Corporate and M&A in Latin America: International firms
White & Case LLP
Latin America M&A was robust in 2018 and into 2019, thanks to rising commodity prices and a general improvement in macroeconomic conditions. While political uncertainty continues to hinder economic growth and investor enthusiasm, the general outlook is benign. For international law firms, the political and economic volatility in Venezuela has caused most to completely retreat from the market. Growing inflation and an economic recession in Argentina has also been a disappointment to firms that had seen significant growth in transactional engagements following the election of Mauricio Macri to the presidency in 2015. Moreover, the election of the leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador to the position of president in Mexico, creates further uncertainty for firms that had enthusiastically targeted the jurisdiction during the previous reform-hungry administration. Despite these hindrances to deal activity, there has been no shortage of headline deals, not least because Brazil has emerged from a period of economic difficulties. Furthermore, private equity houses and other investors have become increasingly interested in Latin America assets. In light of this White & Case LLP hired Latin America private equity specialist Marwan Azzi from Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP in 2018. The firm followed this up by recruiting energy-sector specialists Rodrigo Dominguez and William Parish from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP to its Houston office.
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton's unrivalled corporate relationships in Latin America ensures that it is constantly at the forefront of big-ticket M&A in the region. The firm has a high market share of big corporate clients in Mexico, saw a significant rise in M&A activity in Argentina before its latest economic troubles and has more recently seen an increase in deals in Brazil. It covers multiple industries from energy to retail and private equity. Clients include Suzano Papel e Celulose, Fomento Económico Mexicano (FEMSA), Vale, Enel, Grupo Bimbo, Falabella, Pampa Energia and Inbursa. The firm impressed with its advice to Suzano Papel e Celulose, the Brazilian pulp-and-paper giant, on its headline $9.2bn merger with Fibria Celulose, another leading Brazilian player in the sector. The practice also advised Enel on its $1.5bn acquisition of a 73% share in Electropaulo, outbidding Iberdrola and Energisa in a highly-contested tender process; the deal makes Enel the largest power distribution company in Brazil. It advised Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley, as financial advisers to Grupo Financiero Banorte, on the latters $1.4bn acquisition of Group Financiero Interacciones. The team is 'extremely hands-on and always available', 'proactive and business oriented', and 'extremely diligent'; it demonstrates 'international experience, technical strength and commitment', and has 'a great notion of the client's business', 'an understanding of the region's culture' and 'deeply understands every Latin American country's legal framework'. Jeffrey Lewis has an outstanding reputation in big-ticket M&A deals in Latin America, particularly in the energy, oil-and-gas, and natural resources sectors. Chantal Kordula is highly rated for Mexico deals,; she 'is a precise, effective, detailed lawyer with great knowledge of her field of expertise and an acute business sense'. 'Her leadership contributes to streamlining the legal work for the benefit of the client' and 'she is committed to business goals and makes every effort to be available and contribute with legal and business-oriented solutions'. Sao Paulo partner Juan Giráldez is 'sensible, practical and strong', 'very thoughtful, calm and a good negotiator'. Sao Paulo's Francisco Cestero has 'a sharp legal mind and a deep understanding of Latin America's culture' and is 'very motivated, energised and business oriented'. Francesca Odell has an excellent record in strategic and private equity transactions, particularly in Brazil. All named partners are New York-based unless stated otherwise.
Clifford Chance remains active throughout Latin America, notably in energy and infrastructure transactions. The firm is also at the forefront of investments by international financial sponsors into Latin America and cross-border transactions from Asia into the region. Moreover, the firm frequently advises Latin America businesses on outbound transactions into other parts of the world. Clients include Actis, Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec (CDPQ), CVC Capital Partners, Mitsubishi, CITIC Agri Fund, Castlelake, KKR, The Coca Cola Company, Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM) and IFM Investors. The practice advised Canadian pension fund CDPQ on a transaction in the infrastructure sector in Mexico. It also advised Actis Infrastructure Fund on its acquisition of the 110MW El Pelicano Solar Plant in Chile from SunPower Corporation. Other matters included advising Canadian pension fund CDPQ on a transaction in the infrastructure sector in Mexico. The Latin America team delivers 'the gold standard for responsiveness', is 'practical and business-oriented' and has 'strong energy sector knowledge'; staffed by 'hands-on partners' and 'very high quality and experienced professionals that have a pragmatic approach' and 'deep knowledge', this 'allows the team to perform very well in fast-paced and complex, multi-jurisdictional transactions'. 'The commitment and availability of the partners, allied with their language skills, review of documents and turn-around of drafts with quality in short periods of time is the differential' and 'the intense support and dedication of the associates enables the partners to take part in all transactions simultaneously'. Moreover, 'the firm is able to draw on its resources across jurisdictions to put together the most effective teams'. Madrid partner Javier Amantegui is noted for infrastructure transactions and private equity investments in Latin America. David Brinton heads the America's corporate/M&A practice and has an extensive record in Latin America; he 'creates very strong bonds with clients', is 'a great strategic thinker' who 'provides clear and creative solutions to complex issues', and is 'commercial and business-oriented' with 'an easy-going and approachable style'. Clients highlight his expertise in energy transactions. Sao Paulo partner Anthony Oldfield has an impressive mix of M&A and capital markets work; he is 'a very capable, engaged and experienced lawyer who identifies the critical issues and risks in order to support business decisions'. Madrid partner Samir Azzouzi is another key member of the Latin America practice, especially in private equity and energy and infrastructure transactions. Thais Garcia has a fine reputation in financial sponsor deals; she is 'a truly dedicated partner', has 'an excellent understanding of investment details and strong knowledge of the region', 'does a terrific job of distilling down very complex shareholder agreement issues to allow clients to make the right decisions' and is 'very engaged, super smart and always keeps the whole team moving at the pace that's needed'. Named individuals are based in New York unless stated otherwise.
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP maintains a concentrated team of Latin America specialists that operates from its New York and Sao Paulo offices. While the group's reputation is perhaps more established in capital markets and project finance, the wider firm's M&A team frequently acts in support of, or is directly engaged in, Latin America deals. These range from headline inbound and outbound deals to big-ticket intra-regional transactions. Clients include Arancia, Arcos Dorados, Banco Santander (and its Latin American subsidiaries), Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional (CSN), Cosan, Digicel Group, Fibria Celulose, Gafisa, Millicom, Odebrecht, Petrobras and Telefónica. It advised Brazilian paper products manufacturer Fibria Celulose on its contested $14.4bn merger with Suzano Papel e Celuose, the Brazilian pulp and paper mills operator, to create the world’s biggest wood pulp producer. It also advised Millicom on its acquisition of a controlling 80% stake in Cable Onda, the largest cable and fixed telecommunications services provider in Panama; and Grupo Financiero Santander México and Banco Santander (México) on the former’s merger with and into Banco Santander (México), its principal subsidiary. The team is 'super sophisticated and deals with complexity well in M&A'. Sao Paulo partner Manuel Garciadiaz is 'a super strong lawyer' who is best known for capital markets transactions, but has an outstanding reputation for versatility and high-end expertise in M&A. New York's Nicholas Kronfeld continues to be active in Latin America, particularly for Banco Santander and its subsidiaries. Other New York partners that have experience of Latin America M&A deals include Oliver Smith, John Amorosi, Louis Goldberg and William Aaronson.
The significant progress in Latin America M&A that Latham & Watkins LLP has made since the 2018 arrival of Juan Picón (along with a team from DLA Piper LLP), as Madrid-office managing partner and Latin America practice co-chair is another testimony to a charismatic figure, 'a legal titan', who passed away in June 2019. The team's arrival was followed by the recruitment of former Prime Minister of Spain José María Aznar as a special adviser; incredibly well connected in Latin America, his arrival has prompted a series of significant engagements from Spanish clients such as Telefónica, which the practice advised on the $648m sale of Telefónica Móviles Guatemala and Telefónica Móviles El Salvador to América Móvil; the deal was led by Picón and fellow co-chair of the Latin America practice Antonio Del Pino along with Madrid partner José Antonio Sánchez-Dafos. The firm, including the Latin America practice, has a deep focus on energy and infrastructure, but it also has a strong emphasis on start-ups, growth businesses and tech companies. Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Central America are key markets for the practice. Showcasing its prominent capabilities in private equity, the practice group advised Canada's Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and a consortium of Mexican institutional investors on their $1.4bn acquisition of the Mexican wind and solar assets of Italy-based Enel Green Power; this involved the first application in Mexico of the build, sell and operate model. Other highlights included advising Australia-based investment management company IFM Investors on four major transactions -including its acquisition of Spanish infrastructure company OHL Concesiones- and involved assets in Chile, Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Spain. Other clients include Sempra, Vista Oil & Gas, Andes Mining and Energy, Mexichem, Blackstone, Riverstone, Fermaca and Votorantim. Very professional and with a great customer service orientation', the team provides 'a good combination of legal knowledge with down to earth business-oriented acumen to provide solid advice'. It is 'flexible and willing to explore alternatives to facilitate business-driven decisions', and 'the knowledge shown by the partners and associates contributes greatly to the success in dealing with complex M&A transactions and sophisticated counterparties'. 'Smart, quick and a pleasure to work with', the aforementioned Antonio Del Pino is an 'outstanding lawyer and great adviser' who has 'excellent knowledge of the market and what it takes to get the deal through'. Other key partners include Madrid's Manuel Deó, who 'is very hands-on, extremely talented and business oriented', 'has a special ability to make deals happen', ' is a trusted adviser instead of mere lawyer' and 'is one of the big hitters in the Spanish private equity market'. Co-chair of the oil-and-gas group Christopher Cross and Thomas Malone are also highly rated. Named partners are based in New York unless stated otherwise.
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP has continued to build its standing in strategic M&A and private equity investments. While the firm is a global leader in private equity, the core Latin America team is noted for its private equity expertise in its own right, along with a stellar record in cross-border M&A for Latin America corporates and overseas investors. Its burgeoning Houston office is also gaining the firm a greater market share of energy sector transactions in Latin America. Clients include Abengoa, Avianca Airlines, Blackstone, Carlyle Peru Fund, Compañía de Petróleos de Chile (COPEC), Empresa Nacional de Telecomunicaciones, KKR, OHL Concesiones, Riverwood Capital and San Miguel Industrias PET. The practice advised Boeing on its $4.2bn acquisition of an 80% interest in Embraer’s commercial aviation business; Embraer is a Brazilian aerospace conglomerate and is the third largest civil aircraft producer in the world. It also advised Conedi Participações, the controlling shareholder of Novus Mídia, on Novus’ negotiations with Turner International Latin America to license its use of the CNN news network brand in Brazil. On the private equity side the team advised Centerbridge Partners on its strategic partnership with Brazil's Vectis Partners to pursue credit, structured, special situation and mainstream private equity investments in Brazil. The 'good team' is 'very professional, driven and pro deal', has 'solid expertise in cross border M&A and private equity' and has 'deep knowledge of cultural issues and a very strong track record'. The experienced co-head of the Latin America practice, David Williams, and newly promoted partner Juan Naveira are 'exceptional in M&A deals'. Co-head of the team, Todd Crider is 'experienced, calm, fair, elegant and hands on', with 'excellent communication skills'. Jaime Mercado is 'very practical, smart, quick, speaks all the languages and is good in terms of working towards solutions'. Sao Paulo Grenfel Calheiros is widely regarded as one of the leading native-Brazilian lawyers working among the top international law firms in the country. Juan Francisco Méndez is another key figure in the team. All partners are based in New York unless stated otherwise.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP has an illustrious history in Latin America M&A, thanks in part to its global standing in the sector and the experience of its key partners in New York and Sao Paulo. The practice has continued to demonstrate its eminence in this sector for both Latin American and other international corporates. It advised Embraer (Brazil) on the $3.8bn sale of an 80 percent stake in its commercial aircraft and services division to Boeing, and Odebrecht (Brazil) on the pending sale of its controlling stake in petrochemical firm Braskem to LyondellBasell Industries. It also advised Walmart on its sale of an 80% stake in Walmart Brasil to Advent International. Co head of the Latin America practice, Paul Schnell is 'a seasoned-hand, a big M&A lawyer who brings that expertise into cross border situations', he 'has huge technical knowledge and a quiet and measured approach to problem solving'. Fellow co-chair of the Latin America group Paola Lozano is also highly rated and has a fine record in big-ticket M&A deals. Filipe Areno is a key figure in Sao Paulo.
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP's global standing in cross-border M&A is very much in evidence in Latin America. It has a history of handling bulge-bracket deals including those with complex regulatory and political considerations. The small Latin America team continues to advise on a range of transactions and work effectively with colleagues from across the firm. The 'great and fantastic firm' has made an impression with a series of headline deals for Chinese clients in recent years. In 2019, it helped Chinese state-owned power company, China Three Gorges, complete its $1.39bn acquisition of Empresa de Generación Huallaga, which owns Peru's Chaglla hydroelectric power plant, the third-largest hydropower facility in the country. The global firm has an especially strong record in financial institutions M&A and advised Banco Popular de Puerto Rico on its $1.6bn acquisition of Wells Fargo's auto finance business in Puerto Rico from Reliable Financial Services and Reliable Finance Holding Company, including assets and debt. The Latin America team, in turn, has an outstanding record in mining sector deals and advised Minsur, the mining company controlled by Peru's Breca Group, on its sale of a 40% stake in Cumbres Andinas to Alxar Internacional, the subsidiary of Chilean conglomerate Empresas Copec. Senior member of the Latin America team Sergio Galvis has a tremendous reputation for handling especially complex and challenging transactions, including those in the mining and resources sector. Werner Ahlers is another Latin America specialist with a particularly fine record in headline M&A transactions. Christopher Mann leads the firm's global infrastructure and sovereign finance practices, but also has extensive experience of M&A deals in Latin America.
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has a long-term association with Latin America, notably in both strategic and private equity transactions. The firm is at the forefront of deals involving complex compliance and corruption issues, and transactions involving distressed assets. Financial institutions and media and telecoms sectors are key areas for the Latin America team, which has an especially strong record in Brazil, although it has genuine Latin America-wide credibility. Clients include Amber, Brookfield Asset Management, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração, The Carlyle Group, Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional (CSN), Organizações Globo, Prumo Logistica and Vinci Partners. the team advised Carlyle on its strategic minority investment in Brazilian casual dining and fast-casual restaurant chain, Grupo Madero; and also advised Brookfield Business Partners on its proposed $170m acquisition of a 55% controlling stake in Brazilian fleet management company, Ouro Verde. Other matters included advising Ambev on its $926m acquisition of a 30% interest in brewerCervecería Nacional Dominicana, and on the restructuring of its joint venture with E. León Jimenes, one of the largest companies in the Dominican Republic. One client praises 'the quality of the team in general and the availability of senior lawyers to actively participate in all stages of the deal, which guarantees the adequate assessment of risks and negotiation opportunities throughout the process'. Native Colombian partner David Grosgold has an excellent reputation for financial institutions and insurance deals in Latin America. Head of the Latin America practice Maurizio Levi-Minzi is noted for strategic and private equity transactions across the region. Gregory Gooding and Michael Gillespie are also experienced in Latin America M&A transactions, and John Vasily is noted for insurance deals. All named individuals are based in New York. Former counsel Armando Rivera Jacobo moved to White & Case LLP in July 2019.
Jones Day's broad geographic footprint has enabled it to develop a significant market share of major Latin America corporate and M&A transactions. Established offices in Mexico City and Sao Paulo are supported by Latin America-focused practitioners and teams in Miami, New York, Madrid and elsewhere. The firm impresses on inbound, outbound and intra-regional deals and has experienced a notable upswing in engagements from private equity investors. It is noted for its recent record in energy, power, and telecoms deals. Clients include Engie, GIC Special Investments, J&F Investimentos, Nutrien, Millicom International Cellular, UPL and Pure Biofuels del Peru. With a tight axis between New York and Sao Paulo practice groups, the firm has a particularly strong record in Brazil; recent matters saw New York and Sao Paulo-based Wade Angus and Sao Paulo partner Marcello Hallake lead the team that advised ENGIE on its proposed multi-billion dollar acquisition of Transportadora Associada de Gas from Brazil’s state-owned oil company, Petrobras. Angus also led the group that advised GIC Special Investments on its $308m acquisition of a 25% stake in Brazil's Algar Telecom. In other headline work, the practice advised Nutrien on the $4.1bn sale of its stake in Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (SQM) to Tianqi Lithium. Miami partner and Colombian native Nicholas Rodríguez is another key member of the practice, with an enviable record in telecoms deals. Miami's Enrique Martin has a fine reputation, as do Michael McGuinness and María Luisa Cánovas in New York. Sao Paulo of counsel Artur Badra is also recommended.
Paul Hastings LLP is further building on its excellent investment bank relationships. The Latin America M&A team has an especially fine record in Peru and Colombia, while Mexico is providing a growing number of deals for a team that benefits from the multitude of corporate relationships established by Michael Fitzgerald, a titan of that particular market. Central America and the Caribbean are also good regions for the M&A group, which is particularly active in retail, energy and infrastructure. The team is 'well trained', 'driven' and has 'an outstanding work ethic and pro-deal attitude'. It is 'able to convey knowledge and simplicity to clients and counterparties' and 'the team has a strong presence in Latin America having done many deals in Colombia, Peru and other countries in the region'. Further south, the practice advised Argentina's YPF on the sale to GE of a 25% interest in YPF Energía Eléctrica, which has two operating assets, five under construction and 11 greenfield projects with a total net capacity of approximately 3.5GW. It also advised Quicorp, the Andean region's leading pharmacy chain, on its $583m acquisition by InRetail Perú; and Accendo Banco on its proposed purchase of Deutsche Bank’s Mexican operations; the deal did not close. Robert Leung 'has a commercial background which makes him a dealmaker' and 'clients trust him as he is able to communicate legal issues very clearly, while allowing the client to make an informed decision'. He is 'very knowledgeable and has strong relationships in Colombia' and his 'understanding of the region and culture has allowed him to retain very important clients'. Mike Huang has a similarly strong reputation, as do Luke Iovine and counsel Veronica Rodriguez who are also regular advisers on Latin America M&A transactions. In a significant mid-August 2019 hire, the team was strengthened still further with the high-profile hire of former Sao Paulo office-head Jonathan Kellner from Shearman & Sterling LLP; 'a go getter', he is 'personable, people trust him and has spent years establishing the relationships that he needs' as a result he 'has made a name for himself', provides 'fantastic leadership' and 'is very frank and loyal'.
White & Case LLP has significantly bolstered the M&A expertise of its Latin America practice with the hire of private equity specialist Marwan Azzi from Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP and the 2018-launch of a Houston office which now features a series of energy sector M&A experts such as Steven Otillar and 2019 recruits Rodrigo Dominguez, William Parish and counsel Emilio Grandio-Urrea, who joined from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP; the firm also hired former Debevoise & Plimpton LLP counsel Armando Rivera Jacobo in July 2019. The reinforced team now sits at the forefront of energy and infrasture M&A and has a significant market share of Latin America private equity transactions for the likes of Blackrock, Brookfield Asset Management and I Squared Capital. Other clients include Grupo Financiero Banorte, Nestlé, Odebrecht, Principal Afore, Vale and Votorantim. The leading Mexico City team advised Grupo Financiero Banorte on its $1.4bn acquisition of Grupo Financiero Interacciones, including its banking, broker-dealer, insurance and asset manager subsidiaries. On the private equity side, the previously mentioned Azzi, who is highly focused on Latin America, led the team that advised I Squared Capital on its $341m acquisition of a minority stake in Kallpa Generación and Samay I, two power generation companies in Peru, from Empresa de Energia del Pacifico. The Latin America M&A team has an 'excellent understanding of the overall aspects of the transaction, has great resources available and is efficient', delivering 'experience, the right advice, dedication and commitment'. Oliver Brahmst, another private equity specialist with a notable record in Latin America, led the team that advised Brookfield Asset Management on its $1.8bn acquisition of Brazil's Ascenty Data Centers e Telecomunicações, from Great Hill Partners. Donald Baker is a highly-celebrated lawyer in Sao Paulo and is responsible for many of the firm's key Brazilian corporate client relationships; he led the team that advised Votorantim, as selling shareholder, on the $11bn sale of Fibria Celulose to Suzano Papel e Celulose. Vicente Corta is a key name in Mexico City. Named partners are based in New York unless stated otherwise.
Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP has always managed to maintain a prominent global standing in M&A, despite having more limited coverage and resources than its major international rivals. This is also true for its Latin America practice, which largely centres on the eminent David Mercado, now back in New York after a long stint in London, and a handful of other partners that occasionally advise on transactions in the region. Clients include Banco Santander, Becle (Jose Cuervo) and Grupo Financiero Interacciones. Partner Mark Greene led the team that advised Grupo Financiero Interacciones on its $1.4bn sale to Grupo Financiero Banorte; both are Mexico-based financial services providers. In another major deal involving a Latin American financial institution, Richard Hall led the team that advised Banco Santander on the $528m sale of TotalBank by its subsidiary Banco Popular Español to Chile's Banco de Crédito e Inversiones. Other headline matters included advising Mexico's Becle on its $205m acquisition of the Pendleton Whisky brand assets from Hood River Distillers.
Greenberg Traurig LLP's Miami office has a deep connection with the region and the firm continues to build upon these links to augment its Latin America offering. The firm has achieved considerable prominence with a range of multilatinas and is also developing its reputation in the private equity field. The firm has wide ranging industry experience, but is frequently noted in particular for its telecoms-sector expertise. Beyond Miami, New York and the other US offices that frequently advise on Latin America transactions, it has a sizeable and established presence in Mexico City. Clients include Liberty Global, Inchcape, Kiffas Investment Corporation, Grupo Cisneros, Texpack and Bank of America. Recent mandates include advising telecoms giant Liberty Latin America on its $250m acquisition of an 80% equity stake in Costa Rican cable operator Cabletica from Televisora de Costa Rica; and independent multi-brand automotive distributor and retailer, Inchape, on its $284m acquisition of Grupo Rudelman, a Central American automotive distribution business. Clients speak of a 'great team' that 'is always available to address any issue in a timely and professional manner', and that is 'efficient, knows the market, the law and gets the deals done'. Moreover, it has 'profound market and industry knowledge, tremendous contacts in Latin America and is powerful, commited and result driven'. Nevertheless, the practice has been going through significant change: following the April-2019 departure of former firm vice-chair Patricia Menéndez-Cambó, June saw former corporate co-head Randy Bullard, along with Alexandra Aguirre, younger partners Enrique Conde and Juan Delgado, and five associates, depart to open Morrison & Foerster LLP's new Miami office. The firm has moved rapidly to re-deploy its talents: 'clever' practitioner Yosbel Ibarra ('a very good lawyer with great personal skills') becomes Miami office co-managing shareholder, concurrently stepping down from leadership of the firm's Latin America practice to make way for new co-heads José Raz Guzmán and Marc Rossell, in Mexico City and New York, respectively. In Miami, Emilio Alvarez-Farré is 'hugely experienced', and dual-qualified M&A and provate equity specialist Antonio Peña can also draw on his experience as a Latin America regional in-house counsel. Elswhere, in Houston, the February-2019 arrival of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP's former Latin America practice co-chair, Carlos Treistman, reinforces the practice's standing in M&A and private equity, particularly in the energy segment. Morever, former Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP partner David Yates has joined the Atlanta office and brings additional Latin America M&A expertise, most notably in the financial institutions sector.
Linklaters LLP has continued to develop its standing in cross-border deals into Latin America from Europe and Asia. The firm is also handling a greater flow of outbound transactions from Brazil and other Latin American jurisdictions into the US, Europe and Africa; notably, the Latin America capital markets practice has cemented a number of Brazilian corporate relationships, which have led to big-ticket M&A engagements. Indeed, the Sao Paulo office is primarily focused on M&A. Recent matters include advising Brazil's Marfrig Global Foods on the $2.4bn sale of its US subsidiary Keystone Foods to Tyson Foods; and assisting Petrobras with a series of deals including the $1.53bn sale of its 50% interest in Petrobras Oil & Gas BV to Petrovida Holding. In yet another headline deal, it advised Whirlpool on the $1.08bn sale of its Brazilian compressor business, Embraco, to Japanese motor manufacturer Nidec. Beyond this, the firm has worked on a series of Latin America acquisitions by Chinese clients such as China Merchant Ports Holdings and China Southern Grid. Alberto Luzárraga is co-head of the Latin America practice and a partner in New York and Sao Paulo; he has an extensive record in regional transactions including deals involving Brazilian and other Latin American entities. New York partner Peter Cohen-Millstein is also an experienced Latin America M&A expert; while Matthew Poulter (who splits his time between New York and Sao Paulo), is responsible for a number of key Brazilian corporate client relationships such as that with Marfrig Global Foods. Brazil native Gabriel Silva also splits his time between Sao Paulo and New York and was elevated to partner in 2019.
Proskauer Rose LLP has a wealth of Latin America expertise based in its New York and Sao Paulo offices. Many of the team members are Latin America natives, and the group as a whole demonstrates a high level of experience and expertise in strategic M&A, private equity transactions and funds formation work. The team continues to service a number of major multinationals, big name Latin American corporates and financial institutions, and multilatinas; clients include AccorHotels, BTG Pactual Timberland Investment Group, Graña y Montero, Ashmore and Gilinski Group. Recent mandates include advising a consortium led by BTG Pactual Timberland Investment Group on its joint venture with CatchMark Timber Trust to acquire 1.1m acres of East Texas timberlands for $1.39bn. Co-head of the Latin America practice Carlos Martinez has an extensive record in M&A, including for major Latin America businesses. Colombian born Daniel Ganitsky is a top M&A practitioner and has built up an impressive body of work in Latin America. Andrew Kleiman is another M&A specialist with notable Latin American expertise.
Shearman & Sterling LLP is making a considerable impact on the market, bringing its M&A standing further in line with its excellence in banking and finance, projects and energy, and capital markets. Much credit for was due to Sao Paulo office-head was due to Jonathan Kellner, who elevated the firm's M&A reputation considerably; however, he departed to Paul Hastings LLP in August 2019. Nevertheless the M&A team has successfully leveraged the wider Latin America group's standing in power, oil and gas, renewables and mining and metals, and has achieved further success in finance-sector M&A deals. Clients include Liberty Global, Anglo American, Energía del Pacífico, ArcelorMittal, GE Global Capital, ExxonMobil and TPG. The team advised Anglo American on Mitsubishi Corporation’s $600m acquisition of an additional 22% equity interest in Anglo American Quellaveco, which owns the Quellaveco copper project in Peru; an also assisted Energía del Pacífico with its $342m sale of a 25% stake in Peruvian power generation companies Kallpa Generación and Samay I to Nautilus Inkia Holdings, a portfolio company of I Squared Capital. In private equity, the team advised TPG on its acquisition of Abengoa's operating electricity transmission line assets in Brazil. The Latin America M&A team is 'very deal oriented, especially in the Brazilian environment'; group members 'know when American practice and Brazilian practice may differ and they know how to respect that'. It has 'the most efficient team in Brazil to advise companies on the full spectrum of domestic and cross-border deals'. Global managing partner George Casey is a recognised dealmaker with experience in Latin America deals; despite his management responsibilities he remains incredibly active in transactions. Waajid Siddiqui is recommended for upstream and downstream oil-and-gas deals in the region and Cody Wright 'is a brilliant attorney and does an excellent job on Latin America transactions'. Manuel Orillac and Rory O’Halloran are key names in the Houston office, which was launched in May 2018. All other partners are based in New York unless stated otherwise.
Winston & Strawn LLP has built an impressive mix of inbound and outbound deals through its substantial Latin America team. The group has an especially fine record in energy and infrastructure deals and is at the forefront of private equity investments and fund formation in the region; co-chair of the Latin America practice Talbert Navia previously founded two private equity funds that focused on the US and Latin America. Navia and the team have worked on a series of deals for Southern Cross Group, the Latin America private equity fund manager, along with a number of Mexican and Chilean fund managers. The firm has also impressed in deals involving complex securities issues, going-private transactions and SEC-registered exchange offers. Energy and infrastructure, oil and gas, natural resources, consumer products, technology and retail are key industry sectors for the practice. Other clients include Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional, Enel Américas and Enel Chile, Sociedad Química y Minera De Chile (SQM), Pampa Energía, SCL Energía Activa, Thermion Energy, Barrick Gold and InterEnergy. In one of many headline transactions, the team advised Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional (FDN) on its co-investment agreement with CDPQ to jointly invest in energy and infrastructure projects in Colombia. The team has also had a long-running role in advising Enel Chile on its complex reorganisation involving a $2.7bn dual-jurisdiction SEC-registered exchange offer and simultaneous Chilean tender offer, a SEC-registered cross-border preemptive rights offering, and a $1.1bn merger of Enel Green Power Latin América's Chilean renewable energy business with Enel Chile. The team's 'level of service is outstanding', it 'is really impressive in terms of availability, responsiveness, depth of knowledge and practical advice'; moreover, 'the partners are completely involved and are always the main contact in all the transactions'. Department members 'know how to work as a team', 'the focus is always on the client and they really know how to interact very well with local counsel to achieve the results sought by the client'; indeed, 'they are very knowledgeable about the market, the complexities of cross border transactions and are very deal oriented,' says one client. Co-chair of the Latin America practice Allen Miller is 'always available', 'very creative', 'is the best lawyer in the US advising Latin American companies that are listed in the US' and 'is the type of lawyer that any client wants to have'. Sey-Hyo Lee and Claude Serfilippi are also key members of the team. The seasoned Morton Grosz is recommended for private equity transactions.
Allen & Overy LLP
Allen & Overy LLP is best known for inbound and outbound M&A transactions involving Brazil and equity investments by multilateral agencies (MLAs) and development finance institutions (DFIs). Beyond this the firm has a wide range of international corporate clients, befitting a firm of such geographic breadth and coverage. Notably, the practice has built an especially impressive number of Brazilian clients, in part thanks to the prominence and standing of Sao Paulo partner Bruno Soares, a Brazil native. Washington DC partner Sami Mir is recommended for equity investments made by MLAs and DFIs.
Baker McKenzie LLP has an extensive presence in Latin America with 15 offices in seven jurisdictions, while many of its US offices are engaged in transactions in the region. The firm advises a wide range of corporate and private equity clients, and recently counselled Canadian investment group Brookfield Infrastructure Partners on its acquisition of Gas Natural Fenosa’s 42% stake in a gas distribution business. It also advised Boeing on the tax aspects of its headline partnership with Brazil's Embraer, to manage its commercial aircraft business; and HDI Seguros, part of Talanx Group, on the sale of its insurance company in Peru to Mexico's Qualitas Group. Lima-based partner Liliana Espinosa heads the Latin America M&A and private equity practice.
Covington & Burling LLP
Covington & Burling LLP is best known for its record in Mexico, although it has genuine credibility right across Latin America. The firm's experience in the regulated sectors makes it a strong choice for deals in the financial services, life sciences and healthcare sectors in particular. The practice group advised Rothschild & Co and Greenhill & Co, as financial advisors to NII Holdings, on the latters $905m sale of Nextel Brazil to América Móvil; as well as Latin American private equity fund Linzor Capital Partners, which it assisted with the acquisition of a controlling interest in SCALA Latin America. Sergio Uras, who is admitted to the bar in New York and Mexico, joined the firm from Kirkland & Ellis LLP in 2018 to co-head the private equity practice and reinforce its standing in Latin America transactions. After joining the firm, he led the team that advised Argentine payments company Prisma Medios de Pago on the sale of a 51% stake to Advent International. Senior figure Rubén Kraiem and up-and-coming partner Gabriel Mesa are also key members of the practice.
Dechert LLP is principally focused on Brazil, Chile and Mexico. It boasts a number of major corporate relationships in each jurisdiction, along with inbound investors, and has developed a healthy mix of financial institutions, corporate strategics and private equity clients. It also has a flourishing funds practice, especially in Brazil. Clients include BTG Pactual, Compañía Perforadora de México (PEMSA), Corp Group Banking, Grupo Cinemex, Grupo Financiero Interacciones, Grupo Mexico, Itaú Unibanco, Oro Negro, PagSeguro and SMU. The practice advised Kinross Gold Corporation on Kinross Brasil Mineraçao's $257m acquisition of two hydroelectric power plants in Brazil from Gerdau; and also assisted Australis Partners on its acquisition a 50% stake in Alianza Fiduciaria and Alianza Valores from Advent International. New York's Howard Kleinman and Washington DC partner Bernado Piereck are the key names in the Latin America team.
DLA Piper LLP (US)'s significant team and regional expansion -most recently in Buenos Aires in August 2018- over the last few years has positioned it for a multitude of big ticket corporate and M&A engagements. The Latin America group has successfully plugged in to the firm's global client base, while achieving greater recognition among Latin American businesses and multilatinas. It is also fast developing its private equity standing in the region. Financial services, energy, natural resources, agribusiness and hospitality are key industry sectors for the team. Clients include Telefonica, CarVal Investors, Graña y Montero, Putney Capital Management, Clarion Partners and Grupo Financiero Interacciones. Recent mandates saw Miami partner Francisco Cerezo is US head of Latin America corporate and advised Costa Rican cable operator Cabletica on its $250m sale of a controlling interest in the business to Liberty Latin America (Televisora de Costa Rica retained a 20% share in the cable operator); he also led the team that advised QBE Insurance Group on the sale of its Latin America business to Zurich, making Zurich the leading insurer in Argentina and a top three player in Ecuador. In other work, Matías Zegers in the Santiago office led advice to Mexico and Chile-focused grocery delivery service, Cornershop, on its $225m sale to Walmart. Other key partners in a sizeable practice include cMarcelo Etchebarne in Buenos Aires; Paulo Larraín and Marco Salgado in Santiago; Camilo Martinez Beltran and Felipe Quintero Serrano in Bogota; Sergio Barboza in Lima; Eduardo Gallastegui, Edgar Romo and Diego Martinez in Mexico City; John Murphy in Miami, Nikos Buxeda and José Sosa-Lloréns in San Juan; and of counsel Enrique Chamorro in Madrid.
Hogan Lovells US LLP has a high level of corporate and M&A expertise across its Latin America team, which sits in multiple offices, including Sao Paulo, Mexico City, Miami, New York and Houston. It is widely noted for its expertise in oil-and-gas transactions, including those by state-owned enterprises and quasi-sovereign entities. Clients include Aeromexico, Banorte, Corporacion Multi-inversiones (CMI), Petroamazonas , Petrobras, Pemex and Sealed Air. The team advised CHUBB on the stock ownership restructuring and subsequent merger of three insurance companies and two bond companies it owns in Mexico. Miami partner José Valdivia co-heads the Latin America practice and has a fine record in M&A transactions. Juan Francisco Torres Landa is a key name in Mexico City, where Federico de Noriega and Carlos Ramos Miranda are also prominent.
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP has an impressive mix of inbound, outbound and intra-regional deals, and is particularly noted for its expertise and record in financial services and telecoms transactions. The firm has a substantial office in Miami where the vast majority of attorneys have a Latin America focus. Clients include Bolsas y Mercados Españoles, CVC Brasil Operadora E Agencia de Viagens, Banco de Sabadell, Diageo, MasterCard and Promerica Financial Corporation. The team advised Promerica on its bid to acquire The Bank of Nova Scotia's subsidiaries in El Salvador, and also advised Mexico's Grupo Rotoplas on its joint venture and sale of affiliate Molding Acquisition Corp to Tank Holding Corporation. The team is praised for its 'responsiveness, assertiveness and for delivering strategic value'. It impresses through 'creativity, passion about the subject and client's business' and 'full dedication to the matter'; moreover, it is 'extremely client oriented' and 'takes time to understand the big picture'. Head of the Latin America practice Fernando Alonso has an outstanding record in inbound and intra-regional deals, most notably for Spanish financial institutions; he is 'a great business partner with his combination of deep understanding of the client's business, creativity, involvement and dedication to the subject matter'. Fernando Margarit operates across multiple practice areas, although he has an especially strong name in the telecoms and cable systems sectors; he is 'an excellent and professional partner'. Uriel Mendieta is another key member of the team, while former Atlanta partner and department member David Yates has joined Greenberg Traurig LLP.
Mayer Brown's outstanding Latin America credentials are enabling the firm to gain a greater market share of M&A transactions involving the region. Its Houston and Mexico City offices continue to make an impression, as does its associate firm in Brazil Tauil & Chequer Advogados in association with Mayer Brown. Much of the practice involves energy and oil-and-gas transactions, including the acquisitions of energy assets and interests in power projects. Clients include Ecopetrol, Mitsui & Co, The Dow Chemical Company, CNOOC Petroleum Brasil, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), Taco Bell Brasil, Barzel Properties Gestora de Recursos, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Total. Recent mandates saw the team advise Ecopetrol America on its acquisition of an interest in the K2 Field in the US Gulf of Mexico from Mitsubishi subsidiary MCX Gulf of Mexico; and assist Chilean electricity generation company, Colbun, with the purchase of LNG to be regasified at the Quintero terminal, Chile. In addition, it represented Arroyo Energy Investors in the purchase from Pattern Energy of a renewable energy project portfolio in Chile, including an interest in the 115MW El Arrayan wind farm and the entire equity interest in the 104MW AC Conejo solar project. The 'very professional' team includes Houston partners Pablo Ferrante and Jose Valera, who are both noted for their experience in oil-and-gas and energy transactions. New York partner Kevin Sheridan is also a frequent adviser on Latin America deals.
Milbank remains a recognised leader in power, energy and infrastructure deals, and continues to develop its standing amongst private equity funds, infrastructure funds and other financial investors. Head of the global corporate group John Franchini has successfully leveraged the firm's prominent brand in Latin America and has been at the forefront of a number of headline deals, particularly for financial sponsors. Clients include Actis, Atlas Renewable, Carlyle (Infrastructure), Zuma Energia, IFM Investors, JP Morgan (IIF) Infrastructure Fund, Macquarie Capital, OMERS Infrastructure, Partners Group and EIG Global Energy Partners. The team advised global private equity firm Actis on its $1.25bn acquisition of the power generation assets of InterGen Servicios Mexico, an electricity generation business with 11 power plants in operation. It also advised OMERS Infrastructure on its $350m acquisition of a 35% stake in GNL Quintero in Chile; it was the asset manager's first direct infrastructure investment in South America. Global head of capital markets Marcelo Mottesi is an undoubted contributor to the success of the Latin America M&A practice, as are corporate partner Dean Sattler and Sao Paulo partner Fabiana Sakai. Named individuals are New York-based unless stated otherwise.
Sidley Austin LLP
Sidley Austin LLP has strong links to Latin America, principally through its New York and Houston offices. It has achieved prominence in financial services M&A, private equity and fund-related deals, along with energy, infrastructure and oil-and-gas transactions. New York partner Alyssa Grikscheit is noted for private equity and funds-related M&A, while Houston partners Brian Bradshaw and David Asmus are strong players in Latin America oil-and-gas and LNG transactions. Glenn Pinkerton provides further experience in Latin American energy deals.
Uría Menéndez continues to reinforce its illustrious standing in Latin America. While many of its Spanish clients have considerable assets and interests in Latin America, it is increasingly active in outbound deals from the region itself. Its longstanding links to the region are complemented by its participation in Latin American entity Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uria ("PPU"), which currently has a presence in Chile, Peru and Colombia. Although it closed its Sao Paulo office in 2018, the firm and PPU remain committed to the Brazilian market, particularly in relation to outbound transactions. It also continues to operate a rep office in Mexico City (although entry into the Mexican market by PPU, long envisaged, is now regarded as imminent) and has a deep focus on the Cuban market through its Cuban desk in Madrid. One client states it has 'unparalleled expertise on Cuba and Cuban law' and that 'no other firm outside of Cuba has the same level of capability', concluding that 'the quality and responsiveness of services provided were superb on every level' and 'the commitment and quality of the team is outstanding'. Clients include BBVA, Grupo Damm, Summit Partners, Telepizza, Grupo Konecta and Ferrovial. The firm's Cuban desk recently worked alongside Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP to advise Roswell Park on the landmark US-Cuban biotech joint venture between US medical centre Roswell Park and Cuban cancer research group Center for Molecular Immunology. The firm also advised Telepizza on its master franchise global alliance with Pizza Hut International to accelerate growth across Latin America (excluding Brazil), the Caribbean, Spain (& Andorra), Portugal and Switzerland. Key partners include head of the Latin America practice group Eduardo Rodríguez-Rovira, Juan Martín Perrotto and Pablo González-Espejo in Madrid. Madrid associate Lourdes Dávalos, who heads the Cuba desk, is 'tireless, always available and brings unique expertise to the table'.
Practice head Maria-Leticia Ossa Daza has steadily driven the growth of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP's regional practice, which now numbers some 28 lawyers, including March-2019 hire, Maria Isabel Nieto, who arrives as director of Latin American strategy. Headline work saw the practice advise long-standing client Zurich Insurance Group on its $409m acquisition of QBE Insurance Group's business lines in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico; and BNP Paribas Cardif on the negotiation of a long-term, strategic bancassurance alliance in Latin America with Scotiabank, notably for the markets of Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. The heart of the practice, however, arguablyremains its profound engagement with the Colombian market where the firm is a regular presence in significant deals. Recent matters saw the team advise a joint venture (including CMA CGM and Puertos Inversiones y Obras) on all aspects of a 30-year concession to develop, construct, operate and maintain the new Puerto Antioquia maritime terminal; assist John Laing Group with its acquisition of a 30% stake in the Ruta del Cacao 4G toll-road concession; and represent Weener Plastics in its purchase of Colombia-based packaging company, Proenfar. Elsewhere, matters included advising Vilmorin & Cie on its acquisitions of Sursem and Geneze, seed companies operating in Argentina and Brazil, respectively. Other key partners include firm chairman, Thomas Cerabino , capital markets practice co-chair Gregory Astrachan and vice-chair of the securities litigation practice group, Antonio Yanez (all in New York); Houston-based Archie Fallon; and in the firm's Paris office, Eduardo Fernandez and Lionel Spizzichino . Clients include Insight Partners, Grupo Argos, Swiss Re and CBA. Since publication, the firm has announced the March 2020 hire of Jorge Kamine -formerly at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP; based in Washington DC, he will focus on extending the Latin American practice group's transactional and project work in the energy and infrastructure sectors.
Brown Rudnick LLP's well established Latin America practice has seen further growth in distressed asset deals and corporate restructurings. The firm is also active in the private equity segment and in joint ventures and infrastructure agreements. Clients include Endeavor Global, Staples, Tempur-Sealy, CBS Television, TripAdvisor, Draper Cygnus and The Catalyst Capital Group. The team continues to advise Asociación Argentina de Capital Privado (ARCAP), the Argentine private equity, venture and seed capital organisation, which recently expanded its operation to include family offices and corporate venture funds. It also advised the Smithsonian Channel on corporate and regulatory issues relating to its joint venture with Direct TV Latin America. Boston and New York partner Alejandro Fiuza, an Argentine and former practising lawyer at leading Argentinian firm Marval, O'Farrell & Mairal, heads the practice and is hugely experienced in Latin America deals. Boston partner Adolfo Garcia is another highly experienced practitioner with an extensive record in the region.
Cuatrecasas has an especially fine record in Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and Argentina. It has an established office in Mexico City and a presence in Bogota through its association with Posse Herrera Ruiz. Clients include Pemex, DP World, Elawan Energy, GD Energy Services, Grupo Pegasus and Areas. The practice advised Pemex on the design and structuring of its co-participation plan with third parties in the Litoral project in the Gulf of Mexico. It also advised DP World on a purchase agreement with the Matte family for the acquisition of 71% of Chilean company Puertos y Logística (Pulogsa). Madrid partner Javier Villasante has an extensive practice in Latin America, for the likes of Pemex in Mexico and clients throughout the region. Mexico City's Santiago Ferrer and Alfonso Reina in Bogota are also key members of the team.
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP has an especially intense focus on energy and infrastructure transactions. The firm is also especially well-equipped for transactions that require high levels of compliance and anti-corruption expertise. Moreover, its burgeoning presence in Houston has afforded it a greater connection with the energy and oil-and-gas sectors in Latin America. Clients include JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, Ruta del Maipo Sociedad Concesionaria, Autopistas Metropolitanas de Puerto Rico and Gran Tierra Energy. The firm advised Murphy Oil Corporation on the formation of a joint venture with Petrobras America for ownership and development of Gulf of Mexico assets. New York partner Kevin Kelley and Sao Paulo's Lisa Alfaro are key partners.
Herbert Smith Freehills
Herbert Smith Freehills has made a further impression in mining, offshore oil and gas, and power and infrastructure deals. It has a fine standing in intra-continential deals, including inbound investments from Europe and Asia. Clients include Marubeni Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation, Mercuria Energy Group, Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (SQM), Abengoa and Macquarie Development. Recent mandates include advising Marubeni on its $200m acquisition of GasValpo, the gas distribution business in Valparaiso, Chile; and Mitsubishi on its $600m acquisition of a 22% equity interest in Anglo American Quellaveco, which owns the $5.3bn Quellaveco copper project in Peru. In a major outbound engagement, the team continued to advise SQM on its proposed 50:50 joint venture with Kidman Resources to develop and operate Kidman Resources' Mt Holland lithium project in Australia. Edward Dougherty and Juan-José Zentner are key names in New York, the latter a big name in mining and resources deals, particularly in Chile. Andrew Blacoe heads the firm's Japan energy, infrastructure and mining practice, and has worked on a series of inbound deals by Japanese clients. Madrid's Ignacio Paz is also noted for renewable energy deals in the region.
Holland & Knight LLP
Holland & Knight LLP has an especially impressive record in Colombia and Mexico, where it has offices, but is active throughout Central and South America. It also benefits from a substantial Latin America-focused team in Miami and New York. Further strengthening its bench, the firm recently recruited Adrian Talamantes from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP to its Houston office to increase its presence in Mexico's oil-and-gas sector; and Peter Baumgaertner, who joined the New York office from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP, where he was head of the Latin America practice. The firm has made an impression in telecoms deals, especially in Mexico, along with retail and franchise work in Mexico and throughout Central America. Agribusiness is another important industry for the Latin America M&A team. Chair of the Latin America group Roberto Pupo has an outstanding reputation. Co-leader of the corporate, M&A and securities practice group George Mencio is also experienced in Latin America deals.
King & Spalding LLP's Latin America practice is primarily focused on oil and gas, including LNG deals. The practice advised Mexico's Sierra Oil and Gas on its headline sale to DEA Deutsche Erdoel, the German energy firm. Private equity investments in the oil-and-gas sector are another area of growth for the firm. Vera De Brito de Gyarfas and the hugely experienced Ken Culotta have extensive track records in Latin America, particularly in Mexico's oil-and-gas industry; both are based in Houston.
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP is best known for its work in the energy and oil-and-gas segments. It has tight links to Latin America and has built an impressive portfolio of regional clients, including CEMEX, Grupo Prolamsa, Gaia Importação Exportação e Serviços, PetroRio, Grupo Lala and Grupo Coppel. Beyond the energy and oil-and-gas segments, the firm advised Paladin Realty Partners with an aggregate $1bn investment in real estate acquisitions and developing midrise residential and commercial buildings throughout Latin America, including in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Chile. The 'highly experienced team' delivers a 'personalised service with a holistic approach'; it 'truly understands the business culture of the region and can easily anticipate, and work with the client on navigating hurdles that come up during transactions'. The practice group is also praised for its 'true collaborative efforts' with local counsel in Latin American jurisdictions. Humberto Padilla Gonzalez is an emerging name with an especially fine record in Mexico where he is licensed to practice; clients 'trust him and value his judgment', and praise his ability to bring in specialist expertise from around the firm when required. Similarly Felipe Alice is admitted to practise in Brazil and is highly experienced in deals involving Latin America's largest economy. John Crespo is noted for energy-sector transactions throughout Latin America and Washington DC partner Ulises Pin is recommended for telecoms and cable deals in Mexico and beyond. Mexico upstream and midstream oil-and-gas specialist Adrian Talamantes joined Holland & Knight LLP in November 2018. All named individuals are based in Houston unless stated otherwise.
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP has demonstrated a deep commitment to the Latin America region in recent years, most notably from its Houston, New York and San Francisco offices. It is especially active in the energy, infrastructure and technology sectors. Historically the practice has centred on large multinationals and private equity houses making investments into Latin America, although it is increasingly focused on Latin American companies, particularly Mexican businesses, deploying capital outside of the region. The firm has made a particular impression in energy asset and project acquisitions, especially in Mexico, including transactions involving offshore support vessels, natural gas transportation and renewable power plants. It has also built a reputation in private equity joint ventures and acquisitions in the real estate sector across Latin America. Clients include Pattern Energy, Proyectos Globales de Energia y Servicios CME, Renewable Resources Group, VINCI, Daikin Applied Americas and Prisma Capital. The Latin America team was special counsel to Renewable Resources Group in a restricted issuance of capital development certificates (CKD) in Mexico generating first CKD-fund issued in Mexico dedicated solely to in-country agricultural projects. It also advised global renewable power developer Eurus Energy, on its acquisition of a Mexican entity that is currently developing a 50MW wind-power generation project in the state of Baja California Sur, Mexico. However, former co-head of the Latin America practice Rodrigo Dominguez and William Parish joined White & Case LLP in April 2019, followed by senior associate Emilio Grandio-Urrea in June; this was compounded in July with the departure of George Humprhey to Thompson & Knight LLP. It is expected that the firm will respond rapidly to this spate of departures.
Ropes & Gray LLP is a burgeoning presence in Latin America where it has developed an ever-growing market share of strategic M&A and private equity transactions, along with an excellent record in advising on Latin America fund formation and structuring. Moreover, the firm has an outstanding reputation for its work in anti-corruption, investigations and compliance in the region. While much of the firm's attention has centred on Brazil, it has developed an estimable record across Latin America. It 'is a top-notch full-service firm with some of the best attorneys around'. The 'service is extremely precise, very well delivered and the team is a pleasure to work with'. Chicago based co-head of the Latin America practice, Matthew Posthuma, is noted for funds formation and investments in Brazil, Mexico and other jurisdictions; he is 'a unique funds lawyer with Brazilian knowledge', 'is one of the most talented attorneys', 'dominates his field', 'is as knowledgable about the law as he can get' and 'always delivers on time'. On the investigations side, clients highlight Washington DC partners Colleen Conry and co-chair of the firm’s global anti-corruption and international risk practice Alexandre Rene as 'former prosecutors that have a deep knowledge of the US Department of Justice's expectations when it comes to an internal investigation and a potential settlement'. Chicago partner Nicholas Berg 'is very focused on the details and provides very clear and objective legal advice'. Washington DC's María González Calvet 'is super experienced when it comes to performing internal investigations, speaks perfect Portuguese and understands the Latin culture'. Chicago and Washington DC based Ryan Rohlfsen 'has extensive international legal experience with criminal, civil, and transactional matters, also bringing additional soft skills that are extremely important for a Latin American business'. Boston private equity specialist Sarah Schaffer Raux is also recommended by clients, as is fellow Boston partner James Dowden for anti-corruption and investigations.
Vinson & Elkins LLP has a rich energy and oil-and-gas heritage, with especially strong experience in Mexico and Brazil. The firm has an impressive history of big M&A transactions in the region and is further building its record in private equity investments. The firm advised PetroVida Holding on its $1.4bn acquisition of a 50% equity interest in Petrobras Oil and Gas from Petrobras International Braspetro; PetroVida Holding was formed by consortium partners Vitol Investment Partnership II, Africa Oil Corp and Delonex Energy. San Francisco partner Boyd Carano is a leader in upstream and midstream oil and gas, conventional power and renewable energy. Eamon Nolan has brought additional senior-level credibility, having joined the firm's New York office from Linklaters LLP in 2019. London's Alex Msimang is another energy M&A specialist with extensive experience in Brazil.