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Latham & Watkins is ‘excellent across the board, with a deep team of experienced professionals’ that includes the ‘phenomenalRichard Trobman, Brett Cassidy and the ‘outstandingJennifer Engelhardt. Scott Colwell advised banks including Goldman Sachs on three bonds for Altice related to its acquisition of PT Portugal. Jocelyn Seitzman advised issuers GFKL and Lowell on bonds exceeding £1bn for an LBO. Tracy Edmonson is also recommended.

Allen & Overy LLP is ‘one of the leading firms’ in the high yield space, and fields a number of dedicated partners including Kevin Muzilla, Jeanette Cruz, Matthias Baudisch (who ‘understands the legal aspects to the smallest detail’) and Jake Keaveny. Muzilla advised US private equity firm Lone Star on a €290m notes issuance for its acquisition of Balta Group. Keaveny acted for the underwriters of a £560m bond as part of the acquisition of CenterParcs.

Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP has ‘a terrific US law bond practice’. James Robinson (‘among the best of the best’) advised the book-running managers (including BBV and Barclays) on a €500m Rule 144a offering by Campofrio Food Group, handled Grupo Antolin’s €400m issuance, and acted alongside Anthony Tama for the managers of IMS Health’s €275m bond.

Key figures at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP include ‘class actPhilip Boeckman, George Stephanakis, Alyssa Caples and Joel Herold (who ‘understands both the market and its participants’). Caples advised Ineos Finance on a €770m Rule 144a issuance. Boeckman’s clients include AA Group.

Linklaters LLP is ‘one of the leading firms for high yield matters’. Alexander Naidenov advised Apollo Global Management on a €300m bond and a €1.3bn covenant-lite Term Loan B for its acquisition of Veralia. Mark Hageman, who acted for Norske Skogindustrier on its €290m issuance, and US counsel Natalia Sokolova are also recommended.

At Ropes & Gray LLP, Jane Rogers advised Liberty Global on high yield elements of its Cable & Wireless bid, and Virgin Media on a $500m notes issue. Michael Kazakevich (who ‘brings a level of experience rarely seen in Europe’) advised Altice on high yield bonds for its SuddenLink acquisition.

Shearman & Sterling LLP has ‘a great team of very creative lawyers’. Apostolos Gkoutzinis advised Credit Suisse and others on a €239m offering by Dakar Finance. Jacques McChesney acted for Barclays on Stonegate Pub Company’s £80m secured notes issuance. Trevor Ingram acted for initial purchasers including UniCredit on a €110m offering by Snai.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s ‘truly excellent sponsor-side practice’ is regularly involved in creative deals. The ‘commercial, pragmatic and focused’ Gil Strauss advised Blackstone on a €70m bond issue, and Nicholas Shaw handled Stonegate Pub Company’s £80m offering. ‘Superstar’ Carol Daniel is also recommended. Since publication, Alvaro Membrillera has moved to Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP attracts praise for its ‘quality, vision and guidance on complex matters’. English law specialist Vanessa Blackmore advised Concordia Healthcare on a bond issuance for its acquisition of Amdipharm Mercury. US-qualified Chris Beatty advised Novalis on an €800m offering to redeem existing notes.

White & Case LLP is growing its focus on European deals alongside its emerging markets work. Rob Matthews advised GTECH on multibillion-dollar covenant-lite issuance to fund its acquisition of International Game Technology. Paul Clews advises leading arranger banks. Other key names include the ‘top-notchJill Concannon, who acted for Cabot Credit Management on a €310m offering; and David Becker.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP has a strong track record acting for debut issuers, particularly in emerging markets. Pierre-Marie Boury advised underwriters led by Crédit Agricole and HSBC on Rexel’s €500m bond issue, and acted for Goodyear Dunlop Tires on a €250m notes offering.

Clifford Chance LLP’s Fabio Diminich played a key role in one of the year’s most significant deals when he advised private equity firm Cinven on a €2bn bond as part of its acquisition of Labco and Synlab. Michael Dakin advised ChemChina and Marco Polo Industrial Holdings on a high yield bridge facility for their acquisition of Pirelli.

At DLA Piper, Tony Lopez has ‘good knowledge of current market practice’ and advised Central European Media Enterprises on the €235m secured notes redemption, and provided US law advice to PAI Partners on its acquisition of Swissport. Martin Bartlam is also recommended.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is ‘a one-stop-shop for corporate, bank, private equity and high yield transactions’. Andrew Hagan joined from Kirkland & Ellis International LLP, further strengthening the practice, which includes Ward McKimm, Simone Bono (‘a very strong practitioner’) and Denise Ryan. McKimm advised Worldpay Group on its inaugural €500m bond.

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP’s ‘impressive, smart and hardworking team’ includes William Burke and ‘absolute starMatthew Merkle, who are ‘experienced and highly creative’ practitioners. Merkle advised a consortium including Bain Capital on €1.1bn in PIK notes as part of its acquisition of ICBPI. Cedric Van den Borren is also recommended.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP’s ‘seasoned team’ was joined by special counsel Trevor Truman and partner Stuart Morrissy, who moved from the New York office to join practice head Tim Peterson. Pearson advised Citigroup and others on the high yield elements of BAE Systems’ $1.5bn debt issuance.

The ‘client-focused, commercial’ team at Paul Hastings LLP has ‘strong partners and associates with good knowledge of current market practice’. Peter Schwartz advised JPMorgan on Altice’s purchase of SuddenLink. Associates Christianne Williams and Edward Holmes are also recommended.

Clients praise Proskauer Rose LLP’s practice for its ‘dedicated partner involvement’. ‘Top legal mind’ Maximillian Kirchner ‘has an outstanding grasp of the bond market’. In addition to its strong funds clientele, the firm also represents investment banks as deal managers.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP is known for its handling of novel and complex matters involving New York law. James McDonald advised LM Group on a consent solicitation to amend the terms of its senior secured notes and subsequent NOK475m green bond issuance. Danny Tricot acted for CEMEX in its $750m and €550m dual tranche offering.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges is ‘very responsive and has deep legal knowledge’. Patrick Bright leads the team, which includes associate Nitin Konchady. Highlights included advising banks including Goldman Sachs on the high yield financing of Hellman & Friedman’s acquisition of Securitas Direct, which was Europe’s largest LBO in 2015.

Baker McKenzie LLP has a leading high yield expert in Adam Farlow. He acted alongside Roy Pearce for China City Infrastructure on consent solicitations for its HK$600m notes issuance. They also acted for Metinvest on negotiations with holders of bond tranches totalling more than $1.1bn.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP has ‘significant expertise in the high yield space’. Jeff O’Brien leads the London practice, which advised Abengoa on its $323m notes offering, and advised the underwriters on a €500m issuance by Worldpay Finance.

Hogan Lovells International LLP recruited European high yield veteran Sylvain Dhennin from Dentons. He advised HNA Group on a €690m issuance for the acquisition of Swissport Group.

A new entrant to the European high yield market, Jones Day has ‘a developing practice with some high-quality lawyers’. Jonathan Bloom advised Bité Finance on its outstanding €200m senior notes.

Mayer Brown International LLP has ‘a small but experienced and motivated core team’, which includes Bernd Bohr, who has ‘profound knowledge of both bank and bond financing’. Bohr advised Progroup on multi-jurisdictional aspects of its €400m inaugural bond issue.

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