Index of tables
Private equity: transactions
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP
- Slaughter and May
- Addleshaw Goddard LLP
- CMS Cameron McKenna LLP
- Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
- Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
- Baker & McKenzie LLP
- Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP
- Eversheds LLP
- Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
- Jones Day
- Mayer Brown International LLP
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
- Dundas & Wilson LLP
- McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP
- Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP
- Norton Rose LLP
- O’Melveny & Myers LLP
- Ian Bagshaw - Linklaters LLP
- Derek Baird - Allen & Overy LLP
- Chris Bown - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Fabrizio Carpanini -
- Marco Compagnoni - Weil, Gotshal & Manges
- Steven Davis - SJ Berwin LLP
- Alastair Dickson - Dickson Minto WS
- Mike Francies - Weil, Gotshal & Manges
- Chris Hale - Travers Smith LLP
- Bruce Hanton - Ashurst
- Matthew Layton - Clifford Chance
- Charles Martin - Macfarlanes LLP
- Charles Meek - Macfarlanes LLP
Allan Murray-Jones -
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP
Will Rosen -
Ropes & Gray LLP
- Philip Sanderson - Travers Smith LLP
Adam Signy -
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
- Jeff Twentyman - Slaughter and May
- David Walker - Clifford Chance
- Graham White - Kirkland & Ellis International LLP
- Richard Youle - Linklaters LLP
The ‘jewel in the crown of the firm’s corporate capabilities’, Clifford Chance’s private equity team has longstanding and deeply entrenched relationships with many of the most significant players in the industry, including The Carlyle Group, CVC and Bridgepoint. This sees it regularly engaged in the biggest-ticket mandates in the market, with recent examples including Carlyle’s £1bn acquisition of RAC. While deal flow has been suppressed due to market conditions, the firm has also been involved in a raft of ancillary matters including add-on deals for portfolio companies (such as for Actis portfolio company EMPH on its acquisition of Visa Jordan Card Services) and spin-outs; and it has picked up new clients including Cinven. The ‘excellent’ David Walker heads the team, which includes Spencer Baylin, who ‘knows the industry inside out’; the ‘bright and hardworking’ Kem Ihenacho; Matthew Layton, who is ‘hugely focused on the right issues’; Jonny Myers; and Simon Tinkler.
Headed by Bruce Hanton, Ashurst’s eight-partner team has strong ties with a broad range of sponsors including Apax, Cinven and Nordic Capital. Simon Beddow advised Doughty Hanson on its acquisition of USP Hospitales from Barclays and RBS. David Carter handles an impressive volume of deals in the mid-market, and recently advised Oakley Capital on the acquisition of a majority stake in Time Out New York. The team also has a strong focus on the Scandinavian market. Stephen Lloyd is recommended.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP has well-established relationships with a number of the most prominent sponsors in the market, including CVC and Warburg Pincus. David Higgins and Adrian Maguire recently advised core client Cinven on its acquisition of legal process outsourcer CPA Global. Team head Chris Bown has an excellent reputation, and advised CVC on its acquisition of Ahlsell. Edward Braham and David Sonter are also recommended.
Although it is more domestic in scope than some of its peers in the ranking, Travers Smith LLP has an excellent reputation, providing ‘commercial, responsive and constructive’ advice to an impressive roster of sponsor clients. It advised Exponent Private Equity on the acquisition of a portfolio of BBC magazine titles, and Carlyle on its acquisition of The Foundry. The firm remains well known for its work for management, and was recently involved in the sales of Wagamama, Eat and RAC. Standout partners include team head Philip Sanderson, who is ‘effectively able to balance good commercial and legal judgement’; the ‘pragmatic, commercial and attentive’ Ian Shawyer; Helen Croke, who ‘displays a tremendous work ethic’; and the ‘enormously experienced’ Chris Hale.
The ‘world-class’ team at Weil, Gotshal & Manges provides ‘a very commercial approach’ to an ever-expanding client roster that includes many of the most prominent sponsors in the market, including Advent International, Bridgepoint and Oaktree. ‘An excellent deal doer’, Marco Compagnoni recently advised Providence Equity Partners on its £667m sale of Phones4U to BC Partners, while on the buy side Jonathan Wood acted for Advent International on its £925m acquisition of the Priory Group. Other recommended partners include Mike Francies, who is ‘excellent at laying out all the risks but also explaining which are worth taking for the greater good of the deal’; and Mark Soundy, who is ‘one of the most experienced, constructive and thoughtful transaction leaders in the industry’.
Allen & Overy LLP provides a ‘responsive and highly commercial service’ to a strong client base that includes Apax, Charterhouse and Towerbrook. ‘Very proactive and commercial’ team head Derek Baird advised Pamplona Capital Management on the €600m sale of the TMP Friction group, and assisted new client Varde Partners on its £472m acquisition of SAV Credit. The ‘very responsive’ Gordon Milne is also recommended, as is Susan Howard, in particular for her work in the infrastructure sector.
Kirkland & Ellis International LLP continues on its ‘upward trajectory’ in the London market; as well as handling work for a number of the firm’s core US clients, such as Bain Capital, the team has developed a strong standalone practice. Recent highlights include advising Bain Capital and Hellman & Friedman on the €2.3bn acquisition of Securitas Direct from EQT. The team has also been involved in a number of exits, including advising TowerBrook Capital Partners on the €443m sale of PolymerLatex. Daniel Oates is a ‘strong up-and-coming lawyer with good commercial awareness’. Gavin Gordon, David Arnold and Graham White are also recommended.
Linklaters LLP has an increasingly integrated private equity practice across its international network. Core client HgCapital continues to generate a significant flow of work, and recently instructed the firm on its combined acquisition of the Iris Software Group and Computer Software Group. The team also secured a first-time instruction from Bridgepoint, on its acquisition of Quilter & Co from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. Co-headed by Ian Bagshaw and the ‘very hardworking and commercial’ Richard Youle, the group is praised for its ‘broad strength and high service levels’.
Macfarlanes LLP has a ‘great tradition of superb lawyers in the private equity arena’, and ‘provides Magic Circle advice at mid-market fee levels’. The practice receives regular instructions from significant sponsors in the industry, including 3i, Alchemy and Graphite. Charles Meek represented Duke Street Capital on its acquisition of Wagamama from Lion Capital. ‘An excellent communicator who is particularly strong on management issues’, Ian Martin advised Graphite on its acquisition of Protocol Education from Bridgepoint. Other recommended partners include the ‘very good’ Stephen Drewitt and Charles Martin.
SJ Berwin LLP marries its strength on the funds side with transactional expertise, and has a team of ‘experienced lawyers who display strong commercial skills’. It advised core client Lion Capital on a raft of mandates including its acquisition of AllSaints and the £215m sale of Wagamama to Duke Street, while other clients include Bowmark Capital and Graphite Capital. Steven Davis, Tim Wright and the ‘creative and experienced’ Jonathan Pittal are recommended.
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP ‘knows the private equity industry inside out’, and provides a ‘commercial and detail-orientated approach’ to clients such as Apax, Melrose plc and Silver Lake Partners. The London team includes UK and US-qualified lawyers and, as well as generating a flow of standalone work, is highlighted for its ‘joined-up approach with US colleagues on structuring and finance’. It advised key client Blackstone on its $995m acquisition of Jack Wolfskin and its £385m sale of Intelenet. US-qualified Michael Wolfson has ‘remarkable institutional knowledge’, and is ‘willing to take tough decisions to ensure the maximum benefit to his client’. The ‘ultimate trusted adviser’, Adam Signy is ‘always looking to provide solutions rather than create problems’.
Praised for its ‘ability to bring issues to their essence’, DLA Piper UK LLP is ‘very experienced in the mid-/lower-mid market’ and is able to resource deals effectively out of London and its regional offices. ‘Very sensible and pragmatic’ team head David Raff recently advised the management of CPA Global on its proposed acquisition by Cinven. The practice has also handled a raft of work for Sun Capital, including its acquisition of the Alexon Group. The ‘hardworking and committed’ Edward Griffiths is a ‘pleasure to work with’. Leeds-based Wendy Harrison is ‘very attentive’, and Manchester-based James Kerrigan provides ‘excellent advice on the key risks’.
‘Excellent boutique’ Dickson Minto WS provides a ‘very commercial service’ to core clients such as BC Partners and Charterhouse Capital Partners. Recent highlights include advising Charterhouse on its £579m acquisition of Environmental Resources Management from Bridgepoint. Alastair Dickson is a ‘fantastic lawyer’, and works alongside the ‘extremely competent’ Martin McNair, among others.
Latham & Watkins LLP continues to strengthen and build on its existing relationships with sponsors such as Carlyle, KKR and Apollo, as well as gaining new clients including Nordic Capital. With significant input from the firm’s US, European and Chinese offices, Martin Saywell and Rory Negus advised Apollo Global Management on its €1.1bn acquisition of Taminco Group Holdings. Mike Bond heads the team.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP’s London-based private equity team operates as part of the firm’s broader international offering, and is particularly strong on cross-border mandates. Shaun Lascelles recently advised Helios Investment Partners on the $1bn acquisition of a majority stake in the African downstream oil operations of Royal Dutch Shell. Team head Allan Murray-Jones continues to handle a raft of work for Doughty Hanson, recently advising on its £250m acquisition in a majority stake in ASCO.
While its private equity work is somewhat overshadowed by its superlative mainstream corporate practice, Slaughter and May provides ‘excellent advice’ to a strong roster of clients including Global Infrastructure Partners, Silver Lake and Terra Firma. ‘Highly recommended’ team head Jeff Twentyman has handled a flow of work for Francisco Partners, including its £25.3m acquisition (in collaboration with Emailvision) of SmartFocus Group.
Headed out of London by Andrew Carpenter and with significant regional resources, Addleshaw Goddard LLP’s private equity team excels at advising sponsors on domestic mid-market mandates. Mike Hinchliffe has a burgeoning reputation, in particular for deals in the retail and renewable energy sectors, and recently advised Kurt Geiger on its £215m disposal to Jones Group. Other clients include ECI, LDC and Dunedin.
Noted for its ‘ability to handle work which reflects the latest market practice’, CMS Cameron McKenna LLP handles a mix of mid-market mandates, both domestic and cross-border. The ‘very commercial’ James Grimwood ‘understands market trends’, and regularly handles work for LDC, recently advising it on the acquisition of Workplace Systems International. The ‘pragmatic and knowledgeable’ Louise Wallace is also recommended, in particular for transactions in the consumer products and hotels sectors.
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s four-partner offering provides a nimble and creative service to sponsors engaged in transactions domestically and internationally. Particularly accomplished in the emerging markets, it advised core client TPG on the £1.3bn sale of its majority shareholding in Mey Içki Sanayi ve Ticaret, Turkey’s leading spirits manufacturer, to Diageo. Simon Jay led on this deal and is a key partner in the team, which includes the ‘excellent’ Michael McDonald.
Now headed by David Innes following the recent retirement of James Kiernan, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP provides a one-stop-shop service to private equity clients, in relation to funds matters and investments. The team regularly works in conjunction with a strong US team, as well as on a standalone basis. Recent highlights include advising Clayton, Dubilier & Rice on the €2.1bn acquisition of French-based company SPIE from PAI Partners.
Headed by Gavin Davies, Herbert Smith LLP’s four-partner team regularly combines with the firm’s finance, tax and funds groups to provide a ‘co-ordinated and commercial’ service to a growing roster of clients including 3i, Carlyle and Blackstone. The team regularly advises the latter on real estate and mid-market deals, such as its acquisition of Tangerine Confectionery Group. The ‘very pleasant and highly commercial’ James MacArthur is particularly effective in the mid-market, for clients such as Cabot Square. The ‘pragmatic and experienced’ Roddy Martin has a niche in the energy sector and on China-related deals.
Led by the ‘very experienced and commercial’ Alan Greenough, Hogan Lovells International LLP provides ‘incredibly responsive and commercial’ advice to a growing stable of clients including GI Partners, NavisCapital Partners and Inflexion. Praised for its ‘excellent understanding of the global private equity market’, and able to draw on the firm’s comprehensive network of international offices, the team is regularly involved in cross-border deals, such as GI Partners’ acquisition of two companies with a portfolio of Dutch residential mortgages from Citibank. Amit Nayyar is ‘intellectually strong’, and Tom Whelan is ‘very responsive and commercially aware’.
At White & Case LLP, London head of corporate Ashley Ballard is experienced in private equity transactions, and Andrew Weiler is also recommended. The team has recently been involved in a number of mandates with a restructuring component, including advising Zolfo Cooper on the £62m sale of Peverel Group to a private equity backed SPV. Weiler continues to advise AlpInvest Partners on a number of secondary acquisitions.
Headed by the ‘balanced, calm and methodical’ Simon Hughes, Baker & McKenzie LLP provides a ‘professional and responsive’ service to clients such as Apax Partners, Platinum Equity and Innova Capital. Particularly strong on mid/upper-market international mandates, the team has handled a raft of transactions for EQT in the Nordic region, including advising on its acquisition of Atos Medical. Peter Strivens provides ‘clear advice’ to clients in the telecoms sector.
Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP, under Raymond McKeeve, combines transactional expertise with industry strength in areas such as real estate, energy and healthcare. Recent highlights include advising Mid Europa Partners on its acquisition of a further stake in Energy 21, the Czech-based solar power parks operator. The team was recently bolstered by the arrival, as a senior consultant, of corporate heavyweight Alan Paul from Allen & Overy LLP.
Increasingly drawing on resources in the firm’s international network and also benefiting from a strong regional presence, Eversheds LLP’s team provides ‘value for money’ to sponsors such as Inflexion, Endless and LDC on mid-market transactions. Richard Moulton is ‘calm in a crisis, and willing to go the extra mile’, and Mark Spinner is ‘commercial, hardworking and responsive’.
Aided by a strong international network, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s team specialises in cross-border mandates, particularly in the technology, energy, finance and real estate sectors. Wayne McArdle and James Barabas recently advised NR Investments on its investments in AISI Realty. Other clients include Investcorp, m8 Capital and Mid Europa Partners.
Headed by the ‘very good’ Adam Greaves, Jones Day advises mid-market sponsors in the UK market as well as assisting clients in the context of the firm’s broader international offering. Recent highlights include advising WL Ross & Co on the equity funding of Virgin Money’s acquisition of Northern Rock. Other clients include Inflexion, Goldman Sachs and Alcuin Capital.
At Mayer Brown International LLP, team head William Charnley advised Principal Hayley Group on the £250m acquisition of the shares of six SPVs which own hotels leased to the client’s group. Other clients include Terra Firma, QVT Financial and Pamplona Capital Management.
A significant player in the mid-market, Olswang has handled a number of mandates for secondary investors such as Chamonix, which it advised on the acquisition of five businesses from the Linpac Group. Stephen Rosen heads the team, which also acts for ISIS Equity Partners, Primary Capital and Lyceum Capital. Fabrizio Carpanini is also recommended.
Led by Andrew Masraf, Pinsent Masons LLP continues to build out its private equity practice, and provides an increasingly co-ordinated approach regionally and internationally. Tom Leman is noted for work in the retail and leisure sectors. Clients include ISIS, LDC and ECI.
Headed by Will Rosen, Ropes & Gray LLP’s rapidly growing five-partner team handles a mix of special situations work and traditional buyout transactions. Highlights included advising TPG Capital on its $560m acquisition of a minority interest in Saxo Bank. Iain Morpeth joined in January 2012 from Clifford Chance, and ‘combines a corporate lawyer’s ability to pull all the facets of a deal together with the ability to talk the language of real estate’.
At Simmons & Simmons LLP, the ‘very proactive and commercial’ Gideon Sharp represented AnaCap on its tertiary buyout of Cabot Financial from Citigroup Capital and other institutional owners. The ‘utterly unflappable’ Arthur Stewart is ‘very commercial in his approach’, and heads a team whose increased market visibility is reflected in a client base that includes Oak Investment Partners, Gartmore and Mitsui Private Equity.
Taylor Wessing LLP provides ‘commercially realistic advice’, and draws on the resources of a ‘good and improving European network’. Core clients include Rutland Partners, Electra Partners and GCP Capital Partners. The ‘very sharp and commercial’ Emma Danks advised Bridgepoint Portfolio Services on the disposal of Protocol Education. Nicholas Hazell is ‘measured, as well as being combative when needed’.
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld provides a ‘very high level of service’ on complex deals, often in emerging markets. Sebastian Rice advised UFG Private Equity on the disposal of Rising Star Media, one of Russia’s largest theatre operators. The ‘methodical and measured’ Greg Hammond ‘takes a proactive approach, and is often able to spot issues before they arise’.
At Dechert LLP, team head Jonathan Angell is highlighted for his ‘breadth of experience, intelligence and commerciality’.
At O’Melveny & Myers LLP, John Daghlian handles both funds and transactional work.
Osborne Clarke has a ‘very pragmatic and commercial approach’ on mid-market deals, and advises clients such as LDC and Inflexion.
At Speechly Bircham LLP, Malcolm MacDougall heads a rapidly growing team that advises management, sponsors and investee companies, and is particularly active in the lower and mid-market. Clients include Elysian Capital, Iceni Capital and Coller Capital.
Headed by James McKay, Squire Sanders LLP handles lower-mid market domestic deals for clients such as LDC, Sovereign Capital and Gresham. The firm’s merger has increased the team’s exposure to mandates in Eastern Europe and CIS.
Headed by Jeff Eldredge, Vinson & Elkins RLLP’s small team excels at transactions in growth sectors, recently assisting Soros Fund Management and Albright Capital Management on the purchase of their respective interests in APR Energy.