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

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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The private equity: transactions section is split into separate large-cap and mid-cap deal rankings. Law firm editorial appears in alphabetical order; firms may appear in one or both of the rankings tables. There is a separate section covering venture capital.

Yunus Seedat heads the group at Addleshaw Goddard, which acts for some of the most active mid-market investors, including LDC, Inflexion and Synova Capital. In 2016, Mike Hinchliffe led a team, which included Graham Cross and managing associate Marc Field, advising ECI Partners on its investment in SAP software provider Edenhouse. Key figures in the firm’s Manchester office include Paul Medlicott, who acts for clients such as Equistone Partners Europe and Livingbridge in transactions across the North of England, and Andrew Green. The London-based Nathan Pearce is also recommended.

When it comes to high-value deals, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feldcompares well with other firms in the London market’. The firm’s international footprint makes it well-placed to handle transactions across a number of territories, including Russia and the CIS, Africa and the Middle East; CIS-related highlights included David Sewell, Artem Faekov, Harry Keegan’s advice to USM Holdings on the $740m sale of its stake in Mail.Ru Group to PJSC MegaFon. In a key Russia mandate, Sebastian Rice worked with members of the Moscow office to assist UFG Private Equity Fund III with its acquisition of a 25% interest in the Animaccord Group. In 2016, the practice was bolstered by the arrival of oil and gas sector expert Igor Krivoshekov from Dentons. In addition, Sophie Jermine and David Sewell made partner. Daniel Walsh, John Clark and Vance Chapman are also recommended.

Allen & Overy LLP has a strong track record in domestic and cross-border transactions, where it acts for high-end private equity houses such as The Carlyle Group, Apollo and 3i Group. The practice also acts for management teams, investee companies, banks and sovereign wealth funds. Stephen Lloyd leads the private equity team, which works with experts in ancillary disciplines, including the firm’s first-class finance and capital markets practices (which cover high-yield finance, leveraged finance and syndicated lending transactions, among other matters) to provide clients with the gamut of advice in the private equity space. In 2016, Lloyd, Karan Dinamani and others acted for PAI Partners and R&R Ice Cream in R&R’s £3bn multi-jurisdictional joint venture with Nestlé. Working with the Paris office, Gordon Milne co-led a multi-disciplinary team advising Apax Partners on its acquisition of Kolak Snack Foods from the founders of the business. George Knighton and recently promoted partner Peter Banks are other names to note.

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP’s team handles private equity-backed transactions, and other mid-market deals in the UK and internationally, for private equity houses and portfolio companies across a wide range of sectors, including financial services, commercial real estate and life sciences. Andrew Harris acted for Bregal Capital and Motion Equity Partners in the sale of portfolio company Morrison Utility Services to First Reserve. Sean Scanlon and David Gerber acted for Bluebird Partners on the sale of self-storage business Spacemaker to a subsidiary of Safestore Holdings. Diversis Capital, Acuity Investments and Platinum Equity are also clients.

Ashurst handles every facet of mid-cap and large-cap deals for private equity investors, management teams, sovereign wealth funds and infrastructure funds. Its strong capabilities in investment fund formation and management, as well as banking and finance (particularly in leveraged and acquisition financing), complement the private equity practice. David Carter leads the core private equity team, which acted for Agilitas on the MBO of Exemplar Healthcare in 2016. In another highlight, Nick Rainsford and senior associate Braeden Donnelly were part of a cross-practice group assisting Liberty Hall Capital Partners with its $220m acquisition of AIM Aerospace. Karen Davies and Bruce Hanton are also recommended.

David Allen leads Baker McKenzie’s highly regarded team, which includes Karen Guch, who has ‘a real eye for the commercial and strategic aspects of transactions’. The group acts for some of the world’s largest private equity houses in their investments in sectors such as energy and natural resources, TMT, life sciences and infrastructure. In a standout deal, Allen led a multi-disciplinary, cross-office team advising Bain Capital on its high-profile $3.1bn sale of UK-based portfolio company Brakes Group to Sysco Corporation, representing the largest private equity exit outside of the US in 2016. Another highlight involved acting for France-based Worldwide Flight Services (a portfolio company of Platinum Equity) on its bolt-on acquisition of US-based Consolidated Aviation Services from ICV Partners. Other notable clients include CVC Capital Partners, Apax Partners and Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets. In 2017, William Holder joined from King & Wood Mallesons and Alex Lewis moved from Ropes & Gray LLP.

CMS’s private equity team expanded significantly following the firm’s recent merger with Olswang LLP and Nabarro LLP; Mark Bertram, Chris Mackie and Georgina Ball were among a number of former Olswang LLP lawyers to join the amalgamated group. The team particularly stands out in upper mid-market transactions, where it acts for some of the most prominent investors in this space, including Advent International Corporation, Oakley Capital Partners and Epiris Managers. In 2016, Martin Treagus (‘very good at getting the deal done in a constructive way’) acted for LGV Capital on its £118m sale of the pub chain Liberation Group to Caledonia Investments. In another highlight, James Grimwood assisted Risk Capital Partners with the £52m sale of specialist online travel agent cruise.co to Bridgepoint Development Capital, which involved a highly competitive bidding process. Louise Wallace undertakes a significant amount of private equity work in the hotels and leisure and consumer products industries. Other names to note include David Davidson, who is based in Edinburgh, and Dipesh Santilale.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’s team, which is led by Malcolm MacDougall has ‘a great work ethic, is enthusiastic and has a real solutions-based approach’. The practice secured work from a number of new clients recently (including Mobeus Equity Partners, IDG Capital and Limerston Capital), and also expanded significantly at associate level. MacDougall led the advice to Civica Group (an investee company of OMERS Private Equity) on a number of deals in 2016, which included its acquisition of IPL Group. Partners Adam Crossley and Andrew Clarke are also recommended, as are senior associate Richard Coleman and Adrian Mayer, who has particular expertise in investments made into Africa across a range of sectors, including energy and natural resources, retail and leisure, and agribusiness.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s team has a wealth of experience in complex, cross-border private equity transactions, including those involving leveraged buyouts (LBOs), secondary buyouts, public bids, private acquisitions and exits. In a recent highlight, Michael McDonald and Tihir Sarkar acted for Qatar Investment Authority, as part of a consortium of investors, on the acquisition of a majority stake in National Grid’s gas distribution business for £13.8bn. In another matter, Simon Jay is leading a cross-practice team advising Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic on the sale of its 50% stake in Santander Asset Management to Banco Santander. Michael Preston, who relocated to the London office from the firm’s Hong Kong office in 2016, acts for clients such as TPG, Hillhouse Capital Management and MBK Partners. Sam Bagot is another key partner in the team, whose work covers transactions in Europe, the US and emerging markets such as India, Russia and the Middle East.

Clifford Chance has an extensive track record for multi-jurisdictional, large-cap transactions, and its team attracts praise for being ‘calm under pressure, professional and highly efficient’. A notable hallmark of the practice is its extensive coverage of issues beyond the purely transactional, such as those concerning antitrust, regulatory and employee benefits. In 2016, the firm was one of six firms to secure a place on Partners Group’s legal panel, while in 2017 global private equity head Jonny Myers and recently promoted partner Christopher Sullivan were part of a multi-disciplinary team acting for Cinven and CVC Capital Partners on the acquisition of NewDay from Värde Partners. In another highlight, Melissa Fogarty, David Pearson and others advised Parkdean Resorts (and its major institutional shareholders Epiris and Alchemy) on its £1.35bn sale to an indirectly owned company of Onex Corporation. In an illustration of its track record in emerging markets, the group handled more than 65 transactions in Africa in 2016. Other recommended practitioners include Spencer Baylin, Nicholas Hughes, Nigel Wellings, Brendan Moylan - Amy Mahon and Simon Tinkler.

DLA Piper’s first-rate team has ‘the knowledge, the experience and the knowhow to close deals’. UK private equity head David Raff is ‘incredibly commercial and a charmingly ferocious negotiator’. Also singled out for praise is European private equity head Tim Wright, who ‘can run multiple thought processes concurrently, and at exceptional speeds’; and John Pryor, who ‘pre-empts how his advice will be received, understood and implemented’. The firm has a particularly excellent reputation in the mid-market space, and also handles a significant number of large-cap mandates. In 2016, Anu Balusubramanian led the advice to ABRY Partners and the management sellers on the sale of Thomson Online Benefits to Mercer Limited. Another notable highlight saw James Kerrigan act for LDC and management in the £178m sale of Synexus Clinical Research to PPD. In the large-cap space, Wright and others acted for the management team in Bupa’s £835m tertiary buyout of Oasis Dental Care from Bridgepoint. Edward Griffiths is recommended, as is recent hire Andrew Wylie, who joined from Nabarro LLP.

In 2016, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s Katherine Ashton led a cross-office team advising HarbourVest Partners on its high-profile £806.6m acquisition of SVG Capital’s investment portfolio; this deal represented the client’s first major public acquisition in the UK. In a separate highlight, E Raman Bet-Mansour and others are assisting AltaOne Capital with its consortium agreement to acquire 37.6% of the share capital of Cegid Group. TA Associates, Helios Investment Partners and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board are among other key clients. Geoffrey Burgess has vast experience of Russian inbound and outbound transactions, as well as India-related deals. Andrew Rearick is a US-qualified international counsel. David Innes heads the practice.

Dechert LLP’s extensive coverage of the investment management industry makes it a strong choice for cross-border private equity transactions, where its client roster includes such names as CVC, Ares Management and AGC Equity Partners. Its practice has been strengthened by a number of recent hires; private equity partner Ross Allardice and three associates joined from White & Case LLP, while John Markland (an expert in sponsor-side leveraged finance) joined from Kirkland & Ellis International LLP. In addition, the firm’s finance capabilities were further enhanced by the arrivals of partners Philip Butler and David Miles (and a team of associates) from DLA Piper. Allardice and Markland acted for Mid Europa Partners on the acquisition of Profi Rom Food from Enterprise Investors, which included handling the financing aspects of the deal; the deal represented Romania’s largest-ever LBO. Another notable individual is Jonathan Angell, who recently led a multi-disciplinary team advising Chrysaor on its $3bn acquisition of a package of North Sea assets (via a competitive auction process) from Shell UK and its affiliates. Other highly regarded individuals include senior associates Mark Evans and Ross Montgomery, as well as Simon Briggs and Graham Defries.

Dentons has a significant client following of mid-market private equity houses, which includes Graphite Capital, Barclays Ventures and Waterland Private Equity. Nicholas Plant acted for GB Railfreight’s management team on the €180m sale of the business by Eurotunnel to EQT Infrastructure II. The firm also generates work in the large-cap space; Plant recently led the advice to QIC Investment on the €336m sale of Grup Maritim TCB and its maritime services container terminal portfolio in Europe and Latin America to APM Terminals. Illustrative of the international dimension of the practice, Plant and Richard Macklin have particular experience handling private equity investments in Africa. Stephen Levy, who joined from Pinsent Masons LLP in 2016, possesses ‘an exceptional legal mind and is a consummate negotiator’. Also recommended are Jayne Schnider and Jonathan Cantor, who joined from Irwin Mitchell and Nabarro LLP, respectively. In other developments, Eleanor Shanks departed for Proskauer Rose LLP, while Igor Krivoshekov moved to Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Jonathan Polin departed for Howard Kennedy LLP. David Collins leads the group, which includes Matthew Tinger.

Dickson Minto WS has a longstanding track record in private equity deals, which sees it act for clients such as AG Barr, Charterhouse and Caird Capital. A recent highlight for the firm involved acting for mental healthcare provider Elysium Healthcare on its acquisition of The Badby Group from Patron Capital. In a separate matter, it assisted BC Partners with its acquisition of DentalPro from Summit Partners, VAM Investments and other private investors. Senior partner Alastair Dickson is a key contact.

Following the merger of Eversheds LLP and Sutherland Asbill & Brennan, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s private equity practice benefits from a combination of the Eversheds LLP’s strong reputation in UK and European mid-market deals, and Sutherland Asbill & Brennan’s US footprint. The practice is also active in matters involving investments in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Led by Richard Moulton, the team acts for more than 20 private equity houses, including Bridgepoint Development Capital, Aurelius and LDC, among others. In 2016, Moulton, James Trevis and others acted for Inflexion on its acquisition of Reed & Mackay from ECI Partners and Livingbridge. In another matter, Louise Finnie was the lead adviser to Bridges Ventures on its investment into World of Books. Robin Skelton is a name to note in Leeds. Also recommended are Mark Beardmore and Catherine Eley, who each have more than 20 years of experience in private equity transactions. Manchester-based Andrew Phillips joined from Pinsent Masons LLP. Ian Moore is a contact in Nottingham.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s breadth and depth of expertise makes it, for many of the world’s largest private equity sponsors, a go-to for assistance with their most complex multi-jurisdictional deals. David Higgins and Adrian Maguire were lead partners in a cross-office team that advised The Carlyle Group on its $3.2bn acquisition of Atotech from Total. In another highlight, a team including Maguire, Sean Pierce, Denise Ryan and recently promoted partner James Scott acted for Advent International on its acquisition of a majority ownership interest in global ship management business V Group from OMERS Private Markets. Charles Hayes, who made partner in 2016, led a team acting for CVC on its $8bn sale of F1 to Liberty Media. Bruce Embley manages the firm’s relationships with TPG and Permira, and assists them with transactions in the EMEA region, while Victoria Sigeti is a key adviser to clients such as Cinven, 3i and General Atlantic. Andrew Hagan joined from Kirkland & Ellis International LLP in 2016.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (London) LLP’s team handles a broad cross-section of transactions, including public/private company acquisitions, minority investments, management buyouts and management buy-ins (MBOs/MBIs) and exits. The firm acts for a mix of mega-fund clients and mid-market sponsors, such as Yellow Wood Partners, Francisco Partners and CVC. In 2016, Dan Oates was the lead adviser to AEA Investors and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan on the $3.25bn sale of Dematic to KION Group. Oates also assisted AEA Investors with its acquisition of transport logistics companies Scan Global Logistics and TransGroup Worldwide Logistics from BWB Partners. In another highlight, Oates and others acted for the management team of Mayborn Group in the sale of Mayborn by 3i Group to Shanghai Jahwa. Graham White has retired from private practice.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP handles a mix of buy-side and sell-side mandates, many of which have a cross-border dimension, for private equity funds, their portfolio companies and financial sponsors. In 2016, Nigel Stacey and practice head Charlie Geffen acted for Terra Firma Capital Partners on its £921m sale of Odeon & UCI Cinemas to AMC Theatres, and advised Pomona Capital and Pantheon Ventures on their proposed £379m ‘white knight’ acquisition of a portfolio of assets from SVG. Elsewhere, Mark Sperotto assisted StepStone Group with its acquisition of Swiss Capital Alternative Investments. LBO expert James Howe recently joined from Proskauer Rose LLP, while Chris Haynes and Steve Thierbach joined from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, strengthening the firm’s ability to support private equity deals with UK and US equity capital markets expertise. Stephen Gillespie and Nick Tomlinson are also recommended.

Goodwin’s expertise in private equity transactions is complemented by related funds, finance, tax and regulatory capabilities. Active in both the mid-cap and large-cap space, the firm handles LBOs, recapitalisations, portfolio company deals and private equity real estate transactions. The group was notably bolstered in 2016 by the addition of Mark Soundy and tax specialist Sarah Priestley, both of whom joined from Shearman & Sterling LLP. Recently promoted partner Gemma Roberts, Richard Lever and others acted for Tracscare (backed by GSquare) on its bolt-on acquisition of Brookdale Care. In another highlight, Lever led the advice to Amplify Snack Brands on its $392m acquisition of UK-headquartered snacks manufacturer Tyrrells from Investcorp.

Led by Ian Piggin, Gowling WLG’s 11-partner team regularly handles mid-market transactions involving the real estate, energy, technology, healthcare and life sciences sectors. Andy Stylianou recently assisted Equiom Group with a series of acquisitions as part of its plans to expand internationally through a buy and build strategy. In another highlight, Piggin acted for Star Capital Partners on its £50m acquisition of Synergy Health Managed Services Limited. LDC, Livingbridge and NVM Private Equity are among the longstanding clients of the practice. Jeremy Millington and Gareth Baker are recommended, as is recently promoted partner Chris Towle.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP demonstrates ‘strong industry knowledge’ in high-value domestic and cross-border transactions, with a particular specialism in sectors such as TMT, energy, infrastructure and real estate. Mark Geday heads the practice, which generates a significant amount of work from clients such as Blackstone, Cabot Square and Antin Infrastructure Partners. In 2016, John Taylor was part of a cross-practice team assisting Carlyle Group with sale of Sampson House and Ludgate House (which are located at London’s Southbank) to Bankside Quarter (Jersey) Limited. Another highlight involved Gavin Davies acting as the lead adviser to IHS Towers in its acquisition of more than 1200 telecommunications tower sites in Nigeria from HTN Towers. Elsewhere, the firm is active in the alternative financial services space, where it handles matters involving investments into areas such as peer-to-peer lending, blockchain and e-money, and mobile financial solutions; Tomasz Wozniak advised Heidelpay and its founder management team on the acquisition of a controlling stake in the business by AnaCap Financial Partners.

Hogan Lovells International LLP, which handles mid-cap and large-cap transactions, is ‘great for deals with a regulatory angle’. Its team ‘really understands the banking, insurance and growing regtech/fintech sectors’, and is also active in other industries such as energy, infrastructure, TMT, life sciences/healthcare and consumer/retail. Global private equity head Tom Whelan is ‘always available and very responsive’, and London team head Ed Harrisknows what his clients want, and makes sure he delivers it’. In 2016, Whelan acted for General Atlantic on its acquisition of a minority stake in Joe & The Juice, and led a cross-office team in the advice to the executive management team of Bio Products Laboratory on the £820m disposal of the business by Bain Capital to Creat Group Corporation. Keith Woodhouse and recently promoted counsel Leanne Moezi are also recommended. Paul Randall and Elliot Weston are recent hires from Ashurst and Gowling WLG, respectively. Georgy Kalashnikov joined from the Moscow office, while Amit Nayyar departed for Shoosmiths LLP.

Jones Day’s ability to leverage its sizeable global footprint makes it a natural choice for both domestic and international mid-market and large-cap deals. Patrick Stafford co-chairs the global private equity practice, which fields recently promoted partners Ben Shribman and Liam Bonamy, and which covers sectors such as hospitality, real estate, financial services and infrastructure, among others. In the mid-market arena, Stafford, Shribman and Mike Weir acted for The Riverside Company on its acquisition of Guestline. In another matter, Adam Greaves and Bonamy were lead advisers to Inflexion on the sale of CP Electronics to Legrand. On the large-cap side, Neil Ferguson, Anna Cartwright and others acted for Aermont Capital on its £323.3m cash offer for Pinewood Group. Also recommended are Raymond McKeeve, who is experienced in transactions involving the Middle East and Africa, and Julian Runnicles.

Private equity transactions are a mainstay of Kirkland & Ellis International LLP’s London office, where the team executes particularly complex multi-jurisdictional deals, predominantly for US and Europe-based sponsors. Illustrative of the firm’s outstanding reputation in this space, it acts for global powerhouses such as Blackstone, KKR, TPG and Oaktree Capital Management. It also secured work from a number of new clients recently, including Brookfield, Charterhouse and EQT. In 2016, Rory Mullarkey and Justin Hutchinson acted for Bain Capital on its £820m sale of Bio Products to Creat Group Corporation. Matthew Elliott acted alongside Celyn Evans and Carlos Gil Rivas for sovereign wealth fund GIC on its €2.4bn acquisition of P3 Logistic Parks. Evans joined from Linklaters LLP, along with David Holdsworth and Stuart Boyd. Other recommended individuals include Roger Johnson, Joel Arnell and Andreas Philipson, who advised EQT VI on the sale of Automic Holding to CA Technologies. Gavin Gordon and recently promoted partner Justin Hutchinson are other names to note. Christopher Field joined Dechert LLP.

Latham & Watkins has a deep bench of heavyweight transactional lawyers operating alongside first-rate finance and capital markets specialists, enabling the firm to cover the gamut of issues arising from high-end deals; the overall level of service is ‘simply outstanding’. Mike Bond, who is ‘completely unflappable under pressure’, acted for Onex Corporation in its £1.35bn acquisition of Parkdean Resorts, a deal which represented one of the largest post-Brexit buyouts in 2016. Kem Ihenacho ‘a highly personable demeanour’, and Simon Tysoe assisted Helios Investment Partners with its $461.3m acquisition (with Vitol Holding) of a 60% equity stake and 51% of the voting rights in Oando’s West African downstream business. Also recommended are David Walker, who is a global co-chair of the practice, and Tom Evans. Bain Capital, The Carlyle Group, Permira, EQT and Bridgepoint are also clients.

Linklaters LLP is praised by clients for its full-service offering; ‘it is great if you are looking to buy a business with any esoteric legal issues or in a highly regulated sector’. In addition to handling complex cross-border buyouts for US and European private equity houses, the team assists clients with competitive auction processes, and is supported by specialists in IPOs and other finance-related issues. In 2016, practice head Alex Woodward (‘a tremendous operator’) and Vincent Ponsonnaille acted for a consortium of funds advised by BC Partners and PSP Investments on the corporate and financing aspects of its acquisition of the Keter Group from its founders, the Sagol family. In another matter, Ben Rodham was the lead adviser to M&G Investments and Management on its £800m sale of Alliance Medical Group to Life Healthcare. Carlton Evans assisted Atlas Merchant Capital with its acquisition of Credicom Bank. Recently promoted partner Will Aitken-Davies has ‘a laid-back demeanour, which belies an inner steel and huge work ethic’.

Stephen Drewitt leads the team at Macfarlanes LLP, which handles a range of deals for sponsors and other institutional investors, including 3i Group, Better Capital and Caledonia Investments, as well as for lenders and management teams. In the mid-market space, Alex Edmondson, Ian Martin and others acted for Lyceum Capital Partners and a number of shareholders on the £136m sale of the Adapt cloud hosting and managed services group to Datapipe. On the larger end of the deal scale, Simon Perry acted for Parkdean Resorts in its £1.35bn sale to Onex. Howard Corney is increasingly active in Africa-related transactions. Alex Green and Justin Hope made partner in 2016. The highly respected Charles Martin and Charles Meek together have more than 60 years of private equity transactional experience.

McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP’s team, which is ‘exceptional on many fronts’, includes Rupert Weber, who combines ‘deep experience’ with ‘a very strong intellect’. Mid-market transactions are the cornerstone of the practice, which covers investments made into the UK and continental Europe, as well as the Middle East and Africa. The firm generates work across a wide range of sectors, with particular strengths in healthcare and life sciences; it further bolstered its offering in these areas recently by hiring life sciences expert Gary Howes, as a senior counsel, from Fasken Martineau LLP and healthcare industry specialist Hamid Yunis from Taylor Wessing LLP. In a recent highlight, Eleanor West acted for Partners Group on the European healthcare/life sciences aspects of its acquisition of PCI Pharma. Mark Davis leads the London private equity team, which was joined by Piero Carbone from Duane Morris.

Mishcon de Reya LLP focuses on advising private fund investors, management teams and family offices. Led by Kevin McCarthy, the team handles mid-cap deals across a wide ambit of industries, including financial services, technology, oil and gas, and retail. In 2016, Michael Nouril, legal director Allison Keyse and others acted for wealth management boutique Vestra Wealth in its takeover by LGT Group. In another matter, Simon Sale assisted the vendors and the management team with all aspects of the MBO of Global Yachting Group by Lonsdale Capital Partners. Nadim Meer, Andrew Rimmington and John Skoulding are other notable partners in the team.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP’s London team is able to leverage the firm’s sizeable global network in cross-border deals. In 2016, Amy Comer worked with members of the Moscow office to advise US-based private equity fund Russia Partners on its sale of Russian internet and telecommunications services provider WestCall SPb to ER-Telecom. On the domestic front, Tom Cartwright acted for Alcuin Capital Partners on its investment in the MBO of Dorset-based Thai restaurant chain Koh Group. The firm has been particularly active in transactions involving the energy and life sciences sectors; a notable example involved assisting SK Capital Partners with its acquisition of Johnson & Johnson’s global pain management active pharmaceutical ingredient division. Cartwright jointly heads the practice with David Ramm and Noel Ainsworth.

Norton Rose Fulbright enhanced its practice with the recruitment of David Marshall from RPC in 2016, bringing more than 15 years of experience of UK and cross-border private equity deals. He joins a team headed by Richard Bull (‘just brilliant’), who is particularly active in transactions in the financial services and technology sectors. Other key figures include Bayo Odubeko, who is experienced in handling Africa-related deals for private equity and infrastructure funds and ‘always makes himself available’; and Sean Murphy and senior associate Sophie O’Connor, who acted for the founder shareholders of Sabio Limited in the £50m MBO of Sabio by Lyceum Capital Partners. AnaCap Financial Partners, AfricInvest Capital Partners, ValueAct Capital and One Peak Partners are also clients.

Osborne Clarke LLP generates a significant amount of work from private equity funds such as Synova, LDC and HIG European Capital, and has noted a marked uptick in management advisory instructions. Mark Spinner and associate director Mark Saunders acted for the management team of Kew Green Hotels on the £410m sale of the business by TPG Special Situations Partners and Goldman Sachs to CTS Metropark. In another matter, Saunders and Greg Leyshon advised the management team of Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group on the Group’s £921m sale to AMC Theatres. On the investor side, practice head Alisdair Livingstone and associate director Chris Yeo advised LDC on the MBO of heating systems specialist ADEY. In recent team developments, Edward Persse and Paul Smith joined from Irwin Mitchell, and Simon Jones made partner, while Paul Cooper retired from private practice.

Pinsent Masons LLP features prominently in high-profile deals involving inbound investments into the UK. In 2016, Tom Leman acted for AMC Theatres in its $1.2bn acquisition of Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group from Terra Firma. In another high-profile matter, Alan Diamond, Rosalie Chadwick and others advised Skyscanner on its £1.4bn sale to Chinese online travel group CTrip.com International. In addition to its large-cap capability, the firm has a particularly strong profile at the sophisticated end of the mid-market arena; Andrew Masraf and Fiona Kindness advised Lyceum Capital Partners on its £50m investment into Sabio Limited. Another name to note in the team is Joanne Ellis, who specialises in regulated private healthcare transactions. Edward Stead heads the practice, which handles work in sectors such as real estate, infrastructure, energy and life sciences. Andrew Phillips joined Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP.

RPC has established a healthy stable of mid-market clients such as as Bridgepoint, LDC and SVG Capital. In a notable highlight involving a new client, David Wallis, Chris Brierley and James Mee assisted Paine & Partners with its investment in Meadow Foods. Practice head Maurice Dwyer, who has been involved in the private equity industry since 1986, acted for Evaluate Group and its management team in an equity investment made by HgCapital. Brierley and Nigel Collins recently made partner while Jeremy Cunningham, who divides his time between Hong Kong and London, was hired from Mayer Brown JSM in Hong Kong. In another development, David Marshall moved to Norton Rose Fulbright. David Wallis and legal director Graham Spalding are also recommended.

Reed Smith LLP handles all types of UK mid-market and cross-border transactions, including buyouts, exits and bolt-on acquisitions. Philip Taylor and James Cross jointly lead the team, which recently hired senior counsel Martin Bowen, Laura Brunnen, tax specialist Gareth Amdor and Mark Sanders from King & Wood Mallesons. Although the practice attracts mandates from a broad cross-section of sectors, it is best known for its work in the technology and media areas. CBPE Capital, FTV Capital and Graphite Partners are among the firm’s clients.

Ropes & Gray LLP acts for many of the world’s leading private equity firms, regularly advising on their most sophisticated large-cap deals; the team also undertakes a significant amount of mid-cap work. In the technology sector, Philip Sanderson and Will Rosen recently worked with finance partner Matthew Cox and tax specialist Brenda Coleman to advise US private equity firm Charlesbank Capital and Chicago-based IT services provider Ensono (which is owned by Charlesbank) on Ensono’s acquisition of Attenda. In addition to having a destination transactions practice in its own right, the firm’s strong relationships with funds clients are another driver of work; in 2016, John Newton acted for longstanding funds client Nordic Capital in equity investment matters related to its acquisition of eResearchTechnology. Kiran Sharma recently secured new mandates from Fortress, HIG and Vision Capital, among other clients. Helen Croke joined from Travers Smith LLP and Malcolm Hitching (who focuses on European leveraged finance and private equity finance) joined from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP.

Shearman & Sterling LLP acts for a broad cross-section of investors, including private equity houses, sovereign wealth funds, infrastructure funds and hedge funds. Paul Strecker (who relocated to the London office from Hong Kong) has experience of Asian inbound and outbound transactions, and recently acted for Canada Pension Plan Investment Board on its $500m investment in Postal Savings Bank of China. In another highlight Strecker, who co-heads the London private equity team with Simon Burrows, advised Bain Capital and the founders of portfolio company VXI Holdings in the $1.05bn sale of VXI to The Carlyle Group. Elsewhere, the team is experienced in acting for portfolio companies in bolt-on acquisitions, financings and exits, among other matters. It acted for Bain Capital and the founders of portfolio company VXI Holding in VXI’s $1.05bn sale to The Carlyle Group. Frank Miller, who is a New York and UK-qualified partner, acts for clients such as CVC, Qatar Investment Authority and IFM. Mark Soundy and Sarah Priestley joined Goodwin.

A pleasure to work with’, Simmons & Simmons is active in mid and large-cap transactions, particularly those involving regulated markets such as energy, infrastructure, TMT, life sciences and financial services. Gideon Sharp and Arthur Stewart co-head the London team, which also handles private equity real estate deals; in a recent highlight Isabella Roberts advised Avenue Capital on the $400m sale of its GL Europe student accommodation business to Brookfield Property Partners. Elsewhere, in another highlight for the group, Stewart led a multi-disciplinary team acting for Intertrust on the €557m acquisition of Elian Group from Elian’s management and funds managed by Electra Partners. Jason Daniel, who relocated from Tokyo, is a go-to for transactions with a Japan and UK nexus, while Iain Duncan and Cindy Valentine are experienced in deals in Africa. Also recommended are Nick Watson, and new recruits Jen Yee Chan, David Parkes and Cindy Valentine, who joined from King & Wood Mallesons.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, which has been involved in private equity transactions across Europe for nearly 30 years, has an enviable track record in big-ticket, cross-border deals. The team acts for many of the largest US-based and European clients in their most complex matters, which is backed up by the firm’s strong funds and banking capabilities. In a recent mandate, Derek Baird acted for Apax Partners on its acquisition of a controlling stake in Unilabs. Another highlight involved Clare Gaskell leading a team advising Blackstone on its €1bn acquisition of Acetow. The Carlyle Group, Charterhouse Capital Partners and KKR are other clients of the firm. The heavyweight group also includes industry veteran Adam Signy, who has ‘gravitas in the board room’. London managing partner Gregory Conway, Wheatly MacNamara and Alvaro Membrillera are also recommended. Ben Spiers joined in January 2017 from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP. Michael Wolfson relocated to the New York office in 2016.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP’s practice is gaining momentum, with of counsel Robert Porter joining from Reed Smith LLP to head the European private equity real estate offering. In addition, Richard Youle, who is ‘one of the best in the business’, joined from White & Case LLP, as did Katja Butler. The core private equity group, which is led by John Adebiyi, is supported by the firm’s market-leading M&A team, of which several members also undertake private equity transactions. Large-cap transactions are a particular area of strength of the firm; recent highlights include handling complex UK and cross-border deals for LetterOne Holdings, Colony Capital and JW Childs, among others. In 2016, Adebiyi, Pete Coulton, Alex Jupp and Danny Tricot acted for Doughty Hanson on its $1.65bn disposal of LM Wind Power to General Electric. Sandro de Bernardini made partner.

Slaughter and May covers all facets of private equity transactions for corporates, private equity houses and management teams. Robin Ogle was the lead adviser to SVG Capital on a proposed hostile takeover by HarbourVest Structured Solutions III, a matter which was resolved when SVG agreed to sell its investment portfolio for £806m. Elsewhere, Susannah Macknay led the advice to Värde Partners on its sale of NewDay to Cinven and CVC Capital Partners. In 2016, Mark Horton, Murray Cox and others assisted Global Infrastructure Partners with the £2bn disposal of London City Airport to a funds consortium, which included AIMCo and OMERS, among others. Jeff Twentyman is the head of the private equity group.

Squire Patton Boggs’s clients ‘value the team’s advice highly’ on mid-market transactions; it is ‘experienced, commercial and responsive’. The firm attracts mandates from a broad base of clients, including management teams, private equity houses and parties selling to private equity houses. Tim Hewens, who leads the UK private equity group, is ‘an excellent source of advice in difficult deal scenarios’. James McKay and Manchester-based Giles Chesher are also recommended, as are Leeds-based practitioners Paul Mann and Jonathan Jones. In 2016, the group acted for Reiss’s management team on the £230m sale of the high street retailer to Warburg Pincus. It also advised Inflexion on the buyout of Lausanne Topco Limited and its subsidiaries from Vitruvian Partners. Mark Yeo and Alistair Francis recently made partner.

In January 2017, Stephenson Harwood emhanced its mid-market capability by hiring Jonathan Pittal, Warren Allan and Gabriel Boghossian from King & Wood Mallesons. Pittal, who was co-head of the private equity transactions practice at his previous firm, recently acted as the lead adviser to Five Arrows Principal Investments, Bowmark Capital and the other selling shareholders on the £340m sale of Autodata to Solera Holdings. In 2016, Ben Mercer acted for Fitness First’s UK management team on the £70m sale of Fitness First’s UK business by Oaktree Capital Management to DW Sports. Also recommended in the team is Tony Edwards, who undertakes domestic deals across a wide range of sectors, as well as transactions in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s expertise in private equity M&A, from both a UK and US law standpoint, is supported by the firm’s offering in areas such as high-yield, competition and tax. Timothy Emmerson jointly heads the practice with Richard Pollack; the latter relocated from New York in 2016 to become the London managing partner. Pollack recently led a team assisting Rhône Capital with the $1.2bn acquisition (and financing aspects associated with the acquisition) of Zodiac Pool Holding from a fund affiliated with The Carlyle Group. In 2016, Nikolaos Andronikos led a cross-office team acting for Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division on its acquisition of Navico A/S and C-MAP. Ben Perry has experience of acting for clients such as Apollo, Lightyear Capital and Canada Pension Plan Investment Borad. Recently promoted partner John Horsfield-Bradbury is another key individual.

Taylor Wessing LLP undertakes mid-cap transactions across a multitude of sectors, with a particular focus on technology, media and communications, as well as the retail and consumer industries. James Goold leads the UK private equity team, which includes Edward Waldron and senior associate Jonny Bethell, who assisted Rutland Partners with its £122m sale of the Millbrook Group to Spectris. Waldron and Bethell advised the same client on its €175m MBO of Walstead Group and Let’s Print Holding. Emma Danks acts for Synova Capital and MML Capital, as well as advising portfolio companies and management teams. Nick Hazell and Martin Winter are other team members, as is recent hire Duncan McDonald, who joined from Olswang LLP.

Travers Smith LLP, which is among the market-leading UK firms for private equity, particularly stands out in high-profile mid-market deals, but also has a strong reputation in large-cap transactions. Sell-side were a particular area of activity for the team in 2016; in the mid-cap space, Edmund Reed and Adam Orr were the lead advisers to Phoenix Equity Partners and senior management shareholders on the £163m sale of Palletways Group to Imperial Holdings Limited. In another highlight, James Renahan, Paul Dolman and Will Yates acted for Livingbridge and the founder shareholders of Frank Recruitment Group (FRG) on the sale of FRG to TPG Growth. At the larger end of the deal spectrum, Dolman and others acted for Bridgepoint and management on the £835m sale of Oasis Dental Care to BUPA. Chris Hale has more than 30 years of transactional experience. Ian Shawyer and Lucie Cawood are also recommended.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP handles a range of cross-border deals in its core energy and infrastructure, maritime and transport, and natural resources sectors. The firm also saw a marked uptick in transactions involving insurance, technology and healthcare, anong other industries. Team head Jan Mellmann led a cross-office team advising Aurelius and IT services portfolio company Getronics on the corporate aspects of Aurelius’s acquisition of Colt’s managed cloud business. In the energy sector, Evan Stergoulis assisted Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners with its acquisition of OffshoreMW from Blackstone.Paul Doris acted for Vortex on the £470m acquisition of a 365MW UK solar PV portfolio (comprising 24 operational assets) from TerraForm Power. Tom Jarvis and senior associate Claire Miles regularly handle the tax aspects of private equity transactions. Corporate partner Andy Savage is also recommended.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP has an outstanding track record in big-ticket, multi-jurisdictional deals, and leverages strong sponsor-side finance expertise and a sizeable network of private equity specialists in Europe and further afield. In one of the largest Italian deals in 2016, global private equity co-head Marco Compagnoni (‘does not forget what the client is trying to achieve’) and Lewis Blakey acted for Mercury UK Holdco in its €1.035bn acquisition of Setefi Services and ISP Card from Intesa Sanpaolo. In another matter, Michael Francies and Samantha McGonigle advised Oaktree Capital Management on the sale of the UK arm of Fitness First to DW Sports. Jonathan Wood, James Harvey and Simon Lyell are other members of the team. James MacArthur joined from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP in January 2017.

Under the leadership of Ian Bagshaw, White & Case LLP handles transactional matters for a broad cross-section of investors, including private equity houses, sovereign wealth funds, family offices and high-net-worth individuals. It also advises portfolio companies on a full range of issues, including capital structures, management incentive structures and strategic issues. In 2016, Bagshaw, Caroline Sherrell, Justin Wagstaff and others acted for Avast Software (which is backed by CVC Capital Partners and Summit Partners) on its $1.3bn acquisition of AVG Technologies. Bagshaw acted alongside Nicholas Greenacre and Emma Parr, among others, for The Smithfield Group on the CAN$1.13bn sale of Innovia Group to CCL Industries. Jarlath McGurran made partner. Kenneth Barry is also recommended, as is recent hire Richard Jones, who joined from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP. Richard Youle and Katja Butler departed for Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP, and Ross Allardice joined Dechert LLP.

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