The Legal 500


United Kingdom > London > Corporate and commercial



UK M&A continued to feel the effects of global volatility and the eurozone’s sovereign debt crisis, with reported deal values in 2012 down 66% on the heady days of 2007. Year on year, UK M&A saw a 5.1% increase compared to 2011, with the energy, mining and utilities sectors proving to be the most active. Inward foreign investment accounted for the lion’s share of UK M&A in 2012, and the BRIC nations are still outperforming the eurozone economies in terms of levels of M&A, with law firms with strong global platforms continuing to leverage that capability to chase down deals. London remains strategically important to US law firms doing deals in Europe and beyond, as evidenced by the recent spate of lateral hires from the Magic Circle. The picture for 2013 remains uncertain; although the first quarter saw an increase in value compared to Q1 2012, deal count was down.

On the private equity front, strong high yield markets in the US and alternative debt streams are the key drivers, although the heightened activity in the US has not had the trickle-down effect into UK private equity that some have predicted. Mega-deal activity remains muted, which has seen even the largest private equity players look to the mid-market, and secondary buyouts and portfolio management are driving the practices at many law firms. 2012 and 2013 saw several high-profile lateral hires by US firms from major private equity powerhouses such as Clifford Chance, partly motivated by a desire to shore up their global relationships with their established US-based sponsor clients.

2012 was a patchy year for capital markets. With low volumes of activity overall, secondary offerings drove much of the work for lawyers, and large IPOs were few and far between; highlights included the £2.6bn IPO of Direct Line Insurance at the beginning of 2012, and the $1.7bn flotation of Russian mobile phone operator Megafon. Law firms saw a number of anticipated offerings fall through at the last hurdle, often because of volatility in the markets. This volatility has now eased somewhat, giving grounds for some optimism for the year ahead. The energy and mining sectors remained buoyant throughout 2012, although softening commodity prices may cause activity levels to drop.

The corporate tax space saw a high level of regulatory change in 2012, against a background of increased media and public focus on the tax affairs of large multinational groups. Clients are now keener than ever to minimise any reputational risks associated with tax planning, and this has translated into more direct involvement for law firms in tax matters at the board level.

Commercial contracts

Index of tables

  1. Commercial contracts
  2. Leading individuals

Baker & McKenzie LLP handles large-scale work on a global basis, and provides advice ‘in a much more approachable and practical way than other City firms’; the firm ‘impresses by getting on with the job without wasting time posing and posturing’. A core strength is IT and outsourcing work, where it has attracted instructions from the likes of Carlsberg, Colt and Google. The firm also has a place on Virgin Media’s panel, and has been instructed on some major government contract work. Key contacts include Duncan Reid-Thomas, Ben Allgrove, Christina Demetriades and Steve Holmes, all of whom are highly recommended.

Bird & Bird LLP has a standalone group with a well-established reputation for public procurement and IT/telecoms-related work; it is ‘definitely in the top league’. Significant mandates included advising the UK Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) on the roll-out of the Smart Metering Implementation Programme (SMIP), and advising Mecom on its first cross-border IT outsourcing transaction, valued at £50m and involving its operations in the UK, the Netherlands, Norway and Denmark. The MoJ is another key client. Simon Shooter is ‘very good at providing responses in layman’s terms’, and Christian Bartsch and Chris Holder are also recommended.

Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP wins plaudits for its ‘attitude, flexibility and pace of delivery’. Pearson, JP Morgan, Philip Morris International and Tata Consulting Services have all called on the firm’s outsourcing expertise recently, and it has advised on a number of major IT procurement deals, including one for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Collectively the team is ‘unendingly helpful’, and Robert Shooter is consistently singled out for his ‘excellent negotiation skills’ and ‘straight-talking attitude’. Michael Chissick, Paul Barton and Simon Briskman are also recommended.

Travers Smith LLP has ‘strong experience across a number of different areas and sectors, allowing it to advise with an unusually high level of insight’. Tom Purton is a ‘very good strategic thinker’ who ‘focuses on the points with a calm authority’; and Richard Brownseems to be able to arrive at the core of the issue very quickly - sometimes before you even realised there was an issue at all’. The group recently advised Martin McColl on its UK-wide distribution arrangements.

The ‘credible’ team at Addleshaw Goddard LLP attracts praise for its blend of legal and commercial acumen, and its ability to advise on a broad range of commercial transactions. Sainsbury’s is a key client, and the firm also recently advised Femern A/S on the procurement of a major infrastructure project in continental Europe. Anna Rodbourne has ‘an eye for detail’ and ‘turns around drafts almost in real time’. Jonathan Davey heads the practice.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP has substantial credibility when it comes to outsourcing, with Mark Lewis and Richard Chapman enjoying very strong reputations. It is also heavily involved in the IT sector, and Richard Shaw is widely recognised within financial services and retail. The group’s key clients include Thames Water, which it has recently advised on various commercial contracts and public procurement issues. It also assisted longstanding client The Guardian in relation to technology and web-related contracts, and is advising PRS on outsourcing a number of its business areas, including finance, revenue collections, data matching and payroll.

DLA Piper UK LLP’s practice has ‘good scale, breadth and quality’, with Iain Bowler leading a dedicated and wide-ranging commercial contracts and distribution group. Among its highlights, the firm advised New Look on joint ventures to take its brand into China, India and Poland, and Center Parcs on outsourcing its retail, food and beverage outlets for resorts in the UK.

Hogan Lovells International LLP is a ‘first-choice firm for outsourcing’, and also has ‘expertise across a wide range of regulatory and payments issues’. Key recent clients include Nintendo and Phoenix Group. Department head Peter Watts is a ‘truly invaluable asset’, and Mark Taylor has ‘strong BPO and ITO experience’ and is ‘good at structuring deals in a favourable way’. Andrew Skipper is a ‘star’ and a ‘very calming influence’, and ‘has the ability to crack through difficult negotiations’. Rachel Kent is ‘strong on regulatory issues in an outsourcing context’.

Pinsent Masons LLP recently advised the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on a project to deliver the fastest-possible broadband across the UK, and a mobile infrastructure project to improve the quality of network services in areas with a poor signal. Simon Colvin, who led the advice, has a ‘great grasp of commercial, procurement and outsourcing legal issues’, and ‘builds strong relationships with clients’. David Isaac heads the outsourcing practice and is also highly recommended.

At RPC, the team’s ‘business acumen really shows through, rather than just legal opinion’, and ‘even at junior level the work is always to a very high standard’. Key mandates included advising Associated Newspapers Ltd on its wholesale distribution agreements, and assisting Avert with a master services agreement. Oliver Bray, who heads the team, is extremely well regarded in the market, and Sanjay Pritam has ‘gravitas’ and a ‘style that belies his steely approach to negotiation’.

Slaughter and May’s cross-departmental practice is best known for handling large and complex transactions, and its lawyers stand out for their ‘rare mix of detailed knowledge coupled with an ability to stand back and take a broad view’. Names to note include strategic sourcing group head Rob Sumroy, who is a ‘first-class lawyer’ and ‘brilliant with clients’; and IP and outsourcing specialist David Ives, who is ‘commercially astute’. The firm also has ‘some incredibly strong senior associates and associates’. Recent work includes advising Royal Mail on a major outsourcing project.

Outsourcing is definitely a growth sector’ for Allen & Overy LLP, which also advises on IP licensing, distribution agreements, procurement and supply arrangements. Much of its work is multi-jurisdictional, with recent highlights including advising Thomas Cook on brand licensing arrangements when it sold a 77% stake in its Indian travel business. Claire Wright ‘demonstrates exceptional attention to detail and excellent drafting skills’, and is ‘talented at maintaining good relationships with counterparties at difficult times’. Jim Ford is also highly recommended.

CMS has a very active outsourcing team, and is also experienced in high-profile public procurement contracts. Its client base includes GE, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS and Amazon. John Armstrong and Ian Stevens are worthy of particular mention alongside Juan Crosby and Caroline Hobson, who both recently made partner. The firm’s associates are also said to be ‘particularly good’.

Dentons is ‘on the up’. Dan Burge has an excellent reputation, and is prominent in the areas of financial services and energy. Other key individuals are Scott Singer, who leads the non-contentious IP group, and Andy Lucas, who recently joined the firm having previously headed the public sector group at Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP. Argos is a significant client, and the firm is currently assisting with its transformation to become a multi-channel retailer. Other clients include Sainsbury’s/Sainsbury’s Bank, and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.

Highlights for Herbert Smith Freehills LLP included advising the UK Cabinet Office on the government’s plans to implement a new model for delivering public services. It also assisted Lloyds Banking Group with the re-procurement of its contact centre service, and acted for Telefónica and Vodafone on a network-sharing joint venture arrangement. Mark Turner, Nick Pantlin, Nick Elverston and Adrian Clough are the names to note.

King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin provides a ‘dedicated, focused and excellent service’, catering to a range of industry sectors and advising both suppliers and customers. It advises key client Ladbrokes on supply agreements for its games content, and also acts for Logica, Electra Private Equity, and Universal Music Group. Department head Jeremy Schrire is ‘truly excellent’, with a ‘great manner and first-rate technical knowledge’.

Latham & Watkins typically handles big-ticket mandates for global clients, and its outsourcing expertise includes IT, BPO, asset and fund administration, and managed services. The group’s roster of blue-chip clients includes Bacardi-Martini, Lloyds Banking Group, Time Warner and Yahoo!. Martin Cotterill is the lead partner contact, and Gail Crawford, Luke Grubb and Andrew Moyle are also recommended.

Linklaters LLP continues to attract ‘lots of interesting work’ in both the public and private sectors, recently acting for new client The Post Office on two large BPO deals with Royal Mail. BP is a key client of the firm. Notable individuals include global TMT head John Crozier, and corporate partner Paul McNicholl.

Laurence Jacobs heads the team at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP, which is considered a ‘very worthy competitor’ by peers and has handled mandates for clients such as Astellas and AstraZeneca. Star practitioner Sean Keaton has handled a string of large transactions, and is a leading adviser to the asset management outsourcing industry.

Norton Rose Fulbright is admired for its ‘depth of knowledge in the outsourcing market’; its ‘general business acumen is extremely valuable and really complements its strong legal expertise’, and its lawyers ‘understand the culture of corporates’. Outsourcing/technology head Mike Rebeiro has ‘tremendous industry experience and is a top-flight negotiator’; his team acts for names such as Ernst & Young Global, BNY Mellon, and the Department of Health. On the public procurement side, Mark Jones is ‘approachable, commercial and very bright’.

At Simmons & Simmons, the ‘overall level of service is high, and the knowledge among the lawyers is very good’. Practice head Mark Dewar wins plaudits for his capabilities within consumer law; he is a ‘class act’ and ‘very committed to this practice area’. While the firm has a standalone team, it draws upon the expertise of various other departments; recently, a cross-departmental team has been assisting SEI in drafting a template for global wealth services agreements. The firm also advised O2 on outsourcing its European finance and accounting function to the Czech Republic and India.

Wragge & Co LLP treats this area as a standalone specialism, and ‘punches well above its weight’. David Lowe oversees the department, which counts Marks & Spencer, AstraZeneca, Vodafone and Citigroup among its flagship clients. Alongside its more mainstream work, it has proven abilities in handling large and complex mandates; its current work includes assisting Saudia Airlines in outsourcing the design, building and operation of a large general hospital in Saudia City.

Ashurst has a cross-departmental outsourcing and procurement practice, and is advising Babcock’s marine division on its negotiations with the MoD for the Maritime Support Delivery Framework project. It has had a number of notable new client wins, including Santander, Telefónica and Virgin Media. Mark Lubbock is a key contact.

Burges Salmon LLP recently advised MITIE Group on its largest-ever facilities management outsourcing contract for Lloyds Banking Group, valued at £750m. Another highlight was its appointment by Thomson Reuters to advise on an international £100m infrastructure technology outsourcing in South-East Asia with Hewlett-Packard. Philip Davey and Andrew Dunlop are trusted advisers to an array of blue-chip commercial clients. John Houlden is particularly recommended for public procurement matters, having acted for the MoD and the Home Office.

Eversheds LLP’s dedicated practice recently advised Homecare Insurance (part of CPP Group) on an outsourcing matter, and MBNA on the renewal of its partnership agreement with Manchester United FC. Alison Brearey is ‘good at spotting bear traps that others miss’. Fiona Ghosh is ‘an extremely powerful ally as she understands requirements intuitively, and then exceeds them’. Peter McCormack is ‘great value as he really understands the job and just gets on with it’.

Fladgate LLP gives ‘practical and down-to-earth advice’. It continues to act for Zurich-based Hitachi Zosen Inova in relation to the design and construction of energy-from-waste plants throughout the UK, and recently assisted new fashion website Muse on preparing its terms and conditions and privacy policy. It also advised Pussy Drinks Ltd on a new US distribution agreement for an energy drink. Lead partner Eddie Powell specialises in IP, technology and commercial law.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP provides IP and IT-related outsourcing advice to financial, commercial and industrial clients. The firm is particularly well equipped to handle high-profile multi-jurisdictional outsourcing and offshoring deals, and also advises on joint ventures, licensing and other commercial arrangements.

The team at Lawrence Graham LLP is ‘highly professional, very knowledgeable, appropriately competent and commercial’. Led by Rosemary Choueka, the public procurement team provides ongoing advice to Circle Partnership, including assisting it with the contract to run Hinchingbrooke Hospital. The firm also advised insurance broker Arthur J Gallagher & Co on the public procurement implications of its acquisition of Acumis Technology.

Macfarlanes LLP’s Rupert Casey has a wealth of outsourcing experience, particularly within the IT sector. He has recently been leading advice to ASPone on its outsourcing arrangements with FTN Monitor to create a financial information and communications tool for the Russian market.

Morrison & Foerster (UK) LLP’s Alistair Maughan has advised numerous blue-chip companies and public sector clients on outsourcing and technology projects. Also recommended is Chris Coulter, who, in addition to his knowledge of the IT sector, has cross-over corporate and IP expertise. The team has been advising HMRC on a project to implement a new system for employers to file employees’ tax information. Other instructions came from Phoenix Group, and Odeon and UCI Cinemas.

Dominic Dryden heads the team at Olswang LLP, which ‘understands deals and how to make them happen’, and has ‘strength in depth’. Matthew Bennett’s ‘in-house and private practice experience makes him quite unique in the legal and IT industry’ as he will ‘find a business answer, not just a legal one’. The firm has recently made a number of strategic hires, attracting Ross McKean from Baker & McKenzie LLP and Craig Rattray from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP. BP, Vodafone, BAE Systems, and Marks & Spencer all feature on its client list.

Osborne Clarke covers a ‘broad spread of work’ across multiple industry sectors. The group advised Marks & Spencer on the outsourcing of its contact centre services, and Indian outsourcing company Tech Mahindra is also a regular client. Paul Gardner is recommended.

Radiant Law is growing in popularity as an alternative to the traditional players; its lawyers are all senior practitioners, and come highly recommended for their experience in commercial transactions and disputes. Andrew Giverin is ‘tenacious and intelligent, and "gets" the bigger picture’, and Anna Cook is ‘creative and persistent’. The firm recently acted for UPS in relation to the provision of logistics for London 2012.

With expertise across outsourcing, joint ventures and related IT/IP work, Bircham Dyson Bell’s lawyers are ‘knowledgeable, helpful and willing to go the extra mile’. Paul Voller is ‘trustworthy and approachable’, and ‘makes himself available outside of normal hours’. Many of the firm’s clients are charities, although it also acts for numerous private sector clients.

Blake Lapthorn’s longstanding regular clients include niche IT recruitment consultancy Eaglecliff. Simon Stokes heads the team, which includes Bridget Wood and Sheilah Mackie.

Bond Dickinson LLP’s recent highlights include advising the Post Office on the Network Transformation programme, and assisting Whitbread on the outsourcing of its food supply chain and logistics functions. Nick Barwood is a key contact.

Charles Russell LLP’s lawyers are praised for their ‘willingness to help’ and ‘excellent knowledge’. David Berry heads the group, and Vanessa Barnett is ‘an excellent facilitator’ and a ‘clear and pragmatic lawyer’. The firm advises ITV, Westfield and Tesco Mobile, among others, on contractual matters.

Holman Fenwick Willan LLP provides ‘excellent quality and value’, with sector strengths including transport/logistics, technology, engineering, insurance and energy. It combines mainstream commercial work with more complex, high-value mandates such as producing the framework documentation for the procurement of major projects, and handling IT outsourcing and licensing agreements, and insurance policy documentation. Anthony Woolich is recommended.

Jones Day’s key strength lies in IT/telecoms outsourcing, a recent example being its advice to Mondial Telecom on the outsourcing aspects of an agreement with Virgin Media which allows the latter to operate a smartphone-based telecoms service. Jonathon Little leads the team.

K&L Gates LLP is a key adviser to Puma in relation to kit supply, sponsorship, endorsement and licensing contracts. Other clients include Williams Lea and the West Indies Cricket Board. Corporate partner Howard Kleiman is recommended.

Kemp Little LLP consistently attracts very positive feedback from clients, and has ‘thorough knowledge of servicing contracts’. Particular praise is reserved for team head Calum Murray, who is a ‘nimble and pragmatic negotiator’ and ‘always keeps his eye on the overall objective’.

Mayer Brown International LLP has particular strength in outsourcing contracts, having advised the likes of Selfridges, Unilever, BNP Paribas and AT&T. Peter Dickinsonimpresses with his business skills, which are leveraged very effectively by his personable and balanced approach’. Mark Prinsley is a ‘good and very experienced negotiator’ who is ‘able to balance the need to protect his clients ’ interests with getting the deal done’.

Mishcon de Reya’s key clients include Tottenham Hotspur FC; it advises the club on various contracts, such as its catering, hospitality, maintenance and supply services agreements, and sponsorship agreements. Lewis Cohen is recommended.

At Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, London office managing partner Tim Wright is very experienced in technology and outsourcing. Although Ian Ferguson recently left the firm, the practice was boosted by the addition of Mike Pierides and two senior associates. The firm counts some major financial institutions among its clients.

Reed Smith LLP assists numerous household name clients with commercial agreements, and recently advised Trinity Expert Systems on an IT outsourcing deal with 3i Group. It also advised DBApparel on a sponsorship deal. The firm has ‘very good strength in depth, and its offices and contacts all over the globe are an added benefit’. Sakil Suleman is ‘technically very able and easy to talk to, and gets to the crux of the matter quickly’.

Squire Sanders LLP is noted for its ability to advise on both national and international matters. It recently acted for a global media company and a large UK charity on their respective transformational outsourcing programmes, and acted in a BPO for a household name in the energy sector. Garfield Smith is the firm’s global head of outsourcing and procurement.

Stephenson Harwood acts for OI Europe, Barclays, Aviagen and the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, among others. Dan Holland is recommended.

The ‘user-friendly, proactive and innovative’ team at Taylor Wessing LLPstands out from the crowd’, with Glyn Morgan attracting praise for ‘taking the time and trouble to familiarise himself with the key issues’. The firm has been advising DC Thomson on a number of significant projects, including the outsourcing of print and payment services.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP has particular strength on the public sector side, and has recently assisted the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, and the London Borough of Newham. Public procurement expert Helen Randall shows a ‘high level of commitment and clarity’.

Bates Wells Braithwaite is a significant name in the charities sector, and also handles commercial contracts work for various private sector companies. It covers joint venture, co-operation and supply agreements, and is active in sectors including technology, media and financial services. Peter Bohm is the main partner contact.

Fox Williams LLP has a dedicated practice advising on agency and distribution agreements, led by Stephen Sidkin. Its recent work includes advising a FTSE 250 client on negotiations with a significant UK agent.

Lewis Silkin LLP has been advising Marks & Spencer on the roll-out of third-party branded beauty products in its UK and Ireland stores, as well as on the terms for various logistics arrangements with third-party vendors in China. It is also active for Gondola Group, recently advising it in relation to a contract with Verifone. James Gill and Helen Cavanagh are recommended.

Manches LLP’s Lesley Hall is ‘commercially strong, hugely persistent, and IP savvy’, and recently advised Unilever spin-off Catexel on development strategies and complex IP issues in joint development agreements. Other names on its client list include Greensphere Capital LLP, Greenlight Power Company and Voltea. Jonathan Bartley is also a key contact.

Memery Crystal LLP has been advising Wyndeham Press Group on its supply contracts, and Caerus Capital Group on joint venture arrangements. Team head Stephen Milne is ‘commercial and practical’, and ‘makes things very easy for the layman to understand’.

Simons Muirhead & Burton’s recent highlights include advising SuperDry on franchising agreements internationally, and assisting Phoenix Product Development on the main manufacturing agreement for a new product. Amanda Wakeley and Aspinal of London also feature on its client list. Media and film expert Simon Goldberg is recommended.

Corporate tax

Index of tables

  1. Corporate tax
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP fields ‘an excellent tax team’ noted for its ‘integrated and seamless service delivery’. It worked on two particularly notable strategic alliances, with Richard Ballard advising Xstrata on its $90bn all-share merger with Glencore, and Sarah Falk assisting Pearson on the tax aspects of its joint venture with German media company Bertelsmann to create the world’s leading consumer publishing organisation. Other highlights included acting for the underwriting syndicate on the $1.7bn IPO by Russian mobile operator Megafon, and advising BG Group on the sale of its 60.1% holding in Comgás. Colin Hargreaves is ‘technically very good’ and ‘strong on client service’. Peter Clements was promoted to partner.

Linklaters LLP’s tax practice provides ‘top-level advice’, with ‘in-depth knowledge of every aspect of a transaction’. Team head Yash Rupal, ‘one of the most knowledgeable lawyers in the field’, is praised for his analytical strengths and creative problem-solving, and recently advised on the tax implications of Cookson Group’s demerger, a matter which entailed complex arrangements for separating the existing financing arrangements between the retained and demerged groups. Martin Lynchehan advised Peel Ports Group on a debt refinancing and swap restructuring. The ‘highly technical and very intelligentElizabeth Conway is singled out for her ‘desire to work towards a commercial and pragmatic solution’.

Slaughter and May is ‘uniquely consistent in the very high quality of its advice’, providing ‘clear answers very quickly’, and delivering ‘very good value for money’. Steve Edgeimpresses through his intellectual ability coupled with a practical approach to technical issues’; Gareth Miles is ‘a pleasure to work with’; and Tony Beare has ‘immense deal experience’. Team head Sara Luder, Mike Lane and Jeanette Zaman are also recommended. Recent highlights include advising Talisman Energy Inc on the sale of a 49% interest in Talisman Energy (UK) to Sinopec for $1.5bn, and acting for Friends Life Group on a $575m subordinated debt issue.

Noted for its strength in depth, Allen & Overy LLP fields a sizeable and diverse tax team, including a number of US-qualified lawyers. It regularly acts on high-profile structured finance, M&A and capital markets matters. Christopher Harrison and structured finance expert Vimal Tilakapala jointly head the group. Harrison led the tax advice on the £2.6bn IPO of insurer Direct Line; and Lydia Challen is acting for Virgin Money on its exit from the current credit card business arrangements in place with MBNA.

The highly experienced Chris Davies leads the corporate tax team at Clifford Chance. Dan Neidlegives the client the pleasant feeling that matters are under control and in safe hands’, and recently, alongside a number of other partners in London and New York, handled the tax issues relating to a multibillion-dollar acquisition by a banking group client. Another 2012 highlight for the team was advising Hammerson plc on the acquisition of The Junction Unit Trust, a deal which comprised a portfolio of retail parks and a development site; David Saleh was the lead partner.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s corporate tax team has sector strengths across energy, insurance, real estate and TMT, and is valued for its ‘pragmatism and creative solutions’ in the face of unique and complex issues. Team head Isaac Zailer advised Sinopec on its $1.5bn acquisition of a 49% stake in Canadian company Talisman Energy Inc’s North Sea business. Bradley Phillips acted for longstanding client Cable & Wireless on its takeover by Vodafone, implemented by way of a scheme of arrangement. Howard Murray is a ‘real star performer as regards structuring corporate transactions’. Other clients include Blackrock, Time Warner and BP.

Praised for its ‘excellent response times and client service’, Ashurst’s corporate tax practice covers advice on high-profile transactions, with particular expertise in real estate and private equity, and standalone advisory work for clients such as Royal Mail Group. Richard Palmer heads the group; Paul Miller is ‘great to work with’; Nicholas Gardner is ‘very responsive and thorough in his advice’; and Simon Swann is singled out for his adaptability.

The team at Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP capitalised on the firm’s core sector strength in real estate to act on a wide range of high-profile transactions, including the £170m purchase of a 50% stake in Meadowhall Shopping Centre by sovereign wealth fund Norges Bank. Team head Michael Wistow is ‘very experienced, innovative and technically strong’, and John Overs also comes recommended.

Hogan Lovells International LLP is noted for its ‘international coverage and extremely diligent approach’. Team head Karen Hughes combines ‘excellent technical capabilities’ with a ‘broad knowledge of business’ to give ‘insightful advice’. Kevin Ashman is ‘always very responsive, clear and accurate’, and recently advised Lloyds Banking Group on the establishment of a series of infrastructure funds with interests across the UK and continental Europe. Real estate expert Philip Gershuny is ‘technically excellent, proactive and determined to come up with practical and implementable solutions’.

Macfarlanes LLP’s tax team is particularly active in investment fund structuring, group tax planning and real estate matters. Damien Crossley acts as tax adviser to Haymarket Financial, and recently handled the structuring of a £100m fund under the Business Finance Partnership scheme run by HM Treasury. Ashley Greenbank, praised for his ‘expertise and business-minded approach’, handles group tax advice for longstanding client Virgin. The team brought in Martin Zetter from Ernst & Young as head of transfer pricing.

With expertise across the full range of corporate and finance transactions, Norton Rose Fulbright’s tax team has ‘very deep industry knowledge’, is ‘available 24/7’, and gives ‘advice that always goes to the point’. Dominic Stuttaford has particular expertise in the insurance and technology sectors, while practice head Louise Higginbottom and Matthew Hodkin are both energy and transport specialists. Recent highlights include advising Delta Air Lines on its acquisition of a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic for $360m, and acting for Barrick Gold Corporation on the potential disposal of a London-listed subsidiary.

Travers Smith LLP fields an ‘approachable and friendly team’ whose advice is ‘well presented’ and ‘well supported by references to relevant legislation’. Practice head Kathleen Russ is praised for her ‘superior knowledge of corporate taxes’ and her ‘experience and business acumen’; Simon Skinner is ‘very professional to work with’ and takes ‘a proactive approach’; and private equity specialist Russell Warren also comes recommended.

Baker & McKenzie LLP’s practice spans standalone tax planning for multinational groups, and complex transactional matters, with recent deals including the $2.2bn acquisition of EMI Music Publishing by Sony, on which Alex Chadwick acted for both Sony and the Mubadala Development Company. Geoffrey Kay is ‘measured, technically excellent, and knowledgeable’, with ‘an excellent sense of customer service’.

At King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin, practice head Heather Corben is experienced in the establishment and structuring of real estate and property funds, and Gareth Amdor acts for a broad client base, including private equity houses, on corporate transactions and restructurings. Laura Charkin recently advised on the tax issues involved in the establishment of the Hermes GPE Infrastructure Fund.

Latham & Watkins stands out for its track record on multibillion-pound transactions, acting for a broad client base which includes blue-chip FTSE 100 companies, private equity houses, financial institutions and other large corporates. Sean Finn and Daniel Friel are key contacts.

Boutique tax firm NGM Tax Law LLP attracts high praise for its value for money, response times and flexibility: ‘it is just like having your own in-house tax team’. Simon Meredith is ‘clear, concise and user-friendly’; Keith Gregory has ‘a keen technical sense’ as well as being ‘very commercial’; and leading individual Mark Nichols is also recommended.

Nabarro LLP is praised for its ‘exceptional client coverage, service, and expertise’. Drawing on the firm’s core strengths in funds and real estate, practice head Michael Cant advised REIT London & Stamford on the sale of its interest in Meadowhall Shopping Centre for £1.5bn. Kirsten Prichard Jones was promoted to partner.

Olswang LLP has a full-service offering, displaying ‘a good understanding of tax law across the board’ with ‘high-quality advice provided promptly and efficiently’. The practice regularly structures complex corporate and private equity transactions, handles tax and reputation management issues, and provides thought leadership for a diverse client base which includes leading media, technology, telecommunications and entertainment clients; names include ITV, Vodafone and Microsoft. Mark Joscelyne heads the practice, and Natasha Kaye and Cliona Kirby are also recommended.

Simmons & Simmons is ‘an excellent firm, representing good value for money while providing practical and timely advice’. The team includes the ‘brilliantly practical and always commercialNick Cronkshaw, and delivers a full service to a broad client base which reflects the wider firm’s sector focus on TMT, energy and infrastructure, asset management and investment funds, life sciences and financial services. Martin Shah is also a key contact.

The two-partner team at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP is ‘technically strong’, and able to ‘take a very commercial view on transactions’. Tim Sanders advised the Alfa-Access-Renova consortium on the tax aspects of the sale of 50% of its stake in the TNK-BP joint venture. James Anderson has a ‘wealth of experience’ and ‘the ability to think through complex client-specific issues’.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges’ tax team was particularly active in 2012, with highlights including Sarah Priestley advising longstanding client Lion Group on the sale of 60% of its interest in Weetabix to China’s Bright Food (Group); Brenda Coleman* acting for CVC Capital Partners on the £537m acquisition of majority control in claims management firm Cunningham Lindsey; and Jonathan Kandel assisting a sovereign wealth fund on its investment into a Europe-focused real estate fund. *Brenda Coleman is Now with Ropes & Gray LLP

Addleshaw Goddard LLP advised Clinigen Group Limited on the structuring and stabilisation arrangements of its listing on AIM; and acted for GVC Holdings plc on its joint bid with William Hill for Sportingbet. Elaine Gwilt and Peter Sayer are key contacts.

DLA Piper UK LLP’s integrated, UK-wide tax team is ‘excellent value for money’. Practice head Stephen Hoyle, a former banker, is ‘exceptionally strong in his field’, with ‘industry knowledge that is second to none’. The team regularly handles complex corporate and finance transactions.

Richard Ward’s team at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP stands out for its expertise in private fund formation and restructuring; a recent highlight was advising Global Infrastructure Partners, a group with $15bn under management, on the raising of its second fund. It can also draw on an extensive network of capabilities to act on high-profile M&A and capital markets transactions, such as the $9bn London listing of Russian gold producer Polyus Gold.

The team at Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP caters to sectors including energy (JSC KazMunaiGas), TMT (Pearson, the BBC), retail and leisure (Costa, Quickdraw Express AG), and life sciences (W L Gore). Nicholas Noble and Derek Hill are active in structured finance, with the former also singled out for his funds work.

K&L Gates LLPblends technical skills with commercial awareness’, with James Mottram and Paul Beausang providing transactional and strategic advice to a broad client base.

At Kirkland & Ellis International LLP, Ian Taplin is notable for his ‘experience and insight’, and Jane Scobie is ‘knowledgeable and commercial’. Clients include Bain Capital, Sun Capital and RBS. Anna Fallowfield acted for Sankaty Advisors on the purchase of a portfolio of 26 loans by members of Lloyds Banking Group.

Mayer Brown International LLP’s Sandy Bhogal is ‘one of the market leaders in the financial services tax field’, and displays ‘strong knowledge of tax issues affecting funds’. He advised Wells Fargo & Company on its acquisition of WestLB’s subscription finance portfolio. James Hill advised Ecofin Energy Resources on the tax aspects of its merger with ASX-listed Amadeus Energy.

At McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP, team head Tom Scott has a ‘wealth of experience in big-ticket transactions’, and is a ‘heavy hitter in the international tax arena’, coupling ‘commercial awareness with a razor-sharp intellect’. James Ross is ‘an impressive operator’.

Within Pinsent Masons LLP’s multi-disciplinary team, Eloise Walker is recommended for her corporate tax expertise. Legal director Tom Cartwright recently advised BAA plc on the tax aspects of its sale of Edinburgh Airport.

Shearman & Sterling LLP’s tax practice displays ‘great creativity in working through complex and contentious issues’, demonstrating ‘great commitment’ on transactions. Iain Scoon is ‘very knowledgeable’, with a ‘hands-on approach’; and Simon Letherman has the ability to ‘distil high-level concepts into practical language’. Recent highlights include advising IntercontinentalExchange Inc on its acquisition of NYSE Euronext, and acting for GE on the acquisition of Avio Group.

Sidley Austin LLP’s three-partner tax group, led by Drew Scott, has ‘excellent industry knowledge’, delivering tax advice on transactions, restructurings and fund formation for clients ranging from large corporates to individual entrepreneurs.

Stephenson Harwood has a niche practice in tax work for the transport sector, including tax leasing and tax tonnage advice. The team also acts on transactions, group reorganisations and the establishment of funds. Practice head Hugo Jenney and Maryanna Sharrock are key contacts.

At Taylor Wessing LLP, practice head Peter Jackson is ‘a very good team leader’ with ‘a great deal of experience’; Richard Carson is recommended for his ‘practical and commercial approach in all aspects of tax work’; and Nikol Davies is ‘innovative, responsive and very good value for money’. Recent highlights include advising Canada Life on the purchase and leaseback to Tesco of three retail stores, and acting for Fitch Ratings on its acquisition of 7city Holdings.

Watson, Farley & Williams LLP’s tax group draws on the firm’s reputation in the shipping industry to act on tax-based leasing matters, tonnage tax, and transactions as well as restructurings involving shipping groups. Michael L’Estrange is a key contact.

Customs and Excise

Baker & McKenzie LLP’s cross-departmental customs team is praised for its ‘very good response times’, and ‘guidance that is always to the highest standards’. Head of international trade Ross Denton is ‘extremely knowledgeable, with very good interpersonal and communication skills’, and associate Jennifer Revis is ‘always very responsive and clear in her advice’. The team is advising a UK-based client on customs considerations relating to the importation of luxury goods, with part of the matter relating to trade embargoes.

At DLA Piper UK LLP, head of international trade and competition Mike Pullen and French-qualified lawyer Aline Doussin handle a very broad range of matters including strategic advice, disputes, and advice on trade sanctions.

Pinsent Masons LLPhas established a strong team’ in the area, with Stuart Walsh and ‘intelligent and diligent’ senior solicitor Jake Landman leading the work. They are assisting brewing giant AB InBev in investigating its supply chain and enhancing its due diligence procedures.

The Khan Partnership LLP is a ‘very efficient litigation firm’ with ‘considerable experience in the field’. Hassan Khan and Michelle Sloane are ‘very knowledgeable’, and ‘demonstrate sound judgement’. They handled one of the few excise evasion prosecutions of 2012, and are also acting in a dispute with HMRC for broker Customs Clearance Limited.

BCL Burton Copeland handles tax fraud cases through its business crime and regulation department. Harry Travers is a key contact.

White-collar crime and business fraud specialist Andrew Benson at Byrne and Partners LLP has expertise in restraint and confiscation matters.

Dechert LLP’s dedicated multi-disciplinary international trade team offers advice on export controls, trade sanctions and customs procedures.

At Eversheds LLP, Neill Blundell advises individuals and corporate clients on fraud investigations, price-fixing matters and general regulatory compliance.

At Irwin Mitchell, MTIC fraud expert John Milner ‘works phenomenally hard’, displaying ‘considerable attention to detail’ and ‘a sympathetic yet down-to-earth approach’.

Daniel Moore is recommended at Moon Beever.

Experienced white-collar crime lawyer Monty Raphael QC leads the tax team at Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP, which acts for individuals and businesses subject to HMRC enquiries and investigations.

Maurice Martin at Withers LLP has experience in MTIC fraud cases, and also recently acted in a case involving football player transfers.

EU and competition

Index of tables

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

Leading individuals

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLPremains the clear leader in the field for strength and breadth of talent and service’. John Davies co-chairs the global competition and antitrust group from London and Brussels. Other consistently acclaimed team members include ‘top litigator’ Jon Lawrence, who is ‘particularly impressive, with a dynamic style that quickly cuts to the heart of the matter’; Rod Carlton; and Deirdre Trapp. Alastair Chapman assisted Pearson in relation to the creation of the Penguin and Random House joint venture with Bertelsmann. Nicholas French and Bea Tormey are leading the work for a major financial institution in the ongoing Libor investigations. Clients of the practice include BHP Billiton, HSBC and Tesco.

Slaughter and Mayconsistently provides forensic legal knowledge, coupled with pragmatism, a sense of humour, creativity and flair’. The ‘awesomePhilippe Chappatte heads the group. Paul Walter specialises in advisory work, and seven partners are active in litigation, including follow-on damage actions. Michael Rowe is ‘smart and tremendously responsive, and provides great legal advice’. Bertrand Louveaux led the work for BA in the multi-jurisdictional passenger fuel surcharge case settlement. Isabel Taylor, who is ‘very astute and strives to provide pragmatic advice’, was instructed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in connection with the creation of the UK Green Investment Bank. Other clients include Deutsche Bank, Google, and Unilever.

Ashurst is noted for its ‘high expertise in competition law, and reliable, prompt assistance’. The eight-partner practice is supported by some 20 associates and a five-strong team of economists. Nigel Parr has ‘a vast array of experience drawn from many complex competition cases’. Ross Mackenzie, who gives ‘consistent, accessible and practical advice’, handled Intel’s appeal to the European General Court against the €1.06bn dominant position abuse fine imposed by the European Commission. Duncan Liddell and the ‘responsive, articulate’ Euan Burrows are recommended along with Neil Cuninghame, who ‘picks up complex issues seemingly effortlessly’.

Clifford Chance provides ‘terrific service, and despite the size of the firm, great value for money’. Oliver Bretz heads the global antitrust practice, with Alex Nourry leading the London team. Elizabeth Morony has ‘in-depth knowledge of the law in this field, coupled with first-class litigation acumen’. Luke Tolaini and Greg Olsenboth respond very promptly and provide knowledgeable, practical and concise advice’. Jenine Hulsmann, ‘an excellent competition lawyer who writes beautifully’, led the work on the competition and regulatory aspects of Everything Everywhere’s successful application to become the UK’s first provider of fourth-generation mobile services.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLPguides clients through complex and seemingly arcane concepts quickly and authoritatively’. Practice head James Quinney recently advised China’s state-owned CNOOC on EU merger clearance and other competition law aspects of its $15.1bn takeover of upstream oil and gas major Nexen. For contentious matters, Stephen Wisking ‘adds value to any discussion’, and for strategic behavioural competition law, Susan Black ‘always provides excellent advice’. André Pretorius is also highly recommended. Other clients include Pilkington, Chevron, and Reckitt Benckiser.

King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwinappears in almost all of the significant competition cases for good reason’. Simon Holmes leads the nine-partner team, which was strengthened by the hire of Sarah Turnbull from Ofcom, and Elaine Whiteford from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP. Recent instructions include the Universal/ EMI Recorded Music acquisition, and various cutting-edge investigations by the UK and EU authorities. Tom Usher is ‘commercial and extremely bright, and speaks the same language as the business’; Ralph Cohen is ‘particularly good - a very strong and experienced adviser’; pharmaceutical sector specialist Cameron Firth is ‘very bright, keen, practical and easy to work with’; and Philipp Girardet is also recommended. Stephen Kon is now the firm’s senior partner.

Linklaters LLPprovides competition and antitrust advice of the highest quality’. Eamonn Doran heads the London practice, and Simon Pritchard joined from Allen & Overy LLP in early 2013. ‘Impressive and extremely capable, technically strong and business focused’, Nicole Kar led the competition work for Anglo American’s UK joint venture with Lafarge, which created Tarmac Lafarge. Also recommended are Michael Cutting; Christian Ahlborn, whose ‘advice is always spot-on’; and the ‘highly ratedPaula Riedel. Counsel Meredith Brooks is ‘impressive, and very able’. Clients include Novartis and Sainsbury’s.

Mark Friend heads the antitrust practice at Allen & Overy LLP, which ‘fulfils every expectation with its partner-led approach’ and acts for clients such as BSkyB and Thomson Reuters. Antonio Bavasso recently advised Mubadala, the largest consortium investor, on the $2.2bn joint acquisition of the EMI music publishing business. Philip Mansfield is also recommended along with Alasdair Balfour, who joined from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (London) LLP in May 2013. Friend has ‘a personal authority and credibility which makes people take notice’.

Baker & McKenzie LLP’s lawyers stand out for their ‘willingness also to be strategic partners and team members’. Samantha Mobley, who is leading Panalpina’s appeals against cartel fines in Europe and Singapore, heads the seven-partner practice, which includes two specialist litigators in Richard Pike and Tom Cassels. Luis Gomezseems able to find a pragmatic answer to every question’, and Keith Jones is ‘very practical and commercial’. Sunny Mann and Ross Denton are also recommended.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s team is ‘responsive and insightful and demonstrates a clear understanding of competition law and its practical application’. David Harrison heads the group, and Andrew Hockley has ‘a sharp mind and quickly establishes client confidence’. A leader in the regulated sector and utilities, the group is also notable for its expertise in cartel work. Adrian Magnus is leading the work for National Grid in a groundbreaking damages claim against the gas insulated switchgear cartelists, and is also advising BDO on the Competition Commission’s European Commission’s audit market investigations.

Hogan Lovells International LLP is appreciated for its ‘very impressive service, strength in depth and good project management’. The six-partner department is recommended for transactional work, investigations and appeals, and litigation. Lesley Ainsworth heads the group, while Susan Bright co-heads the wider international practice. The ‘very intelligent and experienced’ Nicholas Heaton is defending Mersen in complex follow-on damages litigation after the European Commission’s ruling of a cartel in the carbon graphite market. Suyong Kim recently advised Liberty Global on the European competition aspects of its £15bn acquisition of Virgin Media.

Norton Rose Fulbrightis carving out a good reputation for itself in a very competitive market’. Martin Coleman, ‘whose views carry a great deal of weight’, heads the group, and Peter Scott’s practice ‘spans the worlds of contentious and non-contentious competition work very well’. Michael Grenfell and Mark Jones were instructed by Ofwat to advise on a major project to overhaul the price regulation regime for the entire water industry in England and Wales. Other clients of the practice include Asda, PayPoint, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Ian Giles recently completed a secondment to the Office of Fair Trading’s competition unit.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP’s Bruce Kilpatrick and Rona Bar-Isaac give ‘prompt, pragmatic and commercial’ advice. Bruce Kilpatrick acted for GVC Holdings on the antitrust aspects of its joint bid with William Hill for online gaming firm Sportingbet plc. Other clients include UK Fuels and Ofwat.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s international antitrust and competition group includes a three-partner team in the UK, with two members dividing their time between London and Brussels. Maurits Dolmans was instructed in relation to the complex competition aspects of Google’s $12.5bn acquisition of Motorola Mobility, and Nicholas Levy acted as counsel to Lafarge in its UK building materials joint venture with Anglo American’s Tarmac business, which closed in January 2013 following clearance by the UK Competition Commission.

DLA Piper UK LLP’s Mike Pullen provides ‘good, practical, actionable advice, without over-lawyering’. On the contentious side, Kate Vernon ‘gives practical advice and interprets regulatory process and procedure into everyday language’, and acts for clients including the FA Premier League. Other clients of the team include Etihad Airways.

Eversheds LLP’s group expanded to five partners with the arrival from SJ Berwin LLP of Lesley Farrell, ‘a highly skilled lawyer with profound expertise in the field of competition law’. Department head Ros Kellaway is recommended for her cartel and dawn raid practice, and ‘always provides an exceptional service’; and Stephen Rose, on the merger side, is ‘excellence personified: he goes to the top of the team-sheet every time’. Clients include Sony, Starbucks and Severn Trent.

Jones Day’s ‘resolute, determined, business-friendly and dogged’ London practice head Frances Murphy was a lead partner in the international team which provided antitrust advice to Apple in the European Commission’s investigation into anti-competitive practices in the e-book market. Vincent Brophy, who divides his time between London and Brussels, has advised in relation to many major mergers. Clients include MasterCard, Chevron, and Dell.

Latham & WatkinsOmar Shah recently advised Novo on the regulatory aspects of its acquisition of Xellia Pharmaceuticals. John Colahan and Marc Hansen are active in both London and Brussels, and are noted for their expertise in cartel matters.

With Simmons & Simmons, ‘response times are short, knowledge is excellent, and advice is easy to understand’. Head of the group Tony Woodgate and Peter Broadhurst are advising Schlumberger on the merger control issues of its proposed subsea supply joint venture with Cameron. Oliver Heinisch is ‘an excellent lawyer with a good understanding of business needs’, and Charles Bankes is recommended for regulatory matters in the utilities sector.

Bristol’s Burges Salmon LLP is ‘definitely a leading firm among the regional law firms’, and ‘not far behind the top five’. Practice head Laura Claydon is ‘hugely knowledgeable, with an impressive range of contacts at the UK competition authorities’; Matthew O’Regan is ‘a very experienced lawyer with a good grasp of Brussels cases’. Recent instructions include EU merger clearance for Milk Link, and EU state aid litigation for ING.

CMSprovides timely, succinct and relevant advice’. Susan Hankey led the successful merger notification to the European Commission for a consortium including Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings on the acquisition of Wales & West Utilities. Senior solicitor John Markham ‘consistently delivers commercially sound support’. The practice is particularly strong in the energy sector, with other clients including ConocoPhillips, Cairn, and Statoil.

Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP is ‘well versed in the latest EU regulations, and proactive in advising clients of relevant areas of regulatory development’. The group expanded to four partners with the hire of Philippe Ruttley from Clyde & Co LLP. Nick Pimlott led the advice to Vodafone on the competition aspects of its joint venture with other mobile operators to establish a mobile wallet platform. John Cassels ‘consistently provides timely and fit-for-purpose legal advice’, and Charles Whiddington is commended for his ‘analytical skills and international approach to cartel cases’.

Macfarlanes LLP is noted for its ‘high responsiveness, high-quality advice and good value’. Practice head Marc Israel is ‘highly commercial and proactive’. Malcolm Walton advised the three consortium members - Vopak Holdings UK, Greenergy, and Shell UK Limited - on the competition law aspects of their acquisition of the assets of the former Coryton refinery. Other clients include Omnicom and Lundbeck.

Mayer Brown International LLP offers ‘clearly presented advice and practical solutions’. Best known for defending international cartel and abuse of dominance investigations, the group also handles complex mergers, and is advising Mittal on the competition aspects of the acquisition of a portfolio of Tarmac and Lafarge operations in the UK. Gillian Sproul leads the team. Merlie Calvert, who joined from De Beers in June 2012, is ‘worth her weight in gold: she is commercial and business-savvy, and knows how to present advice’.

Olswang LLP has ‘a spot-on strategy of delivering timely, reliable advice on relevant issues’. Howard Cartlidgedelivers succinct, cutting-edge analysis of competition law in an impressive manner and with personable candour’, and recently successfully dealt with the merger clearances for MoneySavingExpert in its acquisition by MoneySupermarket.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s ‘service quality is as good as that offered by the Magic Circle, and much better value for money’, and the hire of Jenny Block has brought the UK partner count to four. Guy Lougher is ‘always a wise head in a storm, and excels in making competition law commercial’; he led the work for Groupe Eurotunnel on the SeaFrance/Eurotunnel asset acquisition enquiry by the Competition Commission. Alan Davis is also recommended.

Arnold & Porter (UK) LLP offers ‘partner-led service with no doubling up of fees from more junior team members’. Team head Tim Frazer has ‘years of experience, and strong relationship with regulators’, and Susan Hinchliffe is also recommended.

Bingham McCutchen (London) LLP has ‘in-depth EU antitrust and regulatory expertise and knowledge’. Ongoing matters include the representation of a major global financial institution undergoing European Commission and US Department of Justice investigations into alleged anti-competitive behaviour in the credit default swaps market. Davina Garrod has ‘an encyclopaedic understanding of competition and merger control laws’.

At Bird & Bird LLP, Richard Eccles’ communications, life sciences and media sector expertise was augmented by the hire of energy and regulated sector specialist Peter Willis from Dundas & Wilson LLP in May 2012. Nokia, a major client of the firm’s IP group, is now also using the firm for competition law matters.

Bristows is recommended for the interface between IP rights and competition law. Pat Treacy advises Sony Computer Entertainment Europe on a wide range of competition issues. Other clients of the team include Mitsubishi Electric and Bayer.

Dentonsprovides succinct and easy-to-understand advice’. In a recent complex instruction, it assisted in successfully negotiating the competition aspects of Rexel’s acquisition of almost all of the branches of key competitor Wilts. Sam Szlezinger ‘gets to the core of the matter quickly’.

Dickson Minto WS’ Ajal Notowicz is ‘technically excellent and very responsive, and communicates in a clear, practical manner. He also has a good team around him’. The group recently advised soft drinks major AG Barr on the competition aspects of the takeover of Britvic.

Holman Fenwick Willan LLP is ‘very responsive to client needs in relation to European law’. Anthony Woolich, who ‘knows the answers, knows the market, and gives pragmatic, commercial advice’, was a key member of a team which saw the long-running Zhejiang Xinan Chemical anti-dumping case reach a satisfactory conclusion in mid-2012. Eliza Petritsi is regularly instructed in EU matters.

K&L Gates LLP’s ‘overall level of service is excellent’. Neil Baylis, who is ‘completely reliable and always able to provide wise counsel’, recently advised Russia’s Eurochem on its acquisition of the K+S Nitrogen fertiliser business, which raised merger control issues with filings in Brussels, Turkey and Brazil. Scott Megregian, co-head of the firm’s global antitrust practice, is ‘pragmatic and commercially savvy’.

Nabarro LLP’s Brian Sher advised professional services consultancy WSP Group on the antitrust aspects of its £278m recommended merger with Genivar. Cyrus Mehta, who is also responsible for the Brussels office, is also recommended.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP has ‘a thoroughly businesslike, pragmatic approach to client care and transaction management’. The group recently advised Lloyds Bank in connection with the antitrust issues associated with the LINK Interchange Network. Practice head Nicholas Spearing combines ‘great wisdom with a no-nonsense approach’, and senior associate Satyen Dhana is ‘a strong performer and very client-friendly’.

Particularly recommended for merger control instructions, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP is ‘very efficient and competent, and comparable to Silver Circle firms’. Matthew Lawson joined from Mayer Brown International LLP in early 2012. Douglas Lahnborg worked with senior associate Elizabeth Turner on the EU merger control filing of Japanese car parts manufacturer U-Shin’s consolidation with Valeo’s CAM.

Reed Smith LLP’s Edward Miller ‘really is a first-class lawyer’. He recently advised Vale on multi-jurisdictional merger clearances in respect of the sale of its subsidiaries Vale Manganese France and Vale Manganese Norway to Glencore. Marjorie Holmes, an expert in shipping and aviation, also attracts high praise from clients, and is currently defending a shipping line in a European cartel investigation into car carriers.

Shearman & Sterling LLP’s Matthew Readings is an experienced hand at multi-jurisdictional merger clearance processes.

Shepherd and Wedderburn handles both non-contentious and contentious competition matters, with a team led by John Schmidt. Guy Harvey continues to lead the work for Albion Water in an ongoing multimillion-pound claim for damages against Welsh Water in the Competition Appeal Tribunal. Other clients include Teva and Heineken.

Sidley Austin LLP provides ‘exceptional service’. Key partner Tim Cowen takes ‘a genuinely holistic and commercial view’. David Went led the work for Viterra on the takeover by Glencore, with the team handling the merger control notification for all jurisdictions outside Canada and the US.

Squire Sanders LLP’s Diarmuid Ryan is ‘a first-class adviser who is approachable and responsive, and provides commercially astute advice’. The group is retained by European SAICA to make representations to the European Commission regarding the competitive impact of the DS Smith/SCA Packaging merger.

No other firm is better at collaborating with US counsel on cross-border deals’ than Taylor Wessing LLP . The firm is best known for its behavioural work, and acts for some of the world’s largest technology companies. In a recent instruction, Robert Vidal, whose ‘skills and presentation with clients are far and above any competitors’, advised Tech Data Corporation on the acquisition of Brightstar Corporation’s 50% ownership interest in Brightstar Europe.

Travers Smith LLP gives ‘responsive and commercially savvy’ advice. The firm has a strong reputation in merger control, and a solid following for behavioural work. Nigel Seay, who ‘makes the complex seem very easy’, achieved a noteworthy agreement for retailer Martin McColl under which the OFT agreed to repay a penalty previously paid, as well as a contribution to other costs. Other recent clients include UK Payments Administration and UTV Radio.

Winston & Strawn London provides ‘competent and practical advice’. The group recently represented long-term client Panasonic in connection with the EU’s investigation into an alleged cartel in the market for refrigeration compressors. Peter Crowther and his team ‘provide notably better service than other law firms’.

Based across London and Birmingham, Wragge & Co LLP’s team is traditionally strong in merger work, and has also been seeing increasing activity in regulatory investigations and litigation instructions. Group head Bernadine Adkins is ‘focused, technically strong and tenacious’, and an expert in cartel work. Clients include Aston Martin Lagonda, and Premier Foods Group.

Bryan Cave hired Robert Bell from Speechly Bircham LLP to lead its UK antitrust and competition group.

Charles Russell LLP’s Paul Stone is ‘practical and solutions driven’.

Alexandra von Westernhagen heads the competition group at DAC Beachcroft LLP, and is dual qualified in England and Germany

Dechert LLP’s Miriam Gonzalez and John Forrest are ‘impeccable individuals and make an excellent team’.

Dundas & Wilson LLP’s Graeme Young is ‘a practical and pragmatic competition lawyer who gives sensible answers’.

Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP’s Becket McGrath recently advised Amazon, and Guardian Media Group.

Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP is ‘responsive, professional, adaptive to the type and scale of deal, and budget conscious’; Stephen Tupper is recommended.

Hausfeld & Co LLP’s team, which includes Anthony Maton, specialises in claimant damages actions with a particular focus on competition law.

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP’s Shaun Goodman has ‘a very good understanding, and almost inside track, on how the processes work with the regulators’.

Lawrence Graham LLP’s Rosemary Choueka provides ‘superior advice and service, and better value, than better-known firms with bigger departments’.

Manches LLPdelivers sophisticated commercial legal advice, which represents extremely good value’. John Doherty is recommended.

Osborne Clarke is ‘more thorough in terms of understanding the background to the matter than other firms’. Bristol-based Simon Neill leads the group.

RPC’s Stephen Smithleads his team in providing excellent service, and has a combination of technical and commercial awareness that few competition lawyers in the City can match’.

Stephenson Harwood has hired ‘very competent competition law specialistMarta Garcia from Clifford Chance.

Juan Rodriguez heads the group at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, which is commended for its ‘very high levels of service’.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP has impressive expertise in public sector state aid issues. Paul McDermott was the lead adviser for the London Borough of Newham in connection with its joint venture with the London Legacy Development Corporation.

Watson, Farley & Williams LLP’s Emanuela Lecchi is advising the Federation of Independent Practitioner Organisations on the Competition Commission’s Private Healthcare Market Investigation.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges’ European competition practice is headed by Douglas Nave, who is valued for his ‘succinct and targeted advice’.

White & Case LLP has ‘well-trained, experienced staff with good professional networks in Europe’: John Reynolds heads the group.

For the representation of individuals facing criminal investigation and prosecution for the criminal cartel offences, BCL Burton Copeland’s Harry Travers is ‘bright, creative and energetic’; Kingsley Napley LLP’s Eve Giles is ‘very expert in this difficult specialist area’; and Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP’s Michael O’Kane has ‘a useful network of personal contacts in both the regulatory authorities and well-qualified law firms in other countries’. Stewarts Law LLP is ‘a top-tier litigation-focused firm’ recommended for its competition litigation expertise, with Jonathan Sinclair noted as ‘eloquent, responsive and knowledgeable’.

Equity capital markets: UK capability

Index of tables

  1. Equity capital markets: UK capability
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

Clifford Chance stands out as having a sizeable and particularly active team. Among a series of high-profile deals, Iain Hunter led the advice to Deutsche Bank, Numis Securities and Shuaa Capital on the IPO of Abu Dhabi business NMC Health, which raised £117m; Adrian Cartwright acted for JP Morgan on a €1.25bn issue by KBC Group by means of an accelerated bookbuild; and Simon Thomas advised TeliaSonera AB on the $525m flotation of its subsidiary Kcell, a leading Kazakh mobile company.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is a ‘superb outfit’ which ‘strikes an excellent balance between involving in-house legal teams and getting on with the work itself’. It advised the bookrunners on the $1.7bn IPO and listing of GDRs by Russian mobile phone operator Megafon. Mark Austin displays ‘excellent communication skills with bankers’, and is noted for his ‘reasoned view on tricky commercial issues’. Tim Jones has ‘gravitas and immense experience, and finds sensible solutions to knotty problems’. Stephen Revell has transferred to the firm’s Singapore office.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP acted for longstanding client Lonmin on its $817m rights issue, with Charles Howarth, Steve Thierbach and Gillian Fairfield leading the advice. Greg Mulley is ‘always willing to explain difficult issues in a manner that bankers can comprehend’; and Chris Haynes is ‘solid, reliable and hardworking’. Mike Flockhart has been promoted to partner. Will Pearce left to join Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP.

At Linklaters LLP, ‘the overall level of service is very high, with strong technical knowledge supported by significant deal experience and industry knowledge’; the firm is able to provide ‘completely seamless advice across jurisdictions’. It recently acted for Graff Diamonds International, a UK-based diamond company, on its proposed $1bn listing in Hong Kong. John Lane is praised for his ‘technical equity capital markets and regulatory knowledge as well as deal experience’, and Charlie Jacobsknows how to lead multi-billion transactions’.

Allen & Overy LLP was heavily involved in the high-profile £2.6bn IPO of Direct Line on the London Stock Exchange, with David Broadley acting as counsel for the insurance group. Mark Dighero advised UAE firm NMC Health on its £390m London flotation, demonstrating the firm’s cross-jurisdictional capabilities. The ‘bright, keen and practical’ James Roe returned to the London office having previously headed the Russian capital markets team in Moscow.

Ashurst’s head of capital markets Nicholas Holmes ‘understands how the banks operate’. He recently acted for RBC Capital Markets and Barclays as underwriters on the high-profile £205m IPO of Greencoat UK Wind. Anthony Clare and Jonathan Parry advised William Hill on its £375m rights issue.

Nilufer von Bismarck’s team at Slaughter and May includes Andy Ryde and Jeff Twentyman, who are singled out for their ‘excellent corporate legal knowledge and expertise’. The firm has a ‘fantastic issuer side practice’, and ‘first-rate knowledge and technical expertise’. Recent deals include a £190m secondary offering for Drax Group, and the £2.6bn IPO of insurer Direct Line.

Dual-qualified Edward Bibko heads the EMEA capital markets group at Baker & McKenzie LLP, and is praised for his ‘extensive experience at getting deals done in more challenging jurisdictions’. Alongside Roy Pearce, he advised Bank of Georgia on its migration to a premium-listing segment on the London Stock Exchange.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s London team is particularly active in emerging markets. Simon Ovenden and Raj Panasar advised agri-commodities firm Felda Global Ventures on its $3.2bn IPO on the Malaysian stock market. Banking clients include Citigroup, UBS and HSBC.

Latham & Watkins hired Richard Brown from Hogan Lovells International LLP in April 2012. Claire-Keast Butler advised underwriting banks including HSBC and JP Morgan on the $817m rights issue by London-listed Lonmin.

Drawing on the firm’s reputation in the natural resources and energy sectors, Raj Karia at Norton Rose Fulbright acted for Toronto-listed mining company Aureus Mining on its $80m international offering. Mark Lloyd Williams advised Crest Nicholson on its high-profile £553m flotation.

At Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP, James Healy advised D.E Master Blenders on its NYSE/Euronext Amsterdam listing, and also acted for Brunello Cucinelli on its €160m flotation on the Borsa Italia. Danny Tricot is recommended.

White & Case LLP acted for RusPetro plc on its $250m IPO. The team includes a number of well-regarded lawyers including Allan Taylor, who ‘stands out for everything related to capital markets’, Greg Stonefield and Philip Broke.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP launched its UK law capability with the hire of leading capital markets lawyer Simon Witty in January 2012, with Will Pearce subsequently joining from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP. Witty advised the joint bookrunners on the English law aspects of Manchester United’s $233m flotation in New York.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s team advises both issuers and underwriters on primary and secondary offerings in London and internationally. The ECM team includes experienced practitioner Nigel Read, and the ‘very solid and technically excellent’ Maegen Morrison. Richard Brown left to join Latham & Watkins LLP.

At Shearman & Sterling LLP, Monica McConville acted for Citigroup and Deutsche Bank on a £274m cash-box placing by Capita. The team has particular strength in the energy and natural resources sectors.

Simmons & Simmons’ practice revolves around its core investment bank clients, with institutions such as JP Morgan and Numis Securities regularly instructing the team. The ‘really impressiveChris Horton acted for Bank of America Merrill Lynch as sole bookrunner to JAB Holdings B.V in a £1.2bn block trade of ordinary shares in Reckitt Benckiser Group plc.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP fields an ‘in-depth team’ which delivers ‘a very good level of service and advice’. Vanessa Blackmore advised newco Coca-Cola HBC AG on its primary listing on the London Stock Exchange.

At Weil, Gotshal & Manges, Peter King acted for Edwards Group Limited in its $100m NASDAQ flotation, and was also part of a team which worked on the €500m Alior Bank IPO on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. James Cole left for Paul Hastings LLP.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s issuer practice has extensive experience advising high-profile Russian and CIS clients. Harry Keegan ‘stands out as being particularly helpful, knowledgeable and responsive’, and Sebastian Rice, who divides his time between London and Moscow, is also recommended.

At Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, James Scoville and Guy Lewin-Smith led the advice to Polyus Gold International Limited on its move from the standard to the premium-listing segment of the London Stock Exchange.

James Barabas, Jeffery Roberts and Selina Sagayam are key capital markets contacts at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

Andrew Caunt at Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP is ‘proactive and imaginative’. He has been particularly active, alongside James Mountain, on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, recently advising electricity producer Zepak on its $212m IPO and also acting for the underwriters in the $662m flotation of Alior Bank. Tim Jeveons left legal practice in April 2013.

At Jones Day, Sebastian Orton is a key contact, and recently advised Citigroup as underwriters on the $172m rights offering by Kenya Airways Limited. The team is ‘technically very good’.

The team at Mayer Brown International LLP is praised for its ‘knowledge, attention to detail, commitment and breadth of involvement’. Kate Ball-Dodd and Robert Hamill advised Canadian company Entertainment One on a £110m rights issue.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP is praised for its ‘technical and industry knowledge’. The team is headed by David Collins and includes the ‘responsive, knowledgeable and commercialAlex Latner.

CMS advised Telefónica on its €1.45bn IPO on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Gary Green and Charles Currier are key contacts.

DLA Piper UK LLP’s head of capital markets Alex Tamlyn advised Melrose Resources plc on its £350m merger with Petroceltic plc and the readmission of the larger group to the London Stock Exchange.

Edwards Wildman Palmer LLPdemonstrates very strong experience in Ukraine-based IPO vehicles’. Eero Rautalahti is ‘an outstanding team player’ who ‘provides advice in a concise manner’.

At Travers Smith LLP, Andrew Gillen is ‘an excellent lawyer to work with on capital markets’. He acted for JAB Holdings BV on its £1.2bn block trade of shares in Reckitt Benckiser.

Equity capital markets: US capability

Index of tables

  1. Equity capital markets: US capability
  2. Leading Individuals

Leading Individuals

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is very active and visible in Russian capital markets deals; Raj Panasar and Daniel Braverman led the advice to Megafon on its $1.7bn IPO, while David Gottlieb assisted the Central Bank of Russia and Sberbank on the part privatisation of Sberbank through a secondary public offering, a transaction worth $5.2bn. Elsewhere, Sebastian Sperber handled a series of block trades for Indian issuers.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP has a well-established reputation for capital markets work. Jeffrey Oakes is ‘at the top of the market’; Paul Etienne Kumleben is a ‘go-to adviser’; and Nigel Wilson and John Banes are also recommended. Highlights included advising Banco Espírito Santo on its €1bn rights issue, and acting for the underwriters of the €925m IPO of Dutch cable operator Ziggo.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s team ‘covers everything’, with Sarah Murphy ‘the lynchpin of the US practice’. The firm advised issuer Phoenix Group Holdings on its £250m share placing, and also acted for the bookrunners on the $1.7bn flotation of Russian telecommunications operator Megafon.

Jason Manketo at Linklaters LLP is praised for his ‘incredible attention to detail, focus and dedication to driving all aspects of a transaction forward’. Cecil Quillen has in-depth knowledge of the Russian and CIS markets. Tom O’Neill, praised as ‘totally devoted to the client’, acted for the joint global co-ordinators of the £2.6bn IPO of insurer Direct Line; and Patrick Sheil advised Credit Suisse and UBS as underwriters on the IPO of 25% of Kcell.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP has a deep bench of US-qualified lawyers, with the partners taking a ‘hands-on approach’. David Rockwell is ‘thorough and firm without being strident’. Nikolaos Andronikos and George White are advising Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company on its primary listing on the London Stock Exchange. Richard Morrissey is acting for Unipol in its €1.1bn rights issue.

Allen & Overy LLP’s US securities team delivers an ‘excellent service’. Jim Wickenden advised Direct Line Insurance Group on its £2.6bn IPO, a transaction which attracted strong demand from US investors. Adam Wells ‘combines technical skill with a commercial sensibility’, and ‘can draw on many years ’ experience in the London markets’.

Shearman & Sterling LLP has ‘great European coverage’. Head of European capital markets Richard Price acted for Elster Group in the first-ever SEC-registered secondary offering by a German issuer. He also advised, alongside counsel David Dixter, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Mediobanca as underwriters on the €160m IPO of Italy’s Brunello Cucinelli.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP’s team includes emerging markets expert Pranav Trivedi; James McDonald, who advised Brunello Cucinelli on the US aspects of its €160m flotation; and Richard Ely, who acted for National Bank of Greece on various securities issues.

John Connolly heads Clifford Chance’s US securities group. He was part of an international team which advised Deutsche Bank, Numis Securities and Shuaa Capital on the premium listing on the London Stock Exchange of NMC Health, capitalised at £390m.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP delivers ‘high-quality service and expertise’. Practice head Steve Thierbach is singled out for his ‘excellent technical knowledge coupled with commercial understanding’.

Latham & WatkinsOlof Clausson is very active in the European and Middle Eastern markets. He acted for JP Morgan and UBS as underwriters on Telefónica’s €1.45bn IPO of its German subsidiary, O2. Antti Ihamuotila, praised for his ‘extensive experience of the Nordic markets’, advised JP Morgan and Nordea on a €1bn transaction by Outokumpu, the largest-ever Finnish rights offering.

Ashurst is a ‘top-notch ECM firm’; its key figures on the US side are Jennifer Schneck, who is ‘very good technically’, and Ray Fisher, who ‘can be counted on’. The team acted for Goldman Sachs, Oriel Securities and RBC Capital Markets as underwriters on a $212m rights issue by Salamander Energy plc.

Baker & McKenzie LLP’s Edward Bibko is an ‘extremely dedicated and responsive’ lawyer who displays a ‘very high level of attention to detail’. The team advised Exillon Energy plc in connection with the secondary listing of its shares on the Warsaw Stock Exchange.

At DLA Piper UK LLP, George Barboutis is an experienced US securities lawyer. Recent work includes advising Dechra Pharmaceuticals plc on the US elements of its £60m rights issue, and acting on the £37m IPO of WANdisco plc.

The team at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP has a ‘highly focused practice’ and ‘the ability to tap the firm’s full-service New York offering’. Mark Bergman, who is ‘hugely experienced and highly client driven’, recently acted for Drax Group plc in a Rule 144A offering in connection with a £190m placing.

Weil, Gotshal & MangesDavid Meredith and Rob Ferguson handle a breadth of US securities work. Ferguson recently advised Alior Bank on its €500m flotation on the Warsaw Stock Exchange.

White & Case LLP fields a ‘very dedicated team’. Joshua Kiernan acted for Israel-headquartered company Caesarstone Sdot-Yam on its $75m NASDAQ IPO, and Michael Immordino advised the underwriters of the €1.1bn rights issue by Italian financial services firm Unipol.

CMS’ head of international capital markets Daniel Winterfeldt is a ‘star performer’ praised for his ‘tireless, collegial and commercial’ approach.

Covington & Burling LLP has particular expertise in the life sciences and TMT sectors. Peter Laveran-Stiebar and Kristian Wiggert are recommended.

At Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, William Rogers Jr. and Philip Boeckman advised GasLog Ltd on its $330m IPO on the New York Stock Exchange.

In May 2012, Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP hired a team of former Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP securities lawyers, notably Frank Adams, senior associate Godric Shoesmith and associate Heather Hass.

The team at Hogan Lovells International LLP is praised for its high levels of partner input. John Basnage is a ‘great asset’ who ‘knows his way around complex international work’. Peter Kohl led the advice to Numis Securities as bookrunner on the £135m flotation of pharmaceuticals company Clinigen.

Jones Day has a ‘technically very good team’. Daniel Bushner and Marie Elena Angulo acted for Citigroup as underwriter on a $172m rights issue by Kenya Airways Limited.

Bernd Bohr is a key contact at Mayer Brown International LLP. He is triple-qualified, and has experience in SEC-registered and Rule 144A transactions.

Thomas Vita heads the US corporate finance group at Norton Rose Fulbright, and has experience in transactions in Greece, Turkey and Poland. He recently assisted National Bank of Greece on the listing in London and New York of the Coca-Cola Hellenic group of companies.

The US securities group at Simmons & Simmons includes Julian Perlmutter, Charles Hawes and new associate Tara Waters. JP Morgan is a key client, recently instructing the group on a wide range of matters including a £55m share placing for Sirius Minerals plc.

Financial services

Index of tables

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

Technically excellent and also seamlessly able to tap into the firm’s transactional expertise’, Clifford Chance has a ‘down-to-earth and thorough approach’, assisting individual entities and trade associations on standalone regulatory matters as well as on the advisory side of major strategic transactions. Simon Crown is advising the Co-operative Group on the proposed acquisition of a significant UK retail banking business from Lloyds Banking Group. Other key figures in the financial regulatory practice include the ‘highly technicalSimon Gleeson; ‘excellent’ team head Christopher Bates; and Monica Sah, who has been active working alongside various trade bodies to produce an EU Regulation Implementation handbook. Aided by an in-house team of forensic accountants, the team is well equipped to handle the full suite of investigatory, enforcement and litigation work both on a domestic and cross-border basis. Roger Best has assisted banks in relation to regulatory investigations across Europe, Asia and the US, and Carlos Conceicao is ‘knowledgeable, practical and user-friendly’.

Benefiting from a ‘deep bench and great associates’, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP advises banks, insurers and asset managers in many of the highest-profile contentious and non-contentious matters in the market. Praised for his ‘depth of knowledge’, Michael Raffan is regularly instructed by the Bank of England, including on the regulatory issues associated with its quantitative easing program and Funding for Lending Scheme. Raffan also advised ING on the regulatory aspects of its sale of ING Direct to Barclays. Mark Kalderon and Guy Morton are other key figures in the practice. On the contentious side, Ali Sallaway is a ‘master strategist’; Ian Taylor is praised for his ability to ‘boil down complex issues into simple language’; and David Scott is ‘excellent’.

Linklaters LLP was recently bolstered by the arrival of the ‘hugely intellectualMartyn Hopper and Nikunj Kiri from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, and provides ‘technically strong’ advice to a broad range of clients across the spectrum of advisory, transactional and contentious/enforcement matters. Able to tap into the firm’s global network, the team excels at cross-border matters, recently advising the Julius Baer Group on the regulatory aspects of its acquisition of the non-US global wealth and investment management business of Bank of America Merrill Lynch; the ‘very client-friendlyCarl Fernandes led on this. The team is headed by the ‘extremely professionalMichael Kent, and includes the ‘very commercialHarry Eddis; the ‘excellentPeter Bevan; and Sarah Parkhouse, who is ‘responsive and knowledgeable’. James Gardner and Christa Band are recommended for contentious matters.

Headed on the contentious side by Calum Burnett and by Bob Penn on the advisory and transactional side, Allen & Overy LLP provides ‘an excellent-quality service’ to financial institutions on many of the most pressing issues affecting their businesses in the post-Lehman financial landscape. As well as being involved for numerous UK and international banks on their living will requirements, the team has handled work for the clearing houses and banking consortia in response to the changes in regulation affecting the derivatives industry. The group regularly provides regulatory input on major transactions, recently assisting in relation to Virgin Money’s acquisition of Northern Rock and Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing’s acquisition of the London Metal Exchange. The ‘excellent’ Arnondo Chakrabarti, Tim House and Lawson Caisley are recommended for contentious matters.

Ashurst provides ‘technically very strong advice’ to an impressive array of wholesale banks in their dealings with the FCA. Edward Sparrow has ‘real gravitas’, and recently defended David Einhorn and Greenlight Capital in high-profile FSA market abuse proceedings. Rob Moulton handles a range of non-contentious matters including advising a number of banks on the impact on their business operations of the new Retail Distribution Review (RDR). The ‘highly experienced’ James Perry is leading the firm’s work on the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD). David Capps is ‘excellent’.

CMS provides ‘commercial and practical’ advice to retail banks, insurance companies and fund managers. In a deal which involved input from numerous European offices, Paul Edmondson provided the regulatory input in relation to Metlife’s reorganisation following its $16bn acquisition of Alico. Ash Salujadelivers regulatory advice with a strong overlay of commercial reality’, and in common with Edmondson has advised numerous entities on the implications of the RDR. The ‘consideredSimon Morris heads the contentious team, which also includes the ‘knowledgeable, responsive and pragmaticAlison McHaffie and the ‘dedicated and committedMaxine Cupitt.

Hogan Lovells International LLPreally understands the nuances of financial services law and regulation’, and regularly handles high-profile mandates, including representing a major investment bank in the Libor investigation. ‘Technically superb and very approachable’ team head Rachel Kent advised the London Metal Exchange on the establishment of a new clearing house. The ‘highly technical’ Ben Regnard-Weinrabe ‘brings an academic rigour to his work’, and Roger Tym is an ‘expert on mortgage-related issues’. On the contentious side, the ‘amiable and knowledgeable’ Philip Parish co-heads the team with Ailbhe Edgar, who has ‘deep knowledge across a broad spectrum of the industry’.

Led by the ‘outstanding’ and ‘dynamicJonathan Herbst, the team at Norton Rose Fulbright has cultivated a ‘tremendously strong’ advisory practice, advising a broad range of clients including Citadel, HSBC and Northern Trust. The contentious group saw some disruption with the departure of the highly regarded Dorian Drew and Charles Evans to Clifford Chance and Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP respectively, although this was offset by the arrival of Lista Cannon and Chris Warren-Smith through the firm’s recent merger.

Active on both the buy and sell sides, Simmons & Simmons’ well-balanced practice provides a ‘Magic Circle type service, at less cost’. ‘Experienced, efficient and commercial’ team head Charlotte Stalin has ‘great industry knowledge’ and, as well as providing direct advice to clients, is in charge of the firm’s market-leading ‘navigator’ online tool. Darren Fox is a key figure for regulatory issues affecting the hedge fund industry, and the recently promoted Penny Miller stands out for her expertise in product governance and intervention. The ‘excellentRichard Sims represents institutions on internal investigations and in regulatory proceedings relating to market abuse and insider dealing.

The team at Slaughter and May provides standalone regulatory advice as well as input on transactions, and has ‘superior industry knowledge’. Jan Putnispossesses a profound understanding of how financial regulation in the UK works, and brings substantial experience and insight to the table’. Along with ‘rising starBen Kingsley, Putnis advised on the regulatory issues associated with Direct Line Insurance Group’s IPO and separation from RBS. As well as advising private entities such as American Express and Prudential, the team continues to assist the UK government in relation to numerous issues arising out of the financial crisis. On the contentious side, the firm excels in representing entities engaged in politically sensitive multi-jurisdictional matters, including continuing to advise Deutsche Bank in relation to the Libor investigation. Ruth Fox, Elizabeth Barrett, Ewan Brown and Deborah Finkler are also recommended.

Travers Smith LLP gives ‘pragmatic and commercial’ advice to private equity firms and hedge funds. The ‘personable and professionalMargaret Chamberlain has ‘deep knowledge’ of the funds industry and - along with the ‘highly intellectualTim Lewis, ‘knowledgeable and responsivePhil Bartram, and ‘excellentJane Tuckley - is advising a raft of funds (including Bain Capital and Babson Capital) and trade associations on the implications of the AIFMD. The firm is also recommended for financial market infrastructure matters, with the ‘highly knowledgeableMark Evans currently advising central securities depository Euroclear on numerous large regulatory projects. Toby Robinson, Rob Fell, Caroline Edwards and Stephen Paget-Brown are recommended for contentious work.

Praised for its ‘highly ethical and professional approach’, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP is particularly well regarded within the asset management and insurance space. The ‘sound and reliableJacob Ghanty heads up the non-contentious practice, while Sidney Myers and Nathan Willmott have ‘detailed knowledge and expertise on the contentious side’. Clients include Danske Bank, Munich Re and PayPoint.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is best known for its litigation/enforcement expertise, although this was weakened by the loss of the market-leading Martyn Hopper and Nikunj Kiri to Linklaters LLP. Formerly in-house counsel at Lloyds Bank, Jenny Stainsby provides ‘pragmatic and robust’ contentious and non-contentious advice to banks across a range of sensitive regulatory issues. Clive Cunningham has wide-ranging knowledge, and niche expertise in wealth management and payment services matters; he advised on its high-profile acquisition of Martin Lewis’ MoneySavingExpert business. Cunningham also advised a number of fund/asset managers on the implications of the RDR rules.

King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin ’s ‘friendly and engaging team’ is best known for its funds-related regulatory work. Tamasin Little is ‘steeped in lore as well as law’, and in common with Gregg Beechey is advising a number of fund managers on AIFMD-related compliance. Rachel Couter has ‘up-to-date knowledge of UK financial services regulation and cases’; she and the ‘calm and collectedAlex Leitch are recommended for contentious matters. David Calligan has a focus advising broker-dealers and investment management firms in the US and Europe.

Macfarlanes LLP takes a ‘commercial and focused approach’, acting for a range of buy-side and sell-side financial institutions as well as intermediaries such as Macquarie Bank, Lazard and Fidelity. David Berman is a ‘strong regulatory lawyer’, and is well placed to deliver ‘practical and concise advice’, thanks in part to his in-house banking experience. Barry Donnelly heads the contentious team, which was notably recently appointed to the FCA section 166 Skilled Person panel. Dan Lavender is ‘excellent’, and Bridget Barker is ‘very well regarded in the funds arena’.

Often working with its US colleagues, Shearman & Sterling LLP’s two-partner London team is best known for its work for financial markets infrastructure clients. The firm is advising core client ICE on its $8.2bn acquisition of NYSE Euronext, and also on the launch of a new clearing facility for OTC Non-Deliverable Forward Foreign Exchange contracts, a product not previously subject to clearing. Barney Reynolds and Thomas Donegan are recommended.

With a core team in London and a strong presence in Leeds, Addleshaw Goddard LLP is recommended for its advice to retail financial services and payments clients, but has also broadened the scope of its offering to include wholesale banking and funds work. David Heffron heads the team, which has ‘some very good regulatory/product lawyers’, including payments expert William James and consumer finance specialist Amanda Hulme. Clients include Yorkshire Building Society, Standard Chartered Bank and Rathbone Brothers.

Able to tap into the firm’s vast international network, and with ‘good connections with and understanding of the regulator’, Baker & McKenzie LLP’s team is well placed to handle domestic and multi-jurisdictional projects. As well as acting for numerous individuals in the Libor investigations, the firm is advising American Express on providing an inventory of laws applicable to its global business. Arun Srivastava is ‘very commercial’ and ‘client-friendly’, and associate Nina Moffatt ‘punches well above her weight’.

The recent arrival of counsel Melanie James and Roger Loo from Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP has broadened the scope of DLA Piper UK LLP’s client base to include insurance companies as well as banks and funds. In addition to acting in a standalone advisory capacity across a range of regulatory matters, including the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR), Michael McKee regularly provides regulatory input on transactions, recently advising Banque J Safra on its acquisition of Bank Sarasin. Elisabeth Bremner heads the contentious team, which handles a broad range of work including interest rate swap mis-selling, PPI and insider trading cases. The firm was recently appointed to the FCA’s Skilled Person panel.

Headed by Pamela Thompson, Eversheds LLP is best known on the non-contentious side for its work advising clients within the City’s authorised fund sector, and has been very active advising clients on the myriad regulatory changes affecting the industry. Ronald Paterson is advising Frostrow Capital on AIFMD matters. On the contentious side, Jonathon Crook and former FSA lawyer Gregory Brandman have acted on a wide range of investigations and enforcements. Michael Wainwright is also recommended.

Headed by Kirstene Baillie, Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP’s financial services and funds group has ‘great knowledge of market practice, and really understand the nuances of the regulations’. Recent highlights include advising asset manager and investment adviser Broadstone on major revisions to its terms of business to accommodate RDR changes and the restructuring of its product offering. The ‘technical, analytical and communicative’ Duncan Black ‘combines litigation experience with knowledge of the regulatory and technical aspects of the industry sector’.

Jones Day’s ‘approachable and flexible’ team assists a range of banks and funds in relation to areas such as regulatory capital requirements, market abuse and global custody. ‘As well as being proficient in his area of regulatory compliance’, John Ahernis able to bring commercial reality to a situation’. Tim Flood is recognised for his investment funds expertise.

Mayer Brown International LLP’s integrated contentious and non-contentious group provides ‘excellent’ advice to banks, insurers, asset managers and funds on domestic and multi-jurisdictional matters. Mark Compton and Angela Hayes* ‘provide very clear practical advice’, and are both advising BGL in discussions with the regulator regarding allegations that its customer contracts contained an unfair term and also breached its conduct of business rules. Formerly with HM Treasury, Alexandria Carr’s recent arrival as of counsel gives the group particular expertise on EU financial services regulation. US-qualified Marc Cohen advises global financial services clients on cross-border strategic, regulatory, enforcement and litigation issues. *Angela Hayes is now with King & Spalding International LLP.

Headed by Michael Lewis in London, and aided by resources in a spread of UK offices including Scotland, Pinsent Masons LLP provides ‘excellent value for money’ on standalone and transaction-related regulatory matters. The firm is particularly well regarded in the investment management space; Glasgow-based Frank Doran recently advised a UK bank on its preparation for sale of RDR-compliant funds including implementing new investment management arrangements for a range of specially designed funds. Other clients include Alliance Bernstein and Zurich Financial Services.

With a ‘strong offering’, Reed Smith LLP is best known for its work assisting commodities clients in navigating the increasingly stringent regulation they face. Chris Borg is particularly well known in this field, and is recommended alongside Jacqui Hatfield and Brett Hillis. On the contentious side, Charles Hewetson and Rosanne Kay have been working with US colleagues on the defence of several individuals in the Libor investigations.

The ‘very responsive’ three-partner team at Sidley Austin LLP is able to tap into the firm’s US and Asian offering, and specialises in large-scale cross-border mandates for banks and hedge funds. Leonard Nghas his finger on the pulse with regulatory developments’ in the asset management space in particular, and has been advising the Managed Funds Association on a raft of regulatory issues including EMIR, MiFID II and AIFMD. Dual US/UK-qualified team head John Casanova has particular expertise advising US and EU clients on the regulatory implications of doing business in the Asian financial services markets.

At Speechly Bircham LLP, team head Elizabeth Budd advises on the structuring of authorised and unauthorised funds both onshore and offshore, and acts for clients including fund managers, trustees and depositaries. Jonathan Bayliss is recommended for his work in the wealth management and private banking sectors.

With a team including ‘brilliant’ practice head Tony Woodcock, Sean Jeffrey and the ‘toughSara George, Stephenson Harwood is widely recognised as ‘the best in the market for representing individuals in financial services regulation discipline cases’. Woodcock has been representing Peter Cummings, a senior officer at HBOS, in the FSA action brought against him in relation to the demise of the bank and in his subsequent dealings with the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards. Charlotte Hill* heads the firm’s non-contentious offering. *Charlotte Hill is now with Covington & Burling LLP.

At Bingham McCutchen (London) LLP, the ‘excellent’ Helen Marshall and Peter Bibby* have both held high-ranking positions at the FSA, and are well placed to assist clients subject to investigation or enforcement action. The team is ‘regularly engaged in very high-quality work’, and is advising a major investment bank in the Libor investigations. Christopher Leonard handles non-contentious work within the investment management sector. *Peter Bibby is now at Brown Rudnick LLP.

At Blake Lapthorn, associate Felicity Rowan was formerly at the FSA and provides a ‘very good service’ to a growing roster of clients across matters including FSA authorisation, variation of permission and individual approval processes, product design and marketing, and commercial arrangements.

At Covington & Burling LLP, Simon Currie has an ‘excellent understanding of the investment industry’. Clients include Broadridge Financial Solutions and Pantheon Ventures Group.

Based across London, Bristol and Leeds, DAC Beachcroft LLP’s team provides ‘highly commercial, proactive and pragmatic’ advice on complex regulatory, product, corporate and distribution transactions for the financial services sector. Particularly strong in the insurance sector, it acts for clients including AIG, AXA and Aviva. Principal contacts include David Pollitt, David Hunt and James Macnish Porter.

One of the strongest firms for investment funds work’, Dechert LLP provides ‘pragmatic and client-focused advice’ to clients including Legg Mason, Wells Fargo Worldwide Fund and Janus Capital International. Karen Anderberg ‘drills down into the detail’.

At Dentons, Rosali Pretorius provides regulatory advice to banks such as ABSA Bank, Coutts & Co and Standard Chartered Bank, and also acts for funds and broker-dealers.

Headed by David Ramm, Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP’s team includes the ‘highly technical and commercialDamian Connolly and Chris Finney, who has a ‘very good understanding of the regulatory landscape’, in particular Solvency II matters.

At Farrer & Co, ‘technically strong’ team head Grania Baird is ‘professional and personable’, and is recommended for her advice to regulated funds and common investment funds.

HowardKennedyFsi has ‘great industry and regulatory knowledge’, in particular for the West End financial services community. Team head Daniel Tunkel is an ‘excellent regulatory lawyer for all funds’. Recent highlights include handling various regulatory issues for the UK subsidiary of a US broker-dealer group.

K&L Gates LLP’s Philip Morgan provides ‘careful yet prompt advice’ to a growing roster of funds clients. On the contentious side, the firm has a strong pedigree acting for individuals, and recently secured the acquittal of the girlfriend of a former Mizuho banker accused of insider trading.

Headed by Carolyn Jackson, Katten Muchin Rosenman UK LLP’s three-partner team in London works closely with its US colleagues to provide a harmonised service to clearing houses, exchanges, broker-dealers and banks. The practice was enhanced in November 2012 by the arrival of former FSA lawyer Tim Aron.

Headed by Lisa Cawley, Kirkland & Ellis International LLP specialises in providing regulatory advice to the firm’s vast array of private equity clients, both on the fund formation and transactional sides. Clients include Lion Capital and Terra Firma.

Lawrence Graham LLP recently concluded an internal investigation for the British Bankers’ Association in order to ascertain its role, if any, in the recent high-profile Libor manipulation case. The firm is well regarded by insurance clients, and is experienced in providing regulatory advice in relation to transactions and product development. Richard Everett and Robert Smith are recommended.

At Locke Lord LLP, Stephen Finch and Paula Howard are ‘very thorough and knowledgeable on consumer credit issues’, and Robert Courtneidge is one of the country’s foremost practitioners on electronic payments.

Nabarro LLP’s team head Adrian Brown provides ‘proactive and high-quality advice’ to clients including Saxo Capital Markets.

Olswang LLP is ‘stronger in the emerging areas of mobile payments and new payment forms than most in the market’. The ‘knowledgeableBrian McDonnell is recommended.

Young and dynamic’ team head David Blair at Osborne Clarke provides ‘very commercial advice’, and acts for clients including Coutts and Funding Circle.

At RPC, consultant Jonathan Davies is regularly called on by the insurance industry to advise on FCA issues. Formerly in-house at the FSA, Steven Francis heads the team.

Headed by Andrew Henderson, Ropes & Gray LLP has quickly gained market recognition for its ‘high-profile work in the investment management space’.

In addition to handling ad hoc advisory work, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP’s Patrick Brandt is often called upon to provide regulatory input on transactions within the industry.

The ‘first-class’ team at TLT LLP displays ‘tremendous gravitas’ across the spectrum of regulatory concerns affecting retail financial services clients. Team head Clare Hughes has ‘comprehensive knowledge’.

At Taylor Wessing LLP, the ‘very bright and accessible’ Jonathan Rogers ‘covers an impressively wide range of financial services work’. Shane Gleghorn leads on the contentious side, where Tim Strong has been particularly active representing hedge funds and their managers in various disputes.

Jeanette Harwood heads a ‘strong team’ at Leeds-based Walker Morris LLP, which provides a ‘very diligent service’ to private equity firms, hedge funds and investment managers on regulatory compliance issues.

Headed by Stuart Willey, White & Case LLP provides a global regulatory perspective to its wholesale banking client base, handling standalone mandates and transactional support. Of counsel Carmen Reynolds is recommended.

Growing in stature’, Irwin Mitchell is ‘an excellent alternative to the City firms’ for FCA investigations and enforcement actions. Team head Sarah Wallacebrings a wealth of experience across the supervisory, investigatory and enforcement areas’, and is particularly well regarded for her work assisting individuals in insider dealing cases.

Mishcon de Reya’s Adam Epstein is ‘one of the leading practitioners’ in terms of the representation of individuals facing regulatory action.

Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP has ‘one of the strongest financial services practices for individual defendants around’. Monty Raphael QC is ‘probably unrivalled in this area’, and David McCluskey is ‘an unflappable and reassuring strategic thinker in challenging cases’.

At Withers LLP, Harvey Knight has ‘excellent knowledge of FSA/FCA-related matters; he knows exactly what the regulation says and how it is applied by the regulator’.

At Clyde & Co LLP, team head Julian Connerty continues to represent a large broker who is being investigated by the FSA in relation to bribery and corruption issues.

A ‘growing presence in the market’, Fox Williams LLP’s practice has made significant strides since its establishment in 2011. Peter Wright is ‘a leading expert on financial services litigation and insolvency work, given his background as one the FSA Enforcement Division’s leading lawyers in these areas’. The team was also recently bolstered by the arrival of the ‘formidableJames Carlton from Slater & Gordon Lawyers, who has a ‘strong background in high-profile financial fraud litigation’.

Kingsley Napley LLP is a ‘leading practice as far as the criminal aspects of FSA work are concerned’. Louise Hodges is a ‘very accomplished and experienced practitioner for FSA enforcement work’, and John Hardingdisplays sound strategic judgement’.

At WilmerHale, the ‘strategically focused and tacticalStephen Pollard is ‘simply the best man to have in a crisis’, and is ‘excellent at representing individuals’.

Flotations: small and mid-cap

Index of tables

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

The team at Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP is ‘always very professional, knowledgeable and responsive’. It recently advised longstanding client Playtech on its move from AIM to the main market. David Collins, Benjamin Lee and Gareth Jones are highly rated, and Alex Latner is singled out for his ‘solutions-oriented’ advice. Julian Stanier joined from Norton Rose Fulbright, and Richard Werner, praised for his ‘clear advice’, has been promoted to partner.

With sector strengths including mining, energy, real estate and financial services, Norton Rose Fulbright is a leading firm for small and mid-cap flotations, and has particular expertise in complex dual listings. Stephen Rigby advised RBC Capital Markets and Jefferies Hoare Govett as joint bookrunners on a $50m fundraising by President Petroleum; Raj Karia acted for NOMAD Liberum Capital on the $33.5m fundraising by resources company Mwana Africa; and Richard Sheen, alongside senior associate Tim Page, advised Canaccord on the £24.7m equity placing by investment management business Rathbone Brothers. Julian Stanier moved to Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP.

The team at Travers Smith LLP delivers a service which is ‘competitive and highly professional’, and ‘very relevant to the mid-market section of the stock market’. Aaron Stocks acted for Panmure Gordon as NOMAD on the WANdisco plc IPO and accompanying placing. Philip Cheveley advised Canaccord on its move from AIM to the standard segment of the Official List. Richard Spedding is ‘always constructive and diligent in bringing transactions to a close’, and Andrew Gillen is also recommended.

Ashurst is ‘a top-quality firm staffed by excellent lawyers’. Michael Robins is ‘an excellent all-rounder’ who is ‘adept at cutting through to the nub of issues’, and Nick Williamson is a ‘very safe pair of hands’. Noted for its ‘very strong energy practice’, the firm acted for Bayfield Energy on its readmission to AIM, and reverse takeover by Trinity Exploration and associated placing.

CMShas shown a renewed commitment to capital markets’, with recent deals including a £37m cash-box placing for Big Yellow and a £9m placing for Sinclair IS Pharma. Key contacts include head of equity capital markets Gary Green and US-qualified head of international capital markets Daniel Winterfeldt.

The team at DLA Piper UK LLP is able to draw on the firm’s extensive international network to advise clients from across a broad range of sectors on AIM-related matters. Alex Tamlyn heads the capital markets group in London, and John Campion and US securities lawyer George Barboutis are also recommended. It acted for WANdisco plc in the UK’s first IPO by an open source software company, raising £37m.

Eversheds LLP maintains a busy capital markets practice, working with a variety of leading brokers including Panmure Gordon (on the £53m IPO by Revolymer plc), Investec Securities (on a £41m placing by Infrastructure India) and Numis Securities. The firm’s corporate client base includes companies at the higher end of the AIM market, such as Flybe. Team head Neil Matthews and Stephen Nash are key contacts.

At Lawrence Graham LLP, Geoff Gouriet has particular expertise in mining and energy transactions, recently advising Firestone Diamonds plc on its capital reorganisation and secondary placing, raising £14.7m. Jeffrey Elway, who heads the US corporate practice, acted for Praetorian Resources on its AIM flotation, a deal which saw the investment company capitalised at £20m. Funds specialist Oliver Riley handled a £65m placing and offer for subscription by BlackRock North American Income Trust. Tom Nicholls is now with Stephenson Harwood.

Lesley Gregory heads a particularly active capital markets team at Memery Crystal LLP. She advised NOMAD Cenkos Securities in relation to the IPO of Incadea Group, a leading software provider present in 78 countries, with a €47m market capitalisation on admission. The team enjoys a strong reputation for its work for mining and energy clients, with Nick Davis and David Walker recently acting for Shanta Gold Limited in two equity fundraisings totalling $75m.

Nabarro LLP’s well-regarded team remains active in the capital markets, with Kristy Duane recently acting for new client John Laing Infrastructure Fund on an £80m fundraising, and Iain Newman advising Fox Marble Holdings, a company operating in Kosovo, on its £21m AIM flotation. Alasdair Steele and Glyn Taylor are also key contacts. Russell Holden has joined Taylor Wessing LLP, and Martin Finnegan left to found his own firm.

Olswang LLP fields a sizeable ECM team led by the well-respected Paul Blackmore. Drawing on the firm’s core sector knowledge, TMT expert Anthony Waller acted for leading UK cinema operator Cineworld Group plc in connection with its £16m secondary placing. Simon Morgan advised Tottenham Hotspur plc on its delisting from AIM and subsequent conversion to a private company, a matter which involved dealing with a broad and complex shareholder base.

Pinsent Masons LLPoffers value for money’ and is ‘always very responsive’ while ‘showing an ability to provide accurate legal advice supplemented by sensible business acumen’. Jon Harris, whose ‘customer service is second to none’, and Sean Page have built up a China-focused practice; recent highlights include, on the broker side, the £127m Global Market Group AIM flotation, and also acting for China ChainTek on its £87.5m IPO. Former Clifford Chance IPO group head Jonathan Beastall joined as senior adviser, and Louise Wolfson was brought in from Allen & Overy LLP.

Stephenson Harwood’s excellent Asian coverage enables it to source work from a wide range of markets, with recent mandates including the £127m AIM IPO of Chinese e-commerce service provider Global Market Group. In another high-profile IPO, Tony Edwards and Jeremy Sheldon advised Eland Oil & Gas on its £118m flotation. Peter Bradley is now with Howse Williams Bowers in Hong Kong, while Tom Nicholls joined from Lawrence Graham LLP.

Simon Griffiths’ team at Addleshaw Goddard LLP is ‘attentive, focused and commercial’. Richard Lee advised Clinigen on its £135m AIM IPO. Nick Pearey and Clare Thomas are also recommended. Tim Field joined from Simmons & Simmons.

At Chadbourne & Parke LLP, ‘transactions are given an impressive commercial commitment’, with Martin Thomas and Dearbhla Quigley praised for their ‘lucid intellect’ and ‘restless energy’. Recent instructions have seen the team active across emerging markets including Africa, Turkey and Latin America.

Charles Russell LLP is very active in the natural resources sector. Adam Carling advised Yamana Gold Inc on its acquisition of Extorre Gold Mines and the subsequent listing of consideration shares on the London Stock Exchange. Consultant Simon Gilbert led work for Mwana Africa on its conditional subscription and placing to raise $32.5m. Mark Howard acted for WH Ireland as NOMAD to Rubicon Diversified Investments in connection with Rubicon’s reverse takeover and the readmission to AIM of Lonrho’s African Airline business.

At Covington & Burling LLP, Natalie Walter acted for Liberum Capital on the £16m placing on AIM by US-based clean water technology company HaloSource Inc. Walter; and, alongside Paul Claydon and Matthew Edwards, also acted for biotech firm Vernalis plc in its placing and open offer to raise £68.5m.

Nick Gibbon’s team at DAC Beachcroft LLP is noted for its quality of service, in particular its ‘prompt and accurate advice’. Matthew Darling and Michelle Jones, advised Redstone plc on its acquisition of Maxima Holdings plc by way of a scheme of arrangement, and also acted for the company in its £3m secondary offering. Jones is praised for her ‘excellent commercial sense and understanding’.

Canadian firm Fasken Martineau LLP has a strong presence in the mining sector, attracting work from issuers such as Papua Mining and Pan African Resources. Clients from other sectors include biotech company Summit Corporation and Chinese outdoor clothing retailer Camkids Group. Jonathan Martin and Nigel Gordon are recommended.

Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP gives advice which is ‘always to the point, commercial and pragmatic’. Dominic Gurney-Champion is ‘experienced’ and ‘understands the client’, and Anthony Brockbank is ‘a consummate professional with excellent responsiveness’. Recent work includes a placing, subscription and open offer raising $45m for President Energy plc. Jonathan Brooks joined from Maclay Murray & Spens LLP.

HowardKennedyFsi’s merger has extended the practice’s reach in AIM matters, adding Ashley Reeback as head of the corporate team. The team delivers a ‘superb and expeditious service’, with ‘lateral thinking lawyerDov Katz* praised for his ‘wealth of experience’ and ‘exceptional strategic vision’. Keith Lassman is notable as a venture capital expert. *Dov Katz is now with Teacher Stern LLP

K&L Gates LLPcombines sound legal knowledge with strong commercial insight and a good understanding of current market practice’. The firm is particularly strong in the mining sector, with the ‘very commercial’ James Green recently acting for Cluff Natural Resources on its admission to AIM and placing to raise £3.7m. Head of the London corporate group Paul Tetlow is ‘an excellent adviser to have alongside you in a difficult situation’.

Macfarlanes LLP’s head of equity capital markets Robert Boyleshows great leadership qualities’ and is ‘very knowledgeable’. Matthew Blows advised Ceres Power Holdings plc on a £3.2m secondary fundraising, and Simon Martin acted for Tarsus Group plc on a cash-box placing to raise £10.9m.

Mayer Brown International LLP is noted for its ‘first-class service’ and ability to bring ‘real added value to transactions’. Kate Ball-Dodd is ‘superb’.

Osborne Clarke has developed institutional relationships with a number of leading brokerage houses including Canaccord, Cenkos and Peel Hunt. Jonathan King acted for the latter as bookrunner on a £10.5m placing by DP Poland plc. On the issuer side, Patrick Graves acted for Amerisur Resources plc on a £26m placing.

Walter Blake heads the equity capital markets team at Shepherd and Wedderburn. Recent highlights include acting on the NOMAD side of a £10m placing by Lansdowne Oil & Gas plc, and advising Goal Soccer Centres plc on a placing to raise £2.8m.

At Simmons & Simmons, Edward Baker advised Secure Trust Bank plc on a £20m share placing on AIM. The practice also acted for Numis Securities as NOMAD to Circle Holdings plc in a £47m placing. Chris Horton heads the team.

At Speechly Bircham LLP, Chris Putt is ‘thorough and insightful’. He acted for Stratmin Global Resources plc on its acquisition of the Graphmada group and the re-listing of the enlarged group on AIM. Tom Shaw advised longstanding client Aviation plc on a share placing.

Reflecting the firm’s reputation in the technology space, Taylor Wessing LLP’s practice head Tandeep Minhas advised NOMAD finnCap on the £103m IPO of Kada Technology Holdings. William Belcher is also recommended.

Jan Mellmann heads Watson, Farley & Williams LLP’s natural resources group, and has advised a wide range of clients from the energy and mining sectors on capital markets transactions. Recent highlights include advising New World Oil and Gas on its readmission to AIM arising from its change in status to an operating resource company, and acting for Madagascar Oil on a placing to raise up to $15m.

An experienced and well-regarded practitioner, Stuart Robertson heads the capital markets practice at Adams & Remers. He has a particular focus on the natural resources and energy sectors, and recently advised Shore Capital as sponsor to Namakwa Diamonds in the mining firm’s move from the main market to AIM.

Ashfords LLP (incorporating Rochman Landau) fields a cross-office team including Simon Staples in Bristol, who advised oil and gas resources infrastructure investment company Creon Resources on its £12m open offer and share subscription. James Lyons in London is also recommended.

Bird & Bird LLP is rated very highly for its business acumen, response times and strength in depth. Simon Allport advised Nomura Code Securities as sponsor on the secondary placing and admission to AIM of Vernalis, a transaction worth £68m. Matt Dennis acted for the NOMAD in the £6m fundraising and admission to AIM of China’s Naibu Global International Company.

Dentons’ capital markets focus group, led by Rebecca Gordon, ‘delivers, even in tight-deadline situations’. Neil Nicholson acted for Renaissance Securities as bookrunner on the aborted dual-AIM/Johannesburg Stock Exchange listing by Master Drilling Group.

Edwin Coe LLP’s head of corporate and commercial Russel Shear advised Green China Holdings on its admission to AIM and associated placing of shares, in a £34m transaction. Victor Hawrych is noted for his ‘excellent levels of service and experience’.

Faegre Baker DanielsMelanie Wadsworth is advising the brokers on a substantial IPO by an African energy company.

At Fladgate LLP, David Robinson acted for longstanding client Toumaz, a wireless technology pioneer, in a £11.2m share placing. Grant Gordon advised Premier African Minerals on its AIM listing.

Richie Clark’s team at Fox Williams LLP advised Toronto-listed Edge Resources on its dual-listing on AIM, in a £25m deal. Paul Osborne assisted oil and gas engineering services company Plexus Group Holdings plc with its £6.2m share placing. James Channo joined Locke Lord LLP.

Gowlings (UK) LLP draws on ‘detailed knowledge of the needs of companies in the mining sector’, with Charles Bond and Sefton Collett the key figures. Clients include Bullabulling Gold Limited, Diamondcorp plc and Hummingbird Resources plc.

At Jones Day, Sebastian Orton acted for the broker in the AIM IPO of Good Energy Group plc. Giles Elliott leads the capital markets practice.

Victoria Younghusband and Delphine Currie jointly head King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin’s ECM team.

Marriott Harrison LLP displays ‘considerable knowledge of the AIM market’, delivering advice which is ‘always designed to resolve issues’. David Bennett is ‘responsive and flexible’ as well as ‘very strong technically’.

Mishcon de Reya is ‘exceptional value for money’. Saul Sender has ‘excellent client relationship skills’, and is ‘practical in his advice and humble in his approach’. The team advised Digital Globe Services on its $20m listing on AIM.

At Squire Sanders LLP, Giles Distin advised brokers and issuers on a number of secondary offerings, including a £20m placing by Progressive Digital Media. Jane Haxby in Manchester is also recommended.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP is recommended for its ‘pragmatic advice and focus on getting the job done’. Team head Richard Hildebrand is ‘particularly knowledgeable and experienced’, allowing him to ‘efficiently devise cost-effective legal solutions’. Charles Wilson advised Wasabi Energy on a £6.3m rights issue.

Bircham Dyson Bell’s head of corporate John Turnbull advised Falkland Islands Holdings plc on a £10m secondary offering.

Clyde & Co LLP’s activity revolves around the firm’s core transport and energy practices. Philip Rogers is a key contact.

DMH Stallard LLP has ‘good credentials when it comes to advising small and mid-cap companies on stock market listings’, with the ‘solutions-orientedJonathan Deverill heading the corporate group.

Daniel O’Gorman, formerly of Cobbetts LLP, is recommended at DWF LLP.

Dorsey & Whitney is regularly instructed by brokers such as Canaccord Genuity and ISM Capital LLP on mid-market transactions. The team, headed by Mark Taylor, was also active on a number of primary and secondary offerings for clients such as Quindell Portfolios plc and Inland Homes plc.

At Kerman & Co, Michael Bennett and Joan Yu advised Rubicon on its reverse takeover of Fly540 and the re-admission to AIM of the enlarged group, Fastjet plc.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP acted for technology company Revolymer on its AIM IPO and placing to raise £25m. Jonathan Brooks is now with Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP.

Mehboob Dossa is a key contact at McGuireWoods London LLP.

The team at Thomas Eggar incorporating Pritchard Englefield has ‘good knowledge of investors in AIM and ISDX’, coupled with ‘good commercial instincts’.

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: M&A

Very commercial and easy to deal with’, Clifford Chance’s ‘first-rate’ corporate team ‘reacts quickly, and knows what is important’. In addition to its well-established private equity capability, the 39-partner practice acts for a number of FTSE 100 clients, as well as over a quarter of the world’s listed entities, including Chinalco and Motorola. Brendan Moylan advised International Power plc on Electrabel’s £4.6bn recommended cash offer to acquire IPR’s ordinary share capital. Global corporate head Matthew Layton and London corporate head Simon Tinkler are also highly recommended, as is Spencer Baylin, who is ‘excellent with detail, but also has a good understanding of what is important’. Newly promoted partners Melissa Fogarty and Caroline Sherrell also attract praise.

One of the top firms to work with’, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP attracts high praise for its ‘top-class experience and knowledge’. A ‘go-to firm for high-value and complex projects’, it regularly features among the upper echelons of UK M&A advisers, and in 2012 advised on 74 deals at an average value of £565m, with its representation of Xstrata in the $90bn all-share merger of equals with Glencore International a clear highlight. Sundeep Kapila is ‘client friendly and technically excellent, and a strong negotiator’; and the newly promoted George Swan is ‘highly efficient, very approachable and a delight to work with’. Also recommended are London corporate head Julian Long, Piers Pritchard Jones, Simon Marchant (‘highly focused on customer satisfaction’), Oliver Lazenby, and Ben Spiers (‘an outstanding lawyer’).

Linklaters LLP remains a dominant force in the M&A space, in terms of both the volume and value of deals it handles; 2012 saw it act on 95 deals at an average value of £696m. In 2012, Charlie Jacobs led a team advising Glencore International on its $70bn merger with Xstrata; and global head of M&A Jeremy Parr led the advice to BP on the sale of its 50% stake in TNK-BP to Rosneft. The 44-partner team is ‘always willing to provide practical solutions to issues’, and delivers ‘quality advice at a competitive price’. Iain Wagstaffstands out for his confidence, the energy he brings to deal execution, and the depth of his knowledge of public M&A and the law affecting public companies’. Roger Barron and Sarah Wiggins are also recommended.

Slaughter and May provides ‘a peerless level of service’ to a client base of FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 corporates, and is highlighted for its ‘sheer number of consistently excellent people’. It advised on 39 deals in 2012 at an average value of £411m, including the largest UK oil and gas deal, advising Thailand’s PTT Exploration and Production Public Company Limited on its £1.2bn takeover of AIM-listed Cove Energy plc. Head of M&A Stephen Cooke and head of corporate Frances Murphy are recommended, as is Kathy Hughes, who is noted for her ‘responsiveness and practical advice’. The ‘down-to-earth, practical and business-mindedAndy Ryde also attracts praise.

Allen & Overy LLP’s global footprint and strength in key sectors such as energy and financial services are key draws for its varied client base of multinationals, financial institutions and state-owned enterprises. In 2012, the London corporate team advised on 61 deals with an average value of £418m. Corporate managing partner Richard Browne led a team which advised DS Smith on its €1.7bn acquisition of the packaging division of Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget SCA; and, on the financial services side, Alistair Asher advised HKEx on its £1.4bn acquisition of LME Holdings Limited. Also recommended are global corporate head Andrew Ballheimer, who is ‘one of the smartest and most resourceful M&A lawyers around’; Jeremy Parr, who is appreciated for his ‘hands-on and down-to-earth approach’; and George Knighton.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s 52-partner corporate team is ‘a reliable source of expertise and experience’ for a significant number of FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 clients, giving ‘practical advice that is tailored to the circumstances’. Its recent merger has further enhanced its global footprint, in tandem with new office openings in South Korea, Africa and Germany. Its energy sector credentials came to the fore in 2012, with Simon Tysoe and Stephen Murray leading for CNOOC on the UK and EU aspects of its takeover bid for Canadian oil producer Nexen, which at $15.1bn marked China’s largest-ever foreign takeover to date. Global head of M&A Stephen Wilkinson is ‘a class act, and a go-to person for challenging transactions’. The ‘high-calibre’ James Palmer ‘sees the matter from the client’s perspective’, and Gillian Fairfield is ‘very reliable and professional’. Also recommended are Mark Bardell, who is noted for his Takeover Code expertise; Gareth Roberts; and Greg Mulley.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP’s M&A team has long been one of the top performers in London, which is a hub for the firm’s European mandates. In 2012 it advised on 28 UK M&A deals at an average value of £599m, including acting for AAR on the $28bn sale of 50% of its stake in the TNK-BP joint venture to Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft. Michal Berkner led on that deal, while Michael Hatchard led for NDS Group on its $5bn sale to Cisco Systems. Scott Simpson, Allan Murray-Jones, Shaun Lascelles and Douglas Nordlinger are also recommended.

Ashurst has developed a strong reputation for ‘consistently excellent service levels’, advising a substantial FTSE 250 client base and with strength in sectors such as financial services (where it has made headway among the UK clearing banks), infrastructure, transport and energy. Its recent activity on the public M&A side includes advising William Hill on its £485m bid (alongside GVC Holdings) for Sportingbet and subsequent acquisition of Sportingbet’s Australian and Spanish businesses; Anthony Clare and the ‘extremely easy-to-deal-with’ Jonathan Earle led on the deal. In an indication of its cross-border mining and natural resources capabilities, Nigel Stacey led a team advising Vedanta Resources on Sesa Goa Limited’s $10.3bn acquisition of Sterlite Industries. Global corporate head Stephen Lloyd and Karen Davies are also recommended.

CMS’ 26-partner team is valued for ‘its expertise and common sense, and the quality of its lawyers, who do not over-analyse or deliver in excess of their brief’. The firm’s energy, financial services and TMT sector strengths, combined with its CEE focus and European resources, have led to a flow of sizeable M&A deals as well as mid-market work. It has also focused on tapping into the US market, and in 2012 advised Kennametal Inc on its $354m acquisition of Deloro Stellite Group from Duke Street Capital. Louise Wallace provides ‘great transaction management’, and Sandra Rafferty combines ‘a broad commercial outlook, as well as the strict legal view’. Andrew Sheach and Helen Johnsonboth give considered, practical advice’, and David Day has ‘a very good understanding of the client’s objectives’.

Hogan Lovells International LLP maintains strong footholds in the energy, financial services, insurance and TMT sectors. In an illustration of its ability to handle high-value transactions in highly regulated sectors, Charles Rix and Steven McEwan led for Phoenix Group on the sale of an annuity business to Guardian Assurance Limited. It has also benefited from the appetite for emerging markets transactions, with practice head Andrew Pearson and Maegen Morrison advising on the UK aspects of SABMiller’s acquisition of a minority stake in Turkish brewing group Anadolu Efes. Richard Ufland and Steven Bryan are also recommended. John Allison joined in 2012 from Addleshaw Goddard LLP, adding strength on the financial services side.

Macfarlanes LLP maintains a strong reputation as ‘one of the go-to firms for UK M&A’; it has a ‘high ratio of excellence to total headcount’, and delivers ‘partner-level attention and continuity throughout the deal’. In a reflection of its profile in private equity backed deals, Ian Martin advised Four Seasons Health Care on its £825m acquisition by Terra Firma. Matthew Blows has ‘a great reputation in the private equity space’, and Graham Gibb is ‘an excellent choice for public deals’. Also recommended are John Dodsworth (‘super with hi-tech and similar investments’), Charles Martin, Charles Meek and Stephen Drewitt. James Dawson, who joined from Addleshaw Goddard LLP, combines ‘excellent legal knowledge with a very commercial approach’.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s strength in the energy, mining and natural resources sectors has enabled it to capitalise on the high levels of M&A activity in those sectors. Recent examples include acting for Allied Gold Mining in its £360m merger with gold producer St Barbara Limited; and for Barclays in its £1.3bn combination with Absa Group. Martin Scott heads the EMEA corporate team from London, and is supported by Chris Pearson, Robin Brooks, Chris Grieves, Paul Whitelock and Richard Sheen. Mining and infrastructure specialist Jill Gauntlett is also recommended.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges’ investment in big-ticket M&A continues to pay off. In 2012, the London M&A team was involved in 30 deals with an average value just shy of the £1bn mark, benefiting from the firm’s strong international network and well-established reputation in private equity. Highlights included acting for Access Industries and Renova as part of the AAR consortium selling its 50% stake in TNK-BP to Rosneft, and for longstanding client Lion Capital on its sale of a 60% interest in Weetabix Food Company to China’s Bright Food (Group) for £720m. ‘Seasoned’ practice head Mike Francies leads a team considered ‘a "Quality Street" practice - there’s something for everyone, in all different flavours’. Peter King is also recommended.

Baker & McKenzie LLP is singled out for its ‘excellent global coverage’ and ‘core knowledge of the industrial spaces its clients operate in’; both have been key to maintaining an active presence on international deals in the energy, transport, infrastructure and pharmaceuticals sectors. The firm also has an expanding FTSE 100 client base, with practice head Tim Gee recently advising Carlsberg on its public offer to purchase Baltika Breweries, in a deal worth $1.2bn. Gee is highlighted for his ‘calm, strategic thinking’, and David Allen and Jannan Crozier attract praise for their ‘strong negotiating skills, direct approach and timely responses’. Tim Sheddickknows when to bang the table and when to concede in the interests of reaching the ultimate goal’. Nick O’Donnell is also recommended.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s seven-partner team regularly features on deals around the £1bn mark, thanks in no small part to its global footprint and particular focus on markets such as Russia, the Middle East and Latin America. In 2012, Daniel Braverman acted for Rosneft alongside the firm’s Moscow office on its $55bn acquisition of TNK-BP from BP and AAR. Simon Jay, Michael McDonald and Sam Bagot are also recommended.

Latham & Watkins’ international footprint and dual UK and US law capabilities make it a strong choice for big-ticket deals; in 2012 it advised on 33 UK M&A deals, at an average value of £670m. In addition to advising a roster of high-calibre corporate clients such as Virgin Media and Watson Pharmaceuticals, it has a sizeable private equity client base which includes Carlyle and KKR. In 2012, Michael Bond acted for Watson Pharmaceuticals on its €4.25bn acquisition of the Actavis Group. Nigel Campion-Smith and Graeme Sloan are also recommended, as is Richard Brown, who joined in 2012 from Hogan Lovells International LLP.

Shearman & Sterling LLP’s corporate practice is ‘good at every level, and very good under time pressure’. The team is a regular presence on high-value deals with a cross-border component, and over the course of 2012 handled 15 UK M&A transactions, most of which were above the £1bn mark. Highlights included advising the management of the Actavis Group on its €4.5bn disposal to Watson Pharmaceuticals. Jeremy Kutner led on that deal, and is ‘extremely hardworking, and relentless at getting the deal done without losing sight of the client’s objective’. Practice head Laurence Levy and George Karafotias are also recommended. The team strengthened its private equity capability with the hire of Mark Soundy from Weil, Gotshal & Manges.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is a ‘go-to firm’ for high-end, cross-border M&A, and is a popular choice among European corporates such as AB InBev and Fiat. 2012 saw it act on 18 deals with values around the £1bn mark. Highlights included advising new client CGI Group on its £1.7bn acquisition of Logica; team head Tim Emmerson and Benjamin Perry led on that deal, and are recommended alongside Nikolaos Andronikos and Richard Morrissey.

An excellent choice for high-value, complex transactions’, Travers Smith LLP corporate team is ‘a real partner in any deal’. It is a regular presence on £1bn-plus deals, and in 2012 Chris Hale advised the senior management of NDS Group on its $5bn sale to Cisco systems. Practice head Spencer Summerfield has ‘a very keen intellect, excellent negotiating skills, and an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law’. The ‘totally unflappableRichard Spedding is also recommended.

King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin’s ‘dedicated team of corporate lawyers’ provides an ‘extremely good service that is both technical and timely’. It is a particularly strong choice for transactions in the music, retail and corporate real estate sectors; in 2012 it advised key private equity client Terra Firma on its £3.2bn acquisition of Annington homes from Nomura, and Universal Music Group on its £487m sale of Parlophone Records to Warner Music Group. William Holder, who led on that deal with Mark Sanders, is ‘a good strategic thinker who instinctively knows what the important points are’. Practice head Steven Davis and Ed Harris are also recommended. The arrival of Alex Woodfield from Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP brings expertise in CIS oil and gas matters.

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP’s strength in private equity very much informs its London-based M&A offering. It acted on 25 UK deals in 2012 with a total value of £13.4bn, including advising Vista Equity Partners on its $600m acquisition of the TROY trade and risk management software business from Thomson Reuters, and the subsequent combination of Misys and TROY through a £1.27bn take-private of Misys. Graham White and Gavin Gordon led on the deal and are recommended.

Mayer Brown International LLP’s dual UK and US platform in London maintained a strong deal flow in 2012, with most of its transactional mandates emanating from the upper mid-market. Highlights included advising Entertainment One on the £144m acquisition of Alliance Films. Energy and media specialist Robert Hamill led on that deal, and is recommended alongside public M&A expert Kate Ball-Dodd;David Bates, who is recommended for general corporate and telecoms deals; and practice head Peter Dickinson. William Charnley joined King & Spalding International LLP in 2012.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP has a global reputation for private equity, where it is widely considered a ‘market leader’, with ‘in-depth knowledge of the deal market in which its clients operate’. As part of this, the London M&A team, which acted on 16 deals with an average value of £1.2bn in 2012, advises private equity heavyweights such as KKR, Apax Partners and Blackstone, recently advising the last on its acquisition of Intertrust Group and related financing. Gregory Conway and Michael Wolfson are recommended, as is Adam Signy, who is ‘among the best London has to offer’. Derek Baird’s arrival from Allen & Overy LLP adds further transactional capability.

In addition to its international strengths, White & Case LLP is increasingly a ‘preferred pick for UK M&A’. The London team draws on ‘decades of transactional experience’, and is regularly instructed on high-value deals in the financial services sector, with 2012 no different; highlights included advising Dexia on its €2.8bn sale of Denizbank (Turkey’s sixth-largest private bank) to Russia’s Sberbank. Philip Broke and Gavin Weir are ‘extremely professional’, and ‘contribute significantly to the projects they work on’. ‘Brilliant M&A lawyer’ David Crook and practice head Ashley Ballard are also recommended.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP’s popularity among the FTSE 100 means it regularly features on high-value transactions, particularly in the financial services and retail/consumer sectors. In 2012 it acted for Barclays Bank on its acquisition of ING’s UK online banking business, which included a £10.9bn deposit book and £5.6bn mortgage book. Andrew Rosling heads a sizeable corporate team in London, which includes Tim Field, who provides ‘good advice in tricky negotiations’.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s corporate team has ‘the know-how to navigate tricky issues, and is sensible on fees’. In addition to its strong mid-market offering, the firm continues to break into higher-value transactions, thanks in part to its hire of Magic Circle veterans such as David Barnes, who arrived in 2012 following his retirement from Linklaters LLP. David Collins heads the 23-partner team, which includes the ‘responsive and knowledgeableAlex Latner. In 2012, Raymond McKeeve and Michael Weir advised the management of Mercury Pharma on its £465m secondary buyout by Cinven. Rob Salter left in 2013 to join DLA Piper UK LLP.

With over 150 corporate lawyers spread across its UK network, DLA Piper UK LLP’s ‘high-quality’ practice regularly outperforms the rest of the market in terms of volume of transactions handled, advising on 97 UK M&A deals in 2012. UK corporate head Robert Bishop and Jon Kenworthy advised Discovery Communications on its acquisition of ProSiebenSat.1 Group’s Nordic operations. Bishop is a ‘top-quality M&A negotiator’.

Jones Day’s London-based corporate team is ‘extremely good at what it does’, with a focus on complex, high-value domestic and cross-border M&A transactions. Completing 59 transactions with a combined value of $9.2bn in 2012, its highlights included advising Standard Bank on the proposed sale of Standard Bank Argentina to Industrial and Commercial Bank of China for $600m. Practice head Giles Elliott leads the team, which includes ‘class actJohn Phillips and Julian Runnicles, who has ‘a good sense of what is market standard for terms’. The team expanded at senior level with several promotions and the hire of Dan Coppel, Drew Salvest and Sumesh Sawhney from Dewey & LeBeouf LLP, Mayer Brown International LLP and Clifford Chance respectively.

King & Spalding International LLP’s emerging markets focus and strength in the energy and natural resources sector ensured a steady flow of high-value transactions in 2012. It also expanded its profile in the pharmaceutical sector, advising new client GlaxoSmithKline on its £200m acquisition of prescription medicine brand Toctino from Brasilea Pharmaceutica. The ‘excellent’ six-partner practice includes energy expert John Keffer and William Charnley, who joined from Mayer Brown International LLP. Senior associate Marcus Young is noted for his ‘ability to focus on the most important aspects of the deal’.

Simmons & Simmons has ‘real experience across the team, and is not afraid to do what it takes to get the deal across the line’. Its strength in sectors including financial services, TMT, life sciences, energy and infrastructure makes for a flow of transactions from clients such as Telefónica and AnaCap Financial Partners. In 2012 it acted for Veolia Environnement on the €1.45bn disposal of its UK-based regulated water business to Rift Acquisitions Limited. The ‘resilient, professional and tactfulCharles Mayo is recommended along with TMT expert Andrew McMillan, who has ‘a great ability to systematically manage and advance negotiations’.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s dual US and UK law capability in London, and its strong presence in Russia and the CIS means it is a regular presence on multibillion-dollar mandates. In an illustration of its ability to leverage a strong Russian client base and energy capability, Steve Blakeley advised longstanding client Renova as part of the AAR consortium which sold its stake in TNK-BP to Rosneft for $28bn. The team also has notable TMT credentials.

Covington & Burling LLP has particular expertise in the life sciences and luxury brands sectors. Peter Laveran-Stiebar and James Halstead advised Merck & Co and Schering-Plough on their post-merger integration; and Kristian Wiggert acted for IMS Consulting Group on its acquisition of HedgeOp Compliance LLC. Practice head Paul Claydon is also recommended.

The team at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP leverages the firm’s strong insurance sector credentials, and provides UK Takeover Code advice to a large client base of Russian corporates. In 2012, Geoffrey Burgess advised AIG on its sale of a majority stake in International Lease Finance Corporation. Practice head Jeremy Hill is also recommended.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s technology sector highlights included advising Investcorp on its acquisition of GL Education Group, a provider of non-regulated pupil and school assessment solutions for primary and secondary schools. Nick Tomlinson, who relocated to London from Dubai, advised TMK Group on its acquisition of a stake in Gulf International Pipe Industry. Jeffery Roberts and James Barabas are also recommended.

Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP’s London-based corporate team regularly has a hand in high-value, cross-border M&A. It advised AB Volvo in the divestment of its Volvo Aero business by way of a competitive auction to GKN; and, in an indication of its ability to leverage a strong US capability, advised Justice Holdings Limited on its acquisition of Burger King Worldwide Holdings. Paul Maher and Fiona Adams are recommended.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP continues to capitalise on its strength in the financial services and energy sectors. Stuart Harray and James Cameron advised Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation on its $7.3bn acquisition of RBS Aviation Capital, which was the largest aviation sector M&A transaction of 2012. The hire of ‘excellent adviser’ Mark Stamp from Linklaters LLP gives the firm additional retail sector expertise.

Since opening its doors in London in 2010, Ropes & Gray LLP has built a core team of M&A specialists in the healthcare, financial services and private equity sectors. In an illustration of its ability to leverage the wider firm’s global client base, it advised BlackRock in its strategic purchase of Swiss Re’s private equity and infrastructure funds of funds business. Will Rosen is recommended.

Sidley Austin LLP made a serious bid to expand its UK law capability with the hire of Stephen Blackshaw from Linklaters LLP and Mark Thompson from King & Spalding International LLP. Blackshaw co-heads the group with US-qualified Thomas Thesing, who provides ‘excellent guidance in contract negotiations’. With these new hires came new client wins such as Och-Ziff and Heineken. In 2012, Jonathan Wallace advised Wood Creek Capital Management on its purchase of a shared infrastructure solutions provider.

Vinson & Elkins RLLP’s M&A practice, under Jeff Eldredge, has a particular leaning towards energy sector and telecoms transactions for investment funds. François Feuillat led a team advising Helios Natural Resources on its equity investment in Eland Oil and Gas.

M&A: mid-market, £50m-£250m

Index of tables

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

Dentons’ ‘responsive and thorough’ corporate practice attracts praise for its ability to ‘digest and apply foreign legal concepts to deals’. It has been particularly active in emerging markets deals in the telecoms and energy sectors, and in 2012 advised Virgin Group on a strategic partnership agreement to merge its South African mobile telecoms business with Middle East telecoms operator FRiENDi Group. The 16-partner group is headed by Richard Barham, and includes Jeremy Cohen and Neil Nicholson.

Eversheds LLP advised on 69 UK deals with a combined value of £6.5bn, placing it among the five most active firms in the UK in terms of volume of transactions. In 2012 it acted for a global technology company on its acquisition of UK-registered NDS. Practice head Keith Froud leads a 15-partner London team, which includes Robin Johnson, who ‘always ensures he has a clear understanding of what the client is looking to achieve from any transaction’.

Among the highlights for Iain Newman’s team at Nabarro LLP, Graham Stedman led the advice to Sportingbet on its £485m acquisition by William Hill and GVC Holdings. The practice benefits from a strong regional footprint.

Olswang LLP advised on 48 deals with a combined value of £1.4bn in 2012, many of them in the firm’s core areas of media, technology and retail. Highlights included acting for Reed Business Information Limited on the £110m sale of online recruitment business Totaljobs Group to Stepstone. Practice head Fabrizio Carpanini and David Roberts are recommended.

Osborne Clarke combines ‘strong technical legal skills’ with ‘commercial understanding and pragmatism’, and has ‘incredible strength in the marketing services sector’, where it advised on 50 deals in 2012 alone. Highlights included acting for the shareholders of BBH on the £200m disposal of its remaining stake in Publicis. Practice head Ray Berg is highly recommended.

Pinsent Masons LLP has particular strength in the energy, mining and natural resources sectors, where it acts for a large number of FTSE corporates. It completed 67 UK deals in 2012 with a total value of £2.3bn, including advising IP Group on the sale of AIM-quoted Proximagen to USL Pharma International UK Limited. Andrew Masraf leads the team, which includes the ‘superbRob Hutchings. Jonathan Beastall joined from Clifford Chance, and Louise Wolfson and Robert Moir joined from Allen & Overy LLP.

Squire Sanders LLP’s London-based corporate team is increasingly seeing the benefits of the firm’s US footprint and the acquisitiveness of US corporates. In 2012, Giles Distin and practice head James McKay assisted US-based Cytec Industries on its £274m takeover of UK-based Umeco.

Bird & Bird LLP’s ‘superb’ corporate practice stands out for the strength of its focus on the media, technology, telecoms and energy sectors, and it has a growing cross-border workload. Neil Blundell advised Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company on a deal involving the transfer of all the assets and liabilities of a Northern Ireland based subsidiary into its Dutch parent company.

Dechert LLP’s ‘top-quality’ corporate team ‘strikes the right balance between legal and commercial advice’. Its roster of US corporate and investment fund clients, including Legg Mason and CBS Corporation, draw on its dual UK and US law capability for domestic and cross-border transactions. Highlights included advising High Grade Minerals on its disposal of 25% of Samref Overseas to Glencore International for $480m. Douglas Getter leads the team, which includes Jonathan Angell, who provides ‘legal advice that is anchored in commerciality’.

Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP has long had a focus on the telecoms and energy sectors, where it is noted as providing advice that is ‘always informed, legally exacting, and pragmatic’ to a client base that includes Gazprom and the BBC. In 2012, Tim Bee led a team advising Adeptra on its sale to FICO for $115m. Practice head Andrew Blankfield is ‘firm in explaining his advice, but has the corporate savvy to know when to push and when to yield’. Corporate finance partner Christine Phillips ‘pulls out all the stops to get the deal done’.

McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP’s clients appreciate the corporate team’s ‘sensitivity to cost issues, without sacrificing legal competence or diligence’, and its focus on emerging markets. Nick Azis advised Olam International Limited, which is listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange, on several transactions including its $170m acquisition of OK Foods Group. Practice head Hugh Nineham and Mark Crofskey are also recommended.

RPC’s ‘excellent’ transactional practice was further strengthened by the hire of Maurice Dwyer, Richard Haywood and David Marshall from Wragge & Co LLP, and Charlotte Taggart, formerly GC at insurance brokerage firm Lockton International. The growth in the team reflects the growth in the transactional practice as a whole, with the team seeing a substantial number of cross-border deals as well as mid-market work from its client base of FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 corporates. In the insurance sector, James Mee and David Wallis advised ANV on a $250m investment by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan into the company.

Reed Smith LLP attracts praise for its ‘appropriate and timely advice, tailored to clients ’ needs’, and stands out for its core focus on the natural resources sector. Philip Taylor acted for Vale on the $160m sale of its European manganese ferroalloys operations to subsidiaries of Glencore International. David Boutcher ‘takes care to ensure that the client is kept abreast of the work being done’, and Peter Teare is ‘an excellent attorney with a strong working knowledge of international law’. Practice head James Wilkinson is also recommended.

Stephenson Harwood’s corporate team attracts praise for its ‘keen ability to focus on the heart of the issue without losing sight of the impact of peripheral matters’. It continues to expand, with Tom Nicholls joining from Lawrence Graham LLP, adding expertise in energy and natural resources to a team already known for its energy, transportation, financial services and consumer sector expertise. In 2012 it acted for Macquarie Investment Bank on its acquisition of a rolling stock leasing business from Lloyds Banking Group. Group head Duncan Stiles has ‘an excellent understanding of how to deliver cross-border services’.

Taylor Wessing LLP focuses on technology, private capital and corporate real estate, and gives ‘practical and actionable advice tied to the business realities of the matter at hand’. It made a number of strategic hires in 2012, including Mike Turner from Osborne Clarke, Russell Holden from Nabarro LLP, James Goold from Jones Day, and Edward Waldron from Eversheds LLP. Deal highlights included Rutland Partners’ acquisition of Pizza Hut’s UK dine-in restaurant business from Yum! Brands Inc.

Wragge & Co LLP saw its former corporate head Maurice Dwyer, London managing partner Richard Haywood, and David Marshall all leave to join RPC in 2012. David Vaughan now heads the corporate finance group, which acted for Ingemino Finance II Limited on its acquisition of Trimega Laboratories.

Clyde & Co LLP’s corporate team has a particular focus on the insurance sector, and in 2012 advised London-based insurance broker THB Group on its sale to Taurus Acquisition Limited. Other sector strengths include transport, natural resources and financial services.

Holman Fenwick Willan LLP’s cross-border footprint and its focus on the energy and insurance sectors saw it act on several transactions above the billion-pound mark in 2012. Highlights included advising the purchaser and a consortium of investors on the buyout of CFC Underwriting from its parent, Hyperion Group. Alistair Mackie’s team saw further growth with the hire of James Lewis and Robert Finney, formerly of Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, and Alex Kyriakoulis, who joined from Clifford Chance.

Paul Tetlow’s 15-partner team at K&L Gates LLP delivers a ‘uniformly responsive service, and strong business acumen across the board’ to a client base with a strong international dimension. In 2012 it advised Hitachi Consulting on its acquisition of Celerant Consulting Investments Limited. Tetlow and Carl Liederman are singled out for their ‘willingness to offer a rounded view of the transaction’. Kevin Dean is ‘a great negotiator to have in tough situations’, and Thomas Sibert is ‘a brilliant draftsman’. Howard Kleiman is also recommended.

Increasingly visible on cross-border deals, Lawrence Graham LLP’s corporate practice recently advised AIM-listed Cove Energy on its takeover by PTTEP Africa Investment Limited. Geoff Gouriet led on the deal, and is ‘a clear thinker, and effective problem solver’.

Jo Evans leads the ten-partner team at Lewis Silkin LLP, which has strong media sector credentials, and is noted for its ability to ‘accurately process detailed documentation in a timely manner, and assist at a strategic level’. In 2012 it advised Publicis Groupe on its £100m acquisition of BBH Holdings. Philip Lamb is ‘approachable, practical and overall a pleasure to work with’. Fergus Payne is ‘calm, efficient and responsive’.

With its focus on private capital, real estate and retail, Mishcon de Reya saw a healthy pipeline of deals throughout 2012, including advising Fleurette Properties Limited on the $550m disposal of its interest in Camrose Resources Limited. Nick Davis heads the practice. Private equity specialists Simon Sale and Nadim Meer joined from Dundas & Wilson LLP in 2013.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP remained active in its core sectors of hotels and leisure, logistics, social care and real estate. The team also benefited from the firm’s expansion into Asia, with 2012 seeing practice head Michael Pattinson lead for Malaysian fund management company Permodalan Nasional Berhad on its £318m acquisition of One Silk Street Property Limited from Beacon Capital Partners.

Arnold & Porter (UK) LLP’s mid-market transactional activity centres around the firm’s life sciences, technology and retail sector capabilities. In 2012 it advised NASDAQ-listed Numerex Corp on its investment in a UK telecoms company, and its proposed purchase of a division from BT. Jeremy Willcocks heads the team.

Highlights for Simon Gilbert’s 24-partner team at Charles Russell LLP included advising Toronto TSX-listed CIC Energy Corp on the English law aspects of its merger with Jindal Steel & Power (Mauritius) Limited. In addition to its energy and cleantech sector strengths, the firm also has a strong roster of TMT and life sciences clients.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP’s Hilary Winter has ‘a wonderful combination of charm and ruthless ability; she is an uncompromisingly dedicated, unquestionably experienced and, in all, a thoroughly capable and talented lawyer’. She leads a seven-partner team with a strong profile in the technology and financial institutions sectors. In 2012 it advised Canal Plus, a subsidiary of Vivendi, on its acquisition of N-Vision BV.

Paul Hastings LLP attracts praise for its ability to ‘keep track of all the moving parts of a transaction’. In 2012 it advised new client Samsung Electronics on its acquisition of the mobile connectivity and location development operations of London-listed CSR. Ronan O’Sullivan leads the three-partner practice, which includes Ross McNaughton, who has ‘very good knowledge of how to head off potential issues’.

Reflecting the firm’s strengths in maritime, energy and natural resources, and telecoms, Watson, Farley & Williams LLP’s highlights included advising Höegh LNG on the $20m sale of its Port Meridian terminal project in the UK. Chris Kilburn heads the team, which includes Jan Mellman and Mark Tooke.

Baker Botts (UK) LLP’s ‘highly professional’ London corporate team works closely with colleagues in Moscow to provide English law expertise to a strong Russian client base, including Gazprombank. Sector strengths include TMT; Neil Foster led for Creative Technology on its sale of ZiiLABS Limited and the licensing of IP to Intel Corporation for $50m. Foster is noted for his ‘focused advice’.

Emerging markets work continued to drive Chadbourne & Parke LLP’s transactional activity in 2012. Highlights included advising Horizon Capital on its acquisition of a minority stake in Ukraine-based IT company Ciklum, led by Charez Golvala. Martin Thomas and Dearbhla Quigley combine ‘lucid intellect with restless energy’.

Dundas & Wilson LLP has seen a number of departures from its corporate team, including private equity specialists Simon Sale and Nadim Meer, who joined Mishcon de Reya. Practice head Wendy Colquhoun and Douglas Land remain, and were joined in 2012 by corporate finance partner Ted Harrison from Stephenson Harwood.

Morgan Lewis LLP’s five-partner team delivers ‘sound legal advice tempered with the business and deal experience to yield very positive results’. It is particularly active in energy-related deals in emerging markets, and in 2012 advised MOL Hungarian Oil and Gas in its joint venture with KazMunaiGas Exploration Production. Amy Comer, who led on the deal, joined in 2012 with Olivier Chambord from Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP. The ‘extraordinaryIain Wright is also recommended.

Morrison & Foerster (UK) LLP is considered a go-to firm for mid-market deals in the technology, life sciences, and oil and gas sectors. In 2012 it acted for IGas Energy on its acquisition of PR Singleton Limited from Providence Resources. Ed Lukins leads the team, which includes the ‘pragmatic and commercial’ Justin Stock.

Steptoe & Johnson completed ten deals in 2012, in areas such as manufacturing, retail, technology and real estate. Highlights included advising Illinois Tool Works on the UK aspects of the sale of its paint finishing business to Graco. Michael Thompson heads the three-partner team, which also has a growing emerging markets focus.

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP maintains its focus on the life sciences, TMT and aviation sectors, handling a healthy flow of cross-border transactions. In 2012 it acted for cloud-based payment provider Bottomline Technologies on its acquisition of Albany Software Limited. Joe Pillman led on that deal, and is recommended alongside Michael Holter and Tim Corbett.

Winston & Strawn London’s Zoe Ashcroft is ‘a very well-rounded lawyer who can handle both banking and corporate work’. The firm attracts a significant flow of oil and gas related mandates, with particular strength in Africa work. Andrei Yakovlev, who divides his time between London and Moscow, joined from pre-merger Norton Rose LLP.

Bingham McCutchen (London) LLP’s focus on distressed M&A continued to pay dividends in 2012, with John Clark and Vance Chapman representing the ad hoc committee of senior secured noteholders in the restructuring of Wind Hellas via its sale to a newly incorporated SPV.

2012 saw Dickson Minto WS advise AG Barr on its proposed merger with Britvic.

Highlights for Dorsey & Whitney’s seven-partner group included acting for Quindell Portfolio on its acquisition of The Compensation Lawyers Limited. Practice head Mark Taylor is recommended.

Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP’s historic strength in the insurance sector is supplemented by expertise in financial services, TMT and life sciences transactions. In 2012 it advised Citibank International on the sale of its UK and Ireland Diners Club card businesses. Practice head David Rammunderstands the core issues and risks of a transaction’.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (London) LLP provides dual UK and US law capability, with Jerry Walter leading the team. Goldman Sachs is a longstanding client.

The team at McGuireWoods London LLP leverages the firm’s US footprint to handle a range of mid-market transactions. In 2012 it combined with colleagues in the US to advise Schlumberger on the sale of Wilson Distribution Group to National Oilwell Vasco. Simon Cox joined the team from pre-merger Norton Rose LLP in 2012.

The team at O'Melveny & Myers LLP regularly handles transactional work for its core client base of private equity funds.

Highlights for Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP’s team included assisting SRA Shipping with its investment into Kingfish do Brasil. James Campbell heads the team.

M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m

Index of tables

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

Boodle Hatfield LLP handles a broad range of small and mid-market transactions for a mix of international corporates, private companies and funders, which it added to in 2012 with gains such as The Telegraph Media Group and Titon Holdings. It also has an Anglo-German focus, through the ‘efficient, service-orientedUte Mueller and Bernd Ratzke. In 2012, Ratzke acted for the management team on AAC Capital’s sale of the Volution Group to funds advised by Towerbrook Capital Partners, which was structured as a £163m debt/equity deal.

Bristows’ transactional activity is focused on the TMT, life sciences and food and drinks sectors, where it represents multinationals such as Diageo as well as SMEs and entrepreneurs. In 2012 it acted for FTSE 100 advertising and media company WPP on its acquisition of digital advertising company Fortune Cookie. Practice head Mark Hawes is recommended.

Burges Salmon LLP attracts praise for its ‘strong understanding of the client’s needs, and its good legal knowledge’. Its blue-chip client base includes food and drinks companies such as Arla Milk Link, and transport companies such as FirstGroup. In 2012 it advised the latter client on its disposal of several bus operations around the UK. Richard Spink has recently taken over from Chris Godfrey as head of the practice.

With a focus on the insurance and technology sectors, DAC Beachcroft LLP completed 37 deals in 2012 with a combined value approaching £500m. Highlights included advising Groupama on its disposal of a medical insurance business to Simplyhealth. Laurence Markham leads the team, which includes financial services specialist Nick Gibbon and recruitment expert Steven Raize.

Farrer & Co’s corporate team is ‘responsive, commercial and easy to work with’. While the lion’s share of transactions it handles fall in the £5m to £50m bracket, it regularly demonstrates its ability to attract instructions beyond that market. Anthony Turner is ‘responsive, and has a positive attitude’, and Jai Bal is ‘very good’. Simon Ward is also recommended, for his ‘organisation, and his clear and calm head’.

Nothing is too much trouble’ for Fasken Martineau LLP’s corporate team, which is highlighted for its ‘total commitment to the client, and its depth of resources’. With particular strength in the life sciences arena, it recently advised longstanding client Alliance Pharma on several acquisitions, including its acquisition of Opus Group Holdings. Nigel Gordon heads the team, which includes the ‘practical and outcome-focusedChris Chrysanthou.

Highlights for Fladgate LLP’s transactional practice included acting for academic publisher Taylor and Francis Group on its acquisition of Hachette UK’s health science and higher education portfolios. Grant Gordon heads the 14-partner team.

Forsters LLP comes ‘highly recommended for instances where clients require a high-end boutique offering with an international flavour’, and acts for clients such as British Airways Pension Fund and Soho House. In 2012 it advised Knight Dragon Limited on its acquisition of a 60% stake in Peninsula Regeneration Limited. Practice head Craigie Pearson balances ‘immense legal knowledge with a commercial viewpoint’.

Harbottle & Lewis LLP’s technology and media focus saw it advise Forward Internet Group Limited on its acquisition of a stake in Factory Media Limited, Europe’s largest action sports media owner. Tim Parker heads the five-partner team.

Highlights for Ince & Co’s shipping, insurance, energy and aviation-focused corporate team included advising Epic Shipping (BVI) Limited on its merger with Pantheon Shipping Group and New Capital Investment. Stephen Jarvis leads the six-partner team. Tanya Nash and Richard Britain joined from Dentons and Clyde & Co LLP respectively.

The team at Kemp Little LLP focuses on technology and digital media, and ‘excels by virtue of the quality of work and advice’. In 2012 it assisted digital agency AKQA on its sale to WPP. Practice head Charles Claisse is ‘an excellent technical lawyer who brings a commercial view to tricky issues’. The ‘exceptional’ Glafkos Tombolis joined in 2012 from Charles Russell LLP.

Manches LLP has notable strength in the retail sector, and recently advised Rosemex Trading Limited on its acquisition of the fashion retail clothing business of Rowland Clothing Limited (in administration). Matthew Martin’s team was joined by Jonathan Snade from Pinsent Masons LLP.

Marriott Harrison LLP’s nine-partner practice has ‘excellent commercial acumen’, and is ‘good value for money’. Its client base includes AIM-listed companies, as well as media-focused private equity and venture capital sponsors. In 2012 it advised Coolabi Limited on its acquisition of children’s book publisher Working Partners Limited/Beast Quest Limited. Jonathan Pearce is recommended.

As well as being active in the sub-£50m bracket, Angus Rollo’s team at Shepherd and Wedderburn attracts a healthy flow of mid-market transactions in the energy and financial services sectors, recently acting for Cairn Energy on its £414m recommended takeover of Nautical Petroleum.

Speechly Bircham LLP continues to attract deals beyond its traditional sub-£50m market, with 2012 seeing it act for longstanding client Countryside Property Group on its acquisition by Oaktree Capital Management. Tom Shaw leads a 12-partner group.

Bates Wells Braithwaite’s transactional practice focuses on small to mid-cap clients in the technology, media and financial services sectors, and has been increasingly active advising non-profit clients, recently assisting NUS Services Limited on its acquisition of Epona Limited. Mark Tasker leads a ‘tightly knit’ team whose advice is ‘always clear and comprehensive’.

Bircham Dyson Bell acted on deals worth a combined £370m in 2012, a number of them above the £50m mark. John Turnbull leads the four-partner team, which has particular strength in the healthcare sector.

Martin Kay heads the London M&A team at Blake Lapthorn, which advised Kedleston Holdings Limited on its £70m structured MBO of its Kedleston Schools group.

The team at Bryan Cave leverages the firm’s US network to handle sizeable transactions in the mining and natural resources sectors, in addition to deals in the sub-£50m bracket. In 2012 it advised Sylvania Platinum Limited on the £16.7m sale to Mercury Recycling Group of prospecting rights and future iron ore mining rights in Limpopo, South Africa. Robert Wieder leads the team.

With a focus on SMEs and owner-managed businesses, Collyer Bristow LLPconsistently delivers in terms of commercial advice and deal management’. In 2012 it advised the administrator on the £6.5m sale of Twickenham Film Studios. Nick Gould is valued for his ‘pragmatic approach and breadth of experience’.

With longstanding strength in the media sector, Davenport Lyons recently acted for Ian Allan Publishing Limited on the £3.8m disposal of its magazine division. Alon Domb heads the practice.

Faegre Baker Daniels’ London-based corporate team benefits from the wider firm’s US footprint, recently acting for Graco Inc on its acquisition of the global finishing businesses of Illinois Tool Works and subsequent group restructuring. Paul Finlan leads the team.

Fox Williams LLP’s corporate practice, led by Paul Osborne, rates ‘very highly for its excellent response times and its long-term strategic view’. A large proportion of its deals centre around the technology and digital sectors, with 2012 highlights including advising the shareholders of Citation Holdings Limited on its sale to private equity firm ECI Partners. Douglas Preececan always be relied on to provide timely and solid advice irrespective of how unreasonable the deadlines might be’.

Newly merged firm HowardKennedyFsi marries Finers Stephen Innocent LLP’s retail sector strength with Howard Kennedy’s track record in corporate real estate; the latter firm in 2012 advised Springer Science+Business Media on the non-US law aspects of its acquisition of Wolters Kluwer’s global pharma marketing and publishing services division. Michael Harris heads the practice.

Irwin Mitchell fields ‘a small transactional team that is highly responsive and expedites deals quickly and satisfactorily’. It advised IFG Group on the £70m sale of its offshore trust business to AnaCap. Practice head Andrew Woolf is ‘valued as highly for his deal tactics as for his legal input’.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP has a particular focus on the financial services sector, and in 2012 acted for online foreign currency exchange broker HiFX plc on its MBO. Wayne O’Neil heads the team.

Memery Crystal LLP’s ‘strong team’ provides advice that is ‘always commercial, practical and pragmatic’. In a highlight deal showcasing the team’s ability to handle cross-border deals, it advised AIM-listed MDM Engineering Group on its sale to Australia-based Sedgman Limited. Greg Scott gives ‘excellent advice’.

Penningtons Solicitors LLP acts for a number of FTSE and AIM clients, including Tate & Lyle. In 2012 it advised BRITA on its acquisition of a stake in Vivreau Limited. Practice head James Klein provides ‘exactly what an in-house GC needs’.

In 2012, PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal LLP advised HTG Ventures AG on the sale of a 90% stake in the RunningBall group. It has particular strength representing management on deals. Alistair Hogarth leads the team.

Rosenblatt’s corporate team acted for the shareholders of Net Media Planet Limited on the sale of the company to Incubeta Holdings. Ian Rosenblatt is the key figure.

Geraldine Fabre* is recommended at Thomas Eggar incorporating Pritchard Englefield; she is ‘pragmatic and proactive, and a dealmaker’. *Geraldine Fabre is now at Russell Cooke LLP.

Wallace LLP handles a range of transactions for an SME client base. In 2012 it advised Cadis Software Limited on the sale of the company to Markit Group Limited. David Judah heads the team.

Wedlake Bell LLP expanded its corporate capacity through its merger with Cumberland Ellis and the hire of leisure and hospitality specialist Julian Mathews from Dundas & Wilson LLP. Highlights for Janice Wall’s ‘exceptionally diligent’ team included advising Illumina on its acquisition of BlueGnome Limited.

Withers LLP has a strong profile in the luxury brands sector, and in 2012 advised longstanding client Christopher Kane on an investment by PPR. Ben Simpson heads the team, which is increasingly focusing on cross-border transactions.

Adams & Remers advised Ikon Science Limited on its acquisition of JRS Petroleum Research in 2012. Matthew Searle has recently left for Gunnercooke LLP.

Though only established in 2009, Candey LLP has built up a solid corporate team, and added to this further with the arrival of Andrew Bretherton from Edwin Coe LLP. Clients include AIM-listed biotech company Proteome Sciences.

Druces LLP advised on 35 deals in 2012, with a combined value over £380m. Highlights included acting on the sale of a medical calibration and testing organisation to Dental Buying Group. Christopher Axfordgets the job done’.

Highlights for Edwin Coe LLP’s ‘excellent’ corporate practice included advising Stratex International on its £40m disposal of a JV interest to Centerra Gold in Turkey. Russel Shear combines ‘a depth of knowledge with the ability to relay that knowledge to non-lawyers’.

Goodman Derrick LLP expanded its corporate offering in 2012 with the hire of Edward Hoare, Simon McLeod and Paul Webb, from Charles Russell LLP, Bird & Bird LLP and Taylor Wessing LLP respectively. It recently advised Titan International on its £118m takeover of Titan Europe.

Hamlins LLP handles sub-£50m transactions for a media-focused client base. Daniel Bellau is the figure to note.

Keystone Law’s SME and entrepreneur-focused transactional practice saw a number of new arrivals in 2012. Geoffrey Pickerill is ‘first class on company structures and ownership’.

SGH Martineau LLP combines ‘the breadth of service of a large firm with the customer care and attention to detail of a small firm’. In 2012 it acted for the shareholders of Amberwell Holdings Limited on its sale to Tyco. Emma Shipp provides ‘fantastic service to her clients’.

Simons Muirhead & Burton advises media and technology clients such as Time Out Group on transactions in the sub-£50m bracket. Simon Goldberg heads the team.

Media specialist Wiggin LLP is ‘excellent in all areas’. Highlights included acting for the shareholders of Left Bank Pictures on its sale to Sony Pictures. Practice co-head Adrian Jones is ‘superb’.


Index of tables

  1. Partnership
  2. Leading individuals

Addleshaw Goddard LLPstands out’ among its peers, and delivers a ‘stunning service experience’. A ‘solid and in-depth’ team, it is ‘impressive, as it can cover most bases’ across the full range of contentious and non-contentious matters, including large international mergers. Clients include EC Harris and Baker Tilly. As a former managing partner, department head William Wastieunderstands the reality, not just the theory’; Aster Crawshaw has ‘great technical expertise’; and Jonathan Cheney is ‘unflappable’.

Fox Williams LLP is ‘one of the traditional market leaders’. Tina Williams is ‘undoubtedly and deservedly at the top of the tree for non-contentious matters’, and also has ‘huge ability on the contentious side’. Gavin Foggo is ‘simply one of the best litigators in the business’. The team as a whole ‘impresses with its professionalism, especially when it comes to meeting deadlines on complex matters’, and even smaller clients ‘feel treated as the top priority’ and ‘appreciate the extra hand-holding’. The firm acts for individuals as well as for firms such as Stewarts Law LLP.

At ‘pre-eminent boutiqueMaurice Turnor Gardner LLP, Richard Turnor is ‘rightly regarded as one of the great authorities in this area’, and has ‘real gravitas’. The group has been advising on a number of mergers and demergers of late, as well as providing regulatory advice to global firms. It also advised a family on a partnership structure designed to hold and manage its wealth and also for succession planning purposes. ‘Superb’ associate Corinne Staves is ‘a real gem’.

Specialist boutique CM Murray LLP is a popular choice when it comes to partner or team moves, and partnership litigation. Managing partner Clare Murray is consistently held up as a ‘lawyer of choice’ with a ‘skill set to die for’, and Bettina Bender is ‘extremely charming, efficient and capable’. Susanne Foster is ‘one of those rare senior associates who commands total respect and has real authority’.

Fox is a boutique specialising in acting for both firms and partners on all aspects of partnership law, and is noted for its ‘commercialism’ and ‘value for money’. Principal Ronnie Fox’s ‘experience and reputation are invaluable’, and he is supported by a number of highly rated senior associates, including Dean Fuller and Catriona Watt, who ‘work extremely hard over anti-social hours’, and the ‘exceptional’ Caroline Field.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is appreciated for its ability to ‘tailor its approach to fit a circumstance’. Malcolm Lombers is ‘an excellent corporate and structuring lawyer’, and Alan Watts is ‘a renowned litigator’. PwC and KPMG are key clients of the group, which also has experience in hedge fund disputes.

Lewis Silkin LLP continues to advise individuals and firms in the professional services sector, and recently advised United Agents on converting to an LLP. The group is co-headed by Fergus Payne - ‘a practitioner who is always on top of his subject’, and ‘very experienced on the non-contentious side’ - and disputes expert Clive Greenwood, who is an ‘utter delight to work with’. Miguel Pereira is a ‘much-valued member of the team’.

A recent highlight for Farrer & Co was advising asset management company James Hambro & Partners LLP on its merger with Calkin Pattinson. Key team members include the ‘knowledgeable and charming’ Jonathan Haley and Rachel Lewis, who has ‘thorough knowledge of partnership agreements and their overlap with potential employment claims’. William Dawson heads the professional practices group.

Lynne Abbess at Hempsons is ‘very much "the queen" of medical partnerships’, and ‘understands all the intricacies of this very specialist world’. The team includes Richard Creamer, who is ‘very good on the dental litigation side’. The firm acts for both NHS and private sector clients.

At HowardKennedyFsi, Robert Craig’s team advises clients in relation to partnership restructuring, restrictive covenants and LLP conversions, as well as acting in contentious matters. Jane Amphlett is ‘very good’, and has a particular focus on partner moves.

The team at Kingsley Napley LLP is ‘effective and efficient’, and its advice is ‘clear and concise’. It acts for numerous large partnerships in the accountancy/finance and legal sectors. Adrian Crawford and Keith McAlisterboth have the ability to remain calm and retain a sensible perspective’. Employment head Richard Fox is also recommended.

At RPC, the ‘level of service is exceptional, with no perceived area of weakness’. Geraldine Elliott heads the department, which is equally strong in contentious and non-contentious matters. It recently advised Student Cribs Ltd on partnership and management documentation relating to its £80m fund to purchase student housing. The firm has a niche in tax partnership advice.

Slaughter and May’s practice includes advising on pension funding structures, and it recently advised the trustees of the Severn Trent Pension Scheme on its investment in an asset-backed Scottish Limited Partnership. The firm also advised HM Treasury on the first set of investments made as part of the Business Finance Partnership. Other clients include 3i Group and P2S Media Group. Paul Dickson is the key contact.

Allen & Overy LLP advised BNP Paribas Investment Partners on the sale of Fauchier Partners to the Permal Group. Stephen Mathews is a ‘very bright individual with a startlingly good memory’.

Bates Wells Braithwaite’s Peter Bohm is ‘skilled at crafting unusual clauses, considering the specific needs of his clients, and advising on the options available’. The group’s clients include charities and commercially focused social enterprises.

Bracher Rawlins LLP’s key partner is Andrew Cromby, who has significant experience in partnership disputes.

Bristows is recommended for investment and professional partnership matters, and refinancing and restructuring work. Iain Redford heads the department.

At Olswang LLP, employment partner Melanie Lane is a key contact for advice on the establishment of partnerships, and relationships between partners.

Winckworth Sherwood is ‘highly rated’ for its advice to limited partnerships and individual partners. Jo Keddie is highly recommended.

Private equity: transactions

Index of tables

  1. Private equity: transactions
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

Clifford Chance fields ‘a very strong team’ with the capability to ‘support the client on the most complex transactions’. 2012 saw Simon Tinkler lead the advice to Clayton Dubilier & Rice on its acquisition of a stake in B&M Stores. David Pearson was promoted to head the practice following David Walker’s departure to Latham & Watkins. Amy Mahon is ‘responsive, and focused on getting the transaction done’, and Spencer Baylin, Matthew Layton, Jonny Myers and Kem Ihenacho are also recommended.

2012 saw Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP capitalise on its strong relationships with CVC Capital Partners, Warburg Pincus, Advent International and Cinven. Practice head Adrian Maguire led the advice to Cinven and BCV Investments on the sale of Avio’s Italian civil and military aircraft propulsion components and systems business to GE for €3.3bn. Also recommended are global financial investors group head David Higgins, Christopher Bown, Patrick Ko, Laurie McFadden and David Sonter.

Highly expert in the field of private equity’, Ashurst’s depth of experience across a range of sectors has assisted it in maintaining a healthy deal flow in challenging market conditions, with cross-border work a particular area of activity. Highlights included acting for Doughty Hanson on its acquisition of USP Hospitales, Spain’s third-largest hospital operator, from Barclays and RBS. Practice head Bruce Hanton and Mark Sperotto are ‘highly experienced in the field’, and David Carter is also recommended.

Linklaters LLP delivers ‘an exceptional service to clients’, who value ‘the time the firm takes to get to know the business and understand what is important to the client’. Practice co-heads Ian Bagshaw* (‘the most commercially minded and practical lawyer you’ll come across’) and Richard Youle* have built up ‘a dedicated team of hardworking lawyers’ whose buyout expertise is supplemented by strong banking, restructuring and high-yield capabilities. In 2012 the firm advised Montagu Private Equity LLP on its acquisition of the College of Law from the Legal Education Foundation. The newly promoted Alex Woodward is ‘extremely commercial’. *Ian Bagshaw and Richard Youle are now with White & Case LLP.

Travers Smith LLP is widely considered ‘firm of choice for mid-market private equity transactions’, and has a ‘commercial approach and incredible expertise in the private equity arena’. With ten partners and 40 other fee-earners, it is one of the largest dedicated private equity teams in London. Highlights included advising 3i Group on its investment in a consortium to buy Networks Finland and Heat Finland from Vattenfall Group. Philip Sanderson heads the practice, which includes the ‘commercially strongChris Hale and Helen Croke, who ‘always picks up on key issues’. Paul Dolman is ‘highly experienced, commercial and personable’.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges’ private equity practice attracts praise for its ‘very strong team and first-rate client service’, and its ability to work across fund formation, financing, high yield and other transactional matters. In 2012 it acted for new client CVC Capital Partners on its £537m acquisition of Cunningham Lindsey. Michael Francies is ‘a first-class PE lawyer’, and is recommended alongside Marco Compagnoni and the newly promoted Samantha McGonigle, who is ‘robust in negotiations, and gives a great level of client service’. Mark Soundy joined Shearman & Sterling LLP.

Despite the departure of Derek Baird to join Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, Allen & Overy LLP retains a prominent position in the market, acting for key sponsors such as Apax Partners and Exponent Private Equity. The team acted on three MBOs above the billion-dollar mark, including advising Charterhouse Capital Partners LLP on its £1.1bn disposal of Wood Mackenzie to Hellman & Friedman. Gordon Milne and Jeremy Parr are the key figures in the practice, which benefits from the firm’s market-leading bank lending and high yield practices.

King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin has deeply entrenched relationships with prominent UK sponsors such as Lion Capital and Duke Street, and established new relationships with clients such as Apollo Global Management in 2012. It handles the full gamut of transactional work, from high-end buyouts, to co-investments, exits and secondaries transactions. In 2012 it advised Terra Firma on several transactions, including its £3.2bn acquisition of Annington Homes. Steven Davis leads a 14-partner team.

Fielding ‘a strong team of young, hungry partners’, Kirkland & Ellis International LLP has crafted a powerhouse private equity practice in London, with its transactional credentials allied to related strength on the acquisition finance and investment funds sides. In 2012, the team acted for Cinven and GS Capital Partners on the €1.8bn disposal of Ahlsell. Gavin Gordon is ‘an excellent deal executioner’, and Graham White and David Arnold are also recommended.

Latham & Watkins’ private equity practice received a significant boost with the arrival of David Walker, who headed Clifford Chance’s pre-eminent private equity practice in London. Capitalising on the firm’s transatlantic footprint, the team in 2012 acted for KKR on its $1.1bn acquisition of UK-based Capital Safety Group, led by Graeme Sloan. Mike Bond and Rory Negus are also recommended.

With a pioneering track record in the private equity market, Macfarlanes LLP has built up a client list spanning all areas of the industry, from sponsors such as Exponent, to secondaries houses, mezzanine lenders and LPs. In 2012, Simon Perry acted for August Equity on its £207m sale of domiciliary care provider Lifeways to OMERS Private Equity. Practice head Ian Martin and Stephen Drewitt are also recommended.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLPhas its finger on the pulse of the private equity market’, and features regularly on the largest transactions, acting for clients such as KKR, Blackstone and Apax Partners. Michael Wolfson, Gregory Conway and Adam Signy’s dual UK and US law team was further strengthened by the arrival of Derek Baird from Allen & Overy LLP. In 2012, Signy advised Melrose on its $2.3bn acquisition of Elster Group.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s five-partner London team can draw on the firm’s global footprint to provide expertise across the full private funds cycle. In 2012, Sam Bagot and Tihir Sarkar advised Amun Capital on its $170m disposal of Alem Communications’ Kazakh WiMax business to TeliaSonera. Simon Jay and Michael McDonald are also recommended.

DLA Piper UK LLP combines a strong regional footprint with an expanding global platform, which has been instrumental in its private equity team capturing a larger proportion of high-value mandates in 2012. The team also made some key lateral hires in 2013, with Anu Balasubramanian joining from Kirkland & Ellis International LLP and corporate partner Rob Salter from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP. Highlights included acting for CPA Global on its £950m sale to Cinven. Practice head David Raff, Christopher Baird and Charles Cook led on that deal.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s private equity clients appreciate the firm’s ‘rigour and responsiveness, and its lack of pretension’. The team regularly handles cross-border mandates in conjunction with the firm’s New York office, and in 2012 advised HarbourVest Partners on its $1.4bn acquisition of a portfolio of private equity fund interests from Conversus Capital LP. David Innes’ team is also notable for its fund formation, financing and tax structuring expertise. Geoffrey Burgess is ‘particularly distinguished by his ability to strategically navigate complex negotiations’.

Dickson Minto WS fields a highly respected Anglo-Scottish private equity practice, with a significant track record on high-value buyouts for longstanding clients such as BC Partners and Charterhouse Capital. Alastair Dickson is highly rated by clients and peers alike.

London is the hub of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP’s European private equity practice, placing the emphasis on cross-border mandates with a US element. In 2012, practice head Allan Murray-Jones advised Doughty Hanson and Euroland Investments on their $1.1bn sale of Norit to Cabot Corporation. Shaun Lascelles and counsel Paul Doris are also recommended.

Slaughter and May draws on ‘excellent M&A and competition credentials’ which, when taken in conjunction with the firm’s borrower-focused finance practice, place it in a strong position to handle complex, high-value private equity deals. Practice head Jeff Twentyman advised Terra Firma on its £825m acquisition of Four Seasons Health Care; and David Wittmann advised ISS (majority owned by GS Capital Partners and EQT Partners) on a €500m investment by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and Kirkbi Invest. Mark Horton is ‘a terrific adviser’.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP’s regional footprint is a key component of its private equity practice, which has a strong profile among mid-market players. Practice head Andrew Carpenter advised Inflexion Private Equity on the MBO of Natural Products Worldwide. The team recently welcomed former Linklaters LLP partner Ben Rodham.

CMS has a strong mid-market private equity capability, with clients quick to highlight the firm’s ‘ability to add real value’. In 2012 it advised longstanding client LGV Capital and its joint venture partner, Hutton Collins, on their £100m acquisition of Novus Leisure. James Grimwood and hotel and leisure sector expert Louise Wallace are recommended. The ‘extremely personableRichard Bull is set to move to Norton Rose Fulbright.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s buyout capability has a distinctly international orientation post merger, with co-heads managing the practice from London, Madrid and Sydney respectively. Its ‘strong corporate bench and key advisory capabilities’ enable it to provide a full service to major sponsors such as Blackstone and KKR. In 2012, James MacArthur and Gillian Fairfield advised UCC Holdings on its acquisition of United Coffee from CapVest. Gavin Davies and Mark Geday are ‘technically very strong, easy to work with, and very practical’. Roddy Martin is also recommended.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s private equity team ‘strikes the right balance between providing strong technical support and having a commercial sense of the transaction’. Its sector focus and global footprint are a strong draw for a client base that includes Warburg Pincus and AnaCap. In 2012 it advised AIM-listed Abcam plc on its $170m acquisition of VC-backed Epitomics International. Practice head Alan Greenough leads a seven-partner team which includes Tom Whelan, who is ‘very experienced, with a broad knowledge base and a commercial approach’. Amit Nayyar is also recommended.

Ropes & Gray LLP is noted for its ‘great client ethos, and is brilliantly positioned to work for buy-side fund clients’. It handles a broad range of strategic acquisitions, co-investments, special situations matters, and mainstream buyouts for a client base that includes Bain Capital. Will Rosen leads the five-partner team. Kiran Sharma is singled out for her ‘unique background in PE and public Takeover Code work’.

White & Case LLP’s ‘high-quality’ private equity team handles a variety of transactions, including cross-border mandates, and is ‘well versed in the secondaries market’ in particular. Andrew Weiler advised Clyde Blowers Capital on its acquisition of wind turbine gear manufacturer Moventas Wind Oy and industrial gear manufacturer Moventas Santasalo Oy. Corporate practice head Ashely Ballard is also recommended.

Baker & McKenzie LLP’s ‘knowledgeable’ team of private equity specialists ‘ranks very highly for the way it looks after the client’s interests’. It is particularly active on the infrastructure side, and in 2012 advised Kemble Water Holdings Limited, a consortium led by Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund, on the disposal of its 13% interest in Thames Water. Simon Hughes heads the global private equity group from London, with Bruno Bertrand-Delfau relocating from Paris to take up the role of co-head of the EMEA private equity group.

The real estate sector is a key strength for the team at Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP. In 2012 Adam Bogdanor was part of a team which advised Round Hill Capital on its £415m acquisition of Nido Student Living from Blackstone, and Raymond McKeeve and Michael Weir acted for Mercury Pharma’s management in the company’s £465m secondary buyout by Cinven.

Eversheds LLP’s prominent regional footprint and extensive international network combine to make it an ideal choice for cross-border mid-market transactions. In 2012, practice head Richard Moulton advised Electra Partners on its proposed acquisition of a portfolio of data services businesses from UBM. Mark Spinner is also recommended.

Highlights for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s private equity team included advising AGC Equity Partners on its investment in UK designer brand Amanda Wakeley. The firm’s strong global footprint ensures it is regularly called on to advise on cross-border mandates. Wayne McArdle and James Barabas are recommended.

Jones Day is a strong choice for UK mid-market buyouts and cross-border transactions; it has ‘a good level of experience and industry knowledge globally’. Practice head Adam Greaves advised longstanding client Alcuin Capital on a number of transactions across the UK, including its secondary management buyout of TileCo Group. The firm also has strong real estate private equity capability, through Neil Ferguson.

Olswang LLP features regularly on mid-market European buyouts, acting for investment houses such as ISIS Equity Partners. It has also been handling an increasing number of mandates for management; in 2012 it advised the management team of Pizza Hut (UK) Limited on the £20m sale of its dine-in restaurant business to Rutland Partners. Practice head Stephen Rosen is recommended.

With offices across the UK and abroad, Pinsent Masons LLP is developing its presence on both domestic and international deals. On the domestic front, Edward Stead advised Endless LLP on the MBO of VION Food UK. Gregg Davison leads the team, which also includes Andrew Masraf.

Simmons & Simmons fields ‘a great line-up’ of private equity specialists who provide ‘practical and commercial advice that is up to date with underlying industry issues’. Its profile has been steadily growing among sponsor clients; new clients include Brookfield Infrastructure Partners. On the fund formation side, it advised APG Strategic Real Estate Pool on its establishment of GRIP Unit Trust and subsequent acquisition of a residential property portfolio. Practice head Arthur Stewart is recommended.

Taylor Wessing LLP’s team has longstanding relationships with mid-market players such as Inflexion Private Equity Partners and Rutland Partners, and is noted as giving ‘very attentive service and access to the firm’s wider international network’. In 2012 it advised Rutland Partners on its £20m acquisition of Pizza Hut’s UK dine-in restaurant business. Practice head Nick Hazell led on that deal, and is supported by Emma Danks, who ‘understands the commercial drivers of her clients, and looks to overcome the inevitable challenges that deals face in today’s market’. The team was recently joined by James Goold and Edward Waldron from Jones Day and Eversheds LLP respectively.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s private equity capability focuses on cross-border transactions in the oil and gas and renewable energy sectors, and has a strong Russian profile. Sebastian Rice advised UFG Private Equity on its proposed investment into Russia’s Karo cinema group.

Jonathan Angell’s team at Dechert LLP attracts praise for its ‘multi-jurisdictional strength on company law issues’. Clients include Altima Partners.

Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP is building its profile in the mid-market private equity arena in London, with David Ramm at the helm. Clients include ABRY Partners and Ethemba Capital.

Mayer Brown International LLP has particular strength acting for management in buyouts. Former practice head William Charnley joined King & Spalding International LLP.

McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP regularly acts for US-based buyout funds such as Baird Capital Partners. Mark Crofskey has ‘a very healthy no-nonsense approach, focusing on what really matters’.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP’s dual UK and US law capability makes it a natural choice for cross-border transactions. In 2012 it advised a consortium of investment funds led by KKR and Goldman Sachs on the sale of Enterprise to Ferrovial. Practice head Stuart Harray is recommended.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s practice provides ‘high-quality advice’ to an international client base that includes GE Capital. Recommended individuals include energy specialist Jason Moss, TMT expert Sean Murphy, and Bayo Odubeko, who focuses on emerging markets deals. International head of private equity David Baylis relocated to Abi Dhabi in 2013.

John Daghlian heads O'Melveny & Myers LLP’s investment funds practice in London, which handles a mixture of MBOs and secondary buyouts for clients such as Coller Capital.

At Osborne Clarke, Paul Cooper acted for Milestone Capital Partners on its acquisition of RG Debt Management Services.

Although better known for its M&A and capital markets capabilities, Shearman & Sterling LLP handles buy-side and sell-side mandates for sponsors such as Advent Capital, as well as advising a number of sovereign wealth funds. Laurence Levy and Jeremy Kutner are recommended along with Mark Soundy, who joined from Weil, Gotshal & Manges.

In 2012, Malcolm MacDougall’s team at Speechly Bircham LLP acted for FF&P Private Equity on the MBO of furniture supplier David Phillips. It also advises management on disposals to private equity firms.

Squire Sanders LLP advised on 12 transactions with a combined value of £507m in 2012, including acting for the management of TileCo on its sale to Alcuin Capital. James McKay heads the practice.

Highlights for Tim Emmerson and Benjamin Perry’s private equity team at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP included acting for Lightyear Capital on its acquisition of a majority stake in global wholesale and reinsurance broker Cooper Gay Swett & Crawford.

Vinson & Elkins RLLP’s energy sector focus informs much of its private equity work. In 2012 it advised Riverstone Europe on its $150m equity commitment into Fairfield Energy. Jeff Eldredge heads the practice.

Ian Piggin’s team at Wragge & Co LLP is an active player in the mid-market arena, for clients such as August Equity. Maurice Dwyer and David Marshall joined RPC in 2012.

VAT and indirect tax

Index of tables

  1. VAT and indirect tax
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

Baker & McKenzie LLP fields ‘a great team of individuals who provide advice which is incisive and exactly on point’. Mark Delaney has ‘complete command of the subject’, and displays ‘total charm with his clients and all those with whom he works’. He advises a broad client base on domestic and international VAT matters relating to transactions, restructurings, audits and regulatory developments.

Etienne Wong is the highly regarded head of Clifford Chance’s international VAT practice. He and David Saleh act for a broad client base which includes some of the world’s largest banks, investment funds and private equity houses. Recent highlights include advising a leading financial institution on the VAT implications of the Vickers report on ring-fencing banks, and acting for a private equity house on the recovery of VAT incurred on corporate transactions.

At Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, head of indirect tax and VAT Neil Warriner acts principally on major property deals, with recent examples including the £337.5m sale of the Devonshire Square Estate by Rockpoint and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, and the £1bn Victoria Street mixed-use development by the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board. The team’s expertise extends to contentious and non-contentious matters involving stamp duty land tax, aggregates levy, and insurance premiums.

Hogan Lovells International LLP combines a broad advisory offering covering VAT, insurance premium taxes as well as a range of levies with first-rate contentious capabilities across HMRC investigations, disputes, judicial review and disclosure obligations. Head of department Michael Conlon QC has ‘impressive advocacy skills and knowledge of the law’, and Kevin Ashman’s ‘technical knowledge is excellent’.

At Ashurst, head of VAT Simon Swann has a particular emphasis on real estate taxes, and assisted in developing and implementing Stamp Duty Land Tax when seconded to the Inland Revenue Stamp Taxes Policy & Statute team (as was). Denis Waelbroeck has acted in a number of VAT cases in the UK and European courts.

At Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP, head of VAT and indirect tax Alan Sinyor is ‘responsive, dealing with matters effectively and efficiently’; and John Overs has ‘a comprehensive grasp of VAT technical issues’. The team has been active on a very broad range of contentious and advisory matters for individuals and corporates alike, covering issues such as the VAT treatment of e-books, large property deals, and the purchase of artworks.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s practice spans VAT advice on large transactions and high-profile disputes; recent examples on the contentious side include a case concerning the VAT treatment of the provision of workers to third-party customers. Richard Ballard and litigator Helen Buchanan are key contacts.

At Linklaters LLP, Martin Lynchehan is a VAT specialist with a sector focus on real estate and leisure.

Mark Baldwin and Andrew Loan at Macfarlanes LLP regularly advise corporate clients, including a number of private equity players, on the VAT implications of transactions and restructurings.

Olswang LLP’s wide-ranging practice, led by Mark Joscelyne, includes bespoke advice on the application of regulatory developments, assistance in minimising VAT irrecoverability, and VAT/SDLT disputes. Graham Chase acted for Ronson Capital Partners Limited on the £77m acquisition of Riverwalk House. Senior associate Matthew Wentworth-May is also recommended.

Nothing is too much’ for the team at Simmons & Simmons, which ‘takes the time to understand the client and its business’. Nick Cronkshaw is ‘very commercial and technically excellent’. He advised West Register (Realisations) Limited on the VAT and SDLT aspects of its acquisition of a portfolio of residential and commercial property.

Slaughter and May’s team has advised blue-chip clients on high-end transactions in sectors such as mining, retail, insurance and telecoms.

VAT adviser Peter Mendham is a key contact at Allen & Overy LLP.

Peter Mason heads CMS’ specialised VAT consulting practice.

Richard Woolich at DLA Piper UK LLP is noted for his ‘proactive and commercial’ advice.

Eversheds LLP’s London head of tax Clive Jones is advising Legal & General on the VAT implications of the Retail Distribution Review. Head of indirect tax Damian Shirley has acted in a range of multimillion-pound VAT disputes.

At Joseph Hage Aaronson, Paul Farmer has ‘vast knowledge of EU-related tax law’, with a particular focus on VAT disputes.

At King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin, head of tax Heather Corben and Giles Bavister have been active on a number of acquisitions and disposals involving complex VAT and VAT grouping issues.

At Mayer Brown International LLP, Sandy Bhogal is ‘straightforward and to the point’, and heads a practice which couples transactional capabilities with particular expertise in cross-border VAT and insurance premium tax matters.

Nabarro LLP advised the investors of The Junction Fund on the VAT and SDLT implications of the disposal of the sub-holding structures and of the fund itself. Michael Cant is recommended.

At Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP, Monty Raphael QC is particularly experienced in VAT and indirect tax disputes in the context of white-collar crime.

Pinsent Masons LLP acts in VAT disputes, and enhanced its non-contentious offering with the hire of Darren Mellor-Clark as head of its indirect tax advisory team.

Stephenson Harwood’s Hugo Jenney is a tonnage tax specialist.

Venture capital

Bird & Bird LLP has a ‘good understanding of market practice’, and is able to combine its industry knowledge in areas such as technology and life sciences with strength in corporate matters. ‘A breed apart’, Angus Miln takes a ‘highly commercial approach’ which ensures that ‘deals get done’. Miln recently advised Index Ventures on the £8m Series B financing of independent online luxury travel club Secret Escapes. Struan Penwarden has an excellent reputation in the venture debt market, and the ‘excellent’ Geraint Lloyd is also recommended. A well-rounded client base includes investors (such as Index Ventures and Albion Ventures), investees (Enso Holding and Just Eat) and debt providers (Kreos Capital).

With a deeply entrenched reputation in the VC and private equity sectors, both on the fund formation and investment side, King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin is regularly called on by investors and investees to advise on deals in the life sciences and tech sectors. The firm is well placed to add value on pan-European mandates, and recently assisted Vitruvian Partners on a $64m Series C investment in the Just Eat group, with practice head Ylan Steiner leading the advice. Other clients include Atlas Ventures, Kennet Capital and Seedcamp.

Led by Matthew Lewis and Rob Wood, Osborne Clarke handles work for investors and investees across a range of sectors including cleantech, disruptive technology and life sciences. Recent highlights include advising Imperial Innovations and Invesco Perpetual on an extended £72m funding round in Circassia Holdings, and acting for Foresight Solar VCT Plc on its investments in solar projects in the UK. The firm also picked up work for two US investors, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Buyers and Benchmark Capital, with assistance from Steve Wilson in the firm’s Silicon Valley office.

Taylor Wessing LLP is one of the most credible outfits in the market, and is instructed by clients such as Index Ventures, Amadeus Capital and DFJ Esprit. With a strong pan-European footprint, the firm is able to ‘provide a real international strategy’. ‘Responsive and commercial’ team head Simon Walker advised the existing investors of Oxford Immunotec on a $28m fundraising. The ‘excellent’ Howard Palmer ‘has a very good understanding of the law’, and David Mardle is ‘very strong’. The practice was strengthened by the arrival of Mike Turner from Osborne Clarke, who has particular strength on the TMT side.

Brown Rudnick LLP provides a ‘commercial, responsive and considered’ service to investors and investees in the life sciences sector, and is accomplished at handling deals with a transatlantic component. ‘Unflappable’ team head Mark Dorff provides ‘sound advice’, and recently acted for Index Ventures on its seed financing of US-based company Everpix. Tina Baker’s departure for JAG Shaw Baker was offset by the hire in March 2013 of Tim Matthews from WilmerHale.

With strength in life sciences, technology, media and communications, Covington & Burling LLP provides a ‘very strong’ sector-specific service to a broad range clients across the life cycle of venture capital deals. ‘Trusted advisorPaul Claydon gives ‘very commercial advice’ to a mix of investors and investees including ETV Capital and Rightster. The ‘knowledgeable and responsiveGregor Frizzell is regularly instructed by QUALCOMM Ventures Europe on technology-related transactions, while James Gubbins has a focus on the life sciences sector, advising clients such as SV Life Sciences. Louise Nash is also recommended.

Able to leverage the expertise in the firm’s US Silicon Valley practice, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP’s team is particularly well placed to advise investee companies in the hi-tech sector. Christopher Grew is recommended. Clients include Huddle, XMOS and Accel Partners.

Headed by Andrew Wigfall, Nabarro LLP provides a ‘very solid service’ to VCTs and a growing roster of early-stage companies in the technology sector. Graham Stedman’s practice is focused on the investee side, and he heads the firm’s Entrepreneurs and SMEs initiative; he recently advised new client Skills Matter on a $5m Series A investment by Proven Funds.

Olswang LLP provides a ‘very strong service’ to clients in the media and technology sectors. Team head Stephen Rosen advised Revieworld on a fundraising from existing investors Eden Ventures and Banexi Ventures and new investor MMC Capital. Chris Mackie has been involved in multiple fundraisings for Hailo. Other clients include ViewPoint Capital and Eplanet Capital.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP advises VCTs and companies active across a range of industry sectors including renewables, healthcare and technology.

Very good on the media side’, Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP provides a ‘very good’ service to clients including BBC Worldwide, TicTrac and DN Capital. The ‘excellent’ Tim Bee acted for several US technology clients making acquisitions in Europe.

Harbottle & Lewis LLP provides ‘cost-effective and commercial advice’ to a balanced mix of investors and investees in the media, communications and technology sectors. ‘Personable’ and ‘tenacious’ team head Tony Littner takes an ‘innovative and responsive approach’, and recently advised social media monitoring company Brandwatch on a $6m investment by Nauta Capital.

Marriott Harrison LLP provides an ‘efficient and flexible’ service, acting for clients including Alcuin Capital Partners, Bowmark Capital and PUK Ventures. Duncan Innes is ‘experienced’, Jonathan Leigh-Hunt is ‘commercial, knowledgeable and efficient’, and Dee Sian is also recommended.

Reed Smith LLP’s nascent group is headed by Perry Yam following his move from SJ Berwin LLP, and has a particular focus on investors in the healthcare, life sciences and TMT sectors. Clients include RIT Capital Partners, Balderton Capital and Bridges Ventures.

At Speechly Bircham LLP, Chris Putt leads the firm’s practice advising growth companies. Private equity partner Andrew Clarke also regularly handles venture capital deals, working closely with the firm’s tax team to provide efficient structuring.

With resources in London and Birmingham, Wragge & Co LLP handles venture capital work as part of its broader private equity practice. Ian Piggin is ‘very good’, and recently advised Business Growth Fund on its £10m investment in price comparison service

As well as advising on purely domestic transactions, the team at Arnold & Porter (UK) LLP regularly combines with US colleagues on transatlantic matters. Jeremy Willcocks has advised US-listed technology company Numerex Corp on various UK investments. Other clients include Arlington Capital Partners, easyGroup Holdings and Tate & Lyle Ventures.

Ashfords LLP (incorporating Rochman Landau) has a ‘very experienced team’ in Bristol which is ‘very up to speed with best market practice’. The ‘focused and pragmatic’ Andrew Betteridge has handled a number of transactions for Eden Ventures, including a recent investment of up to $20m in Huddle. Chris Dyson is ‘experienced, reliable and responsive’.

At Baker Botts (UK) LLP, Neil Foster and Tim Davison provide ‘focused and timely advice’, and act for clients including Acorn Media Group, LGI Ventures and Cambridge Cognition.

At Burges Salmon LLP, Mark Shepherd handles work for clients such as Octopus Investments.

With strong sector knowledge in healthcare and TMT, CMS handles venture capital deals as part of its broader private equity practice. Jason Zemmel advised new client Bridges Ventures on its £1.3m investment in Orla Healthcare.

At Dorsey & Whitney, ‘commercially astute’ team head Frances Doherty is ‘extremely good at working with start-ups, and understands many of the challenges they face’.

Edwards Wildman Palmer LLPoffers growth businesses a flying start at very low costs’, running a number of courses and networking events including its ‘Helping Innovators Thrive’ programme. David Ramm provides ‘strategy and vision’, and recently advised on a convertible loan note financing.

JAG Shaw Baker was co-founded by former Brown Rudnick LLP partners James Shaw and the ‘excellent’ Tina Baker, and advises venture capital investors and VC-backed companies in the life sciences, cleantech and technology sectors.

At Jones Day, Patrick Stafford advises clients including Gimv Ventures, Sofinnova Partners and Idinvest Ventures.

The ‘very responsive and commercial’ team at Kemp Little LLP has ‘excellent industry knowledge’ in technology and digital media. Team head Charles Claisse ‘brings a great commercial view to tricky issues’.

Headed by Justin Starling, Manches LLP’s team has a focus on technology investee clients, acting for We7, Nexeon and Helveta among others.

Mayer Brown International LLP acts for a number of major VC houses including Azini Capital Partners and Grove International Partners in primary and secondary transactions across a range of sectors including technology, communications and multimedia, green technology and renewable energy.

Zickie Lim and Claire Clarke are key members of the team at Mills & Reeve LLP, which acts for clients including IQ Capital Partners, Langholm Capital and Secret Escapes.

At Morrison & Foerster LLP, of counsel Sophie McGrath* provides ‘pragmatic and sensible’ advice to investee companies in the life sciences and cleantech sectors. The team was strengthened by the recent arrival of David Bresnick from CMS. *Sophie McGrath is now with Brown Rudnick LLP.

At WilmerHale, the ‘very responsiveJoe Pillman and ‘pragmatic and commercialTimothy Corbett are well regarded for their advice to investees in the life sciences, technology and e-commerce sectors. Clients include 7Digital Group and Zopa Holdings.

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    An online support service for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) which need to recruit skilled overseas workers has been extended until 28 February 2014. The pilot was launched by UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) in partnership with the Greater London Authority (GLA) and provides a step by step guide to sponsoring an overseas worker. This service is available via the GLA website.
  • Penningtons Manches' immigration team considers new changes to the Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance

    The Home Office has recently published new Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance, version 12/13. This guidance is to be used by all prospective and existing Tier 4 sponsors from 11 December 2013.
  • Finding the 
right words

    In the recent case of Newbury v Sun Microsystems [2013], the defendant argued that an offer to settle proceedings was ‘in principle' only and that a binding contract could not be formed until further terms had been agreed and a formal contract had been signed. It supported this argument by referring to a statement, in the offer letter, that the settlement was to be ‘recorded in a suitably worded agreement'. 

  • Behind the corporate veil: is that all there is?

    That companies have an existence entirely separate to that of their shareholders and directors is a foundational principle of English law and commerce.

  • Playing fair with penalty clauses

    It is often difficult to predict what will be recoverable as damages for breach of contract. To provide some certainty, parties will often seek to agree the sum that will be payable in the event of specified breaches. 

  • Restoring environmental damage: putting a price on ecosystem services

    On 7 August 2009 a 40-inch pipeline ruptured, spilling 5,400 cubic metres of crude oil into the soil and groundwater of La Crau nature reserve in southern France, a habitat protected under French and European law. The operator had to excavate and replace 60,000 tons of soil, install 70 wells to pump and treat groundwater and 25 pumps to skim oil from surface water, at a cost in the region of €50m. However, this was just the primary remediation (that is, restoring the site to the state it would have been if the damage had not occurred). The operator was also required to compensate for the damage to the habitats and the loss of the ecosystem services that would otherwise have been provided by La Crau nature reserve. Measures included purchasing land outside of the nature reserve and contributing to its management for a period of 30 years (over €1m), monitoring the water table for 20 years (over €500,000), monitoring fauna over three years (€150,000) and rehabilitation in accordance with best available ecological techniques (nearly €2m). Overall, the compensatory restoration (to compensate for the amount of time that the ecosystem was impacted) and complimentary restoration (to compensate for elements of the ecosystem that had been permanently lost) came to more than €6.5m. 

  • The role of arbitrators in EU antitrust law

    In May 2014, it will be ten years since Regulation No 1/2003 entered into force. When the legislator of the European Union adopted this Regulation on 16 December 2002, its main objective was to decentralise the enforcement of the two main provisions of EU antitrust law, Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (now Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)). Where do the arbitrators fit in this picture?

  • New Immigration Bill, October 2013: cause for concern or appeasing public sentiment?

    The year 2013 has seen a string of reforms to the immigration system by the current coalition government. On 10 October, the government published a Bill aimed at continuing its drive to reduce net migration figures. 

  • New Schengen EU Regulations: impact on short-stay visa visitors

    The publication on 26 June 2013 of the European Union Regulation EU 610/2013 modified the incumbent Regulation EU 562/2006 in relation to third country nationals (ie non-EU citizens) and those travelling on a short-stay visitor visa, as well as those who do not require a visa to enter the Schengen area, Romania, Croatia and Bulgaria. Exceptions include EU and EEA nationals travelling to other EU/EEA states within the Schengen area together with foreign nationals holding either long-stay or residence permits for their destination Schengen countries.

  • New revised guidelines for administrators in pre-pack sales

    Pre-pack sales by administrators are now used frequently enough for most people in business to be aware of them and many have come across them in their business lives. A small amount of controversy still attaches to pre-packs, but it is probably right to say that they are now an accepted part of the UK business scene as a useful means of rescuing a business in difficulty and preserving some or all of the jobs connected with the business.
    - Druces

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