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Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Commercial lending: advice to borrowers
  2. Commercial lending: advice to lenders
  3. Leading lawyers
  4. Next generation lawyers

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The Commercial lending coverage is organised into two rankings - Commercial lending: advice to borrowers and Commercial lending: advice to lenders. Law firms are written about in alphabetical order and may appear in one or both of the rankings tables.

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Allen & Overy LLP is a new entrant into this table and is a practice to watch in the next 12 months, partly due to the recent hires of Scott Zemser and Alan Rockwell from White & Case LLP to bolster the firm’s leveraged finance team. Zemser has a long track record in this field and joins the firm as global co-head of leveraged finance, and is responsible for the relationship for two of the firm’s major global financial institution clients, BNP Paribas and Credit Suisse. Rockwell, identified as a “stand-out name” by clients, is a recognized market-leading cross-border specialist (with deep experience of the U.S., European and Asian leveraged finance markets), and lead relationship partner for the practice with Barclays, Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan in New York. Rajani Gupta, who includes Goldman Sachs as a client, and long standing Elizabeth Leckie and Joe Stefano (who have over 45 years’ experience between them) are also key team members, with experience of closing deals in over 70 jurisdictions.

Bracewell LLP’s ‘fantastic’ practice is especially strong on all types of upstream and midstream energy-sector financings and restructurings, with clients noting that its lawyers are ‘always responsive, professional, and well versed on the hot topics in the industry’. Energy highlights for the practice, which advises borrowers and lenders such as Wells Fargo, Citibank and JPMorgan Chase, included advising Kinder Morgan on $4bn-worth of financing pertaining to its acquisition of Hiland Partners. Outside of the energy sphere, the firm advised food distribution company Sysco Corporation on a £1.7bn loan to finance its acquisition of UK-based company Brakes Group. The experienced Dewey Gonsoulin heads the team, which is primarily based in the firm’s Houston office, although the firm also fields highly rated practitioners Robin Miles and recently promoted partner Rebecca Keep in New York. Clients have ‘total trust and confidence’ in Kate Day, who provides ‘excellent service and advice’. Other key figures include Mark Holmes, whose ‘industry knowledge and responsiveness, combined with his communication skills, allow for agreements to get properly documented and closed in a timely fashion where all parties are happy’; and Stephanie Song (‘as good as it gets in the oil and gas sector’).

Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP has few rivals when it comes to the sheer volume of lender-side mandates that it handles as well as the scale and complexity of those mandates. The firm’s large bench of partners are all highly experienced in acquisition finance and high-yield debt; James Clark, Adam Dworkin, Douglas Horowitz, Daniel Zubkoff, John Tripodoro, Jonathan Schaffzin and Jennifer Ezring have all been highly active in 2016. In a reflection of its leading market presence, the firm advised the lenders on $50bn of new debt financing for Dell’s acquisition of EMC Corporation, a deal that involved $23bn in credit facilities, a $20bn bond offering, and a further $3.1bn senior notes offering by subsidiaries of Dell. In another highlight, the firm advised JP Morgan and Bank of America as lead arrangers on the $18.1bn financing of Western Digital’s acquisition of SanDisk, which involved a $5.3bn high-yield bond offering.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP provides its corporate borrower and private equity sponsor clients with ‘consistently excellent advice on acquisition financings’. The firm was involved in some of the largest acquisition financings of 2016, including assisting Western Digital with the $18.1bn financing of its takeover of SanDisk. Sponsor-side highlights included advising Warburg Pincus portfolio company, Endurance International Group, on the financing of its $1.1bn acquisition of Constant Contact and acting for TPG on the financing of its $2.25bn acquisitions of RCN and Grande Communications. The New York-based team fields a selection of highly rated lawyers including ‘excellent finance attorney’ Duane McLaughlin, Amy Shapiro, Meme Peponis and Laurent Alpert.

Praised for its ‘superlative commitment to client service’, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP has a well-established position as counsel of choice for banks on complex acquisition financings and investment-grade loans, in which James Cooper has a pre-eminent reputation. Borrower-side deals are also taking up more of the team’s time, with individuals such as corporate managing partner George Zobitz, Stephen Kessing, the ‘outstandingTatiana Lapushchik and Michael Goldman able to sit comfortably on both sides of the negotiating table. On the borrower side, the firm acted for Mylan on the $10bn bridge loan to finance its acquisition of Meda and refinance its existing debt; lender-side highlights included assisting JPMorgan Chase with a $3.6bn loan to finance American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings’ acquisition of Metaldyne Performance Group, and advising Goldman Sachs on a $2bn bridging facility to Fortis to finance its acquisition of ITC Holdings.

DLA Piper LLP (US) attracts praise for ‘delivering incredible value; the firm goes to herculean efforts to help meet what might be considered unreasonable timeframes to close a loan’. The firm advises borrowers and lenders from its offices in New York, Chicago, San Diego, Houston and Washington DC; the lender side of the group has established a strong niche advising on loans to the technology and life sciences sector, with San Diego-based partners Troy Zander (‘second to none’) and the ‘incredibly responsive, knowledgeable and reasonableMatt Schwartz especially active on this front. In a key lender mandate, the firm advised MUFG Union Bank as agent and lender on $1.3bn of loans to ResMed, some of which pertained to the company’s acquisition of Brightree. Other key lender clients include Citibank, On Deck Capital, Oxford Finance and Goldman Sachs. On the borrower side, the firm advised DPH Acquisition on over $300m-worth of financing for its buyout of Dunn Paper Holdings. Jamie Knox and Gregory Ruback (who attracts praise for his ‘responsive, deep legal expertise paired with an ability to relate to business priorities’) are highlighted for their borrower-side expertise.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP has a first-class reputation for acting for lenders and is also a go-to firm for borrower-side mandates. The multi-disciplinary group, which is jointly headed by James Florack and Joseph Hadley, covers the full range of matters, including LBOs, acquisition financings, structured financings, recapitalizations and restructurings. On the lender side, the firm recently advised the administrative agent and joint lead arrangers on a $4bn loan to Coty to finance its acquisition of Procter & Gamble’s beauty business, as well as a related, but separate, $4.5bn facility to the subsidiary formed to facilitate the deal. In another highlight, the firm acted as lenders’ counsel on a $17.2bn bridge term loan to Abbott Facilities to finance its acquisition of St Jude Medical. On the borrower side it advised Lockheed Martin on the $1.8bn financing needed to facilitate the separation and combination of its information systems and global solutions business with Leidos Holdings through a Reverse Morris Trust transaction. Key partners include Kenneth Steinberg, Meyer Dworkin and Jason Kyrwood.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has ‘an incredibly responsive, practical, deep and experienced’ borrower-led practice that is ‘the best in the business’. The team, which is led by ‘incredibly helpful’ finance chair David Brittenham, attracts praise for its strength-in-depth; partners such as Jeffrey Ross (‘great at knowing what terms we want’), Paul Brusiloff, and Scott Selinger (who ‘demonstrates depth beyond his age’) are commended for ‘caring deeply about the client relationship and working to ensure success’. The firm has an excellent track record advising private equity sponsors such as Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, Oaktree Capital Management, Providence Equity Partners and Stone Point Capital, and its work for corporates is also at the cutting edge. Recent corporate borrower highlights include advising Hertz Corporation on the $5.3bn financing required for the spin-off of its equipment rental business. In other significant mandates, the firm advised Envision Healthcare on the financing of its $15bn merger with Amsurg, and Activision Blizzard on the financing of its $5.9bn acquisition of King Digital.

Dechert LLP’s lawyers provide ‘an outstanding level of service; they think holistically about deals, which is important when negotiating transactions that must hold up over time’. The US team is led out of New York by Scott Zimmerman, who also heads the leveraged finance practice globally, and includes well-regarded partners Jeffrey Katz (also in New York) and Philadelphia-based Sarah Gelb. The practice is equally adept at advising borrowers - both private equity houses and corporates - as well as alternative lenders. For lending work, clients single out the ‘personable, knowledgeable and incredibly responsiveJay Alicandri who ‘always fights for the best result’. Highlights included advising Corporate Capital Trust on a $893m financing and acting for Select Medical Corporation on a $400m loan to finance its acquisition of Physiotherapy Associates Holdings. Other clients include ING Capital, Franklin Square Capital Partners and B&G Foods.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP has a balanced practice covering work for sponsors and lenders, with particular strength in mid-market acquisition finance. F William Reindel leads the team and has an excellent reputation for advising borrowers, in addition to being particularly well known for his advice to alternative lenders as well as clients such as Goldman Sachs. Key figures on the lender side include Brian Murphy, Daniel Bursky and Julian Chung. In a recent lender highlight the firm advised Credit Suisse on a $1.7bn loan to finance Onex Partners and Baring Private Equity Asia’s acquisition of Thomson Reuters Intellectual Property & Science. J Christian Nahr is particularly active on the sponsor side, recently advising AEA Investors on the financing of its $1.2bn acquisition of 1-800 Contacts. The firm also acted for Lumenis, a portfolio company of Chinese private equity fund XIO Group, on its $225m refinancing.

Led by Linda Curtis out of Los Angeles, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP acts for an enviable roster of big name corporates and private equity houses. One of the team’s larger matters was for Marriott International, which it advised on the $4bn financing pertaining to its $12.2bn acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. In another corporate financing highlight, the firm acted on two separate $4bn facilities linked to Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s spin-out from HP. On the private equity front, the firm advised CVC Capital Partners and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board on a $3.75bn loan to finance the acquisition of Petco, which was one of the largest leveraged buyouts in 2016. Aaron Adams, Darius Mehraban and Janet Vance are also recommended.

Jones Day’s ‘outstanding’ team, which is led by Brett Barragate and the ‘wonderful’ Robert Graves out of New York and Chicago respectively, is well established on the borrower side; the firm’s recent work for Sprint Corporation on a $3.5bn wireless spectrum-backed notes issuance, and a further $1.1bn financing of a mobile wireless handset sale and leaseback illustrates its strengths on the borrower side. Another highlight was representing Diebold on a $3.1bn loan to finance the company’s takeover of Wincor Nixdorf. The firm has an excellent track record advising lenders on mid-market financings, both in the regulated and non-regulated sectors. The firm’s Atlanta office has a strong relationship with SunTrust Bank, which it recently advised on a $2.5bn loan to finance Equifax’s acquisition of Veda Group. On the private lender front, the firm also advised Madison Capital Funding on a multimillion-dollar loan to finance Pamplona Capital Management’s acquisition of Veritext. Clients rate the ‘very helpful’ Susan Siebert in Boston, the ‘very skilled, available and polite’ Lewis Grimm and the ‘always available, very responsive and knowledgeableRobert Da Silva Ashley.

Led out of Chicago by the ‘extremely responsiveMichael Jacobson (who is ‘as smart as they come’), Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP provides a ‘phenomenal service’ to banks and alternative lenders, with clients praising the team for its ‘very strong knowledge of the private equity markets’ and for its ‘wonderful job of interacting with opposing counsel’. The firm, which has acted on over 300 financings throughout 2016, has experienced an uptick in work for major non-regulated lenders such as Antares Capital and Madison Capital Funding. Recent highlights include advising Golub Capital on a $605m loan to support the merger of Pet Valu and Pet Supermarket. The firm also acts for several major banks including Bank of America, Citizens Bank and Pacific Western Bank. The firm strengthened its borrower credentials in 2016 with the recruitment of ‘outstanding’ partner Kristopher Ring, who joined the Los Angeles office from Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Other key figures in Chicago include Neil Shelton and Jennifer Wolfe, who are ‘very experienced and do an excellent job representing clients’ best interests’.

King & Spalding LLP’s ‘absolutely fantastic’ finance team is headed by Atlanta-based Carolyn Alford and has several highly active partners based in New York and Charlotte, including Ron Lovelace, Bill Fuller, the ‘first-rate’ Todd Holleman, Hector Llorens, Chris Molen and Michael Urschel. Clients rate the firm’s ability to ‘achieve a great balance of partner and associate time to yield a very efficient result’. Recent highlights include advising JPMorgan Chase on a $1bn loan to Scheitzer-Mauduit International to help finance the acquisition of Argotec Intermediate Holdings. The firm is also experienced in the alternative lending sector and recently advised GSO Capital Partners on a $415m loan to Sequential Brands Group to finance its acquisition of Gaiam. Other key clients include SunTrust Bank, Wells Fargo, Citibank, Golub Capital and Antares Capital.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP has earned its status as ‘among the best at advising on finance terms for borrowers and M&A work’ through a long track record advising private equity clients on major LBOs, as well as corporate borrowers on complex acquisitions and restructurings. The firm has a ‘deep and very responsive’ debt finance team led out of Chicago by Linda Myers, which was further strengthened in early 2017 with the promotion of Maureen Dixon, Judson Oswald and Lucas Spivey to the partnership. The team’s wide-ranging workload included advising Caesars Entertainment on its Chapter 11 restructuring and assisting Molson Coors with the $12.3bn financing to acquire the remaining stake in MillerCoors, as well as the Miller brands outside the US, from Miller Brewing. On the sponsor side, the firm is also handling an increasing amount of work for Thoma Bravo, which it advised on the $1bn financing to acquire Qlik Technologies, as well as the financing for the takeover of Trader Corporation. The group is also handling an increasing amount of direct lending work to clients such as PSP Investments Credit USA, KKR Credit and Vista Equity Partners. Clients recommend Louis Hernandez (‘there is none better on the financing side’) and Nicholas Schwartz.

Latham & Watkins LLP has an ‘excellent’ team that is ‘top in the international finance arena’ and among a highly selective group with a market-leading presence on the borrower and lender sides. Recent lender-side highlights include advising Goldman Sachs and other lenders on a $4.2bn loan to Vista Equity Partners to finance the acquisition of Solera Holdings. The firm also advised Citigroup and Citibank on a $3.8bn loan to finance CVC Capital Partners and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board’s acquisition of Petco Animal Supplies. One of the largest deals on the borrower side was for Avago Technologies on the $17.8bn acquisition financing of its takeover of Broadcom. The team boasts a string of leading individuals, including global co-chair Daniel Seale, Michèle Penzer and Andrew Fayé for the lenders, and Jeffrey Chenard and Joshua Tinkelman for the borrowers.

With strong teams in Chicago, New York and Charlotte, Mayer Brown is commended for its ‘responsiveness, client focus and subject matter experience’ as well as its ‘practical advice and top-notch legal knowledge’. The group is best known for its lender work but several of its partners, including group head Douglas Doetsch and New York-based David Duffee, also handle work for borrowers; highlights in this regard included advising Yum! Brands on a $3.5bn senior secured credit facility. Advice to lenders, however, remains a key component of the practice, which acts for major clients such as HSBC Bank (recently on a $1.9bn loan to Lila Mexican Holdings) and Bank of America, which it represented on a $2bn loan to Boyd Gaming Corporation. Adam Wolk is ‘particularly good in terms of responsiveness and practicality of advice’, and Barbara Goodsteinhas incredible industry knowledge and experience’. Frederick Fisher joined the Chicago office from Greenberg Traurig LLP in early 2016.

Spread across its Chicago, Los Angeles and Silicon Valley offices, McDermott Will & Emery LLP’s practice is a popular choice for borrower work, with particular strength acting for private equity sponsors such as Peak Rock Capital and TriplePoint Capital. In an illustration of its private equity and healthcare-sector credentials, the firm recently advised Ares Management on the financing to support the recapitalisation of Ob Hospitalist Group. Another major client of the firm is H.I.G Capital, which it advised on the financing of several transactions, including the acquisition of Symplicity Corporation and the takeover of Akcros Holdings by Valtris Specialty Chemicals, an H.I.G. Capital portfolio company. Michael Boykins, Stephanie McCann and Gary Rosenbaum jointly head the 15-partner team.

McGuireWoods LLP handles an impressive volume of mandates on behalf of regulated and non-regulated lenders. While the Charlotte office, which houses more than 30 debt finance lawyers, handles the lion’s share of the work, the firm’s Chicago, Los Angeles and New York offices are also highly active, and the Atlanta office stands out for its expertise advising lenders to the healthcare and life sciences sectors. Atlanta-based Art Gambill led a team advising Wells Fargo Capital Finance on a $400m loan to Prime Healthcare Services. The firm also acted for key client Bank of America on a $7bn credit facility to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, as well as acting for the same client on multimillion-dollar loans to Clarcor and Babcock & Wilcox. Charlotte-based Raj Natarajan heads the team, which provides a ‘good level of service’ and ‘delivers good and timely work’. Other key names in Charlotte include the ‘very experiencedManley Roberts, Rebecca Chaffin and Eric Burk; in Atlanta, Hill Jordan is recommended; and in Dallas, David McLean is ‘excellent’ for mid-market direct lending.

Clients rate the overall service at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP as ‘among the best in the industry’, and single out its lawyers for their ‘superb technical skills combined with excellent client service and a commercial attitude’. The highly rated Marc Hanrahan leads the ‘excellent’ 14-partner practice in New York, which is best known for its lender-side work and which features noted practitioners Marcus Dougherty, Jerome McCluskey and Lauren Hanrahan, who ‘stands out as a phenomenal technical expert in the leveraged lending arena, which she combines with great responsiveness and solutions that clients highly appreciate’. Highlights included advising Credit Suisse, Jefferies, UBS, Bank of America and Société Générale on a $1.3bn loan to Czech company Avast Software to finance its acquisition of NYSE-listed AVG Technologies.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP acts for a predominantly lender client base on mid-market acquisition and leveraged finance, film finance (where it is one of the leading lights) and asset-based finance. The practice is particularly active in the burgeoning direct lending market, where it acts for major players such as Ares Capital and GSO Capital, and also acts for a strong stable of traditional banking clients such as JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and HSBC. Recently the firm acted for Wells Fargo Capital Finance as administrative agent in a $275m loan to PCM. The group was also counsel to Ares Capital on the $460m recapitalization of OTG Management, a leading airport terminal concession manager. New York-based Michael Chapnick, who is known for his film finance advice, recently advised JPMorgan Chase as administrative agent on a $500m facility to Skydance Productions for the development, production and acquisition of movies and TV shows. Boston-based Jonathan Bernstein heads the finance team, which includes Marshall Stoddard in New York, who leads the transactional finance practice.

Paul Hastings LLP’s ‘excellent’ finance group has, over the past few years, made a big investment into its practice, particularly on the leveraged finance side, where the highly respected Michael Baker and John Cobb lead the practice. The firm has achieved considerable success acting for banks such as Barclays Bank, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, on LBOs. Notable mandates included advising the lenders, including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, on $5bn-worth of facilities to finance Bass Pro Group’s acquisition of Cabela, and assisting Morgan Stanley Senior Funding, Barclays Bank and Wells Fargo Securities with a $1.15bn loan to fund a dividend recapitalization and the refinancing and consolidation of debt facilities associated with ArcLight’s portfolio companies. The firm had a number of departures this year, including Michael Michetti to Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP, and William Schwitter, Michael Chernick and Jeffrey Pellegrino to Allen & Overy.

The ‘excellent’ team at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLPgoes above and beyond for its client base’, which is predominantly composed of borrowers. The New York-based practice has a number of highly respected individuals, including Gregory Ezring, Eric Goodison, Thomas de la Bastide, Brian Kim and Brad Finkelstein. On the private equity side, the firm acted for key client Apollo Global Management on the $15bn acquisition and financing of the ADT Corporation, as well as the $1.4bn financing for the concurrent acquisitions of AmQuip Crane Rental and Maxim Crane works. Other highlights included advising RegionalCare Hospital Partners on the $1.3bn financing linked to its merger with Capella Healthcare, while on the restructuring front it assisted the steering committee of first lien lenders on the $32bn bankruptcy of Texas Competitive Electric Holdings Company.

Proskauer Rose LLP has a longstanding track record advising non-regulated lenders, cementing the firm’s status as one of the go-to advisers in this area, with clients reporting that the team provides ‘a far superior platform that consistently exceeds expectations with regard to turnaround time and market knowledge’. Highlights included representing Antares Capital on an $860m facility to CH Hold Corp and $125m loan to Power Services Holding Company. The borrower side of the practice is equally active; in addition to advising private equity firms and corporations, the firm has developed strong niches in providing finance advice to major sporting clients and investment funds such as Pomona Capital. Other key clients include Bowlmor AMF and AMF Bowling Centers, which it advised on a $630m facility. The team is jointly led by the ‘exceptionalRon Franklin (who is more active on the borrower front) and Stephen Boyko on the lender side. Other key partners include the highly experienced Steven Ellis and Kristen Campana, who recently joined from Bracewell LLP.

Ropes & Gray LLP’s borrower-led practice has long held a top position in the market, and the ‘highly responsive’ team is also making a concerted push into direct lender work, where it is developing a reputation for its ‘good knowledge of middle-market transactions’. Alyson Allen and Joanne De Silva are highly active in the direct lending market thanks in part to their work for KKR Credit Advisors and Hancock Capital Management; recent highlights include advising the former client on a $625m multi-tranche loan to H.I.G Capital to fund its acquisition of the Keefe and Courtesy groups. On the sponsor side, the firm recently acted for Silver Lake Partners, as co-sponsor with Thoma Bravo, on the financing of the acquisition of software company SolarWinds. The firm is also handling a substantial amount of work for corporates and strategic buyers; recent highlights include assisting Samsonite with a $2.3bn loan connected to its acquisition of Tumi. The highly regarded Byung Choi continues to head the US team, which includes the ‘very goodStefanie Birkmann, Jay Kim and Sunil Savkar.

A longstanding and well-respected player in the market, Shearman & Sterling LLP is best known for its lender work, although it also handles an enviable pipeline of borrower-side mandates for corporates and private equity sponsors. Borrower highlights included advising Dow Corning Corporation (DCC) on a $4.5bn loan to finance the acquisition of Corning’s interest in DCC by the Dow Chemical Company and advising Intercontinental Exchange on the complex financing arrangements required for its $5.2bn acquisition of Interactive Data. On the lender side the firm acted for Citigroup Global Markets and UBS Securities on the $16.2bn financing for Aetna’s $37bn takeover of healthcare company Humana and acted for Morgan Stanley and HSBC on a $2.4bn loan to finance Samsonite’s acquisition of Tumi Holdings. Practice head Joshua Thompson has ‘incredibly impressive breadth of knowledge and attentiveness to the client and the client’s needs’; he leads a team of extremely well-regarded partners including Maura O’Sullivan, Gus Atiyah and Jonathan DeSantis.

First rate in terms of knowledge, depth and quality of service’, Sidley Austin LLP’s practice has established a strong foothold advising corporate borrowers and private equity sponsors, thanks in part to Dallas-based partners Angela Fontana and Kelly Dybala. The firm also acts for a range of lender clients, which include JP Morgan. Mark Kirsons and Myles Pollin jointly lead the global finance practice out of Chicago and New York respectively, and draw upon the strong experience of partners such as Gary Stern and Robert Lewis. Herschel Hamner is also noted for his expertise in oil and gas related financings.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s longstanding relationships with banks and private equity sponsors makes it a top choice for both borrower and lender mandates. Patrick Ryan, whose primary focus is on work for lenders, leads a ‘top-notch’ team that is regularly called on to assist with major deals in a short time frame. Highlights included advising JP Morgan Chase and Merrill Lynch as lead arrangers and bookrunners on the $40bn bridge term loan for AT&T to finance its acquisition of Time Warner. On the borrower side - where partners such as Jennifer Hobbs, James Cross and Christopher Brown are highly active - the firm is regularly involved in cutting-edge financings for corporates and private equity sponsors; highlights included advising Dell and Silver Lake Partners on the financing of their $67bn acquisition of EMC, which was the largest leveraged buyout to date and involved a mix of investment grade debt, leveraged finance and high-yield. The firm also advised WME Entertainment and Silver Lake Partners on the $1.9bn financing of their buyout of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s commercial lending practice does ‘excellent work’ both for lenders and borrowers. In keeping with the firm’s M&A pedigree, the finance practice is regularly involved in some of the largest strategic buyouts and mergers that the market has to offer; in a recent example, the firm advised E.I. Du Pont de Nemours on the $7.5bn financing pertaining to its $130bn merger with the Dow Chemical Company. The firm also assisted Leidos Holdings on the $3.4bn financing of its acquisition of Lockheed Martin’s information systems and global solutions business through a Reverse Morris Trust transaction. Lender-side highlights included acting for Deutsche Bank on a $1.65bn term loan to hotel REIT Extended Stay America. The firm has also been involved in the direct lending space and acted for PSP Investments Credit on its $1bn commitment to a $8.7bn financing package for the merger of Apollo-backed Prime Security Services with ADT Corporation. The Chicago-based Seth Jacobson leads the US team and jointly heads the firm’s global practice. Stephanie Teicher, Steven Messina, Sal Guerrera, and Sarah Ward are especially well regarded.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s highly focused team has a good reputation for high-end borrower work for major public corporations such as Bayer, which it represented on its $57bn bridge loan to finance its acquisition of Monsanto; this was the third-largest acquisition bridge financing to date and the largest-ever acquisition of an American company by a foreign buyer. Another major highlight was advising AT&T on its $40bn bridge loan to finance its $85bn acquisition of Time Warner. The team, which is led by Robert Downes, John Estes and S Neal McKnight, has a very broad skillset and is equally comfortable in the high-yield space as it is for acquisition finance. This was demonstrated in its advice to Concordia, which used a combination of a $520m equity raising and a debt financing, including a $790m high-yield bond and a $1.87bn senior secured term loan to finance its acquisition of Amdipharm Mercury. Other highly rated partners include Ari Blaut and Erik Lindauer.

Under the leadership of global finance head Daniel Dokos, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP attracts praise for its ‘first-class service and execution’, and for its strong international network. Dokos leads a ‘knowledgeable, responsive and highly effective’ team of experienced lawyers, including US banking and finance head Douglas Urquhart; Morgan Bale, Danek Freeman and the newly promoted Heather Viets, who are highly active on the lender side; and Alsison Liff, Andrew Yoon, Damian Ridealgh, Courtney Marcus and the ‘knowledgeable, practical and efficientAndrew Colao, who are recommended for their advice to borrowers. Highlights included advising JAB Holding on a $6.4bn loan to finance the $13.9bn take-private of coffee company Keurig Green Mountain, advising Barclays and the other joint lead arrangers on the $500m financing of JAB Beech’s acquisition of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, and assisting Goldman Sachs with an $8bn bridge loan to Great Plains Energy to finance its takeover of Westar Energy.

White & Case LLP’s lender-side practice is built on strong relationships with major financial institutions such as Deutsche Bank, and attracts praise for its ‘outstanding work on cross-border transactions’. Notwithstanding the departure of Scott Zemser, Alan Rockwell and Judah Frogel to Allen & Overy LLP, Eric Leicht still leads a sizable team that includes the ‘very user-friendlyDavid Ridley. Recent highlights include advising Deutsche Bank and other lenders on $4.25bn-worth of debtor-in-possession facilities provided to Texas Competitive Electric Holding Company to help fund its refinancing and emergence from bankruptcy. The firm also advised Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Barclays and ING Capital as joint arrangers on a $1.78bn loan to Allnex to finance its acquisition of Australian company Nuplex Industries. The firm is also handling an increasing amount of borrower-side work, recently advising Fortis on a $2bn financing for the acquisition of ITC Holdings. Key figures on the borrower side include Jake Mincemoyer, the ‘insightful’ Dan Nam and Los Angeles-based Brenda Dieck.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP has a ‘strong, accomplished, multi-disciplinary team’ that represents a broad mix of private equity sponsors, corporate borrowers and lenders and which is commended for its ‘24/7 availability and ability to advise not only legally but also business-wise’. Key people include the ‘very knowledgeableMichael Zinder and William Hiller, who alongside practice vice chair Jeffrey Goldfarb are praised for their ‘endless knowledge and experience, their ability to solve issues and take all the bumps out of the road’. Other key partners include practice chair Leonard Klingbaum, Michael Niebruegge, who is noted for his restructuring advice, particularly in the energy sector, and Viktor Okasmaa, who was recently recruited from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP. Recent highlights include advising Teva Pharmaceutical Industries on the financing of its $40.5bn acquisition of Allergan. On the direct lending side, the firm advised GSO Capital Partners on a $550m loan to finance Scyamore Partners’ acquisition of Belk.

Winston & Strawn LLP handles a broad range of lender-based work and has a strong track record in mid and large cap leveraged and asset-backed loans. The 40-partner team has a strong national presence, with partners spread across the New York, Chicago, Charlotte, San Francisco and Los Angeles offices, giving it the ability to handle major syndicated loans. The firm also acts for non-banking clients such as Ares Capital Management and Twin Brook Capital Partners. Co-chairs William Brewer, Mats Carlston, Patrick Hardiman and Ronald Jacobson are all very active in the market. On the West Coast, Warren Loui handles a range of financings for film industry clients.

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