- United States: Industry focus > Insurance: non-contentious
- United States: Intellectual property > Trademarks: litigation
- United States: Investment fund formation and management > Private equity funds
- United States: Litigation > International arbitration
- United States: Litigation > White-collar criminal defense
- United States: Tax > International tax
- United States: Finance > Asset finance and leasing
- United States: Finance > Bank lending (including other sources of financing)
- United States: Finance > Capital markets: debt offerings
- United States: Finance > Capital markets: equity offerings
- United States: Finance > Capital markets: global offerings
- United States: Finance > Capital markets: high-yield debt offerings
- United States: Finance > Corporate restructuring (including bankruptcy)
- United States: Finance > Financial services: litigation
- United States: Finance > Financial services: regulatory
- United States: Finance > Project finance
- United States: Industry focus > Environment: transactional and regulatory
- United States: Industry focus > Sport
- United States: Intellectual property > Copyright
- United States: Investment fund formation and management > Alternative/hedge funds
- United States: Labor and employment > Employee benefits and executive compensation
- United States: Labor and employment > Labor and employment litigation
- United States: Litigation > Securities: shareholder litigation
- United States: Media, technology and telecoms > Technology: data protection and privacy
- United States: Media, technology and telecoms > Telecoms and broadcast: transactional
- United States: Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts > Antitrust
- United States: Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts > M&A: mega-deals ($5bn+)
- United States: Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts > Private equity buyouts
- United States: Real estate and construction > Real estate
- United States: Tax > Domestic tax: East Coast
Latin America: International firms
- Latin America: International firms: International arbitration > International arbitration
United States: Finance
Within Asset finance and leasing, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a third tier firm,
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has an excellent reputation for representing the airlines, and is praised for its ‘very deep “well"’ and ‘ability to bring numerous highly qualified lawyers of various levels into the effort when necessary’. This bench strength has proved particularly useful in some of the firm’s more recent mandates, such as its ongoing advice to American Airlines and its parent company, AMR Corporation, regarding their Chapter 11 proceedings, as this involved the restructuring of complex financing and purchase agreements relating to over 1,000 aircraft. The firm also assisted American Airlines with its offer of $1.4bn worth of EETCs to help refinance 75 Boeing aircraft, as well as a $3bn loan secured by its route authorities, slots and foreign gate leaseholds; the fact that such financings, including new aircraft deliveries, were achieved while the company was in Chapter 11 made the work all the more impressive. Other highlights include advising Sukhoi Civil Aircraft as the seller in the purchase and leasing of three Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft to the Lao Central Airlines Public Company. Delta Air Lines is another major client, which it advised on the offering of $479.9m worth of EETCs to refinance 31 Airbus and Boeing Aircraft. John Curry heads the highly regarded team from New York, which includes Raymond Wells and Jaeyong So.
Within Bank lending (including other sources of financing), tier 4
The ‘excellent’ team at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP in New York is ‘one of the best’ for borrower-led finance advice. ‘Always responsive on time sensitive matters’, the team’s ‘significant depth of industry knowledge’ makes it a ‘go-to for bank financing transactions’. Among the firm’s team of partners, practice head David Brittenham and Pierre Maugüé are ‘trusted advisers’ who ‘help clients achieve goals in the most efficient manner’. Major highlights included advising The Tribune Company on the financing for its $2.7bn acquisition of Local TV Holdings. The firm is regularly instructed by some of the major private equity houses, including Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, which it advised on the financing of its highly complex combined acquisition of Brand Energy & Infrastructure Services and Harsco Infrastructure, which was followed by the merger of both companies. Other recommended partners include William Beekman, Paul Brusiloff and Jeffrey Ross.
Within Capital markets: debt offerings, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a third tier firm,
A team of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP lawyers, led by Steven Slutzky, acted on Verizon Communications’ record-breaking corporate bond issue of $49bn; the deal, which attracted over 3,000 orders from more than 800 investors, will help fund its $130bn offer for Vodafone’s 45% stake in Verizon Wireless, the joint-venture between the two groups. Paul Rodel advised American Airlines in its offering of $1.4bn of class A enhanced equipment trust certificates, its first standalone deal during bankruptcy. Drawing on the firm’s expertise in insurance, Ethan James represented Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and J.P. Morgan as joint book-runners in Liberty Mutual’s $600m offering of 4.25% of senior notes due 2023. The practice’s lawyers are praised as ‘practical, knowledgeable and always responsive on time sensitive matters’. Alan Paley and Peter Loughran co-chair the group, and Matthew Kaplan is a ‘trusted adviser you can rely on’. All named attorneys are located in New York.
Within Capital markets: equity offerings, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a second tier firm,
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s New York-based capital markets practice, co-chaired by Peter Loughran and Alan Paley, was involved in a number of private equity-driven IPOs, drawing on the firm’s longstanding relationships with a range of funds. Loughran advised Envision Healthcare, a portfolio company of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, on its $1.1bn IPO of common stock, while Steven Slutzky and Paul Brusiloff acted for HD Supply in its $1.1bn IPO. Other areas of expertise within the practice include insurance, where the team has closed over 100 debt and equity offerings in the last five years including a recent $317m IPO for property and casualty reinsurer Third Point, and aviation, where Matthew Kaplan recently acted for Gogo Inc in its $187m flotation. Underwriter clients of the practice include Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan.
Within Capital markets: global offerings, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a third tier firm,
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has a strong issuer-side practice, which draws on the strength of its London, Paris, Frankfurt, Moscow, Shanghai and Hong Kong offices whilst also benefitting from collaborative relationships with firms throughout Latin America. The ‘excellent’ team is noted for its ‘significant depth of industry knowledge’ and ‘responsiveness on time-sensitive matters’. The firm works extensively for Brazilian bank Itaú Unibanco, and advises on the ongoing updates and takedowns under its $10bn medium-term note (MTN) program, as well as all matters relating to SEC reporting and US securities law; recent instructions in this capacity include advising on the bank’s $1.37bn offering of 5.5% subordinated notes due 2022. Paul Rodel and Peter Loughran led on the aforementioned deal, and Matthew Kaplan is also recommended; all are based in New York.
Within Capital markets: high-yield debt offerings, tier 4
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP draws on its strengths in private equity, representing portfolio companies and funds to act on leveraged finance deals including high-yield offerings. Recent clients have included Reynolds Group Holdings, HD Supply, and ServiceMaster. The core of the practice is New York-based, where Steven Slutzky, practice co-chair Peter Loughran, Matthew Kaplan and Paul Rodel are all singled out for mention.
Within Corporate restructuring (including bankruptcy), tier 4
In June 2013, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP boosted its restructuring capability through the hire of Craig Bruens as counsel from Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Another significant change was the elevation of Natasha Labovitz to joint co-head alongside ‘terrific leader’ and ‘strong negotiator’ Richard Hahn. Jasmine Ball is the other stand-out name in the New York-based team and is praised for her ‘strong management skills and critical thinking’. The firm retains strong niche expertise in the debt restructuring of aircraft financing and ‘is probably the most experienced firm in this area’. Indeed, its eminence for this type of work is evidenced by its role advising American Airlines as special aircraft financing counsel in its high-profile Chapter 11 case. The group’s strength is not limited to aircraft-related matters; it is active across a diverse range of industries and acts for debtors, creditors, sponsors, boards of directors and acquirers in a wide spread of bankruptcy and work-out issues. In another notable case, the restructuring department acted hand-in-hand with the firm’s litigation, securities and insurance practices to advise MBIA Inc on the potential restructuring of around $2bn in parent-company obligations.
Within Financial services: litigation, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a third tier firm,
Leveraging the expertise of numerous lawyers who previously held high-ranking positions with financial regulatory bodies, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is ‘very prominent in high-stakes matters’ for banks, insurers, asset managers and brokers. Bruce Yannett, Jonathan Tuttle and Sean Hecker are key members of the team, and are advising JP Morgan Chase on the coordination of its response to multiple agency enquiries into its mortgage acquisition and securitization practices. The ‘excellent’ Mary Beth Hogan is co-chair of the litigation group and has in recent years focused on the consumer finance sphere, representing a number of financial institutions in mortgage and credit card related investigations and class actions. Eric Dinallo handles litigation for insurance clients, and Mark Goodman is also recommended.
Within Financial services: regulatory, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a second tier firm,
The ‘knowledgeable’ team at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has ‘creative and judicious’ expertise across a broad spectrum of banking, insurance, broker-dealer and investment management matters. It includes a number of former regulators, and is ‘adept at understanding the nuances of federal and state agencies’. Satish Kini has ‘deep knowledge of the industry’, and alongside the ‘excellent’ Gregory Lyons handles a raft of bank regulatory matters for domestic and international banks as well as for trade bodies including the Financial Services Roundtable and the Private Equity Growth Capital Council as their members look to come to grips with key areas of regulatory change including the Volcker rule and Basel III. The firm remains best known for its ‘outstanding work within the insurance industry’, and is regularly instructed in the most significant M&A deals in the sector. Lyons plays a key role in advising many of the firm’s insurance clients on the implications of the heightened regulatory regime ushered in by Dodd-Frank, advising many on regulatory-driven transactions as they look to ‘de-bank’. The ‘excellent’ Nicholas Potter advised Sun Life Financial on the $1.35bn sale of certain of its US subsidiaries. Paul Lee and John Vasily are also recommended, with the latter recently advising AIG on the sale of a majority interest in International Lease Finance Corporation. Other clients include American Express, Capital One and Fifth Third Bank.
Within Project finance, tier 4
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP continues to grow its profile in this space. The New York-based team has ‘great advisers and counsel’, and an excellent reputation for its expertise in shale gas. Former managing partner of Davis & Company and leading expert on Canadian PPPs Douglas Buchanan, QC joined in February 2013 to become practice co-head alongside Ivan Mattei. Buchanan is continuing to build up the PPP practice in addition to focusing on energy and natural resources work. The firm is advising the lenders on three fully privatized toll roads in California and Texas, and also has a strong track record of advising on schemes relating to airports – past projects have involved New York’s JFK and Midway, Chicago. On the energy side, it has been making use of its international network to advise on various global projects; for example it recently acted in UES of Russia’s $49bn power assets spin-off. Similarly, it has been involved in mining projects spanning Latin America, Russia, China, Japan and Korea, with a recent case-in-point being Polyus Gold International’s development of a gold mine in north-eastern Russia in order to explore the Natalka deposit. Other clients include Exxon Mobil, Mitsui, Shell and Inter-American Development Bank. Darius Tencza and Craig Bowman are also highly recommended.
United States: Industry focus
Within Environment: transactional and regulatory, tier 4
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP prides itself on its corporate support work, advising an impressive client base on the amelioration of environmental liabilities and the management of environmental risks in the context of major transactions. In recent years it has also grown its climate change and renewable energy practice, advising on greenhouse gas emissions and disclosure matters. Recent work includes advising AssuraMed on its $2bn sale to Cardinal Health; advising Mitsui on its joint venture agreement with technology company Celanese Corporation to manufacture methanol in Texas (at a shared cost of approximately $800m); and acting for private equity firm Kelso on its acquisition of PowerTeam Services, a company which provides infrastructure services to the utilities industry. The experienced Stuart Hammer heads the department from New York and led on these matters.
Within Insurance: non-contentious, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a first tier firm,
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s leading insurance practice covers a broad range of corporate and regulatory issues across several disciplines, including capital markets, corporate governance, investments, bankruptcy and restructuring, executive compensation and tax. The firm is particularly strong in its core area of M&A; and continues to develop the capabilities of its newly created insurance capital practice, which advises the insurance industry on a range of capital management issues, such as accessing capital, complex insurance organizations spanning multiple jurisdictions and investing in insurance risk. The insurance capital practice is led by New York-based lawyers Ethan James, Marilyn Lion, Craig Bowman and Seth Rosen. In keeping with its increasingly global capabilities, the firm has also recently established a Latin American insurance M&A practice headed by New York-based John Vasily and David Grosgold to provide specialized counsel to global clients such as AIG, AXA, Prudential and New York Life. Co-chair of the financial institutions group Nicholas Potter led the team’s advice to Goldman Sachs on the formation, separation and disposition of Global Atlantic Financial Group; and advised Markel Corporation on its $3.13bn acquisition of listed Bermuda reinsurer Alterra Capital Holdings. The group also acted for AXA Financial regarding the sale of MONY Life; and Sun Life in the sale of some of its US subsidiaries.
Within Sport, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a second tier firm,
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s ‘tremendous sports law practice’ continues to make headway in the dispute resolution space, thanks in part to the high profile of the firm’s IP, media and entertainment litigation team. Much of the practice, which has deep resources in both New York and Washington DC, centers on IP issues in the digital space and media distribution. Head of IP litigation Bruce Keller also heads the sports practice, and is an arbitrator at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The team also features a number of prominent individuals including corporate IT head Jeffrey Cunard, who is managing partner of the Washington DC office, and the New York-based Jeremy Feigelson, Michael Schaper and David Rivkin. The impressive list of clients includes sports franchises, sports associations and major professional sport leagues such as the NFL, the NBA and the New York Giants. The firm has been representing broadcast television networks ABC, CBS and NBC in a high-stakes dispute with internet start-up Aereo before the Supreme Court regarding Aereo’s streaming of live television programs via the internet. Other recent matters include representing the NFL in a class action lawsuit over the its alleged breach of retired players’ publicity rights, which led to a $42m settlement being approved in November 2013; and acting for the NFL and NFL Properties in a copyright action to protect its rights regarding the design of the Vince Lombardi Trophy. The team also excels at traditional labor work and handled aspects of collective bargaining agreement negotiations for the NFL, NBA and NHL.
United States: Intellectual property
Within Copyright, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a second tier firm,
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s copyright practice is underpinned by its wider commercial litigation capabilities to handle some leading copyright cases. Bruce Keller, who is noted for his expertise on first impression issues, continued acting alongside Washington DC-based Jeffrey Cunard and Michael Potenza as co-counsel to a group of broadcasting companies in the high-profile dispute against Aereo, which is being closely watched for its potential impact on internet streaming and the television industry; the team recently appealed on behalf of ABC, CBS and NBC to obtain a grant from the Supreme Court to hear the case. Keller and Jeremy Feigelson settled a case on behalf of Prometheus Global Media – owner of The Hollywood Reporter – against claims of alleged infringement, including ‘hot news’ misappropriation, brought by the parent company of Deadline.com. Another highlight saw the team prevail for Sony Pictures Television and A&E Networks on appeal, which affirmed a lower court ruling in the client’s favor against infringement claims brought by a photographer regarding a re-created picture in a TV film.
Within Trademarks: litigation, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a first tier firm,
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s ‘fantastic’ team includes leading trademark litigator David Bernstein and Bruce Keller in New York. It retains an impressive reputation for handling complex, high-profile trademark litigation matters for major brand owners such as Pernod Ricard, the NFL and Absolut Spirits. It successfully represented Kate Spade in a trademark dispute against Saturdays Surf NY, regarding the client’s new line launch Kate Spade Saturday, with a district court ruling that the opposing party had failed to establish any rights in the ‘Saturdays’ name and that confusion was unlikely between the brands’ marks. Meanwhile, a settlement was obtained for defendant BodyArmor Nutrition in a trademark infringement and dilution case brought by Under Armour Inc, alleging likelihood of consumer confusion between the client’s brand name and logo with its own Armour marks. The practice also obtained a Second Circuit affirmation denying a preliminary injunction on behalf of its client, YSL in its ‘red shoe’ trademark dispute against Christian Louboutin. Other recent instructions came from Prada, American Vintage Beverage Company and Industrias AIEn.
United States: Investment fund formation and management
Within Alternative/hedge funds, tier 5
Although Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has historically been viewed as a private equity powerhouse, its hedge funds team is increasingly being viewed as a go-to resource in its own right for clients such as Abu Dhabi Investment Council, Chess Capital and Oaktree Capital Management. Alongside its ability to advise on complex hedge/private equity hybrids, the firm’s experience for sponsor cliens extends to master-feeder vehicles, funds of hedge funds, and joint venture arrangements. On the investor side, the team has expertise in assessing and structuring investment terms for a large variety of sophisticated investors, including sovereign wealth funds and institutional investors in heavily regulated environments such as financial institutions and pension funds. Byungkwon Lim’s team can call on the esteemed private equity expertise of partners such as Michael Harrell and Erica Berthou on hybrid and crossover private equity matters.
Within Private equity funds, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a first tier firm,
Belonging ‘clearly in the first tier’, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s fund formation practice comprises 50 US-based lawyers with over 30 years’ experience in private equity matters, and is supported by the firm’s deep bench of tax and regulatory experts. It advises on the full range of investment strategies, from buyouts, mezzanine debt and real estate, to infrastructure, healthcare and energy for a broad range of sponsors, limited partners (LPs) and individual investors. 2013 saw it advise on some of the largest and highest profile formations in recent years; Erica Berthou assisted Global Infrastructure Partners on the formation of its $8.25bn Global Infrastructure Partners Fund II, while Jordan Murray advised Providence Equity Partners VII on the creation of its £5.1bn Providence Equity Partners VII global media fund. Secondary funds powerhouse David Schwartz (supported on the tax side by Adele Karig) advised HarbourVest Partners on the formation of its $3.6bn venture capital and leveraged buyout focused Dover Street VIII fund. Other highlights included advising Third Point LLC on the creation of the $750m Third Point Hellenic Recovery Fund, one of the largest Greece-focused funds, and advising longstanding client Carlyle on the formation of the $308m Carlyle Peru Fund. Michael Harrell and Kenneth Berman represent trade organisation the Private Equity Growth Capital Council Group on the implementation of regulatory change post-Dodd Frank. Group head Berthou is ‘a real star – incredibly hardworking and a strong negotiator’.
United States: Labor and employment
Within Employee benefits and executive compensation, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a second tier firm,
The New York-based EBEC team at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP ‘has a wide array of experience and expertise, with excellent industry knowledge’. Renowned for its executive compensation and fiduciary practice, the group offers expertise in corporate governance, ERISA, tax and securities laws. It recently advised Prudential on the sale to a General Motors retirement plan of a group annuity contract that will provide annuity payments for certain General Motors-salaried retirees as part of the employer's plan to reduce pension obligations by approximately $26bn. It also assisted Prudential with its sale to the Verizon Management Pension Plan of a group annuity contract to settle $7.5bn of pension liabilities to approximately 41,000 plan participants. Head of department Lawrence Cagney ‘has particular expertise in extremely complex transactions and understands the core of the issue quickly, helping to develop an appropriate response’; he is ‘one of the few attorneys who can handle equity mapping matters in complex securities transactions’. Elizabeth Pagel Serebransky and Jonathan Lewis are also highly recommended.
Within Labor and employment litigation, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a third tier firm,
The ‘excellent’ Debevoise & Plimpton LLP ‘is great to have on your side when the big guns need to be brought out’ and is considered a ‘go-to firm for the most serious cases’. The firm’s employment litigators are broad-gauged lawyers who form part of the general commercial litigation group and for the type of cases this firm attracts, the model works. For example, the group has successfully defended clients in wrongful termination actions, and, assisted by the firm’s white-collar lawyers, handles whistleblower lawsuits that arise in connection with broader regulatory inquiries. The group also has extensive experience on both the plaintiff and defense sides of disputes involving non-compete agreements. In Smiths Group v Frisbie, the firm successfully enforced an executive non-compete agreement against the client’s former head of global operations. In addition it conducts internal investigations of alleged sexual harassment and employee fraud and other types of misconduct, and over recent years has handled a number of school sexual abuse cases. The firm has represented schools and boards of directors of schools to help them navigate the employment, communications, investigatory and criminal aspects of these matters. Jyotin Hamid who is ‘commercial, decisive and highly responsive’ and Mary Beth Hogan co-chair the employment litigation group; both are based in New York.
United States: Litigation
Within International arbitration, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a first tier firm,
Experienced across the full spectrum of arbitration matters, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s global practice has historical strength in the US and has expanded its capacity in both London and Hong Kong. Key sources of growth for the practice have been Latin America and the mining sector. Team co-chair Donald Francis Donovan, Mark Friedman and Dietmar Prager are representing the Tethyan Copper Company, a joint venture between Barrick Gold Corporation of Canada and Chile’s Antofagasta, in two arbitral proceedings against the government of Balochistan in the ICC, and the government of Pakistan in ICSID, both in relation to the denial of a mining license. BIT cases remain a strength for the team, following on from its high-profile success for Occidental Petroleum in a $2.3bn investment dispute. Practice co-chair David Rivkin and Catherine Amirfar are representing Slovac bank Postova banka in a $500m BIT dispute against the Greek government in relation to the forced exchange of bonds held by investors before the country’s debt restructuring. The duo were joined by Prager in defending Brazil’s Grupo Diniz in two ICC arbitrations seated in Sao Paulo against a European joint venture partner; and by Christopher Tahbaz in representing Lao Holdings in two $1bn ICSID and ad hoc arbitrations. The attorneys named are all based in New York.
Within Securities: shareholder litigation, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a second tier firm,
‘The service in enforcement and litigation has been outstanding’, notes a client of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, where the broader litigation practice, chaired by John Kiernan, is widely recognized as one the country’s finest. The firm has niche skills in the insurance sector, with Maeve O’Connor and the ‘client-focused’ Edwin Schallert advising on class actions and derivative claims for MetLife and Prudential Financial respectively. Kiernan and Gary Kubek, who ‘does a great job’, successfully defended the Federal Reserve Bank of New York against claims alleging breach of fiduciary duty in the bailout of AIG. ‘Amazing lawyer’ Colby Smith in Washington DC and the ‘thoughtful, exceedingly calm’ Bruce Yannett in New York are representing former Hewlett-Packard CEO Léo Apotheker in a federal class action, derivative lawsuits and an SEC investigation arising from the company’s Autonomy acquisition. The firm’s lawyers, including the highly recommended Jeffrey Jacobson and Shannon Selden, provide advice that is ‘strategic, tailored, insightful and not overly conservative’. Attorneys are located in New York except where stated.
Within White-collar criminal defense, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a first tier firm,
Despite the departure of Mary Jo White and Andrew Ceresney in 2013, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s established reputation in the white-collar arena means that it continues to attract mandates in high-profile cases. Praised as a ‘great firm’, which is ‘business-savvy but also enforcement-minded’, it works in conjunction with partners from across its global network to handle multi-jurisdictional and multi-agency investigations. As well as having a presence in the financial services sector, advising multinational banks and their executives, hedge funds and private equity firms, the practice’s client base stretches across various other industries including pharmaceutical and manufacturing. The team represented the president of a global IT company in an SEC investigation, plus securities and derivatives lawsuits, and various regulatory inquiries. Practice head Bruce Yannett took the lead role in representing 3M in DOJ and SEC investigations into possible FCPA violations in multiple jurisdictions including Turkey. Yanett is based in the New York office, where many of the practice’s key players also reside, including Sean Hecker and Andrew Levine; they are a part of the team that continues to represent JPMorgan Chase in various civil lawsuits and investigations regarding mortgage acquisition and securitization. In Washington DC, the names to note are Jonathan Tuttle and Paul Berger.
United States: Media, technology and telecoms
Within Technology: data protection and privacy, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a third tier firm,
Within Telecoms and broadcast: transactional, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a second tier firm,
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s 35-strong media group, led by Richard Bohm and Michael Gillespie in New York, handles public and private M&A and private equity capital markets work for major national and international clients. The telecoms group is integrated into the firm’s corporate practice and supported by a strong IP practice. Paul Bird and Jonathan Levitsky are assisting Tribune with its $2.7bn acquisition of Local TV Holdings, including all of Local TV’s 19 television stations in 16 key markets. Jeffrey Rosen led advice to Warner Music Group on its $765m acquisition of Parlophone from Universal Music Group. Its prestigious client list also includes Amazon, The Carlyle Group, Globo Organization and Verizon Communications/Verizon Wireless.
United States: Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts
Within Antitrust, tier 5
As part of the firm’s litigation department, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s antitrust practice is well versed in transactional disputes, government investigations and private litigation. The team, which is based in New York, continues to advise Reynolds Group Holdings (formerly Rank Group) on various transactions, most recently on its $980m acquisition of automotive company UCI International and the subsequent $950m purchase of Honeywell’s automotive consumer products group. In litigation, Michael Schaper and Daniel Abuhoff, who co-chairs the practice alongside Gary Kubek, are representing Sature Express in a $200m treble-damages claim against Cardinal Health and Owens & Minor, alleging that the defendants used anti-competitive practices in the distribution of medical and surgical supplies to acute care providers. On the class action side, Kubek and Jeffrey Jacobson are defending the Bank of Yokohama in connection with the alleged manipulation of TIBOR, the Japanese bank reference interest rate. Kyra Bromley is also recommended.
Within M&A: mega-deals ($5bn+), Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a third tier firm,
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP recently advised The Special Committee of the Board of Directors of Dell during the $24.9bn take-private transaction by Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners; this was a validation of the firm’s burgeoning M&A credentials and further enhanced its standing in the space, as well as demonstrating its traditional strength in the TMT sector. Other TMT clients include Amazon and Verizon. The firm’s longstanding and strong reputation in the private equity arena has given it increasing exposure to the strategic M&A world and enabled it to pursue a concerted M&A initiative. Indeed, it has transferred a number of key private equity buyout techniques to the strategic M&A segment. Aside from TMT, other key sectors where it has had considerable success include healthcare, aviation, financial institutions (including insurance) and asset management. In the financial institutions space, it advised AIG on its $5.4bn sale of International Lease Finance Corporation to AerCap Holdings. In healthcare, the firm advised AssuraMed and its primary shareholders Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (a cornerstone client of the firm) and GS Capital Partners on the $2.07bn sale of AssuraMed to Cardinal Health. Key members of the practice include the ‘excellent’, ‘outstanding’ and ‘phenomenal’ Jeffrey Rosen, who was the lead partner on the Dell transaction. Paul Bird is a big name in both private equity and strategic M&A, with key clients including The Carlyle Group and Schneider Electric. Gregory Gooding is a seasoned figure in the aviation and financial institutions industries, as well as in Latin American transactions. William Regner is renowned for his in-depth knowledge of M&A structuring, the stance of the Delaware courts and his expertise in the TMT and asset management sectors.
Within Private equity buyouts, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a second tier firm,
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has a longstanding association with certain major private equity sponsors but has taken great strides in further expanding its client portfolio in recent years, adding names such as One Equity Partners and TPG Growth. Its blossoming relationship with The Carlyle Group is a particularly good illustration of its standing, particularly following advice on its $3.3bn acquisition of Getty Images in 2012. The firm’s outstanding private equity fund formation practice is another reason for its success; Michael Harrell has an especially impressive reputation in this space and Jeffrey Ross is playing an integral role on the leveraged finance side for private equity sponsors. The firm’s preeminent reputation in the insurance sector also adds to its credentials, with several major buyout funds turning to it for its industry expertise as well as buyout acumen. In 2013, the firm advised Clayton, Dubilier & Rice on its $2.5bn acquisition of Brand Energy and Harsco Infrastructure; this rare transaction involved two acquisitions supported by a common financing package. The firm also advised the same client on portfolio company US Foods’ $8.2bn agreement to merge with Sysco Corporation. The firm also advised the Special Committee of the Board of Directors of Dell on the $24.9bn sale of Dell to Silver Lake Partners and Michael Dell. Margaret Andrews Davenport is now co-chair of the corporate department and Kevin Schmidt is co-head of the private equity group. Paul Bird Gregory Gooding and ‘very good lawyer’ Kevin Rinker are other names to note. Kelso & Company is a marquee client, with additional names on the client list including HarbourVest Partners, Providence Equity Partners, Morgan Stanley Private Equity, Stone Point Capital and JC Flowers.
United States: Real estate and construction
Within Real estate, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a third tier firm,
The ‘first-rate’ department at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is ‘very professional’, has a ‘broad range of experience’ and a longstanding client base. Headline work led by the ‘outstanding’ Nicole Mesard includes advising The Westfield Group on a number of high-profile transactions, including the $1.64bn divestiture of seven non-core shopping centers in the US to the Starwood Group, the acquisition of the Port Authority’s remaining 50% interest in the World Trade Center retail facilities for $800m, and on its engagement to operate and manage the retail portions of The Fulton Center located in New York. ‘Formidable’ department head Peter Irwin was instructed by JPMorgan Investment Management on a range of matters including its purchase of 425 Lexington Avenue and on a $1.5bn equity transaction with Edens Investment Trust. Additional instructions came from Oaktree Capital Management regarding its joint venture with Kushner Companies for the acquisition and financing of a mixed-use development in Philadelphia, and from Rockefeller Group International on its joint venture with Mitsubishi Estate New York for the acquisition and financing of 50 Beale Street in San Francisco.
United States: Tax
Within Domestic tax: East Coast, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a second tier firm,
With a deep bench of talented lawyers, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP provides an ‘exceptional’ level of service to clients across an array of industries. The nine-partner team is based in New York and is led by the highly regarded Burt Rosen. David Schnabel, current chair of the New York State Bar Association Tax Section, focuses on M&A transactions for private equity and corporate clients, and recently advised Warner Music on its $765m acquisition of Parlophone Label Group from Universal Music. Other names to note include Vadim Mahmoudov, who has ‘extraordinary depth of knowledge’, and the ‘excellent’ Adele Karig. Peter Furci led advice to the Special Committee of the Board of Directors of Dell on the $24.9bn sale of the company to an investor group including Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners.
Within International tax, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a first tier firm,
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s ‘excellent’ tax team is ‘clearly at the forefront of the profession. Burt Rosen heads the New York-based practice, which is supported in its international work by partners in Hong Kong, Paris, Frankfurt and London. The practice covers the full spectrum of tax matters related to corporate transactions and assists clients from a broad range of industries including banking, communications and media, software, energy, insurance, and international trade. Rosen was joined by Peter Furci in advising American International Group on the sale of a stake of up to 90% in International Lease Finance Corporation to a consortium of Chinese investors, a $4.23bn transaction. Other names to note include Vadim Mahmoudov, who is praised for his ‘extraordinary’ depth of knowledge; David Schnabel, the current chair of the New York State Bar Association tax section; Adele Karig, who provides ‘superior’ advice; and Gary Friedman, who advised Mitsui & Co on its joint venture with Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile to acquire 29.5% of Anglo American Sur for $2.8bn. Peter Schuur and Seth Rosen are also recommended.
Latin America: International firms
Within Capital markets, tier 6
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s Latin America capital markets practice is primarily based around two major Brazilian issuers, Globo Comunicação e Participações (Globopar) and Itaú Unibanco. Beyond this, the firm’s large private equity and investment fund platform in New York brings capital markets transactions when their sponsor clients exit from their investments. In 2011, the firm represented The Capital Group as selling shareholder on the IPO of Arcos Dorados Holdings, the world’s largest McDonald’s franchisee. On the debt side, transactions range from straight debt to exchangeable notes. In April 2012, the team represented Globopar on a series of debt transactions, including a $300m international offering of senior notes and a $200m offering of senior secured exchangeable notes. Key partners include senior New York practitioners and Spanish speakers Paul Rodel and Peter Loughran, the latter being co-chair of the firm’s securities group. The Latin America team also features a number of Portuguese speakers.
Within Corporate and M&A, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a second tier firm,
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has been active in Latin America for over 50 years. The depth of experience at the firm is highly valued by clients who attest that it is ‘absolutely fantastic’. The firm prides itself on delivering intense partner focus. From the firm’s Latin America practice group, a team of seven New York-based partners offer advice on corporate and M&A matters; ‘they provide quick answers that are to the point’. The firm’s client base includes some of the most prominent companies and families in Latin America as well as multinational corporations and private equity funds investing in the region. Work highlights include representing Principal Financial Group in its acquisition of AFP Cuprum, a leading pension manager in Chile; advising Companhia de Bebidas das Ameìricas (Ambev) on its $1.24bn acquisition of indirect control of Cerveceria Nacional Dominicana and its strategic alliance with E Leoìn Jimenes to create a leading brewer in the Caribbean, as well as Ambev’s combination of business activities in Venezuela with Cerveceria Regional. It is also acting for Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração (CBMM) in the sale of a stake in CBMM to a consortium of five Chinese companies for $1.95bn and on a separate sale to a consortium of Japanese and Korean companies for the same value. The firm also acted for Mitsui in its agreement with Corporacioìn Nacional del Cobre de Chile (Codelco) to form a joint venture that will own 29.3% of Anglo American Sur shares and seal a broad strategic agreement to jointly undertake businesses in Chile and abroad. Leader of the firm's Latin America practice group Michael Gillespie is ‘a fantastic lawyer’. Co-chair of the financial institutions M&A group Gregory Gooding and co-chair of the energy and natural resources group Maurizio Levi-Minzi are also highly reputed experts in this field. Ezra Borut and John Vasily are also recommended.
Within Projects and energy, tier 4
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP represents project sponsors, developers and equity investors, as well as project lenders, including commercial banks, financial guaranty insurance companies, many of the US insurance companies active in the project finance area and multilateral development agencies, including the IFC, the Inter-American Development Bank and Corporacioìn Andina de Fomento. Energy and natural resources projects in Latin America are a particular area of strength, and the firm is also active in mining finance. The firm recently represented Mitsui in its agreement with Corporacioìn Nacional del Cobre de Chile. The firm is representing the lender in the Autopista Los Libertadores project in Chile, in connection with the change of ownership structure, including the replacement of the sponsor; and is acting for the lender in the Ruta del Maipo project in Chile in connection with the implementation of a congestion toll pilot programme requested by the Ministry of Public Works. Representing the sponsor, the firm is advising on the joint exploration arrangements for the development of copper deposits in Colombia. Ivan Mattei and senior counsel Doug Buchanan QC, co-chair of the firm’s global infrastructure and project finance group. Doug Buchanan QC, joined the firm in 2013 from Davis LLP. Maurizio Levi-Minzi and Sarah Fitts are key contacts in the firm’s energy and natural resources group. Craig Bowman, Ezra Borut, Christopher Smeall and Darius Tencza are also recommended.
Latin America: International firms: International arbitration
Within International arbitration , Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a first tier firm,
Lauded for ‘very high and consistent quality’, the ‘absolutely fantastic’ Debevoise & Plimpton LLP fields an international dispute resolution team of 67 lawyers distributed across eight offices. ‘A remarkable practice’, it had a resounding victory in late 2012, when an ICSID tribunal handed down the largest ever bilateral investment treaty (BIT) award: $1.8bn (expected to rise to $2.3bn with interest), against Ecuador and in favour of its client Occidental Petroleum. The team is also representing Perenco against the same sovereign respondent (Ecuador) in a $3.5bn case ($1bn original claim and $2.5bn in environmental counter-claims), which reached the merits stage in late 2012; Covington & Burling LLP acted as co-counsel on both cases. Other notable investor-side work included representing Pueblo Viejo Dominicana in a dispute with the Dominican state. It also remains counsel to Holcim in a suspended case against Venezuela, pending the fulfilment of a negotiated settlement of $650m; and is advising EM Ltd on the enforcement of a $728m award against Argentina. On the commercial side, the team is representing Brazilian retail-sector giant Grupo Diniz in a pair of ICC cases valued at over $400m against a European joint venture partner; and acting for investment fund GLG Partners in a series of ICC cases seated in Sao Paulo. With a client base drawn from a broad array of sectors, capacity in public international law (PIL) matters and arbitration-related litigation, and even currently handling a constitutional challenge to ‘anti-arbitration’ litigation in Belize, the practice is ‘undoubtedly at the top of its game’. ‘A crack international specialist’, Donald Francis Donovan is ‘one of the best arbitrators and lawyers in this field’. He is currently lead counsel to Tethyan Copper, a Chileno-Canadian joint venture in parallel ICC and ICSID cases against the Pakistani state. His fellow co-chair of the firm’s international dispute resolution group, New York-based David Rivkin, is hailed as ‘an absolute star’. Lead lawyer in the Occidental case, subsequently he has been elected to serve as a vice president of the International Bar Association. Active in the Diniz case, Catherine Amirfar also works closely with Donovan on public international law matters, including: the representation of Mexico in the US v Mexico (the ‘Avena’ case) at the ICJ; and UPM-Kymmene in relation to the ICJ decision in the Argentina v Uruguay pulp-mills case. Fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, Dietmar Prager is increasingly active in Brazilian matters where his present caseload includes two commercial cases seated in Sao Paulo. The ‘ever visible’ Mark Friedman has significant involvement in Latin American work and is leading in the Perenco case.
Further information on Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
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Offices in Shanghai
Offices in Frankfurt
Offices in Paris
- Capital markets : Debt
- Capital markets : Equity
- Dispute resolution : Commercial litigation
- Dispute resolution : Stock market litigation
- Dispute resolution : White-collar crime
- Mergers and acquisitions : Mergers and acquisitions
- Tax : Tax
Offices in Hong Kong
- Corporate (including M&A) : Corporate (including M&A)
- Insurance : Insurance
- International arbitration : International arbitration
- Investment funds : Investment funds
- Private equity : Private equity
Latin America: International firms
- Capital markets : Capital markets
- Corporate and M&A : Corporate and M&A
- International arbitration : International arbitration
- Projects and energy : Projects and energy
Offices in London
- Corporate and commercial : Corporate tax
- Corporate and commercial : Equity capital markets: UK capability
- Corporate and commercial : M&A: upper mid-market and premium deals, £250m+
- Corporate and commercial : Private equity: transactions
- Crime, fraud and licensing : Corporate crime (including fraud, bribery and corruption)
- Crime, fraud and licensing : Fraud: white-collar crime
- Dispute resolution : Commercial litigation
- Dispute resolution : International arbitration
- Dispute resolution : Public international law
- Finance : Acquisition finance
- Finance : Asset finance and leasing
- Finance : Emerging markets
- Finance : Investment funds
- Insurance : Insurance: corporate and regulatory
- Projects, energy and natural resources : Mining and minerals
Offices in Moscow
- Capital markets : Capital markets
- Corporate and M&A : Moscow
- Energy and natural resources : Energy and natural resources
- Real estate : Real estate
- Shipping and transport : Shipping and transport
- Finance : Asset finance and leasing
- Finance : Bank lending (including other sources of financing)
- Finance : Capital markets: debt offerings
- Finance : Capital markets: equity offerings
- Finance : Capital markets: global offerings
- Finance : Capital markets: high-yield debt offerings
- Finance : Corporate restructuring (including bankruptcy)
- Finance : Financial services: litigation
- Finance : Financial services: regulatory
- Finance : Project finance
- Industry focus : Environment: transactional and regulatory
- Industry focus : Insurance: non-contentious
- Industry focus : Sport
- Intellectual property : Copyright
- Intellectual property : Trademarks: litigation
- Investment fund formation and management : Alternative/hedge funds
- Investment fund formation and management : Private equity funds
- Labor and employment : Employee benefits and executive compensation
- Labor and employment : Labor and employment litigation
- Litigation : International arbitration
- Litigation : Securities: shareholder litigation
- Litigation : White-collar criminal defense
- Media, technology and telecoms : Technology: data protection and privacy
- Media, technology and telecoms : Telecoms and broadcast: transactional
- Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts : Antitrust
- Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts : M&A: mega-deals ($5bn+)
- Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts : Private equity buyouts
- Real estate and construction : Real estate
- Tax : Domestic tax: East Coast
- Tax : International tax