Rising Stars

Firms To Watch: Corporate and commercial

Forbes Hare’s cross-disciplinary corporate, finance, and investment funds team regularly works alongside international colleagues on business combinations, commercial real estate transactions, and NASDAQ-focused IPOs – particularly concerning Asia-focused SPACs. The ‘very proactive’ practice chair José Santos is recommended.

Corporate and commercial in British Virgin Islands

Conyers

Lauded for its ‘excellent sense of collaboration‘ and ‘fast, business-oriented solutions – even in unorthodox cases‘, Conyers is routinely sought out by a myriad of blue-chip clients for its capabilities in big-ticket, cross-border transactions, corporate restructurings, and business-critical commercial matters. The department is headed up by the ‘incredibly knowledgeableRobert Briant, a highly experienced practitioner who draws superlative praise from clients for his expertise in M&A, joint ventures, and investment vehicles. Recent highlights for Anton Goldstein include multi-billion-dollar business combinations in the investment management sector, while Audrey Robertson notably specialises in aviation sector transactions. ‘Fantastic‘ counsel Nicholas Kuria is a ‘go-to‘ figure for a diverse array of clients, ranging from banks and insurers to media companies. ‘Exceptionally responsive‘ fellow counsel Rachael Pape is noted for her broad transactional capabilities.

Practice head(s):

Robert Briant

Testimonials

‘Rachael Pape is exceptionally responsive and always helpful.’

‘Seamless teamwork, and fast, business-oriented solutions, even in unorthodox cases. Excellent collaboration.’

‘Nicholas Kuria is our go-to person in BVI. He is knowledgeable, proactive and business oriented.’

‘Robert Briant has consistently produced highest quality, practical advice on a highly complex, often tense, multi-jurisdictional transaction. He responds thoughtfully yet quickly and proposes sensible solutions even in difficult negotiations.’

‘Robert Briant is one of the best, well-rounded lawyers I have ever met, and delivers great service at a reasonable overall cost.’

‘Nicholas Kuria is a fantastic lawyer. Knowledgeable and honest, Kuria is always ready with suggestions to solve problems and follows up quickly with simple and practical notes with action items. He single-handedly carried our matter, always available and very responsive.’

‘Robert Briant is incredibly knowledgeable, not only from a legal perspective but also when it comes to finding practical solutions to everyday problems. He knows how to make complicated matters simple by breaking them down for us.’

Key clients

SK Capital Partners

All Year Holdings Limited

Trafigura PE Holding Limited

Rock Mountain Capital

Finaro (formerly Credorax Inc.)

AdvancedAdvT Limited

ArcLight Capital Partners

WME IMG China.

Diageo

Maples Group

With a ‘well-rounded team available and able to present clients with effective solutions to their needs‘, Maples Group consistently works with a number of renowned public companies and private equity houses on high-value matters, ranging from SPAC combinations to corporate restructurings. Helmed by natural resources specialist Richard May, the team maintains a broad sector focus that spans the worlds of pharmaceuticals, energy, technology, logistics, education, hospitality, and asset management. Ruairi Bourke exemplifies this wide-ranging approach, advising a host of corporate clients on cross-border mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures. Christopher Newton specialises in US public company work, with recent highlights including pharmaceuticals sector take-privates and business combinations in the infrastructure sector. Associate Amel Wehden notably advises on big-ticket deals in the energy and investment fund spaces.

Practice head(s):

Richard May

Other key lawyers:

Ruairi Bourke; Christopher Newton; Amel Wehden

Testimonials

‘A well rounded team available and able to present clients with effective solutions to their needs.’

‘They have a deep understanding of the laws of the British Virgin Islands and how it interacts with the laws of other jurisdictions.’

Key clients

Biohaven

CC Power

Club of Lenders HSBC

EQT AB

Satellogic Inc.

Swvl Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised Biohaven on the largest ever take-private in the BVI at $11.6bn
  • Advised SWVL Holdings on its listing by way of de-SPAC, the first ever $1bn plus ‘Unicorn’ from the Middle East on NASDAQ.
  • Advised EQT on its acquisition of Baring Private Equity Asia with a deal value of $6.8bn.

Appleby

Appleby fields a ‘responsive and knowledgeable‘ cross-practice team, rated by clients for its ‘reactive and solution-oriented‘ approach to cross-border M&A transactions, most notably in the fintech, mining, leisure, and consumer goods sectors. Practice chair Jeffrey Kirk‘s corporate acumen makes him a strong choice for companies seeking assistance in multi-million-dollar M&A deals and corporate restructurings. Splitting his time between the BVI and Jersey, Andrew Jowett specialises in energy and natural resources transactions, while Shana Simmonds‘ recent engagements include multi-jurisdictional deals concerning fast-growth cryptocurrency businesses and metals royalty companies. At the senior associate level, ‘proactive‘ M&A specialist Brittany Cummings and Stuart Fee, who is experienced in energy, technology, and marine matters, are key names to note.

Practice head(s):

Jeffrey Kirk

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Jowett; Shana Simmonds; Brittany Cummings; Stuart Fee

Testimonials

‘Responsive and knowledgeable.’

‘Very reactive and solution-oriented.’

‘Andrew Jowett and Brittany Cummings stand out for their responsiveness and proactive natures.’

Key clients

International Hotel Investments plc

Shift4 Payments, LLC

Elemental Royalties Limited

TreeBR Carbon Offsets Inc

LBC Capital Parnters

e-Toro Group Ltd

Jardine Matheson Holdings Limited

Ad hoc committee of senior secured noteholders

Constellation Oil Services Holding S.A.

Harneys

Praised for its newly-formed dedicated SPAC desk, Harneys‘ transactional practice is increasingly well placed to handle high-value, multi-jurisdictional deals, particularly in the natural resources, energy, technology, real estate and healthcare sectors. Practice chair Philip Graham, who also serves as head of the investment funds and regulatory group, is recommended for the depth of his expertise in economic substance matters, as well as all manner of fund vehicles. George Weston heads up the team’s SPAC offering, while Greg Boyd‘s wide-ranging client roster encompasses financial institutions, private equity funds and high-net-worth individuals. Associates Melissa Thomas and James Kitching are noted for the breadth of their corporate and commercial capabilities.

Practice head(s):

Philip Graham

Other key lawyers:

George Weston; Greg Boyd; Odane Lennon; Melissa Thomas; James Kitching

Key clients

GuideWell Mutual Holding Corporation

Work highlights

  • Acted as BVI and Anguilla counsel to GuideWell Mutual Holding Corporation in connection with its acquisition of Triple-S Management Corporation in a transaction valued at approximately $900m.
  • Acted for long-term clients on the sale of a South American mine, with assets in excess of $110m.

Ogier

Ogier‘s ‘very responsive and helpful’ corporate practice is praised for the breadth of its offering, with mandates ranging from day-to-day issues to complex, multi-billion-dollar M&A, capital markets deals, and restructuring mandates. The team is jointly headed up by Ray Wearmouth and Michael Killourhy, who is regarded by clients as ‘an excellent lawyer, dedicated adviser and knowledgeable specialist‘. Wearmouth is a seasoned adviser on billion-dollar-transactions, while Killourhy – who also heads up the firm’s dedicated fintech offering – is noted for his expertise in equity capital markets deals, and public and private M&A. Other key names to note include managing associate David Matthews who, like Killourhy, is recommended for his considerable fintech acumen.

Other key lawyers:

David Matthews

Testimonials

‘Ogier has been providing legal services since the inception of our company and the advice we receive on BVI law is excellent, we never had a surprise.’

‘The staff we work with are very responsive. They are not hard to reach and generally our issues are addressed within a short time, often in the same day. The staff are very cordial and its been a pleasure to deal with them.’

‘Ogier is very responsive and very helpful in various matters from small day-to-day queries to large complicated capital markets and M&A transactions. They are cooperative and integrate well with a team of consultants on complex matters. Very efficient and hands-on, and happy to help on adjacent matters.’

‘Michael Killourhy is both an excellent lawyer, dedicated adviser and knowledgeable specialist.’

Key clients

Kismet Acquisition One Corp / Nexters Inc.

East Stone Acquistion Corporation

Constellation Oil Services Holding S.A.

Hyatt Hotels Corporation

Nam Tai Property Inc.

Bull Horn Holdings Corp

NDC Holding Limited

Angle Labs Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advising Kismet Acquisition One Corp. on its almost US$ 2 Billion merger with leading European games developer Nexters Global.
  • Advising East Stone Acquisition Corporation on its US$ 2.5 Billion merger agreement with smart electric vehicle company ICONIQ Holding Limited.
  • Advising Brazilian drilling rig operator Constellation Overseas on a further 2022 court supervised financial and corporate restructuring and recapitalisation of its group, including a BVI scheme of arrangement and multi-company, multi-layered statutory merger. (transaction value: US$ 2.3 Billion).

Walkers

Operating as a cross-disciplinary corporate, finance, and funds practice, Walkers BVI fields a ‘knowledgeable and approachable‘ team, which is regularly engaged by a number of leading asset managers, financial services companies, and multinational conglomerates. Practice co-chair Matthew Cowman is praised as an ‘excellent‘ adviser whose cross-border expertise spans multi-billion-dollar take-privates, investment transactions, and joint ventures across a diverse range of sectors. Noted for the depth of her corporate finance acumen, fellow co-chair Omonike Robinson-Pickering‘s recent highlights include big-ticket de-SPAC transactions and multi-jurisdictional mergers in the asset management sector.  Senior counsel Alex Drysdale – who joined from an in-house role in July 2021 – is noted for his proficiency in Latin American markets, particularly in commodity and natural resources deals. Senior associate Lauren Williamson advises widely on banking and finance transactions, and corporate restructurings.

Other key lawyers:

Lauren Williamson; Alex Drysdale

Testimonials

‘The team are very knowledgeable and approachable and we always know that we are in good hands when we come to Matthew Cowman and the team.’

‘Matthew Cowman is very responsive, does not overcomplicate the matters, and is always very friendly and patient.’

‘Very good knowledge, approachable, and professional without being stuffy. We always feel that we are in good hands with Walkers BVI.’

‘Matthew Cowman is excellent and always makes us feel comfortable and reassured. Great service always.’

‘Concise and accurate.’

Key clients

Pfizer Inc.

Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital

Norwegian Cruise Lines

Brookfield Asset Management Inc.

Convoy Global Holdings Limited

Six Waves Inc

Teneo Strategy LLC

LRQA

Moneda Asset Management SpA

Voltz Labs Technology Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted as British Virgin Islands counsel to Pfizer Inc. on its proposed $11.6bn acquisition of NYSE-listed Biohaven Pharmaceutical.
  • Advising on BVI and Cayman law aspects of a de-SPAC transaction between Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital and SWVL Inc., including a Business Combination Agreement, F-4 filing with SEC and pre-completion restructuring.
  • Advised Teneo on its acquisition of KPMG’s Cayman and BVI-based restructuring businesses.

Collas Crill

Able to leverage its close working ties with a broader network of offshore offices, Collas Crill fields a ‘hands-on and committed‘ team in the BVI which regularly handles an array of cross-border M&A, debt restructuring, and investment fund-related matters. The ‘excellentEllie Crespi, who heads up the cross-disciplinary corporate and finance team, advises a strong mix of international clients seeking representation on multi-jurisdictional transactions, regularly working in conjunction with associate Aliki Skelton-Lettsome, a burgeoning figure in the corporate finance space. Senior associate Tamara Maduro, who joined the practice from Harneys in January 2022, is noted for her capabilities in both private equity and M&A transactions.

Practice head(s):

Ellie Crespi

Other key lawyers:

Aliki Skelton-Lettsome; Tamara Maduro

Testimonials

‘Ellie Crespi’s hire has really progressed the technical expertise and market reputation of the practice. She brings significant real-world experience to the team; a standout BVI corporate lawyer.’

‘The team is strong in M&A and restructuring, and has a real ‘one firm’ culture when it comes to matters also involving their Channel Islands and Cayman colleagues. It’s a dynamic, modern and growing practice with excellent diversity credentials.’

‘Ellie Crespi is excellent, and her recruitment as head of corporate in 2021 was a real coup. She is knowledgeable, responsive and pleasant to work with.’

‘Aliki Skelton-Lettsome provides excellent support at the associate level.’

‘Hands-on and committed focus, capable of identifying practical solutions and subsequently implementing them.’

‘Reliable, forthright, practical advice delivered by team players.’

Key clients

AFRA (Panama)

Albaugh, LLC

Alcogal (Panama)

Aleman, Cordero, Galindo & Lee

ATU General Trust

BSG Valentine

Centurion

Citco

Dajani & Associates

Drew and Napier LLC

Eversheds Sutherland (Dubai and Amman)

Extell Capital Partners LLC

Flemingo Group

Goldman Sachs

Grant Hermann Shwartz & Klinger LLP

iMena

M1 Real Estate

Mishcon de Reya LLP

Moinian Group

Morgan & Morgan (Panama)

MRR Thirteen Limited

Paicolex Trust Management AG

Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton

Shimonov & Co

Smythe & Greenwood

Squire Paton Boggs

Support Legal

Tamanna

Textron Inc.

TMF Group

Trident Trust

Trowers & Hamlins LLP

White and Case (New York)

Zhong Lun Law Firm

Zodiac Maritime

Work highlights

  • Advised US agri-chemicals business Albaugh on its $300m acquisition and take-private by way of statutory merger of Rotam Global AgroSciences Limited.
  • Advised Elite Mayfair Limited in connection with the acquisition of the entire share capital of Mayfair Land Management.
  • Advised Kestrel Capital with the statutory merger of three BVI companies and a BVI statutory consolidation.

Carey Olsen

Working both interdepartmentally and in collaboration with the firm’s international network, the ‘responsive, helpful and creative‘ team at Carey Olsen works with numerous clients – both local and foreign – on high-value, cross-border transactions and commercial reviews. The practice is headed up by Clinton Hempel, a longstanding figure in the BVI whose wide-ranging knowledge encompasses multi-jurisdictional restructurings and regulatory compliance issues. Following her promotion to partner in July 2021, Elizabeth Killeen has maintained a broad focus that includes advising multinational corporations on corporate restructurings and high-net-worth-individuals on lucrative real estate transactions. Counsel Jude Hodge is a highly experienced financial services specialist whose corporate practice sees her advising on corporate restructurings, M&A, and corporate due diligence, and ‘extremely responsive‘ senior associate Katrina Lindsay works with both large organisations and start-ups on cross-border deals.

Practice head(s):

Clinton Hempel

Other key lawyers:

Elizabeth Killeen; Katrina Lindsay; Jude Hodge

Testimonials

‘Carey Olsen’s team have always been very responsive, helpful and creative in their approach, as well as providing good value. They collaborate well with our legal advisers in other jurisdictions and give us a very reliable service.’

‘Katrina Lindsay is extremely responsive, efficient and a pleasure to work with.’

Key clients

Chorus International Services (BVI) Limited

Corporate Agents (BVI) Limited

Kalmarna Limited

Nerine Trust Company (BVI) Limited

TMF Group (BVI)

Tricor Services (BVI) Limited

Sterling Group (BVI) Limited

Work highlights

  • Assisted Kalmarna Limited with navigating a potential shareholder dispute relating to the terms of a shareholders’ agreement and, once resolved, provided assistance with a private placement of shares and other preparatory steps in anticipation of an IPO.
  • Advised TMF Group (BVI) on a broad spectrum of BVI corporate and commercial matters including conforming M&A to shareholders’ agreements and advising on technical breaches of BVI law and constitutional documents.

Mourant

Relied upon by a varied roster of corporates – including logistics groups and timberland companies – the team at Mourant increasingly handles cross-border technology M&A deals for well-known gaming studios, digital asset funds, and online gambling entities, among other clients. Ian Montgomery – who chairs the cross-practice finance, corporate, and funds team – is a strong choice for the firm’s technology sector clients, while the dual-qualified (BVI and Cayman) Sara Galletly is noted for the depth of her regulatory expertise, including advising on the economic substance and anti-money laundering compliance concerns associated with transactions. Counsel Saraid Taylor is particularly experienced in corporate finance transactions.

Practice head(s):

Ian Montgomery

Other key lawyers:

Saraid Taylor; Sara Galletly; Martyn Heyes

Testimonials

‘Very client-focused, able to appreciate multi-jurisdictional issues and collaborate well with both Mourant’s other offices and other law firms.’

‘Ian Montgomery provides very succinct and good advice.’

‘Martyn Heyes provides very clear and good advice and has a strong sense of commercial pragmatism.’

Key clients

AGM Group Holdings Inc.

Stillfront Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Stillfront Group on the BVI law aspects of the acquisition of Six Waves Inc. for an initial consideration of $201m plus an earn out capped at $100m.
  • Acted as BVI counsel to AGM Group Holdings Inc. on various shelf offerings.