on its LSE IPO. Office managing partner Gregory Conway is the key contact.

Weil, Gotshal & MangesPeter King handled a number of LSE IPOs in 2015, including DFS Furniture’s £221m flotation. In addition to its issuer-side strength, the practice also handles mandates from banks, particularly on Eastern European deals; a London and Warsaw cross-office team advised the joint global coordinators, including Goldman Sachs International, on Idea Bank’s $67m IPO.

Financial services

Index of tables

  1. Financial services (non-contentious/regulatory)
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Financial services (contentious)
  4. Leading individuals

Clifford Chance LLP’s ‘pragmatic and commercial’ team provides ‘considerable industry and regulatory knowledge’ to a broad range of clients including banks, infrastructure providers and trade associations. Aided by the firm’s global network as well as a strong corporate transactional offering, the team continues to be involved in numerous regulatory-driven transactions; in a highlight, Monica Sah and Simon Gleeson advised GE Capital on the global non-US regulatory issues associated with its major divestment programme. Carlos Conceicao (who is ‘excellent at representing corporates facing lengthy and complex investigations’) acted alongside the ‘superb’ Dorian Drew for the Co-operative Bank in joint Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) investigations. Other key figures on the contentious side include Simon Davis, who is ‘one of the top contentious financial services lawyers in London’; Kelwin Nicholls and Judith Seddon, who are ‘simply the best for high-profile cases’; and the ‘excellent’ Roger Best. Key figures on the non-contentious front include the ‘outstanding’ Christopher Bates and Simon Crown.

Leveraging its global network, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP has been at the forefront of the highest-profile market manipulation cases, where the ‘excellentSimon Orton has been particularly active. Piers Reynolds is ‘excellent at acting for large corporate clients facing lengthy and complex investigations’. Other recommended partners include ‘top contentious lawyer’ Andrew Hart, the ‘hugely intelligent and self-effacingIan Taylor, and David Scott. On the non-contentious side, Michael Raffan, James Smethurst, David Rouch and Mark Kalderon have handled numerous implementation projects for clients seeking to adapt to the changes ushered in by MiFID II and the Senior Managers Regime.

Linklaters LLP’s ten-partner financial services regulatory team handles the full spectrum of contentious and non-contentious mandates for an impressive transactional financial institution client base including Goldman Sachs, RBS and Citi. Working alongside members of the competition group, the ‘excellentNikunj Kiri has been representing Barclays Bank in the FCA’s review of the credit card market. Martyn Hopper and Sarah Parkhouse have been advising the Lloyds Banking Group on the implications of the new Senior Managers and Certification Regime. Carl Fernandesdelivers thoughtful and insightful advice’ and is ‘able to marshal complex facts and map them against the regulatory landscape’. Team head Peter Bevan, Michael Kent, Harry Eddis and James Gardner are also recommended.

Allen & Overy LLP’s ability to deliver ‘outstanding regulatory and contentious expertise’ makes it a natural choice for high-stakes internal investigations and enforcement proceedings. Calum Burnett has ‘a unique insight into the external regulatory and internal control environment within which his clients operate’. The ‘supremely bright’ Arnondo Chakrabarti ‘understands the market and products’ and is ‘an excellent choice for internal investigations/enforcement actions focused on financial crime’. On the non-contentious front, the team is now headed by Etay Katz and Damian Corolan, following Bob Penn’s recent move to Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. Katz has provided regulatory advice on numerous transactions in the financial services sector, including advising Banco Sabadell on its £1.7bn public takeover of TSB Bank.

Led on the non-contentious front by the ‘insightful and commercial’ Rob Moulton* and on the contentious side by the ‘experienced and reassuring’ Edward Sparrow, Ashurst’s team ‘has its finger on the pulse of the most relevant financial regulation coming out of the UK and Europe’. Acting alongside the ‘commercial and practical’ Nicola Higgs, Moulton has been involved in major MiFID II projects for Jefferies International and Rothschild & Sons. The ‘pragmatic’ Jake Green has ‘excellent specialist knowledge’ on issues facing the spread betting industry. Sparrow (‘has been everywhere and seen everything’) acted alongside David Capps for former directors of HBOS in an FCA investigation into their culpability as to the collapse of the bank. Other recommended partners include James Perry and Tom Connor. *Rob Moulton joined Latham & Watkins in June 2016.

Rachel Kent leads Hogan Lovells International LLP’s non-contentious offering and is praised for her ability to provide ‘clear-sighted and well-thought-out advice at a senior overview level’. Emily Reid and Roger Tym are ‘able to tailor advice to practical situations’. Consumer finance and payments specialist Jonathan Chertkow is noted for his ‘ability to communicate complex technical regulation in a commercial context’. The ‘measured and intelligent’ Jon Holland leads the firm’s efforts on the contentious front and has extensive experience in market manipulation matters. Louise Lamb is ‘excellent’ on anti-money laundering (AML) and sanctions matters.

Norton Rose Fulbright is praised for its ‘extensive industry knowledge’ and ‘awareness of the regulator’s perspective’. The practice regularly acts for wholesale and retail banking clients including CME, Santander and Capital International Group, covering the spectrum of hot-button issues affecting their businesses, such as MiFID II, AIFMD and ring-fencing. Jonathan Herbst has ‘a formidable command of his subject’ and is recognised as ‘one of the top derivatives lawyers in the City’. Hannah Meakin and Peter Snowdon are also recommended for their non-contentious regulatory expertise. The ‘highly technical and responsiveElisabeth Bremner has excellent credentials in the market and is regularly involved in large-scale internal and FCA-led investigations. Other key contentious figures include Katie Stephen (who is praised for her ‘investigatory talents’), Lista Cannon and Chris Warren-Smith.

Shearman & Sterling LLP provides ‘robust advice’ and ‘up-to-date knowledge of industry trends’ to clients including Barclays, Citigroup and ICE. Team head Barney Reynolds is, according to one client, ‘brilliant at ensuring we are kept updated on industry developments’. In an illustration of Reynolds’ expertise advising market infrastructure providers, he is continuing to act for Abu Dhabi Global Market, the new international financial centre which was recently established in the UAE. Reynolds has also provided regulatory input on the €4.9bn and €2.03bn capital raisings for Piraeus Bank and Eurobank, respectively. The ‘excellentThomas Donegan has ‘a deep understanding of European regulation’. On the contentious front, Jo Rickard handles FSR litigation as part of her broad commercial litigation offering.

Simmons & Simmons’ ‘outstanding team’ has been particularly active advising its asset management and investment fund client base on key areas of impact including AIFMD. ‘Leading regulatory adviserDarren Fox has ‘a very good sense of what the regulator would expect’. Charlotte Stalin has handled a significant amount of work for investment managers on MiFID II implementation, and the ‘excellentPenny Miller provides UK and EU regulatory advice on derivatives and structured finance matters. On the contentious front, the ‘technically flawlessRichard Sims provides ‘fleet-footed advice’ on financial crime and market abuse matters. The ‘outstandingMarc Thorley provides a ‘tenacious and dogged service’ to retail banks engaged in mis-selling cases, and Robert Turner has a focus on asset management disputes.

Led by the ‘superbJan Putnis, the ‘top-notch’ team at Slaughter and May handles high-profile advisory mandates and regulatory-driven transactional work for clients including Goldman Sachs, Standard Life, Aviva and American Express. On the regulatory front, Ben Kingsley recently advised UK Asset Resolution on the sale of a £13bn asset portfolio to Cerberus Capital Management. The firm has been involved in numerous cross-border market manipulation cases, including Deborah Finkler’s work for Deutsche Bank in multi-jurisdictional benchmark setting investigations including LIBOR. Ewan Brown has also had significant exposure to benchmarking cases and recently acted for JP Morgan in various regulatory and governmental investigations into its alleged involvement in FX manipulation. Elizabeth Barrett and Jonathan Clark are also recommended.

Travers Smith LLP is ‘a leader for AIFMD-related questions’. The ‘practical and efficient’ Stephanie Biggs is advising Cinven on the UK and EU regulatory aspects associated with the structuring and marketing of its sixth fund. Team head Jane Tuckley provides regulatory advice on fund-related M&A, including advising Renshaw Bay on the transfer of its real estate fund management business to Swiss-based asset management firm, GAM. The ‘intellectually first-rate’ Mark Evans has ‘unrivalled knowledge of clearing and settlement systems’ and is recommended alongside ‘impressive’ consultant Margaret Chamberlain, Stephen Paget-Brown, and the ‘very bright’ Tim Lewis, who are singled out for their private equity regulatory advice. On the contentious front, Robert Fell is ‘well respected by regulators’ and provides ‘thorough and effective’ advice to a range of clients, including the Oversight Committee of the Bank of England, for which Fell acted in connection with its investigation into the conduct of bank officials in the FX market.

The ‘responsive and thorough’ team at Berwin Leighton Paisner LLPhas been making great strides on the contentious front’, where it acts for both individuals and corporates. Nathan Willmott continues to advise various institutions in UK/US enforcement investigations surrounding the manipulation of various benchmarks including LIBOR and FX. Sidney Myers has ‘very strong strategic vision’, and dual UK and US-qualified solicitor advocate Aaron Stephens provides ‘top-flight’ advice to corporates and individuals on multi-jurisdictional white-collar matters. On the non-contentious front, the ‘responsive and approachableMatthew Baker is well regarded in the investment management space and recently provided regulatory advice to Axiom European Debt Fund on its launch and admission to the specialist fund market of the LSE. Newly promoted partner Polly James is ‘one to watch’ and ‘fights tenaciously for her clients’.

CMS is noted for its ‘excellent industry knowledge and commercial understanding’, and for its ability to cover a panoply of issues affecting both the retail and wholesale banking sectors. The ‘statesman-likeSimon Morris provides ‘clear advice and guidance’ across a range of pressing issues, including recently advising a raft of banks on the implementation of the Senior Managers Regime. The ‘exceptionalAlison McHaffie, who ‘combines strong academic understanding of the regulatory framework with an excellent technical approach to dealing with regulators’, is regularly involved in FCA enforcements and investigations. The ‘approachable, practical and empatheticBill McCaffrey is an expert on consumer credit issues, and Maxine Cupitt has ‘an excellent understanding of the approaches taken by the regulatory bodies’. Paul Edmondson and Ash Saluja have ‘excellent industry knowledge and commercial understanding’.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s contentious and non-contentious team provides ‘business-focussed advice’ across a range of issues affecting retail and investment banking clients such as Lloyds, UBS and Credit Suisse. With support from the firm’s employment team, Andrew Procter has led the advice to eight banks, including TSB and Westpac, on major implementation projects concerning the new Senior Managers Regime. In another highlight, Jenny Stainsby, the ‘highly technical’ Hywel Jenkins and Daniel Hudson worked alongside the competition team in advising a leading global investment bank and an international financing group on the global reviews into alleged manipulation in the FX market. Since his arrival in May 2015 from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, Nick Bradbury has been involved in a range of wholesale and retail financial services work, including providing regulatory advice on TSB’s spin out from the Lloyds Banking Group. Clive Cunningham is also recommended.

Leveraging the firm’s impressive private equity client base, King & Wood Mallesons continues to pick up a significant amount of regulatory work affecting the alternative investment fund sector. The ‘very highly ratedTamasin Little has been acting alongside Adrian Brown, a new hire from Nabarro LLP, and Tim Dolan on numerous AIFMD-related issues, including advising Queensland Investment Corporation on the structuring of its first-ever fund managed by an EU AIFM and marketed to EU professional investors under the AIFMD passport. The ‘highly experienced and commercialDavid Calligan has a good reputation advising broker dealers including Plus500, which he is advising on a wide variety of regulatory and compliance matters relating to derivatives. The firm also has ‘strength-in-depth’ on the contentious front; Rachel Couter was recently appointed as a “skilled person” by the FCA in its review of a major bank’s interest rate hedging product sales.

Macfarlanes LLP provides ‘a very commercial service’ to buy-side and sell-side clients. David Berman provides ‘accurate and commercially prudent advice’, and is recognised as an expert on the Senior Managers Regime. The ‘responsive and solutions-orientedMichelle Kirschner has been very active advising on MiFID II considerations, and the ‘technically knowledgeable and pragmaticPaul Ellison is also recommended for his standalone advisory work as well as regulatory advice to private equity sponsors on financial services sector acquisitions. On the contentious front, Dan Lavender and Matt McCaheartyboth provide commercial and pragmatic advice’ and represented ICAP on all aspects of multi-jurisdictional investigations into Yen LIBOR manipulation.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP provides ‘sharp and commercial advice’ across an array of matters affecting banks including Barclays, HSBC and TSB, and is particularly singled out for its ‘absolutely superb consumer credit work’, where the ‘best-in-class’ Rosanna Bryant is a particular standout practitioner. Team head Amanda Hulme also has a focus on retail matters, while the ‘calm and consideredBrian McDonnell provides ‘superior advice’ within the wholesale sector. Ex-FSA lawyer Chris Brennan provides ‘insightful advice’ to retail and wholesale banking clients.

At Baker & McKenzie LLP, ‘excellent’ team head Arun Srivastava recently represented the FCA as an interested party in a high-profile judicial review claim concerning KPMG’s role as an independent reviewer in the compensation process concerning mis-selling of interest rate swap products. Non-contentious work included advising Cash America/Enova on its successful FCA authorisation process.

At Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, team head Jonathan Bayliss handles regulatory work for institutional clients in the private wealth sector. William Garner excels at wholesale trading and markets work, and is advising Morgan Stanley on the regulatory issues associated with access to new trading venues, new products and MiFID II. Former team head Elizabeth Budd joined Pinsent Masons LLP in September 2015.

Headed on the non-contentious front by the ‘excellentMichael McKee and on the contentious side by Tony Katz, DLA Piper’s three-partner team provides ‘high-quality and incisive advice across a wide range of areas’. Katz and Sam Millar recently represented Trasta Komercbanka in an internal review of its AML policies.

Eversheds LLP has ‘significant technical knowledge’ of issues affecting clients in the asset management space. Andrew Henderson is ‘able to work through tricky issues quickly and effectively’ and has advised over 25 fund management groups and private wealth managers on the implementation of the FCA’s new client asset and client money rules. Gregory Brandman leads the firm’s efforts on the contentious regulatory side, and is ably assisted by the ‘approachable and knowledgeableDavid Saunders, who has a ‘valuable insider’s insight’ as a result of his time as deputy group general counsel at Nationwide Building Society. Clients include JP Morgan Asset Management, Royal London Asset Management and AXA Investment.

Key figures at Fieldfisher include team head Kirstene Baillie, who has an excellent reputation in the investment fund space, and the ‘excellent’ John Worthy, who is noted for his payments expertise. On the contentious front, Duncan Black provides ‘wise and balanced advice’ to a range of clients including hedge funds.

At Jones Day, team head John Ahern, who is noted for his ‘commercial realism and practicality’, acts for funds, broker dealers and banks across a range of EU and UK regulatory matters, and has particular expertise in regulatory capital matters. Harriet Territt provides ‘pragmatic, thoughtful and intelligent advice’ to clients subject to regulatory investigations and enforcement actions.

At Mayer Brown International LLP, ‘friendly and approachable’ US-qualified partner David Sahr is praised by clients for his ‘commercial application of the relevant regulations’, and in particular the extraterritorial impact of Dodd-Frank on banks operating outside of the US. The ‘user-friendly’ Mark Compton is ‘extremely knowledgeable in the commodity space’. The team was bolstered by the arrival in March 2016 of Guy Wilkes from the FCA.

Now numbering five partners following the arrival in May 2015 of the ‘very experienced and pragmatic’ David Heffron from Addleshaw Goddard LLP and Elizabeth Budd in September 2015 from Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, Pinsent Masons LLP has increased bandwidth across the regulatory landscape. Other partners include payments expert Tony Anderson and Michael Lewis, who specialises in work within the wholesale banking space.

Fielding 11 dedicated partners in London and also able to tap into the expertise of practitioners spread out across the firm’s international network, Reed Smith LLP has the strength-in-depth to provide ‘clear and pragmatic regulatory advice’ to a broad range of clients including retail and investment banks, asset managers and broker dealers. Jacqui Hatfield provides ‘well-researched and crisp advice’ on a range of mandates including Fintech regulatory matters. Chris Borg and Brett Hillis are well known for their commodity derivatives regulatory expertise. Robert Falkner and Charles Hewetson have been representing Santander in an FCA review into the alleged mis-selling of interest rate hedging products to its customers.

Sidley Austin LLP provides ‘commercial advice across myriad EU regulatory issues’, and is particularly strong advising US clients on the relationship between US and EU/UK regulations. The ‘very commercialLeonard Ng (‘one of the most knowledgeable and technically able regulatory lawyers in the market’) advises hedge fund clients such as Citadel Group and the US-based Managed Funds Association. Matthew Dening has ‘real industry credibility’ on derivatives regulation and John Casanova, who splits his time between London and Singapore, is well regarded on the payments front.

At Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, ‘strategic and tactical’ contentious team head Helen Marshall has ‘formidable technical knowledge’ in the fund management space. Rosemarie Paul was formerly at the FSA and has ‘great insight into how the FCA approaches regulatory responsibilities’. Christopher Leonard advises investment managers and broker dealers across a broad spread of regulatory issues as they relate to product distribution, compliance and structuring.

At Covington & Burling LLP, Charlotte Hill has ‘a strong understanding of the changing regulatory environment’. Recent highlights include advising Aberforth Partners on the implications of the newly implemented UCITS V.

The ‘responsive and knowledgeable’ five-partner team at Dechert LLP handles regulatory work for clients in the investment fund and asset management sector including AIFMD and MiFID II compliance projects. Karen Anderberg provides ‘highly effective advice’ to US funds entering the UK market. The ‘excellentRichard Frase and ‘industry giantPeter Astleford are also recommended.

Howard Kennedy LLP’s Daniel Tunkel acts for a raft of small to mid-cap investment funds and regularly advises foreign clients on obtaining the relevant regulatory authorisations to set up regulated businesses in the UK. Dan Hyde is ‘calm under pressure and skilled at managing the crossover between parallel civil and criminal proceedings’.

At Kirkland & Ellis International LLP, team head Lisa Cawley is praised for her ability to ‘cut through the quagmire of legislation and extract the relevant points’. She has ‘superb industry knowledge’ of UK and EU regulations affecting the private equity space and ‘displays a good balance of technical exactitude and commercial pragmatism’.

At Osborne Clarke, ‘pragmatic and commercial’ team head Paul Anning is well versed in the regulatory issues associated with the payments and funds sectors, and Bristol-based Tim Simmonds provides regulatory advice to real estate funds. In keeping with the firm’s venture capital expertise, the team also provides expertise on crowdfunding regulations.

Led by the ‘tenacious’ and ‘hardworkingRichard Burger, RPC is best known for its expertise within the insurance sector, where Burger ‘really has a sense of what works before the regulator’. Robbie Constance provides ‘pithy and articulate advice’ to clients in the wealth and investment management sector.

At Ropes & Gray LLP, team head Michelle Moran has a ‘very keen legal mind’ and is ‘able to effectively apply the law and regulation’ to European and US investment managers. As well as advising investment management clients across a range of regulatory matters including AIFMD and MiFID II, Monica Gogna is also recognised as a leading expert in exchange traded funds work.

Headed by the ‘astute and commercial’ Jonathan Rogers, Taylor Wessing LLP’s three-partner non-contentious team provides wide-ranging regulatory expertise to clients in the wealth management, consumer finance, payments and insurance sectors. The ‘unflappable, calm and measured’ Alix Prentice is also recommended, while on the contentious front, the ‘impressive’ David McCluskey is recommended for criminal and regulatory investigations.

White & Case LLP regularly acts for clients on regulatory aspects arising from financial services M&A. Team leader Stuart Willey regularly works with colleagues throughout the firm’s global network and, in addition to regulatory driven transactional matters, handles standalone work on issues such as the risk retention rules associated with the CLO market.

At Arnold & Porter (UK) LLP, team head Tim Aron regularly handles securities and derivatives regulatory work, and often works alongside practitioners from the firm’s strong Washington DC office.

At Blake Morgan LLP, senior associate Felicity Rowan ‘effectively combines her ex-FSA experience with practical compliance advice’. Team head Richard Humphreys has particular expertise in the Consumer Credit Act and has been advising consumer credit funders on FCA regulatory issues.

At Cooley (UK) LLP, team head Chris Finney provides ‘practical, commercial and responsive’ regulatory advice to insurers, private equity and venture capital fund managers and Fintech companies.

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s Adrian Williams has ‘good knowledge of the insurance industry’ and in prudential regulation in particular. Team head Mathew Rutter is also recommended.

At Dentons, team head Rosali Pretorius has been advising Statoil on the implications of MiFID II on its derivatives trading business. Managing associate Emma Radmore specialises in retail financial services and investment fund regulatory advice.

At Farrer & Co, team head Grania Baird has ‘in-depth knowledge of the regulatory world in which private banks and wealth managers operate’.

Fox Williams LLP benefits from ‘strength and experience in the financial services field’. It is particularly well respected for its contentious expertise, where Peter Wrightcombines technical knowledge with good judgement and a natural instinct for enforcement litigation’. James Carlton (‘always calm in a crisis’) is also recommended, as is Nigel Brahams (who is ‘very knowledgeable about current regulatory hot topics including MiFID II’) and ‘Fintech hotshotJonathan Segal.

The arrival in July 2015 of the ‘considered and commercially aware’ Gregg Beechey from King & Wood Mallesons has added regulatory expertise to Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (London) LLP’s growing transactional funds practice in London. Beechey has ‘encyclopaedic knowledge of the relevant law’ affecting the funds industry.

At Gowling WLG, Greg Standing ‘has a reputation for being client friendly and strong on strategy’.

Key non-contentious figures at K&L Gates LLP include Jacob Ghanty, who ‘has a clear understanding of the retail banking/payments environment’. On the contentious front senior associate David Savell displays ‘extraordinary attention to detail’ on corporate crime and regulatory prosecutions.

Headed by David Brennand, Katten Muchin Rosenman UK LLP’s four-partner team provides ‘a very high level of service’ on regulatory issues affecting proprietary trading firms, exchanges and broker dealers. Nathaniel Lalone is ‘very responsive and knowledgeable across both US and EU regulatory matters’.

At Locke Lord LLP, team head Robert Courtneidge has ‘in-depth industry knowledge in the payments and prepaid payments industry’.

Mishcon de Reya LLP’s ‘very active regulatory practice’ predominantly acts for individuals or smaller corporates in investigations and enforcement actions. Adam Epstein provides ‘calm, sensible and sound advice’ and is ‘revered by his opponents as an expert in his field’. Tim Flood has particular expertise on investment fund regulation.

At Nabarro LLP, the ‘pragmatic’ Sam Robinson has ‘deep industry knowledge’ across a range of matters including payment regulatory issues.

At Paul Hastings LLP, Ben Regnard-Weinrabe is ‘absolutely extraordinary on consumer credit regulations’ and has ‘in-depth knowledge and understanding of the payments industry’.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP’s Patrick Brandt provides regulatory advice on financial services M&A, and recently advised Calera Capital on its acquisition of independent Lloyd’s broker RFIB Group. The practice also handles standalone regulatory issues.

Stephenson Harwood has ‘a thorough understanding of the law and process, as well as of the financial services world’ and is ‘especially strong acting for senior individuals’ in regulatory investigations and accompanying criminal investigations. Sara George and Tony Woodcockare energetic, tough and expert in the underlying subject matters of typical enforcement cases’. On the advisory front, Richard Small has particular expertise on custody and client money matters.

TLT’s offering on both the contentious and non-contentious side was recently bolstered by the arrival in February 2016 of ‘shockingly clever’ consumer credit expert Russell Kelsall from Squire Patton Boggs. The ‘excellent’ Emily Benson is also recommended.

At Irwin Mitchell, Sarah Wallace (‘one of the best and hardest-working corporate litigators around’) is increasingly expanding into the financial services field.

Kingsley Napley LLP is ‘very strong in contentious FCA enforcement work’, and has gained particular prominence representing individuals in numerous LIBOR and FX market manipulation matters. The ‘excellentLouise Hodgeseffectively combines her criminal law instincts with a general understanding of City matters’. Eve Giles has ‘an excellent understanding of the trading environment’ and is also recommended along with the ‘formidableJo Rickards and Julie Matheson, who is ‘knowledgeable about complex financial regulatory issues’.

Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP is particularly strong in cases where there is a criminal and civil crossover, and in working for individuals facing regulatory or criminal charges. Key figures include Hannah Laming, who is ‘dauntless in the face of the regulators’, the ‘calm and consideredNeil Swift, and special counsel Monty Raphael QC, who is ‘a legend in the profession’.

At WilmerHale, the ‘pragmatic’ Stephen Pollard is noted for his ‘good judgement’ and expertise representing individuals in high-profile enforcement cases. ‘Highly analytical’ counsel Elly Proudlock is also recommended.

At Withers LLP, former FSA lawyer Harvey Knight is ‘a very experienced financial services practitioner who fights his clients ’ corner relentlessly’ and ‘has no hesitation in taking the regulators head on if need be’.

Litigation boutique Bivonas Law LLP is ‘highly rated’ for individuals facing regulatory investigation or criminal charges. Cindy Dorrington is ‘tactically astute and leaves no stone unturned in the preparation of her client’s defence’. Managing partner Antony Brown is also recommended.

Brown Rudnick LLP has ‘really upped its game’ for contentious financial services work since the recent arrival of former senior enforcement regulator Peter Bibby, who provides ‘straight-talking’ and ‘effective’ advice to senior executives on FCA investigations and enforcement cases.

For some, Cooke, Young & Keidan LLP is ‘top of the market for handling difficult financial services litigation for non-bank claimants’. Marc Keidanhas real expertise in banking-related disputes and an absolute determination to do the very best for his clients’.

Leveraging its superb white-collar expertise, Corker Binning is particularly accomplished at handling regulatory matters with a criminal angle, including acting for individuals in a number of the recent market manipulation cases. Peter Binning, Andrew Smith and Jessica Parkerare hugely experienced at FCA work with a criminal angle’, and name partner David Corker provides ‘a tough and effective defence for his clients’.

At Winston & Strawn London LLP, solicitor advocate Justin McClelland is praised for his ‘exceptional industry knowledge and awareness’, and for his ‘well-considered advice’.

Flotations: small and mid-cap

Index of tables

  1. Flotations: small and mid-cap
  2. Leading individuals

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP is particularly prominent in the mid-cap space, where it advises clients from a broad range of sectors on AIM and Main Market offerings. Alex Latner and Paul Miller acted for Adgorithms on its $125m AIM IPO, while on the underwriter side Nicholas Myatt assisted Canaccord Genuity with the £81m Mortgage Advice Bureau flotation. Julian Stanier has also been developing key bank-side relationships. Gareth Jones was promoted to partner while former head of corporate David Collins joined Dentons.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s sizeable capital markets team includes Richard Sheen, who has been particularly active in AIM matters; 2015 highlights included advising online estate agency Purplebricks on its £240m IPO, and acting for technology company Windar Photonics on its £40m flotation. Raj Karia is recommended for oil and gas deals, while Nick Adams is a key contact for natural resources matters. Canaccord Genuity and Jefferies are recent underwriter clients.

Pinsent Masons LLP has an enviable track record in mid-cap offerings involving complex cross-border issues, and is equally adept in business-critical small-cap deals. Practice head Jon Harris is ‘one of the leaders of his generation’ and Russell Booker is ‘an experienced and level-headed corporate lawyer with excellent knowledge of the listing process’. Shore Capital and Falkland Oil & Gas are recent clients.

The ‘highly responsive’ and ‘always proactive’ team at Travers Smith LLP includes corporate finance head Neal Watson, head of corporate Spencer Summerfield, listed funds team leader Aaron Stocks and Andrew Gillen. The team acts for banks including Cenkos Securities, private equity houses, and a range of issuer clients such as Pinewood Group and Gloo Networks on high-profile mandates across both AIM and the Main Market.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP’s team, led by Tim Field, is recommended for its ‘good market knowledge and execution’. Manchester-based Roger Hart has particular expertise in the telecoms and retail sectors, and Charles Penney regularly acts for international companies. Peel Hunt and finnCap are recent NOMAD clients.

Ashurst fields a team of ‘highly skilled lawyers that combine excellent legal knowledge with strong business acumen’. Michael Robins is a key contact for AIM matters, and has recently advised clients such as Atlantis Resources and Westhouse Securities. US securities specialists Jennifer Schneck and new arrival Eric Stuart are also recommended. Jonathan Parry left for White & Case LLP.

At CMS, Gary Green advised ISG on a £19m cashbox placing and broker option and James Parkes, who is noted for his ‘attention to detail’, handled a number of matters for NOMAD Panmure Gordon. The practice can also draw on the US securities expertise of international capital markets head Daniel Winterfeldt.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP handled a number of cross-border deals in 2015; Andrew Collins (who is an expert in the financial services and property sectors and regularly advises family offices and owner-managed businesses) acted for MayAir on its admission to AIM, while Mark Howard assisted longstanding client W H Ireland as joint bookrunner on a £50m accelerated bookbuild by African low-cost airline FastJet. Practice head Clive Hopewell has the ‘rare quality of finding commercial solutions whilst remaining firmly within the ambit of sound legal advice’.

DLA Piper’s team, headed by Alex Tamlyn in London and featuring lawyers from across the firm’s UK offices, acts for companies and their advisers across all stages of their lifecycles. Tom Heylen acted for expanding medical devices company Tissue Regenix Group on a £20m placing, while Charles Severs assisted the sponsor on the migration of Optimal Payments (since renamed Paysafe Group) from AIM to the Main Market. George Barboutis provides US securities advice.

Eversheds LLP’s ‘knowledgeable and experienced team’ is highlighted for its ‘good value for money’ and was significantly bolstered in 2016 with the recruitment of Sebastian Orton from Jones Day. Daniel Hall advised Zeus Capital and Investec Bank as joint brokers on a £130m placing by Conviviality Retail. Recent issuer clients include Diurnal Group and Eurocell, which it advised on a £175m Main Market IPO. Practice head Stephen Nash has ‘a strong understanding of clients ’ needs’.

Fieldfisher is ‘technically strong and proactive in finding solutions’. Energy and natural resources expert Dominic Gurney-Champion recently advised Atalaya Mining on its £65m fundraise. On the NOMAD side, Neil Matthews acted for Cenkos Securities and N+1 Singer on the £20m fundraising by life sciences company Abzena. Other key members in the sizeable team include the ‘hugely experienced and frighteningly intelligent’ Anthony Brockbank and Brad Isaac, whose expertise spans energy, technology and real estate.

Gowling WLG’s sizeable team of equity capital markets lawyers includes Africa specialist Dominic Prentis; Sunil Kakkad, who regularly advises Indian companies and financial institutions; investment funds expert John Reed; and practice head Jeffrey Elway, whose recent clients include Cenkos Securities, Ambrian and Cantor Fitzgerald Europe.

At Nabarro LLP, the highly regarded Alasdair Steele was particularly active on the NOMAD front in 2015; highlights included advising Numis Securities on a £79m placing by Alliance Pharma; and assisting Stifel with the £150m IPO by Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Income Fund. Practice head Iain Newman’s recent issuer clients include SPARK Ventures and Ten Alps.

In a significant development for its cross-office team, Osborne Clarke won a first-time instruction from high-profile NOMAD Cantor Fitzgerald Europe, with practice head Jonathan King advising the financial institution on the £70m IPO of online gaming company Stride Gaming. Other key contacts include James Massy-Collier in Reading and Mark Wesker in Bristol. Rebecca Gordon joined from Dentons.

At Simmons & Simmons, Patrick Graves, who is ‘very knowledgeable within the AIM environment’, advised Investec Bank on Bonmarché Holdings’ move up from AIM to the Main Market. Life sciences expert Charles Mayo and highly regarded practice head Chris Horton are other names to note in the ‘commercial, pragmatic and highly experienced team’.

Stephenson Harwood’s team, led by leading individual Tom Nicholls, acted for a mix of issuers, sponsors and NOMADs in over 50 small and mid-cap deals in 2015. Highlights included advising Shield Therapeutics on its £162m IPO and acting for Numis Securities as corporate adviser to Hornby on its move from the Main Market to AIM. Andrew Edge, Tom Page and William Saunders are also recommended.

Bird & Bird LLP leverages the firm’s reputation in IP-rich sectors to regularly act on TMT and life sciences deals. Simon Allport acted for Cairn and Whitman Howard (as NOMAD and broker, respectively) on the IPO and placing by Faron Pharmaceuticals. Simon Fielder is active on cross-border matters, particularly those with a Malaysian or Singaporean element.

In an illustration of its healthcare strength, Covington & Burling LLP’s team advised Californian biotech company Verseon Corporation on the US law aspects of its £66m IPO, and acted for Allergy Therapeutics on a £20m placing. Other sector strengths include clean energy and TMT. Practice head Paul Claydon, US-qualified Kristian Wiggert, Simon Amies and associate Sarah Turner are recommended.

At Dechert LLP, AIM team head Sean Geraghty regularly acts for prominent NOMADs, financial advisers and brokers, and recently advised ZAI Corporate Finance on Tiso Blackstar Group’s placing and Cenkos Securities on Highland Natural Resources’ re-admission to the standard market. Issuer clients include Richoux and Weiss Korea. Patrick Lyons provides US securities advice.

At Dentons, Neil Nicholson has longstanding relationships with Cenkos Securities and RM2, among other financial institutions. Issuer highlights included advising Bilby on its £17m IPO. Former Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP corporate head David Collins joined, while Rebecca Gordon left for Osborne Clarke.

Dorsey & Whitney has longstanding relationships with brokers and NOMADs including Cenkos Securities, Canaccord Genuity and Numis Securities. On the issuer side, Kate Francis and Max Beazley advised Atlantic Coal on its delisting from AIM. Mark Taylor heads the group.

K&L Gates LLP is ‘very strong commercially and very aware of clients ’ needs and priorities’. The practice is particularly active across US-related matters; corporate head Paul Tetlow acted alongside Tom Sibert for Cenkos Securities on the £66m placing by Californian company Verseon Corporation. James Green is ‘hardworking and client-focused’. Newly promoted partner Tom Wallace acts for clients including Electrical Geodesics and Panmure Gordon.

Macfarlanes LLP’s practice is headed by ‘great communicatorRobert Boyle and is active across a wide range of London stock market deals (including on the Main Market) for issuers, banks and shareholders. Mark Slade acted for Elegant Hotels Group on its £100m AIM flotation.

Mayer Brown International LLP’s Kate Ball-Dodd is a trusted adviser to a number of AIM-listed companies. On the NOMAD side, Colin Scagell assisted Peel Hunt as sole sponsor and underwriter to Charles Talyor’s £31m rights issue.

Memery Crystal LLP stands out for the volume of work handled in its six-partner team. Corporate head Michael Dawes advised longstanding broker client Brandon Hill Capital on San Leon Energy’s £29m fundraising, and Lesley Gregory acted for SP Angel as NOMAD in Ironbridge Resources’ admission to AIM and accompanying £10m fundraising. Corporate AIM clients include Gaming Realms, Shanta Gold and Futura Medical.

At Olswang LLP, the highly regarded Azlinda Ariffin-Boromand is a key contact for cross-border capital markets deals, particularly related to Asia, while practice head Paul Blackmore regularly advises listed companies operating in the TMT and leisure sectors. Dexion Capital is a recent NOMAD client.

Squire Patton Boggs provides international expertise, including US securities advice, across a platform of four UK offices. Recent NOMAD instructions include advising Peel Hunt on Curtis Banks Group’s £21m placing, and Panmure Gordon on Gear4music’s admission to AIM. The team, which includes Birmingham corporate head Edward Dawes, also won City of London Group and Rotala as new clients. Matthew Doughty joined DWF.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP has an impressive track record in the energy and natural resources space; practice head Jan Mellmann advised Sound Energy on a £12m placing and assisted Baobab Resources on its delisting from AIM. Martin Thomas handled a number of real estate deals including advising Allenby Capital as NOMAD on K&C REIT’s £3.5m placing. Dearbhla Quigley is also recommended. James Wilson joined from Reed Smith LLP.

DAC Beachcroft LLP strengthened its ability to act for NOMADs and brokers with the addition of Jonathan Deverill, who also regularly advises issuers in the natural resources space; he assisted Allenby Capital on The Fulham Shore’s £4.8m fundraise. Technology sector expert Matthew Darling and Clive Garston are also recommended.

Fladgate LLP bolstered its practice with the arrivals of Nigel Gordon and life sciences and natural resources expert Chris Chrysanthou from Fasken Martineau LLP. Grant Gordon heads the team, which includes Avram Kelman, who represents numerous tech sector related Israeli companies.

Fox Williams LLP’s ‘business-oriented’ practice is noted for its ‘deep knowledge of the natural resources sector’. Other sector specialisms include energy, technology, financial services and retail. ‘Innovative and solutions-oriented’ corporate head Richie Clark and Andrew Woolf are names to note.

At Hamlins LLP, practice head Daniel Bellau, who is a key adviser to Palace Capital, is ‘knowledgeable, commercial and gets the deal done’. Ian Binnie joined Michelmores LLP.

Kerman & Co LLP’s Michael Bennett and Joan Yu, who regularly advise technology, natural resources and energy focused issuers, ‘are very good at resolving issues; they know how business actually works in the real world’.

At Marriott Harrison LLP, practice head Simon Charles advised on the £4m IPO of Fishing Republic; he and the team have been working on several proposed admissions to AIM. Allenby Capital and N+1 Singer are recent broker clients.

At Mills & Reeve LLP, Stephen Hamilton, who is noted for his ‘consistently excellent advice and availability’, has been particularly active in the technology sector, where he advises issuers and brokers.

Mishcon de Reya LLP acts for a broad range of clients including NOMADs such as Arden Partners and finnCap, shareholders such as Woodford Investment Management, and private equity houses. Practice head Saul Sender, Ross Bryson and Shantanu Sinha are the main contacts.

Shepherd and Wedderburn’s team, led by Walter Blake, ‘provides high-quality, good-value advice’ to mid-market banks including Numis Securities and Canaccord Genuity. Issuer-side clients include John Swan & Sons and Collagen Solutions.

Tandeep Minhas is the main contact at Taylor Wessing LLP and has a number of ongoing relationships with key brokers.

Leeds-based Walker Morris LLP hired former DWF equity capital markets head Daniel O’Gorman, who joins ‘an impressive and cost-effective’ corporate team that also features Richard Naish, who advised Gear4music on its £28m IPO. Other clients include N+1 Singer.

Investment funds

Index of tables

  1. Investment funds: Hedge funds
  2. Listed funds
  3. Private funds
  4. Real estate funds
  5. Retail funds
  6. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Ranked law firms appear in alphabetical order, and may feature in one or more of the Hedge funds ranking tables, which cover specific fund types. The Private funds table covers non-listed private equity buyout, infrastructure and debt funds, but excludes Hedge funds and Real estate funds, which have their own dedicated tables. The Listed funds table reflects firms with the leading closed-end listed funds practices; and the Retail funds table addresses authorised funds. There is a separate section for Private equity: transactions within the Corporate and commercial chapter.

In addition to having real estate funds capabilities, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld deals with a wide range of private fund strategies, including buyout, infrastructure and debt. Its hedge funds practice, spearheaded by Ian Meade and Tim Pearce, is particularly strong; clients in the space include BlueCrest, Systematica Investments and Finisterre Capital. John Holton, Thiha Tun and Christopher Gorman-Evans are other key practitioners.

Allen & Overy LLP is particularly strong in closed-ended fund structures involving real estate, infrastructure and debt strategies. Its real estate funds client roster includes TH Real Estate, JPMorgan, Hines and Aviva Investors. Elsewhere, the firm undertakes a steady stream of hedge fund and listed fund mandates. Matt Huggett’s team includes recently promoted counsel Tamara Cizeika.

In the listed funds space, Ashurst’s Nicholas Holmes acted for Stifel Nicolaus and J.P. Morgan Cazenove as joint bookrunners of Foresight Solar Fund’s £36m placing. In real estate fund work, the firm advises on the formation and operation of listed and private structures. Jeremy Bell and Alexander Cox are advising Tritax on launching its Tritax Property Income Fund. Piers Warburton was lead adviser to Intermediate Capital Group on the €3bn launch of ICG Europe Fund VI.

Baker & McKenzie LLP is primarily known for its private funds and real estate funds capabilities, handling every aspect of the funds lifecycle for clients such as Colony Capital, Invesco Real Estate and Employees Provident Fund (Malaysia). James Burdett heads the London investment funds practice.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s market-leading reputation in real estate sees it act for sponsors and investors in real estate funds matters. Justin Cornelius led the advice to Frogmore in its £580m successful fundraising for Frogmore Real Estate Partners III. The firm is also active in the listed funds area; Richard Werner and Nicola Hopkins are recommended.

Noted for its retail funds expertise, Burges Salmon LLP handles a full range of issues for clients such as St James’ Place, Argonaut Capital Partners and Premier Asset Management. Chris Godfrey jointly heads the practice with Tom Dunn, who assisted Smartfund Administration with restructuring its range of open-ended investment company funds. The team covers the full fund lifecycle and its regulatory expertise includes UCITS V, FATCA and MiFID II.

Clients describe CMS as ‘excellent without reservation’ across the funds spectrum. Recent retail funds work include Karagh Gilliatt advising Standard Life Investments on a large-scale fund rationalisation project. Aidan Campbell is another key name. Within listed funds, the firm won bank-led mandates from clients such as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Cazenove; Cathy Pitt is a key contact. Elsewhere, private funds practice head Colin Lawrie handles fund formation and investment work. Melville Rodrigues is recommended for real estate funds.

Jointly led by Victoria Younghusband and Keir Gordon, Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’s team handles a variety of investment funds. David Hicks is particularly knowledgeable about closed-ended investment trusts. The firm also has strengths in funds focused on the charities and not-for-profit sector, as well as emerging markets funds. Younghusband assisted VinaCapital with launching Forum One VCG Partners Vietnam Fund, a Luxembourg-authorised UCITS fund investing in Vietnam. Jonathan Bayliss and Kate Troup are also recommended. Elizabeth Budd joined Pinsent Masons LLP.

Practice head Nigel Hatfield and Gerard Saviola are key contacts at Clifford Chance, which undertakes all aspects of private equity, real estate, infrastructure and debt funds for its broad client base. Highlights included acting for Permira in the formation of Permira Credit Solutions II, an €800m multi-strategy private credit fund focused on European investments. Hatfield and Saviola have particular experience of dealing with India and Africa focused investment funds, respectively; Saviola assisted African Capital Alliance with the formation of Capital Alliance Private Equity IV.

In addition to forming and structuring funds, Covington & Burling LLP’s team also deals with co-investments, secondary market transactions, fund restructurings and primary investments into funds, among other matters. Simon Goodworth, Hilary Prescott and Simon Currie are recommended.

DLA Piper provides ‘good bang for your buck’ with regard to private funds, where it focuses on acting for international cornerstone investors, such as DEG and Proparco. James O’Donnell and Roy Kelly advised Commonwealth Development Corporation in its cornerstone investment in Insitor Impact Asia Fund. Andrew Wylie joined in April 2016 from Nabarro LLP; he took on the role of head of alternative investment funds vacated by Gawain Hughes, who joined Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP in July 2015.

Noted for its strengths in private funds and real estate funds, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has ‘excellent knowledge of the market and a commercial approach’. Its extensive expertise includes fund formation and structuring, secondaries market transactions, regulatory issues and investments into funds. In 2015, practice head Geoffrey Kittredge led the advice to Exponent on the successful launch of Exponent Private Equity Partners III, which closed on £1bn. Sally Gibson made partner in 2015.

A recognised leader in the funds business’, Dechert LLP’s London-based investment management practice operates within the firm’s wider global network to handle all fund types for clients worldwide. Its team includes practice head Peter Astleford, who has ‘been there and done it’ and hedge funds expert Abigail Bell, who ‘cuts through the rubbish and focuses on key points’. Christopher Gardner, who has a burgeoning reputation in hedge funds and private funds, is recommended along with Stuart Martin and Gus Black; Black is ‘without a doubt one of the top lawyers in the funds space’. For listed funds, Andrew Hougie is a go-to option for exchange-traded products, and Richard Frase is another key name in the area. In retail funds, Karen Anderberg assists UK and international fund managers with regulatory and compliance issues.

An acknowledged market leader in retail funds, Eversheds LLP’s strengths include property authorised investment funds and authorised contractual schemes; Pamela Thompson is lead adviser to London LGPS CIV on the launch and operation of an authorised contractual scheme and its sub-funds. The firm’s listed funds work in 2015 included the £250m IPO of UK Mortgages Limited on the Specialist Fund Market in London, and subsequent listing on the Global Exchange Market in Ireland. It handled the redomiciliation of fund-of-hedge-funds Hilltop Core Select Fund from Gibraltar to Ireland. Ronald Paterson, Andrew Henderson and Michaela Walker are also recommended.

Led by Kirstene Baillie, Fieldfisher’s team handles matters across a broad mix of fund types. Retail funds are a particular area of strength; in 2015, Baillie acted for both Columbia Threadneedle and Sovereign in the former’s acquisition of the latter’s Unit Trust Fund Range. The firm also advises Fidelity and Man GLG on UK authorised investment fund matters. Azad Ali joined from Shearman & Sterling LLP.

Mark Watterson, David Rouch and Jonathan Baird are highly regarded at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, which assists sponsors with all aspects of their funds businesses. It also advises on institutional investments into funds. In addition to having a notable private funds capability, the practice also leverages its strong capital markets capabilities to undertake high-end listed fund mandates.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (London) LLP’s private funds practice was significantly augmented by the arrivals of Mark Mifsud, Kate Downey and Alexandra Conroy from Kirkland & Ellis International LLP. Gregg Beechey joined from King & Wood Mallesons. The firm’s workload spans a broad range of asset classes, such as infrastructure, debt, energy and renewables, among others. Mifsud leads the team, which advised BlueBay on fundraising for Direct Lending Fund II SLP.

Goodwin primarily focuses on real estate funds, where David Evans’ team ‘knows its subject’. Samantha Lake Coghlan is acting for Ares Management in setting up Ares European Property Enhancement Partners II. Gregory Barclay and James Spence are also recommended. Elsewhere, the firm also deals with private equity and venture capital funds.

Gowling WLG had a strong 2015 in listed fund IPOs and secondary share issues. Oliver Riley acted for Winterflood Securities as the sponsor and placing agent in the £800m IPO of Woodford Patient Capital Trust. Nick Heather advised Liberum Capital on the £136m IPO of Ranger Direct Lending. Kristian Rogers and John Reed are other names to note.

Although Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is historically known for its market-leading listed funds capabilities, its funds practice covers matters involving alternative funds strategies, including: private equity buyout, hedge, real estate and infrastructure. In 2015, Tim West was lead adviser to HarbourVest on its migration from the Specialist Fund Market to the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange. Nigel Farr and Scott Cochrane jointly lead the practice with West. Recently promoted partner Stephen Newby is also recommended.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s varied practice spans a wide range of fund types, including listed funds, real estate funds and private funds. In 2015, Nicholas Holman handled the formation of investment manager Atelier Capital and its Irish student accommodation fund Ziggurat ROI Seed Capital. Holman also advised Aberdeen Asset Management on the launch of its second multi-investment European infrastructure fund. Erik Jamieson, Philip Brown and James McDonald are recommended, along with recently promoted counsel Jeremy Pickles.

Private funds and real estate funds are bedrocks of Jones Day’s practice. Neil Seaton’s team includes John MacGarty, whose fund formation expertise is complemented by his experience of secondaries transactions. Alistair Grant, Anna Cartwright and Neil Ferguson are other names to note in the group, which acts for clients such as Greystar, The Riverside Company and CBRE.

In the hedge finds sphere, K&L Gates LLP’s Sean Donovan-Smith, Andrew Massey and Rodney Smyth have been advising PanAgora on AIFMD’s impact on its European marketing activities. Elsewhere, the firm’s retail funds practice sees it acts for clients such as Federated Investors, Eaton Vance and John Hancock.

Kaye Scholer LLP is particularly well regarded in the alternative investment funds space, and is ‘a pleasure to work with on complex deals’. UK practice head Simon Firth and Daniel Lewin worked with US-based team members on forming Highgate Capital Management’s inaugural $500m Highgate Capital Fund, which invests in undervalued listed companies in the natural resources sector. Other clients include RoboCap, MacKay Shields and Temporis Capital.

King & Wood Mallesons’ diverse practice spans a wide range of alternative investment funds. Global practice head Jonathan Blake advises on various private fund structures, including infrastructure, private equity buyout and debt. Blake, Michael Halford, Shawn d’Aguiar and Josayne Gold are ‘exceptionally knowledgeable, and safe partners in negotiations’. Patrick Deasy acts for clients investing in emerging markets, such as Asia and Africa. Steven Cowins, who heads the real estate funds practice, assisted Goodman with forming £1.2bn fund Goodman UK Logistics Partnership, which invests in logistics and industrial development opportunities. Ajay Pathak is a go-to lawyer for hedge funds. Elsewhere, the firm has a strong listed funds practice and acts for clients such as ICG Longbow and RIT Capital; Delphine Currie is a key contact. Adrian Brown joined from Nabarro LLP in 2015.

Richard Watkins leads Kirkland & Ellis International LLP’s team, whose outstanding reputation in high-end flagship fundraising mandates makes it a go-to option for clients such as Vitruvian, TDR, Rhône Capital and Archer Capital. The group also advises on secondaries transactions. Jonathan Kandel and Justin Gardner joined from Weil, Gotshal & Manges and Linklaters LLP, respectively, while Leith Moghli made partner and Paul Watt relocated from New York to the London office. In other developments, Mark Mifsud, Kate Downey and Alexandra Conroy joined Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (London) LLP. Mateja Maher joined Campbell Lutyens.

Latham & Watkins’ ‘depth of experience and expertise is difficult to beat’. Tom Alabaster worked with the Washington DC office to advise Carlyle International Energy Partners on forming a fund targeting investments into US and Canada-based energy companies. Nick Benson and of counsel Nigel Campion-Smith are also recommended.

Linklaters LLP’s broad practice spans private, real estate, listed, hedge and retail funds. Jonathan de Lance-Holmes handled the spin-off of PW Real Assets from Perella Weinberg, and is advising the former on raising its first independent European real estate fund, PW Real Estate Fund III. Edward Smith handles a range of private and listed funds issues, with particular expertise in Asia-related matters. Rahul Manvatkar is particularly strong in real estate and hedge funds, and is a notable AIFMD expert. Matthew Keogh is the global head of the investment management group.

At MJ Hudson, which focuses on serving clients in the alternative assets industry, its team has ‘outstanding knowledge of fund formation issues’ and ‘an awareness of jurisdiction-specific regulatory and marketing nuances’. ‘Rising starBen Watford and Martin Cornish lead the hedge funds practice, while key private funds contacts include ‘excellent figureheadMatthew Hudson, Ted Craig and Eamon Devlin. Octopus Investments, Augusta and Gulf Investment Corporation are among its clients.

Stephen Robinson leads Macfarlanes LLP’s investment management group, which handles a range of structures for UK-based and international clients. Christopher Good assisted Alchemy with the £600m fundraising for its third special opportunities fund. In the real estate funds space, Alex Amos acted for Legal & General in its joint venture with PGGM, structured as a Jersey legal partnership, which will initially invest £600m into purpose-built private rental housing UK-wide. Simon Thomas heads the hedge funds practice, while Tim Cornick and Lora Froud are recommended for retail funds. Consultant Bridget Barker is ‘well versed in industry/market terms’.

In the private funds space, Maclay Murray & Spens LLP’s David Young led the advice to Dalmore on its launch of a fund connected with its successful bid for the Thames Tideway Tunnel Project. Another key figure, Nick Rutter heads the retail funds practice, which acts for clients such as Thesis, Valu-Trac and Sturgeon Ventures. Listed funds expert Guy Norfolk is ‘pragmatic and has a wealth of knowledge’.

Nabarro LLP has a first-class reputation in real estate funds, handling some of the largest, most complex cross-border fund structurings and indirect real estate investments in the market. Amanda Howard, who ‘knows the industry like the back of her hand’, leads the team, which includes Christopher Luck and Jonathan Cantor. Darren Stolzenberg acted for Tristan Capital Partners in the launch of its €1.5bn fund European Property Investors Special Opportunities IV. Victoria Henry joined from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP, while Deborah Lloyd has retired.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s impressive funds practice spans a full range of investment funds. Listed funds is a historical area of strength, and the firm is also well regarded in the real assets space, including: energy, real estate, technology and infrastructure. In 2015, Richard Sheen acted for PricewaterhouseCoopers as listing sponsor in the IPO of Commerzbank CCBI Investment Funds ICVC. Ian Fox advised Harbour Advisors Cayman on the launch of Harbour Fund III, which funds international arbitration, tribunal and litigation claims. Michael Newell and Mark Lloyd Williams are also recommended.

O’Melveny & Myers LLP’s private funds work for sponsors involves matters ranging from fund formation and capital raising to portfolio transactions, fund restructurings and secondaries transactions. It also assists institutional investors with investments into funds and co-investments. Key figures are global practice head John Daghlian, Daniel Quinn and recent hire Eve Ellis, who joined from Mishcon de Reya LLP. Solomon Wifa moved to Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP.

Osborne Clarke’s practice is particularly active in real estate, private equity and venture capital funds. Tim Simmonds and associate director Alison Riddle handled the formation of Chenavari Real Estate Fund II for Chenavari; Riddle is a recent hire from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP. Paul Anning is assisting Notion Capital Managers with fundraising for Notion Capital III.

In 2015, Paul Hastings LLP hired Duncan Woollard from King & Wood Mallesons. Woollard recently handled the formation of Investindustrial Fund VI, which focuses on investments in mid-market companies in southern Europe. Real estate funds expert David Ryland is assisting Alpha with establishing a fund targeting investments into private residential rental properties in the UK. Garrett Hayes and Christian Parker are also recommended, as is new arrival Paul Severs, who joined from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP.

Pinsent Masons LLP has particular sector specialisms in real estate, private equity, renewable energy and infrastructure, as well as debt, where it acts for financial institutions, asset managers and institutional investors. David Heffron, who joined from Addleshaw Goddard LLP in 2015, jointly leads the practice in London with Daniel Greenaway and Ian Warner. Elizabeth Budd joined from Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, while Derek Stroud moved to Brodies LLP.

Proskauer Rose LLP assists with fund formation, primary investments and secondaries transactions for some of the most prominent players in the private funds market. Highlights included advising Montagu Private Equity on closing its fifth fund at €2.75bn. Practice head Nigel van Zyl, who has ‘an excellent industry reputation’, is recommended along with Oliver Rochman, Andrew Shore and Kate Simpson. In 2015, Bruno Bertrand-Delfau and John Verwey joined from Baker & McKenzie LLP and Pinsent Masons LLP, respectively, and Catherine Sear was promoted to partner.

Reed Smith LLP’s group focuses on alternative investment funds, where it advises clients on matters such as fund finance, execution of investment strategies, regulatory issues, fund investments and investment manager transactions. Panos Katsambas, Winston Penhall, Oliver s’Jacob and Robert Porter are the key contacts.

Ropes & Gray LLP has a strong reputation in private funds, particularly in credit funds, and its integrated tax and regulatory expertise is another standout feature of the practice. Matthew Judd is ‘very smart’ and ‘doesn ’t hesitate to stand his ground when needed’. Judd and Anand Damodaran are working with the New York office to advise CVC Capital Partners on three fund formation mandates concurrently. Michelle Moran is also recommended, as is Chris McGarry, who joined from Weil, Gotshal & Manges in 2015.

Schulte Roth & Zabel International LLP has ‘by far the deepest team among all firms practising in hedge funds – which is reflected in the depth and breadth of its knowledge ‘. Christopher Hilditch, Nick Fagge, Steven Whittaker and senior associate Ron Feldman are among key names in the group, which provides ‘commercial, pragmatic solutions to very challenging questions’. In private funds, Josh Dambacher and Jim McNally handled the launch of a Cayman fund focused on credit opportunities for Chorus Capital. Senior associate Richard Cheadle and recently promoted partner Cathy Weist are also recommended.

In 2015, Shearman & Sterling LLP’s practice head John Adams advised US hedge fund manager Maverick Capital on the formation and management of a UCITS sub-fund offered via a Luxembourg UCITS platform. Adams also worked with the New York office to assist International Finance Corporation with launching private equity fund IFC Financial Institutions Growth Fund. Of counsel William Murdie is another name to note.

Sidley Austin LLP provides ‘an excellent level of service’ with its fund structuring and regulatory capabilities ranking as ‘among the best in the world’. Stephen Ross’ team includes James Oussedik and senior associate Nicole Suignard, who acted for Greenvale Capital in forming an investment management business and launching a global equities hedge fund. In addition to forming classic hedge funds, the group has expertise in UCITS structures and bespoke private funds, and also handles institutional investor mandates.

Simmons & Simmons’ heavyweight reputation in hedge funds sees it act for clients such as Och-Ziff and Brevan Howard. Richard Perry advised Henderson/AlphaGen Capital on the launch of The AlphaGen Volantis Catalyst Fund II. Dale Gabbert is handling the restructuring of the Sturgeon Capital Asia Fund, enabling it to be one of the first hedge funds to invest in Iran. Iain Cullen is a leading industry figure. Elsewhere, the firm acts for sponsors and investors in private funds matters; David Williams is assisting Iona Capital with forming funds to invest in various UK infrastructure assets. Williams is also recommended for listed funds work. Neil Simmonds and Mahrie Webb are key contacts for retail funds.

Led by Jason Glover, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s ‘extraordinarily driven’ team acts for some of the largest and most active European sponsors in their flagship fundraising mandates. Highlights in 2015 included acting as sole counsel to EQT in the €6.75bn fundraising for EQT VII, and the fundraising for Coller Capital’s $7bn seventh secondaries fund. Seema Shah recently made partner. Gareth Earl has ‘technical acumen’.

Stephen Sims and James Anderson are the key partners at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP, whose private funds practice undertakes fund formation and managed accounts, as well as fund manager M&A and secondaries transactions, among other matters. Sims assisted LetterOne Technology with launching a $16bn fund investing in technology and telecoms businesses in Europe and the US.

Listed funds and private funds are cornerstones of Slaughter and May’s practice, which recently acted for Pollen Street Capital on the establishment and listing of Honeycomb Investment Trust, and is advising Allianz Global Investors on its acquisition of Rogge Global Partners. Robert Chaplin and Paul Dickson are the main contacts.

Illustrative of Stephenson Harwood’s first-rate reputation in listed funds, it acted on eight UK-listed fund launches for the manager/issuer in 2015. Highlights included Alex Haynes’ handling of Woodford Patient Capital Trust’s £800m IPO for Woodford Investment Management, and William Saunders assisting with the IPO of Schroder European Real Estate Investment Trust on the London and Johannesburg Stock Exchanges. Andrew Sutch and Elizabeth Field are also recommended. Another key individual, James Tinworth focuses on hedge funds matters.

Travers Smith LLP’s private funds highlights included Sam Kay advising Hermes Infrastructure on its £1.16bn fundraising for Hermes GPE Infrastructure Fund. On the listed funds side, Aaron Stocks acted for Investec Bank as the sponsor in the £101m IPO of Gabelli Value Plus+ Trust. The practice also handles private and listed real estate fund structures. Will Normand, who made partner in 2015, and Jeremy Elmore are other key names in the team, whose funds practice is complemented by its tax and regulatory capabilities.

Boutique firm Watson Brady LLP, which focuses on serving clients in the funds industry, is ‘a hidden gem’. Led by Mark Brady, who is ‘vastly experienced’ and ‘a safe pair of hands’, the team advises on fund formation, as well as fund operational, regulatory, and corporate matters.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges’ funds advisory practice deals with every aspect of global fund managers’ businesses and funds activities. Highlights for Ed Gander’s team included acting for Deutsche Bank Asset Management during the launch of its $1.5bn flagship open-ended Core Real Estate Fund in Asia Pacific. Other clients include Mercer Real Estate Partners, KKR and Abraaj Capital. Nigel Clark is also recommended. David Irvine and Stephen Fox made partner, while Jonathan Kandel moved to Kirkland & Ellis International LLP.

M&A: upper mid-market and premium deals, £250m+

Index of tables

  1. M&A: upper mid-market and premium deals, £250m+
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Simon Marchant leads the highly regarded team at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, in which Will Lawes, Edward Braham and London managing partner Julian Long are recommended. Graham Watson, India expert Pratap Amin and senior associate James Scott acted for First Reserve during its acquisition of a subset of Crompton Greaves’ international power transmission and distribution division. The department also assisted Canada Pension Plan Investment Board with its purchase of a 40% stake in Glencore Agricultural Products. Charles Hayes made partner in May 2016.

Linklaters LLP’s ‘phenomenal’ department, headed by Stuart Bedford, counts BP, Carlyle Group and Rio Tinto among its clients. Richard Godden and James Inglis acted for The Economist Newspaper on Pearson’s sale of its 50% stake in the company. Nick Rumsby and Charles Jacobs advised SABMiller on its £71bn takeover by AB InBev, the third-largest such deal in history. Iain Wagstaff and Aedamar Comiskey are recommended. Private equity specialist Ben Rodham joined the team in January 2016.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP’s ‘diligent, reliable’ department provides ‘excellent service with very short response times’, and gives ‘very practicable advice’. Michael Hatchard and Scott Simpson head the practice, which includes Hilary Foulkes, who advised Merck KGaA on its $17bn purchase of Sigma-Aldrich, and Japanese speaker Scott Hopkins, who acted for Nikkei in its $1.3bn acquisition of FT Group from Pearson. The team assisted Ball Corporation with its recommended offer to acquire Rexam’s outstanding shares for $8.4bn. Other clients include Mitsui Sumitomo and Mylan.

Slaughter and May’s ‘client-focused, solution-driven’ team acted for Royal Dutch Shell on its £35bn acquisition of BG Group. Andrew Jolly assisted Cable & Wireless Communications during its £3.5bn takeover by Liberty Global. Nigel Boardman and Paul Dickson are ‘market leaders in all respects’, and Oliver Wareham is ‘particularly strong’. Andy Ryde is also very active in the space. Stephen Cooke and Roland Turnill lead the practice, which saw three lawyers promoted to partner in May 2015: Robert Innes, Chris McGaffin and Sally Wokes.

Allen & Overy LLP acts for a number of leading companies, such as GlaxoSmithKline, 20th Century Fox and Thomson Reuters. Edward Barnett advised Coca-Cola Iberian Partners on its $11bn merger with Coca-Cola Enterprises and Coca-Cola Erfrischungsgetränke, while Richard Hough assisted Tullet Prebon during its $1.1bn merger with ICAP. The ‘pragmatic, very responsive and technically excellent’ Richard Browne heads the department, in which Richard Evans, Annabelle Croker and Africa expert Simon Toms are also recommended. Seth Jones re-joined the team after two years on secondment at the UK Takeover Panel.

Clifford Chance’s ‘outstanding’ practice saw some reshuffling, with Nicholas Rees returning from the Moscow office, Caroline Sherrell moving to White & Case LLP, and recent partnership promotions for Gareth Camp, Graham Phillips and Katherine Moir. Mark Poulton heads the department, whose clients include AXA, Comcast, EDF and BSkyB. ‘Very experienced and skilful negotiator’ Spencer Baylin is ‘creative and commercially aware’, and the ‘logical, persistent’ Nicholas Hughes ‘manages complicated international transactions efficiently and effectively’.

Stephen Wilkinson and Ben Ward head the ‘practical, reliable, conscientious and respectful’ team at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, in which the ‘fantastic, totally client-focused’ Mike Flockhart is especially recommended for takeovers. He and Greg Mulley advised Polyus Gold International on a $9bn hostile takeover offer by Sacturino. Gavin Davies is also recommended, Mark Geday and Tomasz Wo´zniak returned from international secondment in the autumn of 2015, and Caroline Rae made partner in May 2016. Chris Haynes moved to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

Simon Beddow heads the team at Ashurst, which also includes recommended lawyers Dominic Ross, Karen Davies, Richard Gubbins and Tom Mercer; Gubbins and Mercer are ‘very strong technically, very commercial and always available’, and advised Vedanta Resources on the $2.3bn merger of Vedanta Limited and Cairn India, two of its subsidiaries. Other clients include RBS and Merlin Entertainments. James Wood, who ‘delves into details and sees the wider picture simultaneously’, joined from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP in May 2015.

Commended for its ‘timely, detailed advice’, CMS advised Johnson & Johnson on the $1.9bn sale of Cordis in the UK and Ireland to Cardinal Health; Sandra Rafferty led the deal. Andrew Sheach acted for Skrill Group on its $1.2bn reverse takeover by Optimal Payments. Stuart Blythe and Martin Treagus are also recommended. Charles Currier heads the department, in which Nick Blair made partner in May 2016, and which hired Jonathan Woolf, formerly managing counsel at BP, in November 2015.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP has ‘global experience, particularly in emerging markets’. Michael McDonald acted for MBK Partners on its $6.4bn purchase of Homeplus and its subsidiaries from Tesco. Tihir Sarkar, who is praised for his ‘experience and responsiveness’ and for ‘the confidence he instils’, assisted Dhabi Group with Warid Telecom (Private)’s merger with Pakistan Mobile Communications. Sam Bagot and Simon Jay are recommended, as is ‘rising star’ Dan Tierney, an associate with ‘judgement far beyond his years’.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s ‘exemplary’ practice handles ‘incredibly complex and demanding transactions’, and its recent experience mirrors the firm’s strength in TMT, technology, insurance and financial institutions, though it is also active in the energy sector, where Andrew Briggs advised Alstom on the €12.4bn disposal of its energy business to GE. Ben Higson heads the practice, in which Maegen Morrison is highly recommended. The promotion to partner of Richard Diffenthal and John Connell at Hogan Lovells International LLP helped offset the departure of Sarah Atkinson, who is now at Bryan Cave, and of David Levin, who joined Nekton Group.

Ian Martin heads Macfarlanes LLP’s team, which provides ‘a very good level of service’. Graham Gibb advised Altria, the largest shareholder in SABMiller, on the latter’s takeover by AB InBev; he and Nicholas Barclay advised Visa on its purchase of Visa Europe, for an upfront value of €16.5bn. Recent client wins include Exor, AVIC and International Game Technology. Luke Powell, Stephen Drewitt and the ‘user-friendly, commercialJames Dawson are also recommended.

Raj Karia’s ‘speedy, effective’ department at Norton Rose Fulbright continued to expand its energy capabilities by hiring Kimberley Wood from Vinson & Elkins RLLP in May 2015. The ‘calm, controlled and very experienced’ Chris Pearson and the ‘approachable, commercialPaul Whitelock advised Sacturino on its hostile $9bn takeover of Polyus Gold International. Robin Brooks and Chris Randall give ‘very sound, pragmatic advice’; Jill Gauntlett is also recommended. Clients of the practice include BHP Billiton, Orange, Trinity Mirror and Santander.

Among a number of changes at Shearman & Sterling LLP, the UK- and US-qualified Frank Miller joined from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP and Matthew Powell became a partner in January 2016, at the same time as private equity specialist Ben Rodham moved to Linklaters LLP. Jeremy Kutner and department head Laurence Levy acted for Liberty Global on its $8.2bn acquisition of Cable & Wireless Communications; other clients include ArcelorMittal and Engie. George Karafotias is also recommended.

Baker & McKenzie LLP displays ‘in-depth knowledge’ and gives ‘commercial, well-tailored advice’ under practice head Michael Herington; Jannan Crozier made partner in July 2015, and James Thompson and Joanna Hewitt joined from Linklaters LLP and Olswang LLP respectively in November 2015. Leveraging the firm’s multi-jurisdictional capabilities, Tim Gee advised Unilever on its acquisition of Procter & Gamble’s Camay and Zest businesses, including a large factory in Mexico City. Charles Whitefoord is widely recommended.

Latham & Watkins’ practice, which is jointly led by Nick Cline and Martin Saywell, recently attracted various new clients, including VimpelCom, Aon and Ernst & Young. Richard Butterwick advised Sorin on its $2.7bn merger with Cyberonics to create LivaNova. Notable team changes included energy expert Simon Tysoe joining from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, Andrew Macklin returning to London from the Doha office, and Robbie McLaren and Farah O’Brien being made up to partner.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s ‘fantastic’ practice, which is particularly strong in private equity transactions, combines ‘top-shelf knowledge, industry awareness and an efficient team’. Adam Signy has ‘oceans of knowledge and experience wedded to unique awareness and charisma’; he advised Groupe Fnac on its recommended €558m offer for Darty. Michael Wolfson and Alvaro Membrillera are also recommended. In January 2016, Wheatly MacNamara made partner and James Connor was promoted to counsel.

Tim Emmerson’s department at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP counts Apollo Global Management, APR Energy and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board among its clients. Richard Morrissey advised the target on Nokia’s €15.6bn offer to purchase all of Alcatel-Lucent’s issued shares. Vanessa Blackmore advised Concordia Healthcare Corporation on its $3.5bn acquisition of Amdipharm Mercury from Cinven-controlled entities. Ben Perry and Nikolaos Andronikos are recommended; Perry and Emmerson advised APR Energy during its £165m takeover by Apple Bidco.

Travers Smith LLP’s ‘efficient, commercial’ practice is appreciated for the level of ‘personal commitment from key partners’. Practice head Spencer Summerfield, who is ‘one of the best M&A lawyers in the City’, acted for Pace on its £1.4bn sale to Arris. Philip Cheveley and the ‘smart, straight-talking, sure-footed’ Andrew Gillen advised Steinhoff International on its planned takeover of Home Retail Group. Other clients include Micro Focus and Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Partners. Ian Shawyer, Jon Reddington and Anthony Foster are also recommended.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges’ recent work includes Peter King acting for HNA Group on its CHF2.73bn purchase of Swissport from PAI Partners. Practice head Michael Francies worked closely with the firm’s Budapest office in advising GE Capital on the sale of its European fleet business to Arval Service Lease, as well as on the sale of its Hungary-based banking subsidiary, Budapest Bank, to Corvinus Nemzetkozi Befektetesi. James Harvey made partner in January 2016.

White & Case LLP’s ‘excellent’ practice is jointly led by Ian Bagshaw, Richard Youle and Allan Taylor. Infrastructure expert John Cunningham is ‘able to effectively marshal the experts in any jurisdiction in a short period of time’; he advised Wren House Infrastructure on its $550m purchase, via a joint venture with Gas Natural Fenosa, of a 25% stake in the latter’s subsidiary company Global Power Generation. Guy Potel joined from Hogan Lovells International LLP in June 2016.

Robert Bishop and Jon Kenworthy lead the department at DLA Piper, which counts London Stock Exchange Group, Mondeléz International, H.I.G. Capital and Babcock International among its clients. Bishop assisted Discovery Communications with its £950m buyout of the remaining 49% shares in Eurosport. TES Global, W. W. Grainger and Orkla are recent client wins. Jonathan Lisle moved to Crowell & Moring in October 2015.

Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP’s ‘business-minded, down-to-earth’ department is commended for its ‘quick turnaround of documentation’. Paul Maher, who is ‘a skilled negotiator with a commercial mindset’, jointly leads the team with the ‘solution-oriented, proactive’ Fiona Adams, who is ‘very good at coordinating large, complex transactions’, and ‘promptly delivers high-quality advice’. Henrietta Walker is also recommended. The practice is particularly strong in the biotech, telecoms and manufacturing sectors; clients include AstraZeneca and GKN.

The ‘fantastic’ practice at Jones Day advised Goldman Sachs, as shareholder, on Barbon Holdings’ sale to Carlyle; the deal was led by Vica Irani, who has ‘very good industry knowledge’. Michael Weir and Raymond McKeeve advised Amdipharm Mercury on its $3.5bn divestiture by Cinven to Concordia Healthcare. Benedict O’Halloran went in-house to Securitas Direct Veritas Group in September 2015; Weyinmi Popo subsequently moved to Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP. Giles Elliott and Leon Ferara head the practice.

Michael Goldberg’s practice at King & Wood Mallesons recruited Laura Brunnen from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (London) LLP, which helped offset Richard Lever’s move to Goodwin. The ‘superbAndrew Wingfield, who ‘displays excellent attention to detail’, advised Intermediate Capital Group on the £550m sale of its stake in Quorn Foods to Monde Nissin. Rob Day shows ‘excellent technical skills, commercial acumen and strategic awareness’.

Mayer Brown International LLP’s team, which ‘quickly familiarises itself with very complex documents’, acts for clients such as Brookfield, Entertainment One and Unilever. The ‘quick, tenaciousKate Ball-Dodd co-heads the team with Jeremy Kenley. ‘Excellent tacticianRobert Hamillshows great composure under pressure’. Connor Cahalane made partner in January 2016, while private equity expert Perry Yam and energy specialist Mathew Kidwell joined from Reed Smith LLP and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP, respectively.

Simmons & Simmons’ department head Giles Dennison acted for longstanding client Anite during its £388m recommended takeover by Keysight Technologies. Colin Bole advised Evercore Partners International and J.P. Morgan Cazenove, as financial advisers and sponsors to ICAP, on ICAP’s merger of its global hybrid voice-broking and information business with Tullett Prebon. ‘Expert coordinatorEdward Baker gives ‘practical, valuable advice’, and has ‘fantastic knowledge of precedents’.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP’s ‘very responsive, very thorough’ practice is led by Andrew Rosling, who acted for Diageo in its sale of Gleneagles Hotel to Ennismore. The ‘strategic, determinedNick Pearey assisted GVC Holdings with its winning £1.1bn bid to acquire Digital Entertainment. Other clients include ECI Partners, Britvic and Tate & Lyle. Chris Taylor is ‘pragmatic, thoughtful and effective’.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s practice co-heads Sebastian Rice and Daniel Walsh advised VimpelCom on the $4.5bn sale of its 51% stake in Omnium Telecom Algeria to Fonds National d’Investissement. Rice also acted for Test World Oy on the English law aspects of its sale to Millbrook Proving Ground. Clients include PJSC Lukoil and ExxonMobil, reflecting the firm’s strength in energy, oil and gas. The ‘very calm, tenacious and persuasive’ John LaMaster is recommended.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s ‘diligent, highly professional’ practice is particularly strong in real estate transactions. Michael Anderson and Benjamin Lee head the team, which counts Blackstone, TPG, Carlyle and Resolution Properties among its clients. The ‘commercialAdam Bogdanor gives ‘clear, robust advice’, and has ‘strong all-round knowledge’; he acted for Banque Fédérative du Crédit Mutuel in its acquisition of GE’s equipment finance and receivable finance businesses in France and Germany.

Paul Claydon leads the ‘very responsive, very open and straightforward’ team at Covington & Burling LLP, which is particularly strong in the life sciences and technology sectors, and can draw on ‘excellent’ ancillary support covering tax and employment law. ‘Outstanding talentGregor Frizzell is ‘efficient, business-savvy and technically sound’; he assisted AstraZeneca with its $575m purchase of Takeda’s respiratory medicines business. The ‘always availableJames Halstead is also recommended.

Dentons’ ‘pragmatic’ team combines ‘business acumen, commercial awareness and value for money’. It counts Essence Digital, Minmetco and World Fuel Services Corporation among its clients and is notably strong in the energy sector; Nigel Webber assisted Petronas with its acquisition of a 15.5% stake in the Shah Deniz gas field. Richard Barham and Nicholas Plant are recommended, as is practice head David Collins.

Chris Haynes joined Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP in March 2016. Charlie Geffen leads the department, which has particular strength in the technology, healthcare, energy and real estate sectors; its clients include Amazon, Lone Star, HP and Kennedy Wilson Europe. Jonathan Earle acted for Markit on the acquisition of three companies: CoreOne Technologies, DealHub and Information Mosaic.

King & Spalding International LLP is ‘excellent on all counts’. ‘Exceptionally commercial’ practice head William Charnley acted for Promethean Investments on its acquisition of all of Sofa Brands International’s outstanding equity. Markus Bauman advised Delivery Hero Holding on various acquisitions, including the $589m purchase of Yemeksepeti. Senior associate Ilan Kotkis shows ‘clarity of thought, great ability to elucidate very complex issues, and brilliant contract-negotiation skills’.

Paul Hastings LLP’s ‘commercial, patient’ team recently acted for clients such as MoneyGram, Ares and Cabot Credit Management. Ronan O’Sullivan heads the practice, in which Garrett Hayes and senior associate Matthew Poxon are recommended; Hayes acted for China Cosco Holdings Company on its $750m acquisition of Piraeus Port from the government of Greece. O’Sullivan and Poxon advised City Football Group on its partnership with a consortium of Chinese investors led by China Media Capital, which will, along with CITIC Capital, co-invest $400m in the client.

Clients receive ‘a highly personalised partner-client experience’ from Proskauer Rose LLP’s ‘superb’ team, which is particularly active in the transport, infrastructure and energy sectors. The department advised Environmental Resources Management Group on its $1.7bn sale to Omers Private Equity. Steven Davis heads the practice. Matt Rees and James Howe joined from Simmons & Simmons and Kirkland & Ellis International LLP, respectively, in the summer of 2015.

Thomas Thesing and the ‘practical, no-nonsenseStephen Blackshaw lead Sidley Austin LLP’s department, which welcomed Sava Savov, Fatema Orjela and private equity specialists Erik Dahl and Christian Iwasko from Kirkland & Ellis International LLP in March 2016. ‘Wise, thoughtful problem-solverMark Thompson advised Första AP-fonden as part of a consortium that acquired Fortum’s Swedish electricity grid business for €6.6bn. Jonathan Wallace joined Ernst & Young Global in August 2015.

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP specialises in US-law transactions. Philip Boeckman, who ‘makes even the most fiddly transactions seem like child’s play’, and the ‘extremely responsiveDavid Mercado are key figures along with the ‘outstandingGeorge Stephanakis, who ‘knows the US rules inside-out’. Boeckman acted for Gala Coral Group on its $3bn merger with Ladbrokes and assisted Spirit Pub Company during its £1.4bn acquisition by Greene King.

Will Pearce and John Banes head Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP’s team, which gives ‘exemplary advice’ and shows ‘exceptional professionalism’; Pearce, who has ‘exceptional, in-depth knowledge of all elements of the UK Takeover Code’, advised Dialog Semiconductor on its $4.6bn bid for Atmel Corporation. European counsel Simon Little joined from Shearman & Sterling LLP.

American International Group, HarbourVest Partners, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and new client Dover Corporation instruct Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s ‘proactive’ team. ‘Highly experienced’ practice head David Innes combines ‘responsiveness, technical strengths and strong commercial sense’. He advised TA Associates on its acquisition of a majority stake in Access Technology Group. Geoffrey Burgess, E Raman Bet-Mansour and Katherine Ashton are also recommended.

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP lost Sava Savov, Fatema Orjela, and private equity specialists Erik Dahl and Christian Iwasko to Sidley Austin LLP in March 2016, but hired Stuart Boyd from Linklaters LLP in June 2016. Gavin Gordon and Valerie Goldstein acted for TPG Growth on its buyout of Frank Recruitment Group. Carl Bradshaw and Aprajita Dhundia made partner in October 2015.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP’s department, which is headed by Stuart Harray and Mark Stamp, is ‘instrumental to driving complicated deals to completion’. Stamp advised Revlon on its acquisition of CBB Beauty. Highbridge Principal Strategies is a recent client win. Special counsel Daniel Wayte is ‘a skilled, insightful negotiator’ and senior associate Sarah Ullathorne has ‘excellent legal knowledge’.

Morrison & Foerster (UK) LLP’s ‘first-class’ practice provides ‘thoughtful, insightful’ advice. The team acted for Korn Ferry on its $452m acquisition of Hay Group, and advised Advanced Computer Software Group during its £725m takeover by Vista Equity Partners. ‘Very experienced’ department head Graeme Sloan is noted for his strength in handling ‘complex cross-jurisdictional M&A’. Andrew Boyd and Gary Brown joined from Latham & Watkins in March 2016.

JPMorgan and PetroRio are clients of Vinson & Elkins RLLP’s practice, which reflects the firm’s strength in the energy and natural resources sectors. Jeff Eldredge, who co-heads the department with Alex Msimang, has been assisting Albright Capital Management, as part of a consortium, in the take-private transaction of APR Energy. François Feuillat’s move to Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP was offset by the arrival of Paul Dunbar from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP.

M&A: mid-market, £50m-£250m

Index of tables

  1. M&A: mid-market, £50m-£250m
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Dechert LLP’s practice head Douglas Getter combines ‘international experience, practical advice and a forward-thinking nature’; he advised The Hunt Companies on its acquisition of a 50% stake in Amber Infrastructure Group. Graham Defries and ‘extremely thorough, responsive’ associate Ross Montgomery are recommended. The department hired ‘heavyweight’ lawyer Laurent Faugerolas from energy boutique LF Advising in November 2015.

Very good indeed’, Eversheds LLP’s practice acts for clients such as Chemtura, China National Nuclear Corporation and Reckitt Benckiser. Robin Johnson advised Alimentation Couche-Tard on its acquisition of Topaz and assisted Pentair with its $1.8bn purchase of ERICO Global Company. Richard Moulton and Latin America expert Keith Froud jointly lead the department, which also includes the ‘very capable and responsiveRobert Pitcher.

Mark Davis heads McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP’s ‘first-class’ department, which recruited Piero Carbone from Duane Morris in May 2016. Nick Azis advised longstanding client Olam International on its $1.3bn purchase of Archer Daniels Midland’s worldwide cocoa business. Other clients include Macquarie and Honeywell. Ellie West is recommended.

Nabarro LLP’s ‘exceptional’ team is particularly strong in the healthcare and technology sectors; Alasdair Steele acted for Fixnetix during its sale to Computer Sciences Corporation. Real estate and infrastructure are other sector strengths of the team. Caroline Newsholme is recommended, as is the ‘technically and commercially strong’ Peter Williamson. John Finnemore was promoted to partner.

Olswang LLP’s ‘first-rate’ practice, which is particularly strong in TMT, real estate, retail and leisure, is led by Mark Bertram, who advised the Iliffe family on its £220m sale to Trinity Mirror of a stake in Local World Holdings. Anthony Waller, who is praised for ‘bending over backwards’ for clients, acted for Surreal Vision during its sale to Facebook. Robert Willis provides ‘polished, comprehensive and accessible advice’.

Osborne Clarke is notably strong in the digital business and marketing sector, with clients including Carphone Warehouse, News UK and Siemens. Mark Spinner acted for Caledonia Investments on its £241m acquisition of Coral’s Gala Retail Bingo business, and advised Alcumus Holdings on its £92m sale to Inflexion by Sovereign Capital. Simon Smith heads the department, in which Mathias Loertscher made partner in May 2015.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s ‘outstanding’ team was joined by hotels specialist Nick Skea-Strachan from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP in October 2015. ‘Top-notch’ department head Andrew Masraf advised Kier Group on its £265m purchase of Mouchel Group. Russell Booker, Sean Page and the ‘commercial, practical, courteousJon Harris are also recommended. Paul Amiss joined Winston & Strawn London LLP in November 2015.

Squire Patton Boggs’ team combines ‘commercial acumen and negotiating skills’. Clients include Live Nation Entertainment and UDG. James McKay, who delivers ‘a consistently high-quality service’, leads the practice, which hired of counsel Dale Huxford from BroadTech Global. Giles Distin moved to Addleshaw Goddard LLP in December 2015.

Stephenson Harwood provides ‘excellent client service’, as well as advice that is ‘always tailored and commercial’; Duncan Stiles heads the department in which Ben Mercer is recommended. The team acted for Acadia Healthcare Company on its £1.5bn acquisition of The Priory Group. Healthcare experts Karima Hudson and Anthony Clare joined in December 2015 and April 2016 from Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co and Ashurst, respectively.

Bird & Bird LLP’s ‘responsive, perseverant’ practice has strong cross-jurisdictional capabilities: it acted for CR Laurence on the non-US aspects of its $1.3bn sale to Oldcastle Building Envelope. Department head Neil Blundell combines ‘expertise’ and ‘commercialism’. Simon Allport gives ‘excellent, practical advice’ and Richard Eaton is also recommended.

Andrew Blankfield heads Fieldfisher’s ‘effective’ team, which recruited Stuart Carter from Bond Dickinson LLP. David Wilkinson advised Azibo Holdings on its sale of Currencies Direct in a £200m management buyout funded by Corsair Capital and Palamon Capital Partners. Carlton Durrant and the ‘supportive, level-headed’ Christine Phillips are recommended.

Gowling WLG’s enlarged post-merger team includes Charles Bond and David Brennan. The ‘very responsive, reassuring’ Sunil Kakkad leads the team, which acts for clients such as AstraZeneca, GCP Student Living and Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. Karima Hudson and Richard Goold moved to Stephenson Harwood and Ernst & Young, respectively.

Increasingly active in the technology sector, Mishcon de Reya LLP’s ‘incredibly responsive, very pragmatic and reliable’ practice counts Easynet and Fox International among its recent client wins; more longstanding clients include Badoo and CBRE. Nick Nocton joined the team from Jeffrey Green Russell in October 2015. Nick Davis heads the department.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP’ ‘excellent’ team acted for Auden Mckenzie Holdings on its £306m sale to Actavis, and also recently advised Platinum Equity and Perrigo. Tom Cartwright, Amy Comer and Stephen Walters head the practice. Timothy Corbett, who is particularly active in the technology and life sciences sectors, is recommended.

RPC’s practice is led by Tim Anderson, who acted for Dialog Semiconductor on the UK aspects – worth approximately $2bn – of its acquisition of Atmel Corporation. Matthew Griffith, formerly general counsel at Worldpay, joined in October 2015; Neil Brown made partner in May 2015. James Mee has ‘good technical knowledge’.

Philip Taylor’s team at Reed Smith LLP acted for NetDragon Websoft on its $130m purchase of Promethean World. James Wilkinson assisted MSA Safety with its $200m acquisition of Latchways. Other clients include Fortune Oil and CBPE Capital. Andrew Clark made partner in January 2016, after James Wilson and Giles Beale moved to Holman Fenwick Willan in December 2015.

Rutland Partners, Highland Spring, FDM and Macmillan Publishers are among the clients of Taylor Wessing LLP’s ‘exceptional’ practice, which is headed by James Robertson. Emma Danks advised Enterprise Rent-A-Car on its purchase of City Car Club. Mike Turner acted for Unruly on its £114m sale to News Corp. James Goold is recommended.

Arnold & Porter (UK) LLP’s ‘first-class’ department, which is notably strong in the pharmaceuticals and life sciences sector, is led by Anna Buscall and the ‘calm, commercial’ Jeremy Willcocks. Willcocks assisted Armour Group with its $23m purchase of OneView Commerce. Buscall is ‘very strong technically’, and was instructed by McArthurGlen Group in several large corporate matters.

Michael Wachtel, Simon Vere Nicoll and Andrew Holderness head the team at Clyde & Co LLP; the team heads specialise in oil and gas, real estate and insurance respectively. Recent clients include Simec/Liberty Group, Nplus 1 Singer Capital Markets and BW Offshore. Philip Mace is recommended.

Holman Fenwick Willan hired James Wilson and Giles Beale from Reed Smith LLP. Nick Hutton leads the practice, which includes the ‘unflappable’ Jayson Marks along with Alex Kyriakoulis, who acted for a high-profile port management company on its bid for 67% of the shares in Piraeus Port Authority.

Real estate, energy and natural resources are the key strengths of K&L Gates LLP’s department, which is headed by Paul Tetlow; clients are ‘particularly impressed by the strength of the associates’. The ‘very commercial’ Jeremy Davis advised LKQ Corporation on its €1bn acquisition of Rhiag-Inter Auto Parts Italia from Apax. Other clients include Lucozade Ribena Suntory, Capita and 3D Systems.

Kashif Siddiqui, who specialises in outbound investment from the Middle East, joined Trowers & Hamlins LLP from DLA Piper in September 2015. The practice, which is led by Michael Pattinson, acted for Apache Capital Partners on its £108m acquisition, via Paul Street JV Company, of McLaren Property’s shares in Paul Street (General Company) and Reining.

Jan Mellmann’s ‘exemplary’ team at Watson Farley & Williams LLP is particularly strong in the transport, energy and natural resources sectors. Clients include 88 Energy, All Leisure Group and Baobab Resources. Andy Savage and Nigel Taylor joined from Norton Rose Fulbright and Clyde & Co LLP, respectively.

Baker Botts (UK) LLP’s ‘responsive, committed’ department is commended for its ‘market-leading knowledge of the energy sector’ and its ‘seamless’ multi-jurisdictional work. The ‘hardworking, delightful’ Neil Foster heads the practice along with Derek Jones, who is ‘strong technically and commercially’; the latter advised American Industrial Partners on its $380m purchase of Anixter International’s OEM Supply Fasteners division.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP counts Arqiva, TTT Moneycorp and the Bahamian government among its clients. Tom Shaw heads the team, which includes recommended media expert Martin Wright and Andrew Collins, who acted for The Halsall Family on its £56m sale of Silver Cross Nurseries to Fosun International.

Hilary Winter heads the team at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP, which clients praise as having the ability to handle ‘complicated, multi-jurisdictional’ matters. Jinal Shah is ‘knowledgeable, hardworking and effective’; Shawn Atkinson and Anthony Riley are also recommended. Weyinmi Popo and Matthew Williams joined from Jones Day and Hogan Lovells International LLP, respectively.

AES Corporation, ACWA Power, Bank of Cyprus and GDF Suez are among the clients of Chadbourne & Parke (London) LLP’s department, which focuses on the energy sector and is led by Charez Golvala. Andrei Baev joined from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP in April 2015. Kevin Atkins recently joined Locke Lord LLP.

The team at Cooley (UK) LLP is led by Justin Stock; its clients include Igas Energy, Betway Group and Apollo Global Management. ‘Strong corporate all-rounderDavid Bresnick advised SwiftKey during its takeover by Microsoft. Senior associate Aaron Archer has ‘outstanding industry knowledge, great deal-making skills and impressive tenacity and stamina’. Ed Lukins is also recommended.

Daniel Oates at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (London) LLP acted for CVC Capital Partners and its portfolio company Wireless Logic on the latter’s buyout of SimService; he also advised Francisco Partners on the merger of Lumata, one of its portfolio companies, with Velti. AEA Investors, Highbridge Principal Strategies and KKR are other clients. Graham White heads the practice.

Lewis Silkin LLP’s ‘very commercial, very responsive’ department is led by Fergus Payne and the ‘very charismaticJo Evans; the latter advised How Splendid on its sale to Creston. The ‘fantasticPaul Rajput assisted Publicis Worldwide with its acquisition of Vivid Brand and August. Other clients include Integrated Dental Holdings, Havas Media and Proman Expansion.

Winston & Strawn London LLP’s ‘charming, proactive’ department head Zoë Ashcroftmaintains grace and humour in the toughest of negotiations’. The ‘astuteNicholas Usher advised Motorola Solutions on its £817m acquisition of Airwave Solutions. Other clients of the practice include Maximus Corporation and Brooks Brothers. Paul Amiss joined from Pinsent Masons LLP in November 2015.

Sarah Atkinson joined the team at Bryan Cave from Hogan Lovells International LLP in January 2016. Department head Carol Osborne, who is ‘a fantastic sounding-board’ with strong business acumen, advised CIL&D on its sale of Kaiser Eagle Mountain to Eagle Mountain Acquisition. Senior associate Andrew Hart is also recommended.

Burges Salmon LLP’s ‘impressive, efficient’ practice is headed by ‘strong negotiatorRichard Spink; renewable energy expert Jonathan Eves made partner in May 2015. The ‘succinct, eruditeCamilla Usher-Clark acted for TerraForm Power on various transactions in 2015, comprising 14 solar projects with a total capacity of 186MW. Mark Shepherd is also recommended.

Private equity specialist Fabrizio Carpanini joined Dorsey & Whitney from Olswang LLP in November 2015; he acted for the owners of Dr. Organic on the sale of their business to NBTY. Max Beazley advised Maxxim Consulting on its merger with Q5 Partners. Mark Taylor heads the department, whose other clients include Liberty Global and Virgin Media.

The hospitality and leisure sector is a particular strength of Katten Muchin Rosenman UK LLP’s corporate team, which is headed by Philip Watkins with support from senior associate Victoria Rodley. Clients include Hay Tor Capital, Galileo Global Education, New West End Company and Creative Industries Federation.

James Campbell leads the team at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, which has particular strengths in the technology and energy sectors. The team advised MNG Gold on its $25m acquisition of the Youga Mine in Burkina Faso from Endeavour Mining. Sandra Bates joined from Stikeman Elliott (London) LLP in November 2015.

Steptoe & Johnson’s department is headed by private equity specialist Michael Thompson, with support from Michael Fox, Farzana Rao and associate Sonia Mohammed. Manufacturing, property and retail are particular sector strengths. Clients include The 180 Group and Emerisque Capital.

M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m

Index of tables

  1. M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Stellar’ department head Mark Tasker at Bates Wells Braithwaite is praised for his ‘commercial acumen’; he advised Research Views Limited on various transactions, including the sale of its healthcare business to Progressive Digital Media Group. David Davies is ‘practical and completely unflappable’, as is senior associate Natalie Knight-Wickens; clients describe the practice as ‘superb value for money’.

Boodle Hatfield LLP’s ‘very responsive’ team has ‘excellent knowledge’, and is particularly active in the real estate sector; clients include Marriott International, IGB Corporation, Capital Drilling and Chiltern Farm Chemicals. ‘Very commercial’ department head Nigel Stone is supported by Richard Beavan and the ‘smart, business-oriented and flexibleRahul Thakrar, who recently made partner.

Bristows LLP is particularly strong in TMT and life sciences work. Practice head Mark Hawes acted for UCL Business on the £25m spin-off of Freeline Therapeutics. The ‘knowledgeable, calm, pragmatic and extremely responsiveMarek Petecki advised AstraZeneca UK on the $215m sale of its rights in prescription medicine, Entocort, to Tillots. Laura Anderson is also recommended.

Financial services, healthcare, technology and real estate are the key sector focuses of Nick Gibbon’s department at DAC Beachcroft LLP. Gibbon advised Currencies Direct on its £200m sale to a management buyout vehicle backed by Palamon and Corsair. He also acted for Nomad Bioscience on the sale of Icon Genetics to Denka. Other clients include Crest Nicholson and OptiBiotix Health.

Richard Lane’s team at Farrer & Co welcomed senior associate Marie Bates from Slaughter and May in October 2015. The ‘very high-quality’, ‘always attentive’ Lane is commended for his ‘practical counsel’; he advised Ping Pong Group International on its £8m sale of Ping Pong Holdings to Vert Capital. Andy Peterkin is ‘responsive, flexible and highly practical’.

Fladgate LLP’s department recruited Graham Spitz from Locke Lord LLP, as well as Chris Chrysanthou and Nigel Gordon from Fasken Martineau LLP. Amy Collins advised the shareholders of GSH Group on its £53m sale to ISS. Luke Morris acted for Privet Capital on its acquisition of Pyser-SGI Group and Aeromet.

Particularly active in the real estate sector, the team at Forsters LLP counts Greybull Capital and Bespoke Hotels among its clients. Practice head Craigie Pearson acted for BMO Real Estate Partners on its £45m purchase of Abstract (Crawley). Rosalyn Breedy moved to Wedlake Bell LLP but Christine Dubignon was promoted to partner in April 2016.

Fox Williams LLP’s team is led by Richie Clark, which hired corporate fundraising specialist Nigel Brahams from GFI Group. Paul Taylor acted for CREALOGIX Holding on the purchase of MBA Systems, and advised C Burrow Consulting on the sale to Pandora Jewellery UK of Evernal, Evernal 2, Evernal 3 and Evernal 4. Senior associate Mary Elliott is recommended.

Kemp Little LLP provides a ‘consistently high level of service’, and is ‘good value for money’. It acted for Thomson Reuters on its purchase of Business Integrity, and advised Cluster Seven’s management team on the sale of their shares in the company to Azini 3. Practice head Charles Claisse and senior associate Deborah Angel are recommended.

Jon Sweet’s practice at Marriott Harrison LLP counts Kaplan International Holdings, Cello Group and Avalon Television among its clients. Jonathan Pearce is recommended. Nils Reid and the ‘commercially awareAndrew Williamson joined from McClure Naismith LLP, with Brett Israel arriving from Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co LLP.

McGuireWoods London LLP’s department advised Tantalus Rare Earths on the €10m sale of one of its subsidiaries to Apphia Minerals. Other clients include Athabasca Resources, IBI Group and Afton Chemical (London). Mehboob Dossa and Patrick De Ridder lead the team. Simon Cox moved in-house at ThomasLloyd Group.

Penningtons Manches LLP’s main sector focuses are retail, technology and real estate; clients include All Saints Retail, Sellar Property Group and Verisk Analytics. Matthew Martin and Simon Bickerdike head the team, which is praised for its cross-border capabilities. Consultant Ajit Mishra joined the London office from Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co LLP in July 2015; he co-heads the department’s India team.

Richard Edmundson and Mark Crofskey’s team at PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal LLP is commended for its responsiveness and ‘global coverage’. Sharon Fryer moved to Thomas Cooper LLP in September 2015, but the firm brought in four new faces in John Amberton, Peter Workman, Oliver Williams and Thomas Colmer (from Baker & McKenzie LLP, King & Wood Mallesons, DLA Piper and Osborne Clarke respectively).

At Bircham Dyson Bell, practice head Philip Lamb gives ‘sound, practical recommendations’ and shows ‘alacrity’. In a strong year for the practice, Nick McCarthy and consultant John Turnbull acted for Indoor Bowling Acquisitions on its £40m purchase of Essenden, and Peter McLoughlin assisted Smurfit Kappa with its £43m acquisition of Inspirepac Holdings.

Stojan Essex joined Blake Morgan LLP’s ‘responsive, efficient’ team as part of its absorption of Piper Smith Watton LLP. The ‘robust, commercialRobert Lyons and the ‘calm, measuredLawrence Phillips are key figures along with practice head Martin Kay; Lyons acted for Kerry Foods on its £20m purchase of Rollover Holdings.

Mark Dorff leads Brown Rudnick LLP’s team, which is particularly strong in the real estate, pharmaceuticals and technology sectors. Dorff acted for HeartSine Technologies on its sale to Physio Control. On the buy side, Tim Matthews assisted Midatech Pharma with its £20m purchase of DARA BioSciences. Philip Rogers joined from Clyde & Co LLP.

Druces LLP’s ‘approachable and responsive’ practice recruited David Bennett and David Smith from Marriott Harrison LLP and Fasken Martineau LLP, respectively. Department head Toby Stroh and senior associate Antony Cotton are recommended along with Christopher Axford, who combines ‘experience and sound judgement’. Clients include Glenstone Property Group and Trinity Healthcare.

The key partners at Faegre Baker Daniels, which is notable for its UK/US cross-border capabilities, are Paul Finlan, Linda Crow and Gary Laitner. Counsel Cristina Audran-Proca joined from Locke Lord LLP in February 2016.

The ‘knowledgeableTim Parker heads Harbottle & Lewis LLP’s ‘efficient and skilful’ team, which includes the ‘helpful, pragmatic and tenaciousCharles Leveque. Colin Howes acted for The Learning Clinic on the sale of its shares to System C and Tony Littner assisted Brandwatch with its acquisition of PeerIndex.

Ashley Reeback and ‘constructive negotiatorMichael Harris lead the ‘outstanding’ team at Howard Kennedy LLP, which counts Mango Hotels, Mirada and Yum! Group among its clients. Reeback advised the shareholders of Funkin on their sale of the company to AG Barr. Consultant Jonathan Metliss joined from Gordon Dadds.

GasLog, Hercules Offshore and Fred Olsen are among the clients of Ince & Co’s ‘excellent’ practice. Insurance expert Jennifer Donohue, who joined from Locke Lord LLP, shows ‘deep experience’ and ‘complete command of jurisdictional issues’. Stephen Jarvis advised PVM Oil Associates on its $160m sale to Tullett Prebon.

Following its merger with Thomas Eggar LLP, Irwin Mitchell’s team expanded significantly: incoming M&A practitioners include the ‘approachable’ Bryan Bletso, the ‘unflappable’ Jonathan Snade and the ‘solution-oriented’ David Glass. Department head Edward Persse acted for Amscan International on its acquisition of Travis Designs. Other clients include Jones Lang LaSalle, Solar Frontier Europe and Ellandi.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP’s ‘responsive, practical’ team has ‘broad, in-depth knowledge’, and recently acted for Aberdeen Asset Management and American Pan Company UK Holdings. Practice head Wayne O’Neil gives ‘accurate, precise advice’. Consultant Robin Shannan joined from McClure Naismith LLP; Guy de Speville moved in-house at Pagoda Energy Services.

Michael Dawes leads Memery Crystal LLP’s practice, whose clients include Gaming Realms, Laboratoires Prosec and Electric Word. Greg Scott acted for the shareholders of Ingenious Asset Management Group on the sale of all its shares to Tilney Bestinvest Group. Lesley Gregory advised Optimal Medicine on its sale to IXICO.

Rosenblatt had a strong year, in which the corporate transactions it handled totalled over £1.5bn in deal value. Department head Tom Ferns assisted Energy Technique during its £9m takeover by Volution Group, and advised Market Tech Holdings on its €32m purchase of a controlling interest in Glispa. Jon Lovitt is recommended.

Shepherd and Wedderburn’s team, which is ‘commercial, responsive and good-value’, is particularly strong in the pharmaceuticals, energy and technology sectors, and acted for the shareholders of Aircraft Medical on their $110m sale of the company to Covidien. The ‘patient, polite and very well-preparedWalter Blake leads the team, which welcomed Carl Powlson from Atanaskovic Hartnell in May 2016.

Sheridans has expertise in the media, technology and leisure sectors; senior associate Jolita Kajtazi acted for the shareholders of Simon’s Cat on their sale of a 51% stake in the company to Endemol UK. Rex Nwakodo heads the practice, which also includes Sara Wax and Charlotte Fox.

Peter Weiss and Simon Goldberg lead the ‘technically strong, nimble’ team at Simons Muirhead & Burton, which is praised by several clients as ‘going the extra mile’. Goldberg advised Reef Television during its £5m takeover by Ten Alps. Clarion Events, Stagwell Group and RPL Mergers are recent client wins; more longstanding clients include Dennis Publishing and Time Out Group.

David Judah heads the team at Wallace LLP; he advised Opia on its £24m merger with Village Roadshow. Rex Newman is ‘responsive, engaged, sophisticated, commercial, articulate and intelligent’; he assisted Aurelius with its acquisition of Transform Medical Group. John Woodhouse and Charlotte Wheeldon are other names to note.

Wedlake Bell LLP’s ‘polite but tenacious’ team provides ‘high-quality service at a sensible price’; Residential Land and Right Management are among its clients. ‘Highly experienced’ department head Janice Wall is praised for her ‘commerciality’ and ‘ability to simplify complex issues’. Jai Bal and Edward Craft are also recommended.

Wiggin LLP’s practice, which specialises in the media and technology sector transactions, is led by Michael Brader and Adrian Jones. Brader advised Blast! Films on its sale of a majority stake in the company to Sky. David McLeish, formerly in-house counsel at Playtech, joined the team in January 2016. Ben Whitelock is recommended.

Withers LLP is notably active in the sports, luxury goods and leisure sectors, and advised Renault Group and Gravity Motorsports on a share purchase agreement regarding Renault’s acquisition of a controlling stake in Lotus F1 Team. The deal was led by Anthony Indaimo, who splits his time between London and Milan; he co-heads the department with Ben Simpson.

Collyer Bristow LLP’s practice is led by Jeff Roberts, with support from Paul Sillis and Howard Ricklow. Roberts assisted Ibrahim Ibrahim with its sale of Portland Design Associates to Perkins+Will and advised John Brown Media on its sale to Dentsu Aegis Network. Other clients include Molinare TV & Film.

Susan Laws heads the practice at Duane Morris, which was bolstered by the arrival of investment specialist Carl Winkworth from Richards Kibbe & Orbe LLP. Many of its clients are funds; the team acted for Metric Capital Partners on its purchase of a Spanish company. Jeffrey Rodwell assisted CIBT Visas with its acquisition of Peregrine Immigration Management.

Russel Shear’s team at Edwin Coe LLP counts Toshiba Carrier Corporation, Kout Food Group and Vishay Intertechnology among its clients. The ‘personable, responsiveDavid Kinch was instructed by Global Digital Markets on its sale to VE Interactive. Victor Hawrych is also recommended. Alexandre Terrasse, who is dual qualified in English and French law, joined in February 2016 from Jeffrey Green Russell.

Tanya Shillingford heads the ‘prompt, commercially focused’ practice at Goodman Derrick LLP, which provides ‘quality at all levels’. The ‘practical, reassuringEdward Hoare advised Editec U.K. on its acquisition of 76% of Chroma Sports’ issued share capital. Other clients include Chime Communications and OMG. Jessica Nugent made partner in May 2015.

Gordon Dadds’ ‘attentive’ team provides ‘excellent service’. Alon Domb heads the practice, which was augmented in October 2015 by Jan Hoppe and John O’Connell joining as part of the absorption of Jeffrey Green Russell. The group acted for Future Route during its £10m sale to a consortium led by Don Robert and Pollen Street Capital. The ‘approachable, knowledgeable’ Stephen Fuller is recommended.

Hamlins LLP’s practice head Daniel Bellau is commended for his ‘expertise’ and ‘in-depth knowledge’; he advised Palace Capital on its £32m purchase of O&H Northampton and £4m acquisition of Dering Properties (Sutton). The team is notably strong in real estate and leisure, but also has a wider practice, and acted for Mettalis Recycling on its purchase of a Sheffield-based metal recycling business.

Joelson’s team has particular experience in the leisure, media, energy and leisure sectors, and acted for Urban Fresh Foods on its £70m sale to Lotus Bakeries. Practice co-heads Paul Chiappe and Phil Hails-Smith are ably supported by Sheldon Cordell and Philippa Sturt; all are praised as being responsive and having ‘broad knowledge’.

Michael Bennett’s ‘extremely diligent, hardworking and responsive’ practice at Kerman & Co LLP counts Total Logistics, Simmons Gainsford and Alba Mineral Resources among its clients. Yvonne Costello and Una Deretic advised Strat Aero on its £1.5m purchase of Geocurve Holdings. Deretic also acted for CloserStill Holdings on its sale to Inflexion Private Equity.

Keystone Law’s ‘excellent’ department mainly acts for entrepreneurs and SMEs; clients include Philglas & Swiggot, Caxton FX, G’Nosh and Ruffena Capital. Staffed mainly by senior consultants, the team has cross-jurisdictional capabilities; Ian Taylorson, Robin Hampton, Andrew Niblock and Geoffrey Pickerill are the key contacts.

The ‘responsive and commercial’ James Channo leads the team at Locke Lord LLP, which gives ‘excellent service’; he is supported by Robert Askew and senior associate Sharon O’Donnell. Channo acted for Team on the UK aspects of its $335m merger with Furmanite Corporation. Graham Spitz moved to Fladgate LLP.

Energy and fintech expert Ian Binnie joined Michelmores LLP’s department from Hamlins LLP in May 2016. Practice head Roger Fink, who is regarded as having ‘second-to-none industry knowledge’ and ‘an eye for detail’, advised GL Hearn on its sale to Capita. Joe Whitfield has particular expertise in African markets, reflecting the practice’s multi-jurisdictional experience.

Russell-Cooke LLP’s practice is led by Jonathan Thornton, with support from Scott Leonard, David Webster and Guy Wilmot. Webster and Leonard assisted the founders of BiGDUG with the £19m sale of the company to KAISER+KRAFT EUROPA. Other clients include SportsDirect, Rockshore Group and Just Healthcare; Kasada UK and Orderella are more recent client wins.

The ‘detail-oriented’ team at Teacher Stern LLP has ‘great knowledge and expertise’. David Salisbury and the ‘acutely commercialMartine Nathan, who specialise in sports and TMT respectively, head the practice, which counts Recall, Metroline, CityFleet and Dovetail Systems among its clients. Senior associate Martin O’Donoghue is also recommended.


Index of tables

  1. Partnership
  2. Leading individuals

Addleshaw Goddard LLP has a ‘very user-friendly and responsive’ three-partner team that stands out for its ‘wealth of knowledge and experience advising professional services firms’. The highly regarded William Wastie heads the practice, which handles the full range of partnership matters, including international partnership structures, partner exits and M&A. Also recommended are the ‘extremely commercial’ Aster Crawshaw, and Jonathan Cheney, who is noted for his ‘sensitive handling of difficult matters’.

Fox Williams LLP stands out for its ‘combination of significant non-contentious expertise with a very effective litigation team’. Practice head Tina Williamsunderstands how professional service firms work’ and acted alongside Douglas Preece for rural estates business Smiths Gore on its £40m sale to Savills. Other key figures include Gavin Foggo, who is a ‘superb litigator’, and Daniel Sutherland, who is ‘a pleasure to work with’.

Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP is ‘very strong, particularly in the professional services and private client spaces’. Practice head Richard Turnor, who is singled out for his ‘vast knowledge’, works closely with the ‘user-friendly and technically very strong’ Corinne Staves to handle the full range of non-contentious matters, including mergers, ABS structuring and estate planning.

CM Murray LLP’s team of ‘truly focused partnership experts’ is headed by the ‘knowledgeable and supremely strategic’ Clare Murray, and leverages its ‘excellent reputation in handling team moves, partner exits and associated disputes’ to handle a regular flow of contentious work, often with cross-border elements. Other key figures include the ‘forthright, concise and highly skilled’ Bettina Bender, and Esther Martin, who attracts praise for her ‘very strong people skills’.

Fox’s founder Ronnie Fox has ‘almost unparalleled experience in the area; there is virtually nothing that he hasn ’t seen before’. He brings his skills as ‘a ferocious negotiator and very skilled tactician’ to a team with an extensive track record acting in disputes on behalf of individual partners operating in the professional and financial services sectors. Catriona Watt and Sarah Chilton both have ‘commercial nous and great client-handling skills’.

The ‘highly knowledgeable, responsive and user-friendly’ Alan Watts leads the partnership disputes team at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, while Malcom Lombers (who has ‘what clients look for – in-depth knowledge combined with a commercial approach’) handles a broad range of non-contentious matters, often with an international element. Combined they provide ‘an outstanding service’ to clients such as KPMG International, Anchorage Capital Group and Man Group.

Lewis Silkin LLP’s balanced practice is built around the capabilities of Fergus Payne, who advises on structuring, conversions, joint ventures and M&A matters, and disputes specialist Clive Greenwood. Its client base includes individual partners, major law and accountancy firms and businesses operating in the marketing as well as communications sectors.

In an illustration of Winckworth Sherwood LLP’s dual contentious and non-contentious capabilities, James Duncan advised Imperial Capital on regulatory compliance issues, while Jo Keddie (who ‘fights her clients ’ corners very effectively’) advised on whistleblowing and discrimination claims. First Wessex and Enderby Wharf are also clients.

Allen & Overy LLP’s practice focuses on the establishment of partnerships and funds as well as partnership mergers and sale and purchases. John Goodhall regularly advises institutional investors on their investments into limited partnership funds, and Stephen Mathews assists partnerships with corporate and commercial transactions.

Farrer & Co acts for a diverse client base that includes German hedge fund Aquila Scotland, law firm Greenwoods Solicitors, property management company M J Mapp and a number of individual partners. Practice head Jonathan Haley and contentious expert William Dawson are the key contacts.

Kingsley Napley LLP leverages its ‘very strong employment capability’ to advise individuals and partnerships on partner moves as well as employment status issues. Michelle Chanceruns a very good team’.

At RPC, practice co-heads Patrick Brodie and Geraldine Elliott provide contentious and non-contentious advice to a broad range of clients, including Ernst & Young and RSA. Legal director Graham Reid is another key contact.

Slaughter and May is recommended for its partnership structuring capabilities, particularly for clients active in the funds space. Key contact Paul Dickson is an expert on pension funds issues.

Bates Wells Braithwaiteably balances the need to be detailed yet commercial in its advice’. Peter Bohm (who is ‘extremely knowledgeable and a great negotiator’) advises professional partnerships, particularly accountants, on their partnership agreements and M&A activity, while Luke Fletcher is a key contact for social finance and charities investing into partnerships.

At Bracher Rawlins LLP, Andrew Crombyimpresses with his excellent knowledge, sound commercial acumen and exemplary bedside manner’. He regularly handles contentious issues, and recently advised on a hostile accountancy demerger and contentious partner exits at a law firm.

Bristows LLP has ‘an extremely good technical team’ that is ‘a pleasure to work with’. Its main areas of activity include the establishment and structuring on partnership fund vehicles, acting for banks on refinancing and restructuring issues involving partnerships, and assisting with the purchase and sale of interests in partnerships. Marek Petecki and Iain Redford are the key figures in the team, which acts for clients including Blooms Properties and Pearl Diver Capital.

Hempsons is ‘unsurpassed in its expertise and ability in the medical partnerships area’. Lynne Abbess is a highly regarded disputes expert, and on the non-contentious side, Ross Clark led on the merger of 35 GP practices in Birmingham.

Rachel Khiara, founder of niche firm Khiara Law LLP, is ‘a leading expert in the partnership field and devises practical solutions to the ever-changing regulations and their associated complexities’. She handles structuring and compliance matters for a broad range of high-profile professional services firms.

Olswang LLP’s client base includes investment fund managers such as CNH Capital Partners, professional services firms including Rawlinson & Hunter and AlixPartners, and individual partners. Catherine Taylor and Barry Stimpson jointly head the team.

Private equity: transactions

Index of tables

  1. Private equity: transactions – Large-cap deal capability
  2. Private equity: transactions – Mid-cap deal capability
  3. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

The Private equity: transactions coverage is organised into large-cap and mid-cap deal rankings. Law firms are written about in alphabetical order, and may appear in one or both of the rankings tables. There is a separate section covering Venture capital in the Corporate and commercial chapter.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP, has a first-rate reputation in the mid-market arena, acting for clients such as 3i, Graphite Capital and LDC; the team provides ‘consistently strong, commercially focused advice’. In 2015, Mike Hinchliffe advised ECI Partners on its high-profile MBO of Evans Cycles. In another highlight, practice head Yunus Seedat and Nathan Pearce advised Phoenix Equity Partners and NVM (as the previous owners) and the management shareholders of CloserStill on the company’s sale to Inflexion. The group also acted for Kurt Geiger’s management team during the company’s proposed acquisition by Cinven.

Persuasive negotiator’ Sebastian Rice leads Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s team, which has expertise in international private equity transactions involving emerging markets such as Russia; clients include UFG Private Equity and Baring Vostok. The firm advised Damovo and its investors on the sale of its European operations to Oakley Capital and the Daisy Group. Harry Keegan, John Clark and Vance Chapman are also recommended.

At Allen & Overy LLP, Stephen Lloyd led the advice to 3i on the sale of Element Materials Technology to Bridgepoint. In another highlight, Lloyd, Gordon Milne and others acted for OMERS Private Equity and AIMCo on the $1.7bn acquisition of Environmental Resources Management. Karan Dinamani, who ‘homes in on the truly key issues’, and George Knighton are other names to note in the team, which has ‘a strong commitment to client service’.

Equally highly regarded in mid-cap and large-cap transactions, Blackstone, Agilitas and Oaktree are among Ashurst’s key clients. In a notable highlight, Nick Rainsford and Tom Mercer acted for Abertis on its €948m acquisition of a 50% interest in Chile’s Autopista Central toll road from AIMCo. The firm also acted for LA Fitness and its shareholders on the sale of the business to Pure Gym. David Carter heads the team, which includes Bruce Hanton, Simon Beddow and Karen Davies.

Baker & McKenzie LLP serves as ‘a one-stop shop’ in complex, multi-jurisdictional deals; the team is regarded as being ‘timely, attentive and responsive’ and ‘its work product is always impeccable’. The firm undertakes transactions across a wide range of sectors, including healthcare, TMT and energy. David Allen and others handled Bain Capital’s acquisition of Davigel from Nestlé. The firm also acts for CVC, Macquarie Group and KKR. Karen Guch, Tim Sheddick, Jannan Crozier are the other key figures along with the ‘pragmatic and responsiveCharles Whitefoord.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’ practice head Malcolm MacDougall advised the management team of Blackrock Programme Management on an investment made into the business by Dunedin LLP. MacDougall also acted for the management team of Excellence Logging (led by Bruno Burban and Benoit Debray) on its investment into the company, alongside Blue Water Energy. Adrian Mayer is experienced in private equity investments in emerging markets, particularly sub-Saharan Africa.

At Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, a cross-border team including Michael McDonald and Sam Bagot assisted MBK Partners and its affiliates with the $6.4bn acquisition of Homeplus and its subsidiaries from Tesco. The firm also acted for an international consortium during the buyout of Cushman & Wakefield by the consortium’s portfolio company, DTZ. Michael Preston transferred to the London office from Hong Kong. CVC, Silverpoint and Warburg Pincus are also clients.

Clifford Chance is ‘a go-to for the most complex transactions’, including those involving the Middle East, Africa and other emerging markets. The firm ‘excels in business acumen and strength in depth’. Spencer Baylin heads the firm’s emerging markets M&A and private equity practice. Nigel Wellings and Nicholas Hughes have African private equity experience. Global head of private equity Jonny Myers led cross-border teams which handled Cinven’s €1.3bn buyout of Labco from a consortium of investors, as well as its concurrent €1.7bn acquisition of Synlab from BC Partners. Head of the London private equity practice David Pearson acts for clients such as Electra and Permira.

CMS impresses in domestic and multi-jurisdictional transactions. Martin Treagus and senior associate Angela Clump acted for Oakley Capital Partners and the founding shareholders of Verivox in the company’s sale to ProSieben. Practice head James Grimwood handled LDC’s acquisition of online travel agent and, separately, its acquisition of PEI Media. Another highlight involved acting for Sovereign Capital during the £92m sale of Alcumus Group to Inflexion. Douglas Crawford joined Brodies LLP.

DLA Piper’s ‘highly responsive’ team undertakes mid-cap and large-cap deals. It handled HIG Europe’s acquisition of Adelie Foods from India Hospitality Corporation, and assisted Duke Street and Europa Capital with the sale of their investments in SandpiperCl to a consortium of Channel Islands based investors. UK private equity head David Raff is described as ‘an iron fist in a velvet glove’; other key names include Tim Wright, the ‘exceptionally talentedEdward Griffiths and Tim Lake, who is ‘strong and pragmatic’.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s Geoffrey Burgess, practice head David Innes and others are advising Helios on its acquisition of Orange Group’s 70% stake in Telkom Kenya. E Raman Bet-Mansour and Katherine Ashton are other key contacts at the firm, whose other clients include TA Associates, HarbourVest and Deutsche Bank.

Dechert LLP’s Simon Briggs led the advice to L Capital Asia and M1 Fashion on their acquisition of the Pepe Jeans Group. ‘Consummate legal adviserGraham Defries, who ‘protects your interests with panache’, and Andrew Harrow acted for XO1 in its sale to Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Jonathan Angell and Adam Levin are other names to note. Adam Levin is ‘an excellent, precise and experienced lawyer for corporate structuring advice and execution’.

DentonsIgor Krivoshekov – who is ‘a great technical lawyer’ – and Eleanor Shanks, who is ‘always willing to fight for the best possible terms’, led a cross-practice team which advised L1 Energy on its $5.7bn acquisition of RWE Dea. Matthew Tinger worked with a cross-office team to assist KSL Capital Partners with the £363m sale of the Malmaison and Hotel du Vin group to Frasers Hospitality UK Holdings. Nicholas Plant heads the firm’s African private equity practice. Another key name is associate Kasit Rochanakorn*, who ‘goes beyond the market standard to create bespoke solutions’. Stephen Levy joined from Pinsent Masons LLP. *Kasit Rochanakorn joined White & Case LLP in August 2016.

Illustrative of Dickson Minto WS’ first-rate reputation in high-profile mandates, the firm acted for the management team of Wood Mackenzie during the company’s £1.85bn sale by Hellman & Friedman and other shareholders to Verisk Analytics. In another highlight, it acted for Charterhouse during its sale of a stake in Environmental Resources Management. Alastair Dickson is one of the key individuals.

Eversheds LLP’s Richard Moulton, who chairs the international private equity group, undertakes European buyouts and UK mid-cap transactions. In 2015, Moulton’s team advised LDC on its £307m acquisition of NEC Group from Birmingham City Council and also acted for CBPE Capital and the management team of IDIS during the company’s £225m sale to Clinigen Group plc. Louise Finnie made partner.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is among the market leaders for large-cap private equity transactions, handling some of the market’s most high-profile deals. In 2015, David Higgins and senior associate James Scott led the advice to Blackstone on the sale of Center Parcs to Brookfield. Adrian Maguire recently assisted Warburg Pincus with its £230m acquisition of a majority stake in Reiss Holdings.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (London) LLP acts for mega-fund clients and mid-market sponsors in a gamut of matters, such as LBOs, MBOs/MBIs and dispositions. Graham White’s team includes Dan Oates, who worked with the New York office to advise KKR on its acquisition of a minority stake in Marshall Wace. In another highlight, Oates and others acted for CVC Capital Partners and its portfolio company Wireless Logic on the acquisition of SimService SAS. Onex Partners, Permira Advisors and Dyal Capital Partners are other notable clients.

Charlie Geffen leads Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s team, whose transactional capabilities are complemented by the firm’s finance and regulatory expertise. The practice has expanded significantly; recent hires include Stephen Gillespie, who joined from Kirkland & Ellis International LLP, and James Perry, who moved from Ashurst. In 2015, the firm acted for Lone Star Funds in its $1.4bn acquisition of Hanson Building Products. Apollo, Oaktree Capital and AnaCap are also clients. Mark Sperotto, who has nearly 20 years’ experience in private equity transactions, is recommended along with Nick Tomlinson, Wayne McArdle and Nigel Stacey.

In 2015, Goodwin augmented its practice by hiring current practice head Richard Lever and Simon Fulbrook from King & Wood Mallesons. In addition to increasing its headcount, the firm has also won mandates from clients such as ECI Capital, Graphite and Better Capital. Lever recently led the advice to JMI Services and JMI Equity in the acquisition of a stake in Irish outsourcing company CoreHR.

In addition to having a footprint in the UK mid-market space, where it acts for clients such as LDC and Mobeus Equity Partners, Gowling WLG also advises on international transactions. Ian Piggin heads the group, which acted for Cooperatief H2 Equity Partners Fund IV on the sale of its interest in Phoenix Advance, and advised Virtus Data Centres on its £70m acquisition of ISDC Developments (No 5) Limited from Infinity SDC. Andy Stylianou, Jeremy Millington and Gareth Baker are recommended.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP undertakes UK and cross-border transactions across a wide range of sectors, including: infrastructure and energy, real estate and TMT. In 2015, Mark Bardell and newly promoted partner John Taylor acted for EPIC in the $1bn sale of Moto to USS. In another highlight, Ben Ward and Taylor worked with a cross-border team to handle Photobox’s sale to Exponent and Electra. Mark Geday and Tomasz Wozniak relocated to the London office from Moscow. Geday took over as practice head from James Macarthur, who joined Weil, Gotshal & Manges.

Clients appreciate Hogan Lovells International LLP’s ‘high level of partner involvement’ in domestic and cross-border transactions. In addition to acting for notable clients such as Vitruvian and Ares Management, it also advises management teams and investee companies. Highlights for Tom Whelan’s team included advising the senior management of Iglo Group on its €2.6bn sale to Nomad Holdings, and assisting Actis with the disposal of its majority stake in Mouka to the Abraaj Group. Whelan ‘brings real market knowledge to the deal’ and Ed Harris ‘gets the job done’, while other names to note are Amit Nayyar, Keith Woodhouse and Robert Darwin. Derek Meilman relocated to London from New York.

Jones Day’s Adam Greaves, Mike Weir and Ben Shribman advised Inflexion on its investment in CloserStill Media. In another highlight, Weir and Raymond McKeeve acted for Blackstone in its acquisition of Ideal Shopping Direct. The firm also advised Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund on the sale of Wightlink Ferries to Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Partners. Global private equity co-head Patrick Stafford is a key adviser to The Riverside Company.

King & Wood Mallesons has strong mid-cap and large-cap deal capabilities. Andrew Wingfield acted for Intermediate Capital Group in its £1.2bn disposal of private equity interests in a portfolio of 34 European companies to a US investor. In the mid-cap space, Jonathan Pittal – who has ‘well-honed commercial skills’ – and others acted for Bowmark Capital in the circa £115m sale of Healthcare Homes to the company’s management team and Omega Healthcare. Centerbridge Partners, Graphite and Investcorp are other notable clients. Rob Day is also recommended along with Warren Allan, who has ‘excellent all-round knowledge of transactions’. Laura Brunnen joined from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (London) LLP, while Richard Lever moved to Goodwin.

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP has an outstanding reputation in the private equity arena, advising some of the most prominent investment managers – Summit Partners, Apax and EQT – on their most complex multi-jurisdictional mandates. David Eich and Justin Hutchinson advised Bain Capital on its circa $1.3bn sale of FCI Asia to Amphenol. Gavin Gordon acted for Vista Equity Partners in the £725m acquisition of Advanced Computer Software Group. David Arnold is ‘very clear about where the market is’. The firm hired a number of individuals from Linklaters LLP, including: Roger Johnson, Matthew Elliott, David Holdsworth and Tim Lowe. James Learner re-joined the firm from HGGC, while Christian Iwasko and Sava Savov moved to Sidley Austin LLP.

Latham & Watkins features prominently in large-cap European buyout transactions and deals further afield. In 2015, it acted for Hellman & Friedman in its €4.8bn acquisition of Securitas Direct Verisure Group from Bain Capital. Kem Ihenacho and Simon Tysoe are acting for Helios Investment Partners in its acquisition with Vitol Holding of an equity stake in Oando’s West African downstream business. ‘True deal partnerDavid Walker heads the practice, which includes Mike Bond, Tom Evans and recently promoted partner Farah O’Brien.

Linklaters LLPreally knows how to deliver a quality partner-led product’ and has ‘one of the leading private equity practices’. In 2015, it acted for Apollo in its almost €3bn acquisition of Verallia, and advised Hutchison 3G UK on the £3.1bn sale of a 33% stake in the UK telecoms business to a consortium of investors. Other key clients include Brait, HgCapital and Carlyle. Practice head Alex Woodward is ‘a real star, mixing commercial acumen with strong technical skills’. Also recommended are Stuart Boyd, who is ‘very good at marshalling arguments and turning points on their head’, as well as David Holdsworth, Carlton Evans and managing associate Will Aitken-Davies, who is ‘very precise and commercial’. Ben Rodham joined from Shearman & Sterling LLP.

Macfarlanes LLP is instructed in mid-cap and large-cap transactions, where it acts for sponsors, lenders and management teams, among other parties. Stephen Drewitt acted for Appleby on the sale of its fiduciary business, Appleby Fiduciary & Administration, to Bridgepoint. Alex Edmondson and Ian Martin advised Candlewick (a joint venture between Goldman Sachs and TPG) on the sale of the Kew Green Hotels group to HK CTS Metropark Hotels. Other clients include 3i, Graphite, TPG and Lexington. Howard Corney has particular expertise in the African market and Luke Powell is another key name.

McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP’s ‘technically excellent’ mid-market focused team acts for clients such as Ambienta, HIG Capital and Oroco Capital. Practice head Mark Davis, who has particular expertise in cross-border transactions, worked with Eleanor West to advise US investor Levine Leichtman on its LBO of Ireland-based CJ Fallon.

Management advisory work is a growth area at Mishcon de Reya LLP, which acted for the management team of Eurotaxglass’ Group in a hostile takeover by Hayfin Capital Management. Kevin McCarthy leads the team, which includes Michael Nouril, who joined from Proskauer Rose LLP, and Stephen Diosi, who was hired from Ashurst. Nouril acted for Woodford Investment Management in an investment into life sciences company Immunocore. Eve Ellis moved to O’Melveny & Myers LLP.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP’s Stephen Walters led the advice to SK and minority co-owner Ion Beam Applications on the sale of IBA Molecular to CapVest. Tom Cartwright is a key contact at the firm, whose other clients include Pantheon Ventures and MML Capital Partners.

Led by Richard Bull, Norton Rose Fulbright’s team combines cross-border transactional experience with market knowledge across a wide range of sectors, including energy, transport, life sciences and healthcare. Bull acted for CHAMP Ventures and the other selling shareholders in the $70m sale of Taura Holdings to Frutarom Industries. In another highlight, Jason Moss led a cross-office team in advising Denham Capital on its sale of Fotowatio Renewable Ventures to Abdul Latif Jameel. AnaCap, Control Circle and Scottish Equity Partners are other clients. Bayo Odubeko has expertise in Africa-focused transactions.

Olswang LLP’s Chris Mackie acted for Bowmark Capital in the MBO of insurance broker Aston Scott Group. Duncan McDonald is another key name in the team, which is also active in management-side matters. Fabrizio Carpanini, who was succeeded by Mackie as practice head, joined Dorsey & Whitney, as did Carsten Greve.

Alisdair Livingstone leads Osborne Clarke’s practice, which is gaining momentum; recent client wins include HIG European Capital, Ambienta and SEA Equity. Mark Spinner handled the £241m acquisition of Gala Coral’s Retail Bingo business for Caledonia Unquoted Investments and advised the management team of Alcumus Holdings on its sale by Sovereign Capital to Inflexion. Mathias Loertscher made partner in 2015. Sarah Crabtree joined from Reed Smith LLP.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s practice has mid-market focus, where the firm acts for institutional clients across a wide range of matters, including: MBOs, MBIs, acquisitions and disposals. Cross-border transactions are a notable growth area; practice head Gregg Davison advised ECI Partners and the management team on the sale of Fourth Hospitality Group to Insight Venture Partners, a US technology fund. In another highlight, Tom Leman acted for Clearwater Seafood in its £115m acquisition of MacDuff International from Change Capital Partners and Beaton family. Andrew Phillips made partner.

The ‘very experienced and knowledgeableMaurice Dwyer leads RPC’s team, which has ‘a practical, hands-on approach’ to mid-cap transactions. Neil Brown led on Alere’s $164m sale of BBI Diagnostics to Exponent. In another highlight, the firm acted for DMG Media and Wowcher’s management team in the sale of Wowcher to Exponent. Other clients include ArchiMed, Lyceum Capital and LDC. David Marshall is recommended along with recent hire Graham Spalding, who joined from Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co LLP.

Reed Smith LLP handles UK mid-market transactions and larger cross-border deals. Philip Taylor led the advice to the management shareholders at Kelway on the $700m sale of the business to Core Capital. FTV Capital, HIG Europe and Sovereign Capital are other clients. Taylor and James Cross jointly lead the practice following the departure of former head Perry Yam to Mayer Brown International LLP, followed by James West. Sarah Crabtree joined Osborne Clarke. Andrew Clark made partner.

Ropes & Gray LLP has ‘an invaluable wealth of market knowledge’ and represents clients such as Bain Capital, Summit Partners and European Capital. Philip Sanderson, John Newton and others advised 3i on its acquisition of Audley Travel from Equistone. Newton also acted for TPG during its $150m takeover of Poundworld. Other well-regarded members of the team are Kiran Sharma, who is ‘cool in a crisis’, and the ‘astute’ Will Rosen.

Shearman & Sterling LLP has a strong reputation in complex multi-jurisdictional transactions; its notable client roster includes Investcorp, Arle and Vitruvian. Practice head Mark Soundy and Sarah Priestley acted for Electra as a co-investor alongside Patron Capital in the £325m acquisition of Grainger Retirement Solutions. The firm also assisted Bridgepoint with the sale of international life sciences company LGC to KKR. Matthew Powell made partner and Frank Miller joined from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP. Ben Rodham moved to Linklaters LLP.

Simmons & Simmons particularly excels in cross-border deals, particularly those involving regulated markets, such as life sciences, TMT and financial services. Gideon Sharp and Arthur Stewart, who is ‘reliable and trustworthy’, jointly lead the team, which advised Orion Resource Partners (USA) on a joint venture with Fusion AG to form Lynx Resources, and handled Lynx’s subsequent acquisition of SASA from Solway Investment Group. Brookfield, Catterton Partners and Charterhouse are other notable clients.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP undertakes complex multi-jurisdictional transactions for high-end institutional clients such as Apax, Blackstone and Charterhouse. Alvaro Membrillera advised KKR on its acquisition of a combined 50% stake in Välinge. Adam Signy has ‘oceans of knowledge and experience’, and Derek Baird and Clare Gaskell are other key names. Wheatly MacNamara and James Connor recently made partner and counsel respectively.

Slaughter and May’s private equity team leverages expertise in areas such as M&A, banking and finance, as well as capital markets, to undertake a range of transactions for clients. Jeff Twentyman leads the practice, which also includes Susannah Macknay, who is leading the advice to Palamon Capital Partners and Corsair Capital on their joint acquisition of Currencies Direct. Other clients include Oaktree Capital, Apollo and Värde Partners. Murray Cox was promoted to partner.

Squire Patton Boggs focuses on mid-market transactions, acting for clients such as ECI Partners, LDC and Bregal Freshstream. In 2015, Tim Hewens, Peter Morley and Edward Dawes advised the shareholders and management of Reward Gateway on a £140m secondary buyout by Great Hill Partners. James McKay is experienced in acting for management teams.

Timothy Emmerson heads the European M&A practice at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, which handled the acquisition of an 18% stake in Entertainment One for Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and dealt with a subsequent £194m rights issue. The firm also advised Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division on Hastings Group’s £1.1bn IPO and London Stock Exchange listing. Ben Perry, Richard Morrissey and Nikolaos Andronikos are recommended.

At Taylor Wessing LLP, ‘response times are fast and answers are comprehensive’. Led by James Goold, the team undertakes UK and international transactions for private equity houses, portfolio companies and management houses. In 2015, Emma Danks led a cross-border team which advised Caledonia Investments plc on the sale of TGE Marine to a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding. Robert Fenner and Nick Hazell are among other key names in the team, which acts for clients such as Rutland Partners and Synova Capital.

Travers Smith LLP has a particularly outstanding reputation in the mid-cap arena, where it attracts high-profile and complex mandates for clients such as Bridgepoint, 3i and Silverfleet. Practice head Paul Dolman acted for TA Associates on the €220m sale of Belgian image sensor company CMOSIS to ams, while Ian Shawyer advised Carlyle on the £200m sale of The Foundry to HgCapital. The firm also handles a significant amount of large-cap work, which recently included James Renahan acting for Equistone and the other selling shareholders in the £402m sale of Easynet to Interoute. Industry veteran Chris Hale is another key name.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP acts for European mid-market private equity clients in transactions involving sectors such as energy and infrastructure, natural resources and transport. Jan Mellmann leads the team, which acts for clients such as Aurelius Capital, Tufton Oceanic and Maas Capital Investments. In 2015, Andy Savage joined from Norton Rose Fulbright and Nigel Taylor was hired from Clyde & Co LLP.

Big-brand firmWeil, Gotshal & Manges has ‘a truly excellent private equity offering’. ‘Mega-starMarco Compagnoniruns a very tight ship, with no over-lawyering’, in conjunction with Michael Francies. The firm provides a full service to high-calibre clients such as Centerbridge and Lion Capital in large-scale multi-jurisidictional transactions, with its financing capabilities being a particular strong suit. Highlights included acting for Advent International and Bain Capital on their €2.2bn joint acquisition with Clessidra of ICBPI. James Harvey recently made partner. Jonathan Wood, Samantha McGonigle and Simon Lyell are all recommended.

White & Case LLP has ‘good jurisdictional coverage across key European countries’. Jointly led by Ian Bagshaw and Richard Youle, its team ‘identifies key issues that need to be addressed at each stage of a transaction’. Clients also appreciate ‘the good blend of skillsets which are brought to a situation as appropriate’, including restructuring, finance, regulatory and capital markets. Highlights included acting for an international consortium in the acquisition of the Tank & Rast group from Terra Firma and RREEF. Arle Capital, CVC and HgCapital are notable clients. In 2015, Caroline Sherrell joined from Clifford Chance and Kenneth Barry was hired from Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. Emma Parr recently made partner.

VAT and indirect tax

Index of tables

  1. VAT and indirect tax
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Baker & McKenzie LLP’s specialist team, headed by non-lawyer Mark Delaney (who attracts praise for his ‘experience, judgement and technical knowledge’), leverages the firm’s extensive global network to provide international tax structuring advice to a multinational client base. Other key contacts include tax director Mark Agnew and senior associate David Jamieson, who stands out for tax litigation.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP combines transactional expertise with an extensive track record on contentious matters. Heather Gething is representing Telefónica Europe in its judicial review of HMRC’s change in assessing tax linked to roaming charges. The practice also handles regulatory issues such as VAT rules on pensions investment services. William Arrenberg is a key contact in this regard.

Ashurst has ‘a very detailed technical understanding of the issues at play’ in indirect tax, enabling it to ‘provide guidance in a diverse range of subjects’. On the disputes front, Nicholas Gardner continues to act for Bookit in its appeal on the VAT exempt status of card handling services. In another highlight, Simon Swann and Paul Miller, who lead the way on real estate matters, are advising the London Legacy Development Corporation on VAT issues pertaining to the development of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP has ‘strong technical and practical knowledge of property tax’, making it ‘one of the best for real estate issues’. Elizabeth Bradley and Alan Sinyor are the key real estate contacts and act for a client list including Land Securities and Carlyle Europe Real Estate Partners. Sinyor has also handled cases involving the VAT treatment of a number of services including international phone calls.

At Clifford Chance, practice head David Saleh (‘a leading expert in real estate tax’) advised Deloitte on its pre-let of a 275,000 sq ft office building. Saleh also handles tax-related disputes. Other clients include Hammerson and TIAA Henderson Real Estate.

At DLA Piper, practice head and real estate expert Richard Woolich advised office-space provider WeWorks, a new client, on VAT issues. The team, which includes tax litigation head Geoffrey Tack, is also active in the online gambling sector for clients including LeoVegas, as well as the financial services sector.

Eversheds LLP has continued to grow its practice under the leadership of indirect tax disputes specialist Giles Salmond, who ‘identifies opportunities others would miss’. On the advisory side, legal director Camilla Spielman handles financial services tax issues, particularly those affecting asset managers, while tax head Cathryn Vanderspar regularly advises on real estate structuring matters for on real estate funds and investment trusts.

Counsel Lee Squires (who ‘displays a wide knowledge of indirect taxes’) leads Hogan Lovells International LLP’s practice, which acts for a diverse client base including technology companies such as Amazon, financial institutions including Citibank and Prudential, and corporates active in the real estate and consumer sectors.

At Norton Rose Fulbright, European VAT group head Chris Bates is handling a number of pensions-related VAT recovery claims. Other key contacts include Angela Savin and renewable energy expert Matthew Hodkin.

Olswang LLP is noted for its breadth of indirect tax expertise. Key contacts include Stephen Hignett, who has ‘incomparable knowledge and experience of gambling tax’; Cliona Kirby, who is ‘very savvy on property tax’; and the ‘solutions-orientedGraham Chase, who acts for clients including Kaupthing and Ronson Capital Partners.

Pinsent Masons LLPcombines deep technical knowledge with a savvy commercial approach’ and its team has ‘real forensic talent should litigation be necessary’. Darren Mellor-Clark is recommended for financial services related indirect tax issues, and the key disputes contacts are group head Jason Collins, Ian Hyde and Stuart Walsh.

Rosetta Tax LLP is a specialist firm with a team of ‘distinguished VAT lawyers’, which includes Linda Adelson, who is a key contact for financial services and insurance-related matters; Nick McChesney, a leading landfill tax expert who also handles issues relating to cross-border supply of goods and services; and barrister Peter Mason, who is singled out for his ‘excellent track record in winning cases against HMRC’.

Simmons & Simmons’ team, headed by Nick Cronkshaw, acts for a wide-ranging client base including Macquarie Bank, British Land and Fidelity Investments. On the advisory side, the practice has a particular focus on asset management, energy and infrastructure, financial institutions, life sciences and TMT matters. Nick Skerrett, who ‘knows how to get results for his clients’, is a key contact on the contentious side.

Bark&co is recommended for criminal and civil contentious VAT matters. In a standout First Tier Tax Tribunal case, civil litigation manager Khalil Makonnen successfully represented a former mobile phone trader in its appeal of a VAT assessment by HMRC.

Clive Jones is now the key contact at King & Wood Mallesons following Heather Corben’s departure. He is recommended for his real estate expertise and regularly advises clients such as Goodman Real Estate Adviser and The Stage Shoreditch on transactional matters.

Mayer Brown International LLP’s Sandy Bhogal provides standalone structuring and planning advice, in addition to handling transactional tax matters, to clients in the real estate and financial services sectors.

At Nabarro LLP, Nick Burt works closely with the firm’s wider real estate practice to provide tax advice on big-ticket real estate transactions. Clients include Great Portland Estates and Lend Lease Group.

Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP regularly handles VAT cases involving parallel criminal and civil investigations. Key contacts include Neil Swift and the highly experienced Monty Raphael QC.

At Stephenson Harwood, Maryanna Sharrock regularly handles real estate related transactional indirect tax issues for clients such as Schroder UK Real Estate Fund. Hugo Jenney has broad-ranging expertise spanning tonnage tax, asset finance and private wealth.

At Wedlake Bell LLP, Michael Ridsdale handles a wide range of transactional indirect tax matters, and acts on a standalone basis for FTSE 100 companies and foreign multinationals.

Venture capital

Active for both investors and investees, Bird & Bird LLP continues to have a strong presence in the market despite the departure in March 2016 of international team head Angus Miln to Taylor Wessing LLP. Geraint Lloyd has been involved in numerous deals for Albion Ventures, including its role as part of a syndicate in a $2.2m investment in cyber-security software company Panaseer. Struan Penwarden remains one of the dominant players in the venture debt space and continues to advise Kreos Capital on several mandates, including its loan to Widespace AB. Ali Ramadan, who was promoted to partner in May 2016, provides ‘commercial and wise advice’.

With practitioners based out of the firm’s Reading, London and Bristol offices, as well as a presence in Silicon Valley in the US, Osborne Clarke remains ‘deeply engrained in the venture capital industry’. Team head Robert Wood provides a ‘great service’ to clients including Funding Circle and Imperial Innovations, and advised the latter on a £19m Series A investment in Kesios Therapeutics. Matthew Lewis has a focus on the cleantech and renewables space, and assisted Oxford Photovoltaics with two £12.6bn combined Series B funding rounds. Other recommended partners include Russell van Praagh, Mathias Loertscher and Akmal Ghauri, who handles venture debt transactions as part of his broader finance practice.

Bolstered by the arrival of Angus Miln from Bird & Bird LLP in March 2016, Taylor Wessing LLP’s practice continues to go from strength to strength and provides ‘knowledgeable advice’ to investors and investees across a range of IP-rich areas including Fintech and life sciences. The ‘pragmatic and well-connected’ David Mardle has recently handled a number of deals for Partech Ventures, including advising on a £22m Series C investment in Brandwatch and on a £25m funding round into Howard Palmer recently advised Kymab on its $50m fundraising from new investors including Woodford Patient Capital Trust and Malin Life Sciences Holdings.

Led by Mark Dorff, Brown Rudnick LLP’s ‘talented and experienced’ team provides a ‘resourceful service’ to investors and investees across the investment lifecycle. Sophie McGrath provides ‘an excellent all-round service’ to clients active in the life sciences, technology and cleantech sectors; she advised Flowerbx on its expansion and recent £850,000 fundraising. The firm also benefits from a strong presence in the US, of particular use when a client wishes to flip its business to a US incorporated business structure.

Benefiting from a ‘strong overall life sciences and healthcare pedigree’, Covington & Burling LLP handles a significant amount of venture capital work in this segment. James Halstead has advised Imperial Innovations on numerous healthcare investments, including on Auspherix’s £6m Series A financing. Louise Nash, James Gubbins, Paul Claydon and Gregor Frizzell are also recommended.

Led by the ‘deeply experienced and pragmaticYlan Steiner, King & Wood Mallesons displays ‘an impressive combination of in-depth expertise and high levels of commitment’. Steiner acted for on a $54m Series D financing and continues to handle work for Vitruvian Partners, including on its Series D financing round of Trustpilot. ‘Extremely dedicated and professional’ associate Janine Suttie is also recommended.

The team at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP acts for technology companies throughout their growth lifecycles, and also benefits from a ‘fantastic’ Silicon Valley practice in the US. Team head Christopher Grew ‘has his finger on the pulse of the industry’ and recently advised WorldRemit on its $100m Series B funding. Although the firm is best known for its investee mandates it also handles work for venture capital trusts and corporate venturers including Salesforce Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners and MVC Capital. Shawn Atkinson is recommended for late-stage venture transactions.

The ‘pragmatic and responsive’ team at Harbottle & Lewis LLP has ‘excellent technology industry knowledge’ and is able to leverage the firm’s broader IP and technology teams to provide an all-encompassing service to investors and investees throughout the investment lifecycle. ‘Knowledgeable and personable’ team head Tony Littner provides ‘a nice balance between getting what the client wants done and challenging appropriately when needed’. Aided by ‘calm and capable’ associate Felix Wong, Littner recently advised Brandwatch on its $33m Series C financing.

JAG Shaw Baker provides ‘nimble, smart and commercial advice’ to an ever-growing roster of investor and investee clients, and its track record of work for start-ups, angel investors and VCs give the firm ‘unparalleled knowledge in the area’. The ‘very knowledgeable and resourceful’ Tina Baker recently advised Kano Computing on its $15m Series A funding and JustPark Parking on its £3.7m crowdfunding round. Other recommended partners include the ‘responsive, helpful and detail-oriented’ Susanna Stanfield, who regularly acts for Cambridge-based companies and investors in the life sciences space, and James Shaw, who specialises in late-stage investments.

At Marriott Harrison LLP, ‘very sharp and experienced’ team head Andrew Wigfall has excellent traction with investor clients including Accel Partners and Balderton Capital, recently advising the latter on its early-stage investment in digital healthcare platform Patients Know Best.

Supported by a strong IP team as well as a significant commercial practice that assists with IP commercialisation matters, Olswang LLP is able to provide a cradle-to-grave service to investors and investees in the life sciences and tech sectors in particular.

Reed Smith LLP’s ‘friendly and approachable’ team is noted for its ‘commercial approach’ and ‘willingness to be flexible on fees and to build long-term relationships’, making it ‘the entrepreneurs ’ secret weapon’. The ‘super-smart and responsive’ Michael Young regularly acts for start-ups and investors; he recently advised fashion app Grabble on its £1.2m fundraising.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP attracts praise for its ‘commercial and practical’ service, and is able to leverage its strong private wealth credentials to provide assistance to high-net-worth individuals as investors in the venture capital space. Malcolm MacDougall advised Laundrapp on its £5m fundraising round. Chris Putt regularly handles work for Kreos Capital in the venture debt space.

At Fieldfisher, Tim Bird advised Fuse Universal on its $10m preference share investment from US VC Education Growth Partners. The team also acts for a number of corporate venturers, particularly in the media sector where BBC Worldwide and Channel 4 Investments are significant clients. Andrew Blankfield is also recommended.

Nabarro LLP is increasingly active for investees in the Fintech space, and the firm’s entrepreneurs and SMEs sub-group offers a selection of fixed price products aimed at giving cost certainty to start-up companies. John Finnemore recently advised Conversocial on its $4m Series A funding.

Baker Botts (UK) LLP provides ‘cost-effective and strategic’ advice to venture capital trusts, investees and corporate venturers in the technology, cleantech and life sciences sectors. Team head Neil Foster and special counsel Tim Davison ‘have great practical transactional experience’ and recently acted for The Solar Cloth Company on a crowdfunding venture capital campaign via the Crowdcube platform.

Although it has more of a private equity focus, lawyers in CMS’ London and Scotland offices are also experienced in handling venture capital deals. Doug Land advised The Business Growth Fund, a significant client of the team, on its £6.4m investment in national Thai restaurant chain, Giggling Squid.

At Dorsey & Whitney, Frances Doherty regularly advises technology investees on their financing requirements. Recent highlights include advising Azino on its £20m investment by Frog Capital and others. The arrival of Paul Denham from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP provides a degree of expertise on venture debt transactions as part of his wider finance practice.

At Gowling WLG, team head Ian Piggin has significant experience advising investors in the technology and life sciences sectors. Piggin recently advised a syndicate of investors, including Imperial Innovations, on their further investment into drug discovery and development company Mission Therapeutics.

Mills & Reeve LLP provides ‘an outstanding and personalised service’ to a predominantly investor-focused client base that includes Mercia Investments, which the ‘excellentZickie Lim has advised on a series of investments in 2015.

At Arnold & Porter (UK) LLP, ‘solutions-oriented’ team head Jeremy Willcocks handles venture capital work in the technology and life sciences sectors as part of his broader corporate practice.

Led by Andrew Betteridge, Ashfords LLP’s Bristol-based practice represents investors and investees across the gamut of early and late-stage investments. Recent highlights include advising Crowdcube on its £5m fundraising.

Bristol-based Burges Salmon LLP handles venture capital work for investors, particularly pertaining to the renewables space. The ‘experienced and pragmaticRichard Spink handles a significant amount of venture capital work as part of his broader corporate finance practice. Clients include Octopus Investments and Ingenious Investments.

A major venture capital player in the US, Cooley (UK) LLP has already begun to handle some significant mandates out of its nascent London office. David Bresnick advised Anthos Capital and Index Ventures on a $15m Series A financing for Facelt, an online eSport gaming platform based in London.

Kemp Little LLP provides a ‘comprehensive and efficient’ service to technology and digital business investors and investees including Cluster Seven, Nativ and Primesight. The ‘calm and commercially mindedCharles Claisse advised Fintech company IOCS on its follow-on investment from Notion and debt investment from Luxembourg-based fund Boost.

With offices in London, Reading, Oxford and Cambridge, and leveraging the firm’s significant IP and life sciences expertise, Penningtons Manches LLP is well placed to represent technology clients, as well as spin-outs from universities. The ‘pragmaticRob Hayes led the team, which includes the ‘very efficient’ Elizabeth Yell, on Veryan’s £18m Series C funding.

Headquartered in Oxford but aided by a London office established in 2014, boutique technology and corporate firm White & Black Limited provides ‘a responsive and proactive’ service to investors and investees including Fresh Holdings, Frog Capital and Gigaclear. Phil Riman provides ‘considered and insightful advice’ and heads the team, which includes ‘commercially savvy’ senior associate Stephen Silvester.

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