United States > M&A/corporate and commercial > Private equity buyouts > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings
Index of tables
Private equity buyouts
- Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
- Jon Ballis - Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Richard Capelouto -
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
- David Chapin - Ropes & Gray LLP
- Peggy Andrews Davenport - Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
Gary Horowitz -
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
Wilson Neely -
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
- Kirk Radke - Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP
- Alfred Rose - Ropes & Gray LLP
- Robert Schwenkel - Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
- Howard Sobel - Latham & Watkins LLP
Kirkland & Ellis LLP remains one of the top players in the private equity buyout arena, delivering ‘top-notch advice’. Considered ‘very strong across the board’, with several hundred attorneys practicing in the field, the firm balances a huge middle-market presence alongside an equally impressive large-cap practice. The list of active key clients includes Apax, Bain Capital, Warburg Pincus and Oaktree Capital Management. The department has also taken on substantial assignments for KKR, Blackstone and The Carlyle Group, and lately gained new client Sycamore Partners, which Sean Rodgers advised on its agreement to acquire Belk in a transaction worth $3bn. In less than a year, the Chicago-headquartered firm has made itself as a serious player in Texas, with the 2014 addition of Andrew Calder in Houston contributing to its standing in the energy sector. In Chicago, Walter Holzer (‘smart and business-minded’) and Stephen Ritchie represented GTCR as one of the majority shareholders of Ironshore in the $1.8bn sale of Ironshore to Chinese investment company Fosun International. ‘Highly responsive’ Jeffrey Seifman in Chicago acted as lead partner in various matters for Audax Group. Chicago-based Jon Ballis continues to represent Bain Capital, most recently in connection with its $2.1bn sale of Air Medical Group. The firm is also a market leader in distressed investments, which is built upon its eminence in bankruptcy and restructuring. Hamed Meshki in Los Angeles and Christopher Greeno in Chicago are ‘creative’ and ‘commercially minded’; David Nemecek in Los Angeles and Matthew Steinmetz are also highly regarded. New recruit Melissa Hutson joined the firm’s New York office from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP. Departures included Taurie Zeitzer, who joined Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP; Fred Lim, who went to Goodwin Procter LLP; and Kathy Schumacher, who went to McDermott Will & Emery LLP. All attorneys are based in New York except where noted otherwise.
‘High-quality firm’ Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is a clear leader in the private equity sphere, where it enjoys longstanding ties to giants such as KKR as well as numerous middle-market players. Clients benefit from the firm’s full range of expertise, which extends beyond M&A to tax, real estate and debt financing. Highlights included advising Blackstone on its $8bn acquisition of BioMed Realty Trust, which was the largest private equity buyout of a US public company in 2015; Brian Stadler was one of the lead partners. The firm acted for a considerable number of new clients, such as First Reserve Corporation, which William Curbow represented in its sale of a portfolio of more than 30 helicopters to Waypoint Leasing Holdings. The main private equity contacts in New York are Wilson Neely and Gary Horowitz, but the firm’s excellent Palo Alto office also plays a key role: for instance, Richard Capelouto and Atif Azher tied up Silver Lake Partners’ $24.4bn acquisition of Dell, one of the largest private equity buyouts since 2007. Robert Langdon, also in Palo Alto, assisted Warburg Pincus with the formation of Helix, a joint venture with Illumina and Sutter Hill Ventures. Marni Lerner and Ryerson Symons are part of the New York group. Melissa Hutson went to Kirkland & Ellis LLP, while Dan Clivner joined Sidley Austin LLP.
The New York-based team at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is rated as ‘world class in terms of knowledge, breadth of capabilities and professionalism’. The firm - which has strong focuses on the insurance and healthcare sectors - witnessed considerable growth in the private equity sphere in 2015, representing 16 clients in nearly 30 announced transactions. As an example, it assisted P2 Capital with its sale of Interline Brands to Home Depot for $1.6bn; Andrew Bab led on that matter. The co-head of the team, Kevin Schmidt, ‘stands out in his peer group’ for his ‘responsive, commercially minded approach’. Rising star Kevin Rinker ‘knows when to push and when to listen’, and recently demonstrated his abilities for Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and the middle-market private equity platform of Morgan Stanley. Michael Diz demonstrates ‘strong commercial skills in addition to legal acumen’; for example, he acted for Providence Equity Partners and SRA International in the merger between SRA and the government services unit of CSC, which created the largest pure-play IT services provider serving the US government. He worked closely on this matter with corporate co-chair Margaret Andrews Davenport, who remains an important member of the private equity team. Rebecca Silberstein and Paul Bird are also recommended. Michael Harrell is the firm’s leading figure in fund formation. Recently promoted to partner, Jennifer Chu is very seasoned in handling private equity matters; alongside lead partners Gregory Gooding and Jeffrey Rosen, she advised Apollo Global Management on its takeover of a majority interest in new company AR Global. Tax lawyer David Schnabel went to Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP. Clients consider the attorneys ‘incredibly responsive’ and part of a firm that ‘strives for efficiency and continuity’.
With its deep bench of talent and extensive expertise, Latham & Watkins LLP continues to attract a wide range of private equity sponsors in the US and abroad. The firm covers the full spectrum of market participants: leading international funds, mid-market investors, and investors active in specific industry sectors such as IT, energy, healthcare, life sciences, and financial services. Examples of large private equity clients are Apollo, GTCR and Onex Corporation; in the middle market, the firm regularly represents Riverstone, Odyssey Investment Partners and One Equity Partners. The group benefits from the firm’s cross-disciplinary approach, drawing on broad capabilities in areas such as tax, fund structuring and acquisition finance. In 2015, the group advised on the sale by BC Partners (its client) and CPP Investment Board of a majority stake in cable operator Suddenlink Communications to multinational telecoms company Altice; Raymond Lin and John Giouroukakis led the advice. Daniel Lennon in Washington DC is key to the firm’s relationship with The Carlyle Group, and recently assisted a client with a joint control acquisition alongside PAI Partners of Custom Sensors & Technologies. Howard Sobel has an excellent reputation; Ted Sonnenschein is ‘a star’ and ‘incredibly knowledgeable’; another name to note is David Kurzweil. The US private equity group is headed by David Brown in Washington DC and Jennifer Perkins. The firm overall has a ‘superb’ private equity department with ‘highly creative lawyers’. All attorneys are in New York except where stated otherwise.
New York firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP continues to be at the forefront of US private equity. The impressive client roster includes big names such as Oak Hill Capital Partners, The Carlyle Group, KKR and Stone Point Capital, and it has a strong record in deals within the healthcare, industrial, technology, and media and entertainment fields. Department co-head Angelo Bonvino ‘delivers quality service’; recently he and Carl Reisner assisted KPS Capital Partners with its $1.3bn divestiture of Waupaca Foundry to Hitachi Metals. With the arrival of the experienced Taurie Zeitzer from Kirkland & Ellis LLP, the firm cemented its relationship with key client Apollo Global Management. Another important client, General Atlantic, retained Matthew Abbott and Neil Goldman to help with investments in a long list of businesses, including Airbnb and Uber. Ellen Ching and Edward Ackerman were promoted to partner. John Scott is also noted. The practice demonstrates ‘expertise across transaction types, industries and geographies’ and has ‘an ability to deliver innovative solutions to difficult challenges’.
Ropes & Gray LLP has an excellent reputation in private equity, representing large US and global funds as well as a vast number of mid-market firms. The group includes 45 partners mainly working from the firm’s Boston and New York offices, with additional attorneys in Chicago and San Francisco. Throughout 2015, the firm continued to develop new client relationships, adding the likes of CIVC Partners, McNally Capital, Exponent Private Equity and GHO Capital to its roster. It also remained active on behalf of two of its cornerstone clients, TPG Capital and Bain Capital, both of which were assisted with a large number of transactions. For instance, Will Shields represented Bain in its approximately $2.4bn acquisition of IT security solutions provider Blue Coat Systems from Thomas Bravo. For TPG Capital, the firm assisted in its takeover of Life Time Fitness, and Jason Freedman in San Francisco assisted the same client with its acquisition of a majority stake in Cirque du Soleil. Other longstanding clients include The Carlyle Group and Apax. The firm recently added to its fine reputation in healthcare and life sciences by advising Advent International on its agreement with Nautic Partners to invest in Genoa; Matthew Richards in Chicago and Newcomb Stillwell led the advice. Department head Alfred Rose is a ‘terrific lawyer’; Kendrick Chow as well as New York-based Othon Prounis and Daniel Evans are also noted. David Chapin is the firm’s managing partner. John Sorkin joined from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP and David Blittner from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. Alison Bomberg left for a major hedge fund and Merrill Ulmer joined Dickstein Shapiro, which was then acquired by Blank Rome LLP in February 2016; Ulmer has since moved to Holland & Knight LLP. All lawyers are based in Boston, except where otherwise noted.
Operating out of offices on the East Coast, West Coast and Texas, private equity powerhouse Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP handles a large number of middle-market and large-cap deals. With a client roster that includes more than 100 sponsor clients in the US alone, the firm clearly ranks among the top players in the field; the growing client base comprises large and high-profile private equity funds, sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, and other equity financial investors. Centerbridge Partners, Oak Hill Capital Partners and Berkshire Partners are among the most high-profile examples. The firm’s global reach is a great asset, enabling it to take on major cross-border deals involving Asia and Europe. Throughout 2015, the department has advised on more than 120 transactions amounting to $80bn in total deal value, with many of these valuing more than $1bn each. New York partner and department head Douglas Warner advised Avolon Holdings, a portfolio company of Cinven Partners, CVC Capital Partners and Oak Hill, on its $7.6bn sale to Bohai Leasing. Peter Feist transferred from the firm’s Hong Kong to New York office, where he joins the highly regarded Michael Weisser and newly promoted partner Garrett Charon. Other names to note are Marilyn French in Boston, Rodney Moore and John Quattrocchi in Dallas, and Kyle Krpata in Silicon Valley. David Blittner joined Ropes & Gray LLP.
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP typically handles transactions at the top end of the market, which owes thanks, not least, to its ties with cornerstone private equity clients Warburg Pincus and TPG Capital. The firm has a particular expertise in multi-jurisdictional deals and in recent years has made a name for itself in the technology sector. For example, Paul Shim advised Temasek Holdings on the definitive agreement under which computer technology company Dell, together with MSD Partners and Silver Lake, will acquire EMC Corporation, while maintaining VMware as a publicly traded company. In another highlight, David Leinwand and Matthew Salerno helped Endurance International Group, a Warburg Picus portfolio company, with its $1.1bn acquisition of Constant Contact. The team also includes Paul Tiger, Christopher Austin, Robert Davis and newly promoted partner James Langston. The attorneys are all based in the New York office.
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP advises a growing client roster in the private equity arena, including both large and middle-market funds. The department, which is headed by John Bick, has a deep understanding of leveraged buyouts, equity investments, the disposal of investments through private or public sales, fund formation, and recapitalization transactions. The extensive client base includes some of the biggest names in the market, such as TPG Capital, Warburg Pincus and Morgan Stanley Capital Partners. John Amorosi regularly works for General Atlantic and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners. Other key partners include Leonard Kreynin, who is the firm’s person of contact for Metalmark; Michael Davis, who recently advised Crestview Partners with regard to its equity investment in Arxis Capital Group; and John Butler. Tax lawyer David Schnabel, who focuses on acquisition financing, private equity transactions and private fund formation, joined the firm from Debevoise & Plimpton LLP.
Headquartered in New York, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP’s private equity department regularly handles mid-market deals while also attracting large buyout sponsors. The firm represents an impressive pool of private equity funds, many of which are longstanding clients such as KKR and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners. The client roster also includes CVC Capital Partners, Permira and New Mountain Capital, and the group gained Banneker Partners and CPP Investment Board Private Investments as new clients. A great asset is the firm’s cross-disciplinary approach, with the buyouts team benefitting from its strength in finance and capital markets and its traditional real estate expertise. On the tax front, Alan Kaden and David Shapiro specialize in private equity matters; and the firm also has a focus on the healthcare and technology sectors. In the largest leveraged buyout of the first half of 2015, Brian Mangino in Washington DC and the ‘prominent’ Robert Schwenkel acted as counsel to Permira Funds and CPP Investment Board in connection with their $5.3bn acquisition of software company Informatica. Another key partner is Christopher Ewan. Mark Lucas joined the firm in early 2015 from Goldman Sachs, where he served as vice president and associate general counsel of the merchant banking division; John Sorkin went to Ropes & Gray LLP. Matthew Soran was promoted to partner. Highly regarded Steven Steinman co-heads the department with Ewan and Schwenkel.
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP has built up a discrete private equity buyouts practice with offices in New York, Washington DC, California and Dallas. The group mainly operates in the middle to upper-middle market, often for clients in the consumer products, energy, technology, life sciences, entertainment and retail industries. The firm’s relationship with Lone Star Funds continues to grow, with Dallas’ Jeffrey Chapman and New York’s Joerg Esdorn having advised the client on the $7.6bn acquisition of Home Properties, a multifamily REIT, in a highly complex deal that represents Lone Star’s second-largest apartment purchase in recent times. Sean Griffiths, who co-heads the practice group with Steven Shoemate, acted as lead partner for CVC Capital Partners and CPP Investment Board in their joint acquisition of Petco Animal Supplies. The client roster also includes Oak Hill Capital Partners, The Chernin Group and Aurora Capital Group. Benyamin Ross in Los Angeles was promoted to partner. The core team also includes Century City partner Ari Lanin and Jennifer Bellah Maguire in Los Angeles, as well as Michael Greaney in New York.
Goodwin Procter LLP’s middle-market focus has served it well, and throughout 2015 the firm once again demonstrated its ability to handle a large number of high-profile deals. What sets the firm apart from others in the area is its true expertise in real estate investments and growth capital, and the group continues to handle transactions involving early-stage companies in the technology sector. There is also a focus on several other industries, including healthcare and financial services. In an all-cash transaction, New York lawyers Ilan Nissan and Paul Cicero represented OverDrive, a digital distributor of eBooks, audiobooks and videos, in its sale to Rakuten for $410m. Another highlight saw John LeClaire act as lead partner to TA Associates in connection with its announced agreement to acquire Russell Investments from the London Stock Exchange Group. Other active clients include TPG Growth and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners. The highly regarded Andrew Weidhaas, who shares his time between New York and Los Angeles, co-heads the group with LeClaire. Up-and-coming Brian McPeake, co-leader of the firm’s ‘fintech’ practice in San Francisco, is also noted. The department was boosted by the arrivals of Jay Schifferli in Washington DC, who was formerly private equity chair at Kelley Drye & Warren LLP; Fred Lim in San Francisco from Kirkland & Ellis LLP; and James Barrett from Edwards Wildman Palmer, which in 2015 merged with Locke Lord LLP.
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP is renowned in the market for its excellent record in conventional private equity buyouts, and the New York firm has a good reputation in fund formation, distressed investments, leveraged finance and regulatory work in the private equity area. The group has deep expertise in financial services, technology, energy, healthcare and real estate, and Warburg Pincus, Macquarie Group and Riverstone Holdings are part of the impressive client roster. In a high-profile, cross-border transaction, practice chair Gordon Caplan successfully represented Hudson’s Bay Company in its acquisition of GALERIA Holding, the parent company of Germany’s leading department store GALERIA Kaufhof, in a deal amounting to €2.5bn. Another highlight saw the firm’s co-chairman Steven Gartner advise MedAssets on its takeover by Pamplona Capital Management; Gartner is also the firm’s go-to person for Warburg Pincus. Neil Townsend is ‘excellent at getting complicated deals done’ and Kirk Radke is also highly regarded.
Leveraging its broad global network, DLA Piper LLP (US) has established a substantial national and international private equity practice. In the US, the firm primarily handles mid-market deals for clients such as Baird Capital, Centerbridge Partners and Audax Group. Its centers of gravity in the US are Chicago and New York, although it does have notable strength on the West Coast, in Philadelphia and in the Southeast. Indeed, the head of the Southeast practice, Joe Alexander, recently represented Bregal Sagemount in its acquisition of irth Solutions, a provider of field service management software. Practice co-chair and New York lawyer Daniel Eisner frequently advises Arsenal Capital Partners, most recently in a complex matter regarding the sale of its portfolio company Royal Adhesives and Sealants to American Securities. Chicago-based fellow co-chair Steven Napolitano handled various deals for Wind Point Partners. In 2015, the firm made three lateral hires in California: Louis Lehot joined from Cooley LLP; Tom Furlong arrived having left his post as managing director of a venture capital firm; and Jonathan Axelrad joined from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. David Richardson and David Schwartz were promoted to partner.
The ‘superb’ Dechert LLP typically operates in the upper-middle market, and counts the likes of One Equity Partners, Graham Partners and Court Square Capital Partners among its cornerstone clients. Underscoring the firm’s commitment to mid-market clients was the hire of Markus Bolsinger in New York from Kirkland & Ellis LLP; he is dual qualified in Germany and New York. The firm has a substantial fund formation practice and also provides specialist expertise in relation to healthcare, financial services and a range of regulatory areas. Recent work includes representing Bregal Partners in connection with an investment in American Seafoods Group as part of a broader deleveraging recapitalization of the company. The head of the global private equity practice, Mark Thierfelder, is ‘a truly superb M&A lawyer and negotiator who you want in the trenches with you’. ‘All-star’ Derek Winokur has ‘an excellent ability to navigate legal complexities’, and Daniel O’Donnell is also highly regarded. Samantha Koplik and Christian Matarese were promoted to partner. Henry Nassau stepped down as the chair of the corporate and securities group after having been elected CEO of the firm.
Jones Day has ‘a top-notch group of attorneys and, more importantly, business advisers’. The firm’s private equity practice benefits from its broad geographic platform across the US and globally, and from November 2014 to October 2015, the team closed more than 140 deals worldwide. The impressive client roster includes big names such as The Riverside Company, Baird Capital and Blue Point Capital. Cleveland’s Denise Carkhuff is ‘very good at identifying risks and understanding her clients’ business issues’; she often does work on behalf of Cortec Group, Wellspring Capital Managers and Blue Point Capital. Chuck Hardin, also in Cleveland, heads the global private equity practice. Chicago’s Lisa Lathrop, Dallas-based Michael Weinberg and Ira White in New York are also recommended. In mid-2015, Robert Kennedy and Brien Wassner went to Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP, while Maria Sendra joined Dentons.
Well known for its regulatory expertise and in particular for its strength in financial services, TMT and healthcare, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP represents a number of big names in the private equity arena, including The Gores Group, Apollo and Ares Capital. The practice is still growing following the addition of a substantial team as part of the merger with Bingham McCutchen, including seven partners in five offices across the US. In 2015, the group attracted a considerable number of new clients; among them, Nexus Capital Management and Sandbridge Capital. In a recent transaction, Todd Hentges in Orange County represented another new client, Platinum Equity, in the sale of its portfolio company Neovia Logistics to a newly formed investment vehicle sponsored by affiliates of Goldman Sachs and Rhône Capital. Orange County partner James Loss worked closely with StoneCalibre on various matters. Other key partners include Alec Dawson in New York and David Gerson and Barbara Shander in Philadelphia. The firm’s combination with Stamford Law in Singapore enables it to better serve clients with an interest in the expanding Asian market.
Some of the most important private equity houses rely on the ‘responsive’ and ‘market-savvy’ lawyers at Proskauer Rose LLP, which has one of the country’s leading fund formation groups. The client base includes players such as Summit Partners, Grey Mountain Partners and Ares Management. The group’s center of gravity is California, with global practice co-heads Michael Woronoff (‘the real deal’) and Monica Shilling operating out of Los Angeles. Real estate investment expert Jeffrey Horwitz in New York and Steven Peck in Boston are representative of the firm’s East Coast presence. The firm represented J.W. Childs Associates in its fund restructuring, which included the divestiture of five portfolio companies to a syndicate of investors led by CPP Investment Board and affiliates of Goldman Sachs. New York lawyer Michael Ellis was promoted to partner and Jonathan Benloulou is another name to note in Los Angeles.
Shearman & Sterling LLP is well known for middle-market deals in the technology sector, but this only tells half the story, as the firm has two complementary arms to its practice. The West Coast offices focus on technology, healthcare and life sciences transactions, but in New York, typical clientele are the private equity arms of investment banks. Steve Camahort in San Francisco represented SafeNet in its sale by Vector Capital to Gemalto, and he and Michael Kennedy continued advising technology fund Francisco Partners on various deals. Scott Petepiece in New York counts Merrill Lynch and CPP Investment Board among his key clients. Also in New York, Robert Masella joined from Clifford Chance, and Waajid Siddiqui joined from Hogan Lovells US LLP.
Sidley Austin LLP ‘brings the right experts to the table when a specialist is required’, say sources, and the firm now provides an even wider array of experts in the private equity sphere following the addition of four new partners. In Los Angeles, Vijay Sekhon joined from Klee, Tuchin, Bogdanoff & Stern LLP and M&A lawyer Dan Clivner joined from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, while in Palo Alto, technology expert Martin Wellington arrived from Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP. In New York, Geoffrey Levin joined from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP. The firm represented General Electric in connection with the $12bn sale of its sponsor finance business and a bank loan portfolio to CPP Investment Board. Other clients include Apollo, Harvest Partners and Century Park Capital Partners. The key partners are Chris Abbinante, Matthew Rizzo and Scott Freeman. The attorneys give ‘rapid responses no matter how detailed the request’. Jeffrey Smith is recommended.
Private equity firms frequently look to Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP on account of its excellent reputation in the M&A arena. The practice group may not be as closely associated with the private equity sphere as many of its New York competitors but the firm represents private equity buyers and sellers in large M&A transactions, complex leveraged acquisition financing transactions, and fund formation. The group draws on the firm’s expertise in other areas, including real estate, energy and intellectual property. Clients range from The Carlyle Group to Blackstone, and from Apax to Morgan Stanley. It recently advised Veritas Capital on a wide range of matters, including the $2.1bn acquisition of StandardAero from Dubai Aerospace Enterprise. New York partner Allison Schneirov heads group. Michael Civale and Lou Kling are recommended.
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is best known as an M&A powerhouse, as opposed to a leader in private equity, but its supreme standing in the transactional sphere generally ensures a steady stream of work from numerous high-profile clients in this sector, including the likes of Ares Capital, CVC, The Carlyle Group and Apollo. A huge advantage the firm has over many of its competitors is its global reach, which enables the group to handle large cross-border deals. For example, it advised Lion Capital on its takeover of Spence Diamonds. It also continues to represent Rhône Capital in various transactions. Richard Pollack and George Sampas are the key contacts in New York, while Alison Ressler in Los Angeles is a key figure on the West Coast. Rita-Anne O’Neill is recommended.
Vinson & Elkins LLP is well known for its expertise in the energy sector, where it handles transactions for a broad variety of private equity firms. There is also a focus on acquisition finance - with David Wicklund in New York the key contact - and distressed investments. The client roster includes Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners, Warburg Pincus and Crestview Partners. The firm continues to represent key client TPG Capital, and it was also engaged by Riverstone to assist with various transactions, including the formation of Talen Energy - one of the country’s largest independent power producers - via a $9.5bn Reverse Morris Trust transaction. Houston-based Keith Fullenweider and David Oelman are the key partners in the department, which recently underwent some changes: energy transactional lawyer Bryan Loocke joined from Bracewell LLP, while Kevin Lewis went to Sidley Austin LLP, Matthew Pacey went to Kirkland & Ellis LLP, and Christina Tate went to Greenberg Traurig, LLP. John Grand in Dallas and Kai Haakon Liekefett in New York were promoted to partner.
White & Case LLP has a global platform that few can match, with offices in the US, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The US practice has leveraged this advantage to diversify and grow its client roster, which includes BlackRock, Macquarie Infrastructure Fund, The Carlyle Group, CVC and First Reserve. Another asset is its global standing in banking and finance. New York partner Oliver Brahmst, the Americas head of private equity, advised CVC, as leader of a consortium including Temasek Holdings and Vatera Healthcare Partners, on the consortium’s $2bn acquisition a controlling stake in generic pharmaceutical company Alvogen. New York-based John Reiss is the firm’s global head of M&A and private equity. IP and technology expert Arlene Hahn joined from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. On the West Coast, M&A partner and technology expert William Choe joined from Morrison & Foerster LLP.
Boston-based Choate, Hall & Stewart is noted for handling private equity deals ranging from growth equity transactions to mid-market buyouts. Active key clients include Symmetric Capital, Century Capital, BV Investment Partners and New Heritage Capital. In 2015, the group acted for Riverside Partners and its portfolio company Welocalize in its sale to Norwest Equity Partners. Another highlight saw the firm represent Windjammer Capital Investors and its portfolio company Protective Industries in connection with its sale to Berwind Consolidated Holdings. Brian Lenihan and TJ Murphy head the department.
Hogan Lovells US LLP has built longstanding relationships with US-based middle-market sponsors, including the likes of Columbia Capital, One Rock Capital Partners, Warburg Pincus and Advent International. Well known for handling complex regulatory matters, the firm has a particularly good standing in TMT, financial services, healthcare and life sciences. One of its most significant clients remains ACON Investments, which it advised on sale of its portfolio company Fairway Media Group to an affiliate of GTCR. New York-based Alex Johnson leads the team alongside Robert Welp in Northern Virginia and George Hagerty, who divides his time between Denver and New York. Welp is the firm’s go-to person for ACON, and Hagerty frequently represents KRG Capital.
The Chicago-based practice at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, which has ‘highly experienced attorneys’ with ‘excellent negotiating skills’, covers all aspects of middle-market private equity matters, including leveraged buyouts, minority investments, fund formation, and PIPE (private investment in public equity) transactions. In a notable deal, Christopher Atkinson and Walter Weinberg represented BBH Capital Partners and Battery Ventures in their investment in PrimeRevenue, a global player in SaaS-based working capital finance solutions. Kenneth Miller heads the practice with Kimberly Smith, who recently rejoined the firm after leaving Paul Hastings LLP. Martin Ruhaak and Miller are recommended.
Led by Emanuel Cherney and Stephen Koval, Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP’s private equity department is active in the middle and upper-middle markets. The New York firm is known for handling complex cross-border transactions, with a focus on Canadian and European private equity and pension funds. Joel Greenberg assisted longstanding client Onex Corporation with its sale of The Warranty Group, a global provider of warranty solutions, to TPG for $1.5bn. Cherney is considered a ‘strong relationship partner’, and Thomas Yadlon has a ‘strong work ethic’.
An ‘excellent firm across the board’, King & Spalding LLP has recently bolstered its private equity practice with the acquisition of several lawyers into its New York, San Francisco, Atlanta and Silicon Valley offices. In New York, for example, counsel Michael Cubell arrived from Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. The firm represents a large number of high-profile private equity funds - including Blackstone, KKR, TPG and Lone Star - and their portfolio companies. Global corporate practice leader Raymond Baltz Jr in Atlanta has recently been involved in work for key clients Roark Capital, Arcapita Bank and Eagle Merchant Partners. For Roark Capital, the firm handled various transactions, including its affiliates’ acquisition of Driven Brands and Pet Supermarket. Arcapita Bank retained the firm to handle important transactions for the client’s portfolio companies, including Jill Intermediate and storage container company PODS. The firm advised Eagle Merchant Partners on its acquisition of a majority stake in SSRG Holdings. The ‘decisive and reliable’ Richard Bange III, who splits his time between Charlotte and New York, recently assisted Excellere Partners acquire TrialCard Incorporated.
New York firm Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP has built its standing among notable players in the middle market, and regularly works for the likes of Quad Partners, Fortress Investment Group, Capmark Financial Group and Stone Point Capital. Recently, the firm was retained by Perella Weinberg to assist with the negotiation of an agreement to sell Infinity Franchise Holdings to Pacific Premier Bancorp. The practice was boosted by the arrival of fund formation expert Kevin Scanlan and a team of four associates from Dechert LLP. Corporate and finance lawyer David Berg joined from Arnold & Porter LLP. Howard Spilko and Scott Rosenblum co-head the team; James Moriarty and Ernest Wechsler are the other key partners.
McDermott Will & Emery LLP is well positioned in the middle market, and has a strong focus on the healthcare, energy and manufacturing sectors. Baird Capital and New Harbor Capital are among its key clients, but it also gained numerous new clients, including newly formed funds such as Blue Sea Capital. Emphasizing its standing in healthcare, the group handled a considerable number of hospital-related private equity transactions, most recently representing Aris Teleradiology. Cornerstone client H.I.G. Capital retained the firm to assist with 12 transactions, including advising Surgery Center Holdings, an H.I.G. portfolio company, on its $792m acquisition of Symbion. Miami’s Harris Siskind and Chicago’s Andrew McCune head the practice, which also includes energy specialist Blake Winburne in Houston. The ‘knowledgeable and thoughtful’ Samuel Wales in Washington DC and Michael Boykins in Chicago are recommended. Kathy Schumacher joined from Kirkland & Ellis LLP.
Paul Hastings LLP focuses on the middle-market segment of private equity buyouts, with a continuing emphasis on healthcare, energy and technology. The private equity group has a presence across the US, but most notably in Chicago and along the West Coast. In recent months, the firm has received work from Blackstone, GI Partners and various portfolio companies of H.I.G. Capital. Other high-profile clients include Apollo Global Management, Apax Partners and Madison Capital. Chicago’s Brian Richards represented Arrowhead, a global distributor of rotating electrical parts and a portfolio company of Pfingsten Partners, in its sale to the Riverside Company. Orange County’s William Simpson is the global chair of the private equity practice; Houston partner Steven Tredennick focuses on clients in the energy sector, while Chicago’s Paul Quinn and Richards are experts in distressed transactions. Private equity finance partner Maureen Sweeney joined from Kirkland & Ellis LLP.
Winston & Strawn LLP has made a name for itself in middle-market private equity transactions, with clients such as Ares Management. The firm won a number of new clients, such as Silversmith Capital, Industrial Growth Partners and The Beekman Group. In a cross-border deal with Canada, Los Angeles-based Eva Davis represented VMG Partners, a private equity fund investing in branded consumer companies, and portfolio company Sequels Naturals in connection with the sale of Sequels Naturals to WhiteWave Foods. Bradley Vaiana and Dominick DeChiara are the key partners in New York. James Kelly and Christopher Zochowski joined the New York and Washington DC offices respectively after leaving Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP.