Firms To Watch: Corporate and commercial

Under the joint leadership of Stephanie Sanderson and Sharon Beesley, boutique outfit BeesMont Law specialises in innovative fintech and digital asset structures, as well as matters emanating from the early stages of fund and corporate formations.

Corporate and commercial in Bermuda

Appleby

Led by local managing partner Tim Faries, the corporate practice at Appleby brings extensive experience to bear on high-stakes corporate projects. Frequently instructed by a range of FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 companies in the insurance, banking, technology, funds, transport, energy and natural resources sectors, the team has notable strength in large-scale M&A work, corporate restructurings and joint ventures. Key names within the group are Tammy Richardson-Augustus , who takes the lead on many corporate transactions arising from the energy and natural resources sectors, digital asset and funds expert Matthew Ebbs-Brewer , as well as David Clark, who regularly acts for major European, US and Asian banks and multinational corporations in complex cross-border financing structures and joint ventures. Insurance and reinsurance expert Alan Bossin , Jerome Wilson  and senior associate Josephine Noddings are further practitioners to note. In August 2021, Steven Rees Davies  joined Carey Olsen Bermuda Limited.

Practice head(s):

Tim Faries

Testimonials

‘A solid capable team. They are knowledgeable, competent and have experience and are great people to deal with.’

‘Competent, experienced, responsive and very likeable.’

Key clients

Bittrex International GmbH

Marvell Technology Group Ltd.

Special Committee of Gaslog Ltd.

Jardine Matheson Holdings Limited

Morgan Stanley Senior Funding, Inc

Dufry International AG

Convex Group Limited

Glencore Canada Corporation

Brookfield Asset Management

Floatel International Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advised Floatel International Ltd. and it subsidiaries on its successful, fully comprehensive balance sheet restructuring.
  • Advised Jardine Matheson Holdings Limited on its approximately $5.5bn cash acquisition of the 15% of Jardine Strategic Holdings Limited’s issued share capital which Jardine Matheson or its wholly-owned subsidiaries did not already own and the concurrent delisting of Jardine Strategic from the Bermuda Stock Exchange.
  • Acted for Bittrex Global GmbH on its application for a Class F Digital Asset Business (DABA) License, which represents the third such license issued by Bermuda Monetary Authority.

Conyers

Under the leadership of Charles Collis  following Graham Collis ’ recent retirement, Conyers’ corporate practice provides clients with ‘thoughtful, practical and timely advice about sophisticated legal questions under Bermuda law’. In addition to its considerable experience in large-scale M&A, the department also regularly advises on major corporate restructurings, shipping and aircraft issues and general corporate and commercial work, especially in the insurance space. Marcello Ausenda  places an emphasis on public company work, securities matters, financing issues, and corporate relocations and restructurings, whereas Jason Piney  stands out for his track record in high-stakes M&A and joint ventures. Elsewhere, Jennifer Panchaud , Neil Henderson , Niel Jones , Chiara Nannini , Guy Cooper , Edward Rance  (who was promoted to director in April 2021) and associate David Stubbs  are also well-versed in corporate and commercial transactional and advisory work.

Practice head(s):

Charles Collis 

Testimonials

Conyers provides thoughtful, practical and timely advice about sophisticated legal questions under Bermuda law. They are very responsive and provide great work product under tight deadlines.’

Niel Jones is an outstanding lawyer, providing thoughtful advice to difficult legal questions in complicated transactions and general governance. He is responsive and is able to seamlessly coordinate with transaction counsel to provide a great result for the client.’

Key clients

Valaris Limited

G2D Investments

New Fortress Energy

Leif Höegh & Co. Ltd.

Seadrill

IHS Markit

McDermott International

Viking Cruises Ltd.

Gaslog Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising the IHS Markit/S&P Global merger on all Bermuda law aspects of the deal to IHS Markit, noting that it is a Bermuda law-governed merger.
  • Advised New Fortress Energy Inc. on its acquisition of Hygo Energy Transition Ltd., a Bermuda company, and Golar Energy LNG Partners LP.
  • Advised Bermuda exempted company Valaris Limited on its financial restructuring and emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Carey Olsen Bermuda Limited

Under the joint leadership of Mary Ward  and Gavin Woods , Carey Olsen Bermuda Limited’s team routinely handles international and local M&A transactions, corporate governance matters, private equity transactions, corporate restructurings, and specialist shareholder issues and company migrations. Demonstrating ‘a very strong commercial awareness‘, the department (which possesses a ‘great understanding of the insurance sector and its regulation in Bermuda‘) also specialises in non-transactional regulatory matters, particularly in relation to the licensing and regulatory requirements of commercial insurers and the proposed establishment of new business structures. Senior associate Michelle Falcucci provides substantial support to the key partners on major transactions. In recent news, Steven Rees Davies  arrived from Appleby in August 2021, bolstering the group’s credentials in the fintech and digital asset sectors in particular.

Practice head(s):

Mary Ward; Gavin Woods

Testimonials

The Carey Olsen corporate and commercial team is a pleasure to work with. In my experience they possess a very strong commercial awareness and consistently exercise the appropriate levels of initiative and discretion in the provision of services. From my perspective, this team provides much-valued support on large transactions and is consistently organised and very reliable in terms of providing competent and prompt service delivery.’

The individuals I have worked with offer first-class client care and are ultra-responsive and easy to work with.’

I was very impressed with the degree and depth of knowledge by the individuals at the firm. All delivered in a very user-friendly manner.’

Gavin Woods possesses a high degree of professionalism, knowledge, and diligence on all matters big or small. Very impressed with the deliverables.’

Very responsive team with quick turnaround times. A safe pair of hands!

Mary Ward is particularly good – very switched on and super responsive. Also thinks creatively and works efficiently.’

They have a great understanding of the insurance sector and its regulation in Bermuda, including insight into how the regulator thinks, and are able to combine that with commercially-minded, pragmatic corporate and commercial advice.’

Mary Ward is excellent – she has deep sector knowledge and experience, is very responsive and delivers pragmatic, commercial advice in a form that is very user-friendly.’

Key clients

LSE Group plc

CME Group

Chard Re Investment Management Ltd

Avianca Holdings S.A.

Ark Insurance

Arch Capital Group

Third Point Re

FGL Holdings

Alpha Growth plc

BF & M Limited

Meritus Trust Company Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised CME on its agreement with IHS Markit to combine their post-trade services into a new 50/50 Bermuda joint venture company.
  • Advised London Stock Exchange Group plc on the Bermuda and Cayman aspects of its $27bn acquisition of financial data provider Refinitiv.
  • Advised Arch on all Bermuda law aspects of its merger with Watford Holdings, including all of the Bermuda regulatory filings and its defence of its offer from interloper Enstar Group which had acquired a 9.1% stake in Watford after the Arch/Watford deal was announced.

MJM Limited

Led by Jeremy Leese , MJM Limited’s ‘very service-minded and skilled’ corporate and finance department has considerable experience advising local and international clients on an assortment of corporate transactions and company law issues. Key areas of strength are M&A, joint ventures, corporate finance work, corporate governance work, and corporate reorganisations and restructurings; the group is also noted for its niche expertise in cross-border deals involving Norwegian and Asian shipping and offshore drilling clients. Regulatory and compliance expert Brian Holdipp and Leese provide ‘outstanding legal services’ in relation to ‘intricate corporate and commercial issues’.

Practice head(s):

Jeremy Leese

Other key lawyers:

Brian Holdipp

Testimonials

‘Jeremy Leese and Brian Holdipp are hands-on and service-oriented and offer professional and commercial advice of high quality.’

‘Brian Holdipp and Jeremy Leese have both provided outstanding legal services for our firm in connection with intricate corporate and commercial issues we have been dealing with for our clients. Their advice on Bermuda law and communication and relations with Bermuda lawmakers and authorities have been of great value, as well as their top of the class drafting of legal and corporate documents.’

‘Great team. Very service-minded and skilled.’

‘Brian Holdipp is skilled and pragmatic. He knows his clients very well, he is always available and very service-minded.’

Key clients

Avance Gas Holding Ltd.

Borr Drilling Ltd.

Clarien Bank Limited

Frontline Limited

Golar LNG Limited

Golden Ocean Group Limited

Hermitage Offshore Services Ltd. (formerly Nordic American Offshore Ltd)

HSBC

North Atlantic Drilling Ltd.

Northern Drilling Ltd.

Northern Ocean Ltd.

SFL Corporation Ltd. (previously Ship Finance International Limited)

2020 Bulkers Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising Hygo Energy Transition Ltd on its acquisition by New Fortress Energy Inc. which would make NFE the leading gas-to-power company in Brazil.
  • Advised Dalea Partners, LP on the delisting of Transatlantic Petroleum Ltd. from the NYSE.
  • Assisted Golden Ocean Group Limited with a $338m Private Placement.

Wakefield Quin

Wakefield Quin’s ‘responsive, creative and business-minded’ team handles a broad range of corporate and commercial matters, predominantly for financial institutions, public companies and private equity funds. Reorganisations and restructurings, M&A, hotel-condo real estate developments and acquisitions, and insurance and reinsurance matters are among the key areas of focus for the department, which is fronted by Nicholas Hoskins . ‘Strong leader’ and CEO Erik Gotfredsen  has an enviable track record in joint ventures, partnerships, asset and fund management mandates, regulatory and compliance issues and the establishment of companies, while Ian Stone is particularly active in the M&A space.

Practice head(s):

Nicholas Hoskins

Testimonials

‘Every firm needs a strong leader and Erik Gotfredsen – CEO of WQ and also head of the corporate and commercial practice – leads by example. As well as being very intelligent he has an easy-going but professional manner and is the most responsive lawyer that our family office has ever dealt with.’

‘Very efficient with all the knowledge required for operating in Bermuda’.

The WQ team is responsive, creative and business-minded. They understood the client’s needs and succinctly distilled legal issues. I would recommend WQ wholeheartedly.’

Jemima Fearnside and Erik Gotfredsen were an exceptionally strong team that delivered. They responded to all of our questions and concerns and, within the framework provided, we collaborated closely in resolving legal issues in an effective manner.’

Key clients

Accenture Group

AmTrust Insurance Group

ATN International, Inc.

Bermuda Broadcasting Company Limited

Carlyle Aviation Partners

Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank

National General Insurance Group

Nordic Trustee ASA

Seacrest Group

VEON Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advised Carlyle Aviation Partners on the acquisition of Fly Leasing Limited.
  • Advised Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank on the $2.44bn letter of credit facility and approximately $544m in funded debt for McDermott International in its successfully completed emergence from bankruptcy.
  • Advised Bank of NT Butterfield & Son Limited on its secured multi-tranche financing of the construction of the new St. Regis Hotel and related Resort Residences in St. George, Bermuda.

Walkers

The corporate, finance and funds practice at Walkers encompasses the full spectrum of corporate and commercial work, with particular expertise in M&A, corporate structurings, joint ventures, SPAC transactions, continuances and discontinuances, as well as providing corporate advice to a wide range of entities with interests in Bermuda. Leading the team is Jonathan Betts, who has a strong reputation for local infrastructure transactions in the renewable energy, hotel and leisure, and insurance sectors. Working alongside Betts is Natalie Neto, who has substantial expertise in take privates, takeovers, tender offers and squeeze-outs, amalgamations, mergers, and schemes of arrangement, particularly in relation to insurance and other regulated entities. Insurance specialist Sarah Demerling and fintech expert and senior associate Rachel Nightingale are also highly regarded in this area.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Betts

Testimonials

‘The team has an extreme focus on ferreting out not only potential legislative issues regarding our business plans, but also has an ear to the ground with changes that may be coming which can impact our current and future business lines.’

‘Sarah Demerling is our go-to, who we are thrilled with. We run in impressive circles within the Bermuda investment industry and Sarah and her team are the constant nexus.’

Key clients

McDermott Group

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings

Apex Group

PPF a.s.

GAN Limited

Swiss Re

Alpha Innovations Ltd

Welton Investment Partners LLC

Diamond Standard Ltd.

Carlyle Group

Onex

Work highlights

  • Advised McDermott International group on all Bermudan (and Cayman) law aspects of its 2020 restructuring.
  • Advising Diamond Standard on its various incorporations and corporate structuring to aid the client’s vision of creating a fintech ecosystem based on its business plan and purpose.
  • Advised Alpha Innovations on the structure and launch of a new fund platform, Laureates ISAC Ltd platform, Bermuda’s first incorporated segregated accounts company (ISAC) to be launched as a fund platform.

ASW Law Limited

At ASW Law Limited, the corporate and commercial group emphasises complex multijurisdictional M&A, particularly for clients in the insurance and reinsurance sector. Practice head Neil Horner  mainly assists clients with large corporate finance transactions, M&A for stock exchange-listed companies, corporate insurance and reinsurance work, and general Bermuda law corporate advice, while insolvency group head Kehinde George  specialises in corporate restructurings. In October 2021, two key practitioners in the group, Kim Willey  and Hanno Tolhurst, were both made partners.

Practice head(s):

Neil Horner; Kehinde George

Other key lawyers:

Hanno Tolhurst; Kim Willey 

Key clients

Apollo Global Management, Inc.

Austerlitz Acquisition Corporation I

Aon plc and Willis Towers Watson

Cosan Limited

Covea Corporation

Nordic Trustee AS and ING Bank N.V.

IBEX Limited

Stryker Corporation

Ad hoc group of creditors to McDermott International Ltd.

Hai Kuo Shipping 2051G

Work highlights

  • Advising Apollo on all Bermuda legal aspects of its proposed $11bn acquisition of Athene Holding Ltd., a Bermuda exempted company and leading provider of annuities products and retirement services.
  • Advising Austerlitz Acquisition Corporation I, a SPAC listed on the NYSE, on all Bermuda legal aspects of its proposed acquisition by way of merger of Wynn Interactive Ltd., the online gaming division of the leading casino and leisure Wynn Resorts group.
  • Advised both Aon and Willis on the Bermuda regulatory approvals for their proposal to combine operations, by way of an acquisition of Willis by Aon, which is the largest ever all-stock deal in the insurance industry.

Cox Hallett Wilkinson Limited

Cox Hallett Wilkinson Limited acts for local and global clients on the full range of corporate and commercial mandates. Firm managing director Ernest Morrison  is the key name to note.