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Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Overview clients in London using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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"Strong and stable" may be the shibboleth guiding the UK in the midst of an impending, finalised Brexit, but, unfortunately, this has not been the mantra embraced by business participants, which may be better characterised by the more cautious "wait and see". Though some large M&A deals have come to fruition, these have primarily been in the form of inbound investments, which have been spurred on by a precipitous drop in sterling. Indeed, Japanese telecoms company SoftBank Group completed the largest-ever acquisition of a European technology business, with its £23.4bn acquisition of UK-based ARM Holdings. Similarly, US corporates and funds have shown an increasingly insatiable appetite for UK companies, with a particular interest in the technology, media, healthcare and life sciences sectors. Despite the tepid resurgence in activity in the third and fourth quarters of 2016, the market remains plagued by ongoing concerns over uncertain trading conditions.

On the capital markets front, market volatility shows almost no signs of reprieve. Small and fast deals have been the focal point in London, and many large, Main Market transactions have been postponed or aborted. Only one of the top-ten European IPOs of 2016 showed up on the London Stock Exchange – ConvaTec Group’s IPO, which raised roughly £1.46bn, excluding greenshoe options – and Q1 2017 recorded a 61% decrease in proceeds over 12 months for both the London Main Market (a 61% drop) and AIM (a 62% drop). This is striking given the fact that the first quarter of 2017 was a success for almost every other global financial hub. In the face of stagnant domestic markets, firms will look to showcase their capabilities on other European bourses, and those firms with specialisms in emerging market jurisdictions may see some opportunities arise from the Middle East, Africa and the CIS.

The City’s tax practices have, in some ways, been business as usual now that everyone has had some time to adjust to the BEPS initiative. With the decline of the traditional transaction support practices, many firms have continued to downsize their tax departments. Those firms that have invested in tax have tended toward heightened emphasis on the accountants and economists in the teams, which speaks to the evolving skill-sets needed to overcome some of the hurdles posed by the OECD’s stringent, new-born global tax initiative. In terms of UK-specific work, the fate of cross-border taxation and EU competition are in a state of limbo until some headway is made in EU negotiations, but spectators should expect a whirlwind of activity after the divorce is finalised.


Commercial contracts

Index of tables

  1. Commercial contracts
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial contracts clients in London using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

Addleshaw Goddard has an outstanding track record in large-scale business process outsourcing (BPO) and IT outsourcing transactions, and also handles procurement, payment services contracts, technology transfer and joint ventures. The team also advises on data protection and intellectual property issues associated with commercial contracts. Jonathan Davey, who splits his time between Manchester and London, leads the 45-strong commercial team. Fintech expert Fiona Ghosh has recently advised financial institutions on bringing payment solutions such as Apple Pay and Android Pay to market. In 2016, Leeds-based Simon Lofthouse acted for Carphone Warehouse in the launch of a cutting-edge product, which involves customers leasing mobile phones, rather than purchasing them outright. Damon Rosamond-Lanzetta led the advice to Lloyds Banking Group on the commercial aspects of its acquisition of MBNA from Bank of America. Andrew Smith has experience of acting for clients such as British Airways and Diageo. Paul Bentham, Phil McGough and James Whittaker are names to note in Manchester. Michael Lowry and managing associate Robert Garwood are also recommended.

Baker McKenzie’s group has expertise in a wide variety of commercial contracts, including supply, distribution and services agreements, and BPO transactions, as well as public and private sector procurements. Duncan Reid-Thomas and others assisted Unilever with negotiating and drafting supply chain documents associated with the sale of the AdeS drinks business in Latin America to Coca-Cola. Regulated sectors, such as telecommunications and healthcare, generate a significant amount of work for the practice; in 2016, Steve Holmes worked with senior associates Nick Wloch and Charlotte Harrington to advise Tesco Mobile on the outsourcing of its call centres to Capita. Another highlight for the firm involved assisting Arqiva with the commercial contracts aspects of the sale of its WiFi business to Virgin Media. Other areas of industry expertise include the retail fashion sector, digital/new media, and pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Other key figures include Harry Small, Ben Allgrove, of counsel Julia Hemmings, Helen Brown, and senior associate Michelle Bawn.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s team regularly handles BPO and IT outsourcing projects, as well as advising on a broad spectrum of commercial contracts involving sectors such as retail and hotels, financial services, retail and energy/natural resources/utilities, among many others. In the advertising/marketing arena, senior associate Charlotte Pham advises clients on media-buying arrangements and the procurement of creative agency services. Pham also has expertise in the online and retail sectors. In 2016, Mark Lewis and senior associate Benjamin Wheeler acted for MGM Advantage Services (trading as Retirement Advantage) in a £40m life and pensions outsourcing arrangement with Equiniti. In another highlight, Richard Shaw and senior associate Melissa Manski were part of a cross-practice team that advised BCA Marketplace on the outsourcing by Lex Autolease Limited of its vehicle remarketing operations. Shaw is ‘an exceptionally safe pair of hands’. Elsewhere, Marcus Pearl counselled UBM on marketing arrangements concerning its brands, and also its digital marketing presence. Associate director Mimi Curran is also recommended. Data protection specialist Kate Brimsted recently joined from Reed Smith LLP.

Bird & Bird LLP has a first-rate reputation acting for customers and suppliers in cutting-edge domestic and international technology and BPO projects, with particular strengths in sectors such as healthcare, communications and financial services. Jointly led by Simon Shooter and Ronald Hendrikx, the group also advises clients on a range of other commercial agreements, including supply and manufacturing contracts, distributorship and franchise arrangements, and strategic partnerships. Ian Edwards is working with members of the Hong Kong office to advise eZono on agreements centred on the use of the client’s guiding procedural ultrasound technology in the products of key international partners. Edwards was also the lead adviser to Oxford University Press on a global IT outsourcing deal with Cognizant. In another highlight, Shooter and Helen Gavin-Brown were part of a multi-disciplinary cross-border team advising KCH Management (the commercial arm of King’s College Hospital NHS Trust) on the commercial aspects of the establishment and operation of a hospital in Dubai, and also various clinics across the Gulf region. International outsourcing practice head Mark Leach is a key contact, as are Christian Bartsch, the ‘very responsive and friendly’ Jonathan Emmanuel, Roger Bickerstaff and David Ayers. Barry Jennings, who made legal director in 2016, is increasingly instructed by technology start-up clients, and also acts for banks, public sector organisations and aerospace companies.

DLA Piper’s UK-wide and international reach sees it handle all aspects of domestic and multi-jurisdictional commercial contracts, distribution transactions and other complex arrangements for notable clients such as Molson Coors, Tata Steel, Intercontinental Hotels Group and Kraft Foods, among others. The team’s knowledge spans a wide range of matters, including joint ventures and strategic alliances, service level agreements, and research and development (R&D) agreements. Global practice co-head Iain Bowler recently led a team advising Merseytravel on the £600m procurement of a new fleet of 52 electric trains. In another 2016 highlight, Bowler and senior associate Michiko Jo were part of a cross-border team that advised New Look on commercial advertising and regulatory aspects of a prize promotion associated with the client’s ‘Model Squad’ campaign. Kit Burden is a global co-chair of the firm’s technology sector group, and has a wealth of experience of IT outsourcing and transformation projects. Mark Dewar has focus on consumer products, particularly in the food and drink sector, and is knowledgeable about UK and cross-border supply chain contracts and product launches.

Dentons’ strong credentials in the commercial contracts sphere are underpinned by the firm’s international footprint, and its wide sector coverage, which includes energy, retail, healthcare, education, financial services and aviation. The diverse workload covers large-scale IT and business process outsourcings and procurements, technology projects, sale of goods agreements, franchise agreements, distribution agreements and joint ventures, among other areas. Andy Lucas, Dan Burge and Scott Singer jointly head the standalone practice, which generates mandates of significant scale and complexity from blue-chip clients such as Royal Mail Group, EDF Energy and ASOS. Scott Singer, John Woolley, Martin Fanning and others assisted longstanding client Sainsbury’s with a number of matters in 2016, including the renegotiation of its merchant acquiring agreements with Worldpay and Barclaycard for their Visa and Mastercard payment systems, and separately, on a facilities management agreement with Argos. In another highlight, Fanning, Singer and Richard Macklin led the advice to John Lewis Partnership on its commercial joint venture with Clipper Logistics for a click-and-collect service for customers, as well as a next-day delivery service at its high street stores across the UK. In addition to acting for private sector companies, the team generates work from public sector bodies; Lucas and Catherine Bingham are experienced in advising central government departments and agencies on outsourcing and technology projects. Babette Märzheuser-Wood and of counsel Tatiana Kruse are other notable individuals in the team.

Fieldfisher’s diverse practice spans outsourcing agreements, sponsorship contracts, franchising and concession agreements, joint ventures and strategic alliances, and data and privacy contracts, among a multitude of other areas. David Bond heads the specialist brand development group, while Robert Shooter leads the technology and outsourcing side of the practice. A team including Shooter, Nick Rose and senior associate James Corlett is advising Karen Millen Group on various matters associated with its international expansion, including the establishment of franchise arrangements in several countries and the management of its global intellectual property portfolios. In another highlight, Simon Briskman and Kate Pickering recently acted for the BBC on the procurement of a new system to manage linear TV and on-demand content. Nick Holland, Sonal Patel and others have assisted Abercrombie & Fitch Company with ensuring that its digital and e-commerce strategy is data protection compliant. Director Nick Ball specialises in advising domestic and international clients on various types of technology-related contracts. Also recommended are Paul Barton, Sam Jardine and Rob Sheldon. The team demonstrates ‘excellent industry knowledge and a pragmatic approach to concluding deals effectively and efficiently’. James Walsh joined from King & Wood Mallesons.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s London-based team, which operates within a wider global network of commercial contracts lawyers, provides standalone advice to clients in sectors such as financial services, TMT, automotive, transport and logistics. Its extensive expertise spans strategic alliances, outsourcings, sponsorship and advertising agreements, among other matters. Paul Joukador has particular knowledge of cross-border supply and distribution arrangements. Andrew Skipper has a wealth of experience advising clients in the sports, life sciences and consumer sectors, and also heads the firm’s Africa practice. Food sector specialist Richard Welfare works with senior associate Jane Summerfield and others to advise Mars on advertising campaigns and promotional activities, as well as distribution, warehousing arrangements and various other types of commercial contracts. Other recent work includes Peter Watts and associate Helen McGowan assisting Brown Forman with establishing an e-commerce platform for selling Jack Daniel’s whiskey products online, directly to consumers. Counsel Penny Powell, and senior associates Oliver Wilson and Helen Kimberley, are other notable individuals, as are Derek Meilman and senior associate Oliver Wilson.

Pinsent Masons LLP acts for public and private sector entities in transformational BPO and IT/technology outsourcing and procurement, as well as projects involving distressed companies. Simon Colvin leads the team, which is particularly strong in matters associated with advanced manufacturing and technology, as well as the financial services sector. It is also increasingly active in projects connected with the infrastructure sector, particularly where there is an interplay with technology. David Isaac, Justin Chan and others are assisting Transport for London (TfL) with its groundbreaking Surface Intelligent Transport System outsourcing programme. In a separate matter, in 2016, Chris Martin led the advice to the University of Birmingham on the procurement of a cloud-based suite of new back-office systems. The Ministry of Justice, Heathrow Airport, Serco and Capita are other key clients. Other key figures include Yvonne Dunn, who leads the fintech practice, Tim Roughton, who is experienced in acting for suppliers and customers in outsourcing transactions in the life and pensions industry, Diane Mullenex, and recently promoted partners Natalie Trainor and Alison Eckford.

RPC’s team combines extensive expertise in a wide range of commercial contracts with specialist in-depth knowledge of associated issues such as data protection, intellectual property and technology. Reflective of the first-rate reputation of the group, which is led by Oliver Bray, it acts for high-calibre clients such as AIG Europe Limited, Google, Sports Direct, RSA and Coca-Cola European Partners. Bray and legal director Robert Johnson assist PizzaExpress with managing its full contract portfolio; a recent mandate involved advising the client on its partnership with Deliveroo for the provision of food delivery services in the UK and Ireland. In 2016, the ‘fast and efficient’ Johnson led the advice to online publisher Unbound on a publishing agreement with writer Shaun Usher concerning "Speeches of Note", and also on a partnership and profit-share agreement with Penguin Random House over the international publishing rights to the book. Mark Crichard, who leads the firm’s technology practice, has nearly 25 years of commercial contracts experience. Sanjay Pritam and senior associate Andrew Crystal are other key contacts. Senior associate Charles Buckworth joined from Allen & Overy LLP.

Travers Smith LLP’s specialist team acts on a broad cross-section of complex, business-critical commercial agreements, including joint ventures and strategic partnerships, outsourcings, agency and distribution agreements, among other matters. Illustrative of the group’s strengths in bespoke arrangements, recent highlights include Tom Purton’s advice to Shepherd Neame on the brewing, marketing and European distribution of Sam Adams, Asahi Beers and Angry Orchard Cider. Richard Brown acted for Bannatyne Fitness on its long-term arrangements over the funding and installation of solar panels and other energy-saving measures at its premises across the UK. Brown combines ‘excellent legal and industry knowledge’ with ‘the leadership skills needed to ensure that projects are completed’. In another matter, Purton is leading the advice to Gist on a £3.5bn 12-year warehousing and logistics agreement with Marks & Spencer. Other notable clients include Pinewood Shepperton, Oikos Storage and Ambassador Theatre Group. Ben Chivers, who is particularly knowledgeable about large-scale joint ventures and outsourcings, is also recommended, as are Dan Reavill and recently promoted partner Louisa Chambers, who advise on intellectual property and IT issues connected with commercial contracts.

Allen & Overy LLP’s team, which is praised for its ‘stunning’ level of service, has a strong track record in high-value standalone, cross-border projects. It also provides assistance with the commercial contracts aspects of M&A and joint venture deals; Nigel Parker is leading the advice to Computer Sciences Corporation on the IT and outsourcing aspects of the client’s £11bn merger with Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company’s services business through a Reverse Morris Trust transaction. In another highlight, Jane Finlayson-Brown assisted Aegon with formulating data protection provisions in transaction documents, as well as ad hoc commercial issues, in connection with its acquisition of Blackrock’s UK defined contribution platform and administration business. Jim Ford handles intellectual property and IT issues arising from corporate and finance transactions, and has particular sector expertise in areas such as biotechnology, media and pharmaceuticals. Tom Levine, who is global head of the telecommunications practice, is also recommended, as are senior associates Karishma Brahmbhatt and Andrew Kenning.

CMS handles the gamut of issues arising from strategically complex, cross-border agreements (often involving multiple parties), where it acts for clients active in a wide range of industries, such as financial services, life sciences, oil and gas, consumer products, and TMT. The team advises on BPO and IT/technology outsourcing deals, franchising and licensing, strategic collaborations and distribution agreements, among other matters. Sarah Hanson is assisting Futura Medical with commercialising its CSD500 medical device, which recently involved handling multiple cross-border distribution agreements for the client. Another recent highlight involved Ian Stevens advising fintech company Clearscore on the expansion of its business. John Armstrong, who has more than 25 years of commercial contracts experience, acts for clients such as Value Retail, BP and DKNY. Paul Silver and Duncan Turner recently made partner. Following the firm’s recent merger with Nabarro LLP and Olswang LLP, the newly amalgamated practice now benefits from the expertise of highly regarded practitioners who were formerly at Olswang LLP, such as Dominic Dryden, Matthew Bennett, Laurence Kalman and Alex Dixie.

Gowling WLG’s team has expertise in a wide variety of commercial agreements, such as those centred on BPO and IT outsourcing, sales and marketing, direct and distance sales, and agency and distribution. A hallmark of the practice is its broad sector coverage, which spans automotive and travel, food and beverage, healthcare, life sciences and retail, among many others. Practice head David Lowe leads the advice to Marks & Spencer on various national and international logistics contracts concerning the transport and delivery of its general merchandise and food and wine products purchased by its customers via its website. Lowe, Sally Mewies and others also counsel Nomad Foods Europe Limited on a wide range of contracts, with recent work including advice on procurement systems and processes, as well as market research agreements, and PR and design services agreements. Sarah Sasse and Vanessa de Froberville are also recommended. Other clients include The Rugby Football Union, Molson Coors and Vaillant.

Latham & Watkins particularly excels in complex transactions involving disruptive technologies. In the financial services sector, the firm’s regulatory, intellectual property and technology sector expertise sees it handle cutting-edge fintech matters for financial institutions and emerging companies. In 2016, the team in London acted alongside colleagues in New York to advise Credit Suisse on a joint venture with Palantir Technologies to form Signac, a provider of big data analytics tools and financial services. The firm is also a strong choice for advice on other complex business-critical projects and commercial agreements in the industry. Elsewhere, the practice generates work from clients active in other sectors, such as energy and healthcare; in 2016, Andrew Moyle led a cross-border team advising medical device manufacturer Zimmer Biomet on the extension of a multi-jurisdictional finance and accounting services agreement in the Asia Pacific region with Genpact International. Aviva, Deutsche Bank and Axoni are also clients. Gail Crawford is particularly knowledgeable of data privacy and data protection (and their associated regulatory and compliance issues) in the context of large-scale outsourcings and other commercial arrangements. Senior associate Christian McDermott is another key contact, as is recently promoted partner Deborah Kirk.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP is regarded by clients as ‘the go-to outsourcing firm in the UK; it has this segment cornered’. The group, which is led by Laurence Jacobs, not only has a standout reputation in global BPO and IT outsourcing transactions, but also excels in advising on complex strategic alliances and joint ventures, among various other commercial arrangements. Noted for its ‘profound market knowledge’, the team acts for clients such as Astellas, Northern Trust, WPP and Kantar. The ‘commercially minded and very bright’ Sean Keaton is praised for his ‘long-term view of client relationships’ and ‘ability to resolve very difficult negotiations in a way that satisfies all parties’. Joel Harrison is ‘a brilliant lawyer with deep knowledge of the financial services industry’.

Norton Rose Fulbright handles the full range of commercial agreements, and its expertise in this area is complemented by extensive knowledge of issues related to data protection and privacy, intellectual property and IT/technology. Reflective of its first-rate reputation, it acts for clients in sectors such as energy, life sciences and healthcare, transport and finance, among others. In 2016, James Russell worked with senior associates Lucy Lillywhite and Lara White, and associate Zayed Al Jamil, to advise Liverpool Victoria on the £100m replacement of its policy administration system, which involved contracting with multiple vendors for different components of the system. Reckitt Benckiser, Domino’s Pizza, McLaren, Energizer and Carlsberg are other key clients. The firm also provides Pfizer with commercial contracts advice through its place on the client’s Legal Alliance global panel. Other areas of expertise include collaboration agreements, manufacture and supply agreements, and consultancy and services agreements.

Slaughter and May is recommended for cutting-edge, strategically complex UK and cross-border outsourcing projects (where it acts for suppliers and customers), as well as other high-value business-critical matters. Rob Sumroy leads the team, which is particularly skilled in handling matters at the intersection of business transformation and digital technology, and the impact of robotics and artificial intelligence on BPOs. Sumroy, newly promoted partner Duncan Blaikie and others are assisting Ericsson with delivering a three-year IT transformation-and-build programme for VimpelCom across 12 jurisdictions in Europe and Asia. In another highlight, the firm is assisting Tottenham Hotspur Football Club with all commercial contract issues associated with the development of its new stadium, including the procurement of technology and telecommunications infrastructure, and procurement of catering services. David Ives has wide-ranging experience spanning technology and telecoms outsourcing, BPO, retail distribution arrangements and licensing agreements, among other areas. Rebecca Cousin, Isabel Taylor, Lisa Wright and senior associate Hardip Shokar are other names to note, as is recently promoted partner Victoria MacDuff. Efstathios Michael is experienced in technology and outsourcing disputes.

Ashurst’s commercial contracts offering is a key part of the firm’s recently-established digital economy practice, which handles all issues associated with the digitalisation of businesses across multiple sectors. The practice gained momentum following the hire of digital economy group head Nick Elverston, who joined in 2016 from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP. Elverston has 25 years of commercial contracts experience, with particular expertise in the TMT sector, as well as the wider digital economy. Another arrival from the same firm was Amanda Hale. David Futter, who joined from Addleshaw Goddard, is an expert in the commercial contracts aspects of areas such as fintech and digital payments. Although outsourcing projects are a particular area of strength, the practice’s broader expertise covers long-term supply agreements, infrastructure and services contracts, and joint ventures, among other arrangements. The team also advises on related data compliance aspects. In 2016, Christopher Bates, Mark Lubbock and others counselled China General Nuclear Power Corporation on the technology-related commercial contracts associated with its £18bn investment into Hinkley Point C in Somerset. In another highlight, Lubbock assisted Wm Morrison Supermarkets with negotiating a 25-year agreement with Ocado in relation to online delivery service Morrisons.com. BP, Lockheed Martin and TfL are other notable clients at the firm, whose ‘great lawyers and commercial approach makes it an easy choice’.

Bond Dickinson LLP’s team, which is located across the UK, combines experience of drafting and negotiating a wide variety of strategically-significant commercial agreements with strong capabilities in transformational, large-scale projects. The group draws work from clients across multiple sectors, including retail, chemicals, financial institutions, manufacturing and transport. Jonathan Stickland is counselling Carnival Plc on an agreement with Meachers over freight forwarding services. In another highlight, Paula Bartlett advised TSB Bank on its long-term exclusive sponsorship of the Pride of Britain and Pride of Sport awards. Another key client of the firm is the Ministry of Justice, which the firm recently advised on the procurement of language services in courts and tribunals, and for court reporting and transcription services. Rachel Scott recently made partner, while Kim Walker joined Shakespeare Martineau LLP.

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s practice is particularly active in the financial institutions, healthcare and public sectors, where the firm acts for public and private sector organisations in outsourcings and procurement matters, as well as various other commercial and IT/technology projects. Robin Fry is experienced in technology licensing matters. Michael Peeters is leading the advice to Centro (the West Midlands passenger transport executive) on the procurement of smartcard ticketing systems. In another highlight, Anne Crofts, Giles Peel and Hamza Drabu acted for Brighton and Hove Integrated Care Services, which was part of a consortium bidding to provide musculoskeletal physiotherapy services in the Central and East Sussex area. Other clients include EE, Royal Mail Group and Zurich Insurance, as well as entrepreneurial SMEs. Tim Sewart leads the team, which includes Alan Pratt and legal director Prakash Kerai.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP handles a wide range of cross-border outsourcing transactions, including those connected with logistics, human resources, IT and BPO. Recent highlights included acting for Transport for Greater Manchester on the procurement and outsourcing of an operational and maintenance contractor for the Manchester Metrolink, and separately, assisting Severn Trent Water with a facilities management outsourcing project. In addition to undertaking outsourcing matters, the firm also provides advice on a broad spectrum of other commercial contracts, such as supply chain agreements, strategic alliances and joint ventures. Simon Gamlin, who leads the international outsourcing practice, has particular sector expertise in the financial services industry. Richard Prowse is the national head of the commercial contracts team. Other names to note are Charlotte Walker-Osborn, Craig Rogers, Agnes Koko and Alison Brearey. Nick Stubbs joined from Ward Hadaway, while Gayle McFarlane is a recent hire from Cordery.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s multi-disciplinary team, whose ‘business acumen and experience shines through’, assists UK and multinational clients with all aspects of their most complex and large-scale commercial agreements and ‘bet-the-company’ business transformation projects. The practice generates work across multiple sectors, including financial services, energy, transport, technology and communications. Team head Nick Pantlin is working with Stephen Rayfield and recently promoted partner David Coulling to advise the Ministry of Defence on its multibillion-pound procurement and redesign of all IT services and systems used to support the UK armed forces. In another matter, Pantlin was part of a cross-practice team advising on the establishment of Clear.Bank, representing the UK’s first new clearing bank in more than 250 years. Elsewhere, Pantlin and others assisted Boeing Defence UK with its successful bid to provide transformational IT services to Staffordshire Police. Adrian Clough has more than 20 years of public procurement experience, and has acted for clients such as the Department of Trade and Industry, Ofgem, BAA and Lend Lease. Senior associate Abbie Pokorny also has an active commercial contracts practice. Nick Elverston joined Ashurst.

Linklaters LLP handles a wide range of transactions for customers and suppliers, with standout capabilities in highly regulated sectors such as financial services, life sciences and telecommunications; it is ‘really good for the big stuff’, according to one client. Its workload includes IT and technology-related matters involving data centres, managed network and mobility services, service desks, and infrastructure. On the BPO side, the team’s expertise spans functions such as human resources, finance and accounting, and facilities management. The firm’s global footprint makes it well placed to undertake matters with an international flavour; John Crozier, and managing associates Mathew Baldwin and Amruta Bapat, are part of a cross-office team advising Novartis on the procurement of production infrastructure services across a number of production facilities in Europe. HSBC, Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Three Mobile are other notable clients. Georgina Kon made partner in 2016. Richard Cumbley leads the team, which includes Julian Cunningham-Day and Marly Didizian.

Osborne Clarke LLP acts for domestic and international clients in a broad cross-section of UK-centred commercial agreements, as well as matters with complex cross-border aspects. Reflective of the breadth of the practice, the team advises clients across multiple sectors on agency and distribution, marketing and sponsorship, manufacturing, IT/telecoms and other technology-related outsourcings. Russell Bowyer advised Hyundai on commercial issues related to its sponsorship of the UEFA European Football Championship. In another matter, Dolf Darnton and Will Robertson have been advising new client Bunnings on its rebranding from the Homebase name, as well as commercial contracts issues associated with the client’s separation from Home Retail Group. Practice head John Buyers has a particular specialism in commercial contracts connected with the financial services and TMT sectors, while Simon Spooner focuses on the transport industry, with particular knowledge of the automotive arena. Bristol-based Lara Burch has acted for clients such as Arriva and Western Power Distribution for more than 10 years. Paul Anning has particular experience of transformational commercial projects in the payments industry. Senior associate Ian McKenzie is another name to note.

Burges Salmon LLP has an outstanding track record in high-value and high-profile commercial projects. Commercial group head Helen Scott-Lawler and senior associate Emma Sorrell are advising the Independent Racecourse Group on a media rights deal with Arena Racing. In 2016, outsourcing practice head Andrew Dunlop assisted Welsh Water (Dwr Cymru) with the £100m procurement of various infrastructure services across Wales. Another highlight involved Mark Paterson, senior associate Chris Chesterman and associate Lucy Owens advising the Ministry of Defence on the procurement of the Successor class and Astute class submarines. The firm is also acting for Transport for Wales and the Welsh government on the procurement of the Wales and Borders rail franchise. Keith Beattie specialises in commercial contracts matters in the energy, defence and transport sectors. Timothy Deacon is another key contact in the team.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is particularly well known for its work in the sport, retail and TMT arenas. Practice head Jason Saiban, who is a director and the secretary of the British Association of Sport and Law, recently led the advice to Nike on a 15-year merchandising and sponsorship deal with Chelsea Football Club, and assisted the client with the global roll-out of its online store, among other matters. Further, Saiban is working with Natalie Elsborg, Jon Walters and Jaclyn Wilkins to assist wagamama with various issues, including the renegotiation of its contract with Deliveroo and the development of new payment app Qkr! Westfield and Harrods are other clients. The practice also generates mandates involving other industries; David Berry is particularly experienced in commercial contracts matters connected with the energy/natural resources, IT and financial services sectors. Mark Bailey is another highly regarded individual.

Covington & Burling LLP is also ranked.

HFW assists clients with high-value, technically complex commercial arrangements, often involving an international dimension. Recently promoted partner Matthew Gore and newly promoted legal director Catherine Emsellem-Rope, who have experience of the ports, terminal and logistics sectors, are providing ongoing advice to Marks & Spencer on its contractual relationships with domestic and international supply chain service providers, which has involved preparing template contracts to manage the client’s relationships with with ocean carriers and freight managers, among other entities. In the energy sector, Alistair Feeney’s LNG experience sees him advise on sale and purchase agreements and terminal access contracts. Feeney also undertakes transactional and contractual advisory work in relation to crude oil and petroleum products. Technology head Anthony Woolich has expertise in software and outsourcing agreements, among other areas. Shipping and logistics head Craig Neame, Elinor Dautlich and senior associate William MacLachlan are other contacts. Alistair Mackie leads the commercial practice.

Technology and digital media firm Kemp Little LLP provides full-service support to businesses in a broad cross-section of industries on all aspects of their operations. Led by Calum Murray, the team assists with warehousing and parts supply, advertising and sponsorship, and agency and distribution arrangements, among other matters. It particularly adds value in large-scale business transformation projects, where it acts for customers and suppliers. Paul Hinton and Lee Rubin assisted the London Metal Exchange (LME) with licensing all of its data to the world’s metal markets, and also the roll-out of an electronic portal to enable clients to order its products (and access their terms and conditions). In another highlight, Andrew Joint, managing associate Edwin Baker and others acted for Principality Building Society on the outsourcing of its IT platform to replace its internal banking platform. Joint, who is an expert on transformational IT systems, has been at the forefront of the firm’s advice to clients on the adoption and use of Artificial Intelligence technology. Paul O’Hare, who leads the outsourcing practice, has almost 20 years of experience acting for technology sector clients. Chris Hill, Tania Williams and Emma Wright are other names to note.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP’s international reach makes it a natural choice for clients such as FTSE100 and Fortune 500 companies, government entities, suppliers and social media platforms. Its team manages a wide-ranging workload, including IT/technology-related outsourcings and procurements, BPOs of various stripes, joint ventures, and renegotiating commercial agreements. Tim Wright handles IT projects and outsourcings for international clients from a wide range of sectors, such as pensions, telecommunications and pharmaceuticals. Mike Pierides is leading the advice to Fujitsu on the implementation of the Columbus agreement, as part of the renegotiation of Aspire IT services’ ‘mega-deal’ with. Pierides is also advising Deutsche Bank on its proposed £300m global IT reseller agreement with Computacenter. Counsel Simon Lightman rejoined the firm from an in-house position at Capita.

Reed Smith LLP, whose multi-disciplinary team acts for clients ranging from SMEs to large multinationals, handles a wide ambit of commercial agreements, including those involving strategic alliances, agency, outsourcing, distribution and advertising. In 2016, practice head Sakil Suleman, who is particularly experienced in acting for clients in the retail and consumer brands sectors, advised Debenhams on renewing a franchise agreement with a Kuwait-headquartered partner. Suleman also assisted Channel 4 with a software integration development project connected with its Video On Demand platform, a matter which also involved an outsourcing element. House of Fraser, BT and Gucci are among other clients.

Shoosmiths LLP’s practice is going from strength to strength, with the firm recently securing mandates from clients such as Suzuki, Weetabix and Molson Coors. The firm undertakes a particularly significant amount of work for clients in areas such as retail, financial services and facilities management. Practice head David Jackson, who specialises in outsourcing matters, is notably active in the leisure and tourism sector, as well as telecommunications. Elsewhere, the group’s broader workload also includes advice on agency, distribution and franchising, among other areas. Robin Webb leads the firm’s relationships with automotive sector clients, such as Suzuki, Volkswagen Group and Mercedes Benz. Simon Edwards focuses on the retail and food and drink sectors. In 2016, the firm hired Richard Millington from Iconix (the brand owner of Umbro), strengthening the firm’s capabilities in sports-related matters. The firm also launched Resource Solutions, a legal resource established to provide additional commercial contracts support to in-house legal teams. Joseph Stephenson recently made partner.

Simmons & Simmons’ practice, which is led by Mark Curtis, handles UK and cross-border commercial arrangements for clients active in sectors such as consumer products, TMT, finance, life sciences and energy. Alexander Brown acts for customers and suppliers in BPO and technology outsourcings, and has extensive knowledge of associated data protection, privacy and e-commerce issues. James Cotter is a go-to for advice on telecoms network infrastructure and ICT procurement contracts. Members of the team also assist clients with sponsorship arrangements, distributorship and agency agreements, supply and services contracts, and joint ventures/strategic partnerships, among other matters. Hinal Patel, managing associate Sophie Lessar and Lawrence Brown are other notable individuals in the group, whose clients include Virgin Media, SEI and Master Lock.

Taylor Wessing LLP generates work in the outsourcing sphere, where it acts for customers and suppliers across a mix of matters, including those involving data centres, recruitment, telecommunications and financial services. Its global footprint makes it attractive for cross-border transactions, in particular. Graham Hann and Chris Jeffery are among the names to note in the team, which acts for clients such as Visa, China Telecom and bwin.party.

Bircham Dyson Bell has a particularly strong following among healthcare sector clients, including Immupharma, The Doctors Laboratory and Privé Health. Reflective of the breadth of its practice, the firm also handles matters for charities, local authorities and entrepreneurs. Senior associate Penny Bygrave has expertise in IT contracts, transitional services agreements, online trading and outsourcings, among other areas. Bygrave worked alongside practice head Philip Lamb advising County Broadband Limited on a service concession contract for the provision of wholesale operator services to Colchester Borough Council. Hollie Gallagher and Paul Voller are other members of the team.

Bryan Cave is particularly active in the retail/brand owner arena, where it assists clients with cross-border franchising, distribution agreements, licensing and e-commerce matters. In 2016, London managing partner Carol Osborne was the lead adviser to Estée Lauder on the development of terms of use, privacy policy and terms of sale for the EU website of one of its global brands. Another highly regarded individual is Daniel Larkin, who primarily acts for clients in the hospitality and leisure sector in their international commercial arrangements, but also handles work connected with other industries, such as transport, energy and media.

Clifford Chance’s practice, which is led by André Duminy and Joachim Fleury, covers large-scale, cross-border IT outsourcing transactions and BPOs (primarily on the buyer side, although the firm also undertakes a number of mandates for suppliers). In addition to handling standalone transactions, the team also advises on commercial technology matters within the context of M&A, including integration and separation, transitional service arrangements and IT customer and supplier contracts. Daniel Sandelson is particularly active in technology transactions in the media sector. Jonathan Kewley, who recently made partner, is also recommended. Key clients include Citibank, Prudential, Phillip Morris and ICAP.

Cooley (UK) LLP’s commercial contracts work is a core part of its technology transactions practice, where it handles joint ventures and strategic alliances, outsourcing, manufacturing and supply agreements, and distribution agreements. The team, which includes Chris Coulter and Sarah Pearce, is acting for The National Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Society on various outsourcing projects associated with its core systems, infrastructure and security services. In another 2016 highlight, Pearce led the advice to The Leisure Pass Group on the outsourcing of web development services to Webheads, and also of app development services to Oakley Mobile.

Farrer & Co’s team, which is noted for its ‘significant depth’, has ‘a good understanding of the needs of in-house counsel’. It has a standout reputation in the arts and heritage sector, where notable clients include the British Library, the National Gallery and the Natural History Museum. It also acts for a significant number of institutions in the education sector, as well as national and international media organisations. Led by Peter Wienand, the group advises on joint ventures, manufacturing contracts, and complex R&D consortia contracts, among other agreements. Clients single out Paul Jones; ‘he gets to the nub of the issue quickly’. Also recommended are Henry Sainty, who is working with Jones to assist UK Athletics with commercial agreements associated with the organising and staging of the IPC World Para Athletics and IAAF World Athletics Championships in London; David Copping; and associate Jane Randell.

Fladgate LLP enhanced its commercial contracts offering with the recruitment of James Earl, an expert in the UK and international sports and entertainment sector, from Pinsent Masons LLP. In 2016, Jones advised Monster Energy on various marketing and advertising campaigns, including a marketing promotion in association with the Call of Duty computer game. The team is led by Eddie Powell, who recently assisted Glorious Brands with negotiating an exclusive distribution agreement for Triology’s premium skincare products in the UK. In a separate matter, Powell acted for Parabel in the negotiation of a five-year distribution contract with Barentz. Alan Wetterhahn and consultant Andrew Kaufman are other recommended individuals.

Howard Kennedy LLP’s practice head Robert Lands and Eric Gummers are advising Marriott Vacation Club (MVCI Europe) on structuring the sale and marketing of fractional rights in Europe, (as well as associated regulatory and commercial contracts issues), which includes a luxury apartment at 47 Park Street in London. Lands has particular expertise in the technology and creative industries, with his advice to clients spanning areas such as advertising, franchising, brand licensing, distribution agreements and endorsement agreements. Consultant Jonathan Sellors is recommended for his knowledge of commercial arrangements in the medical devices and medical research sectors. The firm also generates work from clients in the retail and leisure industries.

Jones Day attracts praise for its ‘excellent service and exceptional work product’. In addition to handling traditional non-tech-related BPOs and other large-scale commercial projects, it also excels in managing IT outsourcings and other commercial agreements that have an IT component; Elizabeth Robertson is knowledgeable about issues associated with software licensing and website hosting agreements. Practice head Jonathon Little acts for clients on agency and distribution agreements, network service agreements and IT licensing, among other areas. Little led the advice to Fadata on a regional software distribution agreement, which included the provision of maintenance and support services, for the Latin American market.

In addition to providing core commercial contracts advice, K&L Gates LLP assists clients with associated intellectual property, IT and data protection issues. Its broad sector coverage, international reach and expertise in all types of agreements sees the firm act for such clients as Hometrack Data Systems, Lucozade Ribena Suntory and Norbord. Neil Baylis and Howard Kleiman acted for Nationwide Accident Repair Services on the negotiation of a business-critical £8m outsourcing agreement with RoyalSunAlliance. Andrew Danson has expertise in various types of commercial agreements connected with the online gambling sector, such as media contracts, commercial rights agreements and technology-related agreements. Warren Phelops has a particularly strong reputation in the sports industry, and acts for clients such as West Indies Cricket Board and Puma. Other notable individuals are senior associates Elizabeth Dunn and Andrew Gilchrist, and associate Noirin McFadden. In 2016, Jennifer Marsh made special counsel, while special counsel Catherine Adam joined from Olswang LLP.

Clients value Lewis Silkin LLP’s ‘first-class legal and industry knowledge’. In the retail sector, it is ‘able to draw on a wealth of experience advising large brands’, as demonstrated by James Gill and Bryony Long’s advice to ASOS on a long-term agreement over the supply of beauty products. Other core sector strengths include technology, media, automotive and gaming. Led by James Gill, the team marries experience of advising clients on a wide range of high-value, complex contracts with related knowledge about exploiting and protecting intellectual property rights, as well as data protection expertise. Simon Entwhistle, who has more than 25 years of experience as a commercial lawyer, works alongside other individuals such as Jo Farmer, Jeremy Summers and managing associate Olivia Savage. Nathalie Moreno joined from Charles Russell Speechlys LLP.

Mayer Brown International LLP’s London-based team handles domestic and international sourcing transactions for customers and suppliers across a number of areas, including IT, human resources, finance and facilities management. Noted for its particular capability in the financial services sector, the firm is increasingly becoming a go-to among banks and other financial institutions seeking advice on outsourcing opportunities created by fintech. Mark Prinsley and Andrew Stewart jointly lead the team, which includes newly promoted partner Oliver Yaros, and senior associates Megan Paul, Daniel Gallagher and Katherine Woods. Peter Dickinson joined Mitie Group.

Mills & Reeve LLP has a forte in handling sizeable public sector procurement and contracting mandates for central government, non-departmental bodies and regulators. In a highlight matter, Greg Gibson is leading a 20-strong team, including Sean Earnshaw and Kevin Calder, advising the Department of Health on the Future Operating Model programme, which is intended to restructure the NHS supply chain and maximise efficiencies in the annual procurement spend of the NHS. Its work for private sector clients is also gaining momentum; Jayne Hussey, Ruth Andrew and David Hall are assisting Elster (now part of the Honeywell Group) with its smart meter supply arrangements. In the technology space, the firm is advising ARM on supply arrangements, licensing issues and other commercial contracts. Gibson leads the team, which includes Peter Wainman, Sophie Burton-Jones, Paul Knight and Simon Elsegood.

Morrison & Foerster (UK) LLP’s London team is fully integrated within the wider global sourcing and technology transactions practices. Illustrative of its outstanding reputation, the group acts for clients ranging from tech start-ups and life sciences companies to charities and public sector organisations. Alistair Maughan, who combines expertise in all types of commercial contracts with experience of technology-related projects, is the lead adviser to UPS on a number of matters, including the commercial terms associated with its i-Parcel service and other freight services. Of counsel Susan McLean recently advised not-for-profit organisation Stemettes on its commercial contracts, which included sponsorship agreements and image licences.

Radiant Law assists clients with global outsourcing and procurement transactions, provides advice on licensing matters, and also undertakes high-volume contract review work. Alex Hamilton is a key contact. In recent developments, Jason McQuillen and Andrew Giverin joined PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal LLP. Andrew Sutherland also departed the firm.

Squire Patton Boggs’s clients recommend the team for domestic commercial contracts work; recent highlights include Hannah Kendrick and Alastair Purssell’s advice to Clipper Logistics on its joint venture with John Lewis to expand ‘Click and Collect’ services online. International matters are another area of strength, where the firm is able to call upon the additional expertise of practitioners across the wider network. Carlton Daniel worked with US-based practitioners to assist Hobbs with negotiating franchising arrangements with Bloomingdales, and to advise the client on a complete overhaul of its supplier agreements. Andrew Wilkinson heads the practice, which is particularly highly regarded for advising governments and corporates on agreements concerning emerging markets, most notably in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Robert Wegenek is another key contact in the group.

Stephenson Harwood’s team is led by Dan Holland, who advises clients across multiple sectors on outsourcing agreements, franchising, sponsorships and agency, among other areas. Jonathan Kirsop, and associates Chloe Haywood and Katie Hewson, advised Ryanair on various matters, including an agreement on the purchase of critical landing software and related equipment. Senior associates Katie Samadi, who joined the London office from AdventBalance in Singapore, and Naomi Leach are other notable practitioners in the group.

At Trowers & Hamlins LLP, Riccardo Abbate is experienced in acting for suppliers and customers on their IT-related agreements, and also has strong outsourcing capabilities. Abbate jointly heads the multifaceted practice with James Hawkins, who specialises in commercial agreements connected with public sector projects, such as those concerning social care, regeneration and environmental services, among other matters. Paul McDermott and Helen Randall are among other active practitioners in the team, whose clients include Hertfordshire County Council, AmeyCespa and National Bank of Abu Dhabi.

At Bates Wells Braithwaite, practice head Richard Marke is the secretary and a member of the City of London Law Society Commercial Law Committee, and the firm is a member of the Parlex Group of European Lawyers, enabling it to attract work with an international flavour. The ‘very responsive and knowledgeable’ team handles a full range of commercial agreements for a client roster that includes Nikon, British Council, British Film Institute and Pearson Education. A recent highlight involved advising 118 Business Information on an agreement to develop a new interactive marketing database for npower. In another highlight, in 2016, Marke led the advice to the Royal College of Nursing on an agreement with Liverpool Victoria (LV) for the insurer to offer special discounts to the client’s members for LV products. Associate Viral Kataria is ‘commercially-savvy, very personable and drafts well’.

Blake Morgan LLP’s team, under the leadership of Simon Stokes, advises clients on various types of commercial arrangements related to their activities in sectors such as food, retail, financial services and manufacturing. Stokes’s knowledge covers cross-border joint ventures, outsourcings, and agency and distribution agreements, among other matters. Associate Gemma Tominey has expertise in commercial contracts related to IT projects.

Bristows LLP is praised for providing advice that is ‘relevant and pragmatic, taking into account the value risk and nature of the contract’. The firm has a strong track record in commercial matters that have a significant brands, technology or intellectual property overlay. Although it acts for clients across a range of industries, it is particularly active in sectors such as TMT, life sciences and pharmaceuticals. Adrian Sim, Kevin Appleton and others recently acted for Capgemini in a number of outsourcings and other transformational projects, and have been advising the client on the development of robotic process automation and its provision in the finance and accounting outsourcing market. In another matter, Laura Anderson and Marek Petecki advised Diageo on a joint venture with entrepreneur Piers Adam to develop a new whisky brand, Copper Dog, among other matters. Also recommended are Toby Crick, who is ‘a lawyer you want in your corner on all deals’, Matthew Warren, Fiona Nicolson and the ‘technically excellent’ Vikram Khurana. Anna Cook joined from RPC, while Robert Bond joined with a team from Charles Russell Speechlys LLP.

Clarkslegal LLP’s nine-strong team handles the gamut of commercial agreements for UK and international clients across multiple sectors, such as hotels and leisure, engineering and technology, and life sciences. Kirstin Parker jointly heads the practice with Ashan Arif, who has vast experience of large-scale contracts, outsourcings and procurement projects. Senior solicitor Esma Kilic and senior consultant Jon Chapman are other names to note in the group, which counts Royal Berkshire Fire Authority, Carillion Plc and the University of Reading as key clients.

Fox Williams LLP, whose work predominantly has an international dimension, has a particular strength in acting for clients in the fashion and technology industries. Led by Stephen Sidkin, the team specialises in advising on agency, distributorship and supply agreements. Sidkin, who ‘possesses tremendous gravitas’, is advising Breitling’s UK subsidiary on matters connected with its retail selective distribution system and its agreements with authorised retailers. Nigel Miller is assisting Corvia with negotiating an agreement to supply electronic ticket machines to national bus companies.

Irwin Mitchell handles issues arising from domestic and international agreements for clients such as charities, fast-growth technology businesses and consumer products manufacturers. The team, which is led by Stuart Padgham, has expertise in all types of IT agreements, and also other commercial contracts with complex intellectual property, data protection or regulatory issues. Recently promoted partner Daniel Hedley advises LzLabs (a new entrant into the core computing market) on software licensing agreements and partnership arrangements. Joanne Bone recently assisted UK credit reference agency Callcredit with its consumer terms and end-user licensing agreements for the use of an app. Laurence Gavin, Kim Walker and Sarah Riding are other key partners in the team.

Keystone Law’s team has undergone significant expansion; notable recent arrivals included Sarah Needham, who joined from DC Thomson Limited, and Jeremy Bennett, an addition from MTR Corporation. In 2016, Jimmy Desai, who was hired from DAC Beachcroft LLP, worked with Anthony Misquitta and Nadim Zaman to advise New York based company Intersection Parent on a joint venture with Primseight and partnership with BT for the launch of a new communications service, bringing high-speed WiFi and other digital services to London and other UK cities. Suzy Schmitz, Stephen Rodd and Ian Down are other contacts. Jeremy Schrire recently joined from King & Wood Mallesons.

Macfarlanes LLP’s full-service capabilities enable it to assist clients with a myriad of issues connected with outsourcing agreements, franchising, advertising and marketing. Jeremy Courtenay-Stamp and Rupert Casey are the main contacts at the firm.

Memery Crystal LLP has a notable base of media sector clients, including Bigballs Media, Guardian Media Group and The Pearson Group. The firm also undertakes a significant amount of work for clients outside of the media sector; Jonathan Riley, who joined from Gowling WLG in 2016, recently advised The View from The Shard on a partnering agreement with Global Tours for the joint promotion of tourism events and activities. In addition to structuring and negotiating agreements, the team assists clients with potentially contentious matters, including situations where parties are seeking to renegotiate terms or terminate contracts. Tim Ryan leads the team, which includes consultant Stephen Milne and senior associate Joanna Memery.

Mishcon de Reya LLP acts as a one-stop shop, combining experience of structuring a range of agreements with day-to-day support on technical matters. While the firm acts for clients in a multitude of sectors, it has a particular focus on areas such as fashion (luxury and retail), technology, media and life sciences. Lewis Cohen assisted Fiorucci with master licence agreements and other licensing, PR and other agency contracts. Another highlight for the firm involved advising Badoo on matters such as marketing and advertising services agreements. Adam Rose has 25 years of commercial contracts experience. Martyn Hann and Larry Nathan also have active practices.

Penningtons Manches LLP’s team ‘always does what it says it will do’; ‘its soft skills and approachability makes it stand out from the crowd’. Anna Frankum attracts particular praise; she is ‘a great lawyer who provides advice that is solid, thorough and pragmatic’. The group acts for clients ranging from SMEs and public sector bodies to AIM-listed companies and multinational corporates. As a founding member of the MultiLaw network, it is well positioned to handle an increasing international workload. Recent highlights include advising Mahindra International UK (part of the Mahindra Group) on the UK launch of its electric car, the e2o, and assisting Polsinelli LLP with terminating a distribution agreement across six territories. Tata Group, Hong Kong Tourism Board and LSS Photography are also clients. Gavin Stenton made partner.

PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal LLP’s UK team benefits from an ability to work with members across the firm’s wider international network in cross-border matters, and also collaborate with the professional services side of the business to provide an integrated offering of specialist business and legal services. Led by Juan Crosby, the group advises clients on all facets of general commercial and IT-related contracts, including outsourcing projects and joint ventures, as well as distribution and licence arrangements. Latika Sharma specialises in value chain transformation projects.

Simons Muirhead & Burton’s practice is centred on advising clients in media and entertainment, retail, IT/technology and publishing. In 2016, Marc Sobol acted for TalkSPORT on its successful bid for exclusive live Premier League football radio rights, among other matters. Illustrative of the international dimension of the practice, Maninder Gill is advising retailer Norbreeze on exclusive franchise agreements with Monica Vinader in Macau and Singapore. Simon Halberstam acts for procurers and providers of technology and digital media services, including software companies, disruptive providers of artificial intelligence products and clients in the film and media industries. Charles Law and Richard Baskind are vastly experienced music lawyers. Simon Goldberg heads the practice.

At Stevens & Bolton LLP, practice head Beverley Whittaker and senior associate Oliver Kidd acted for Sports Information Services in a deal concerning the distribution of broadcasting rights to Irish horseracing to major bookmakers in the UK. Whittaker and senior associate Charles Maurice are advising the various Godiva Chocolatier group companies located worldwide on procurement arrangements, wholesale arrangements with customers and equipment acquisitions. Gustaf Duhs assists Kuoni Travel with a range of matters, including travel agency agreements, store refurbishment and marketing agreements. Nicola Broadhurst heads the franchising side of the practice. Beverley Flynn and Gary Parnell are also recommended.

Wedlake Bell LLP’s recent work included team head Adrian Heath-Saunders acting for Axpo Power in negotiations with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority over the provision of nuclear waste reprocessing services at Sellafield. Jonathan Cornthwaite assists BJU International with pro-forma e-commerce terms, conditions and policies. Christopher Tite undertakes a significant amount of commercial work for clients in the automotive, legal services and ports sectors. Adam Edwards acts for owner-managed businesses located in the UK, US and Europe.

Weightmans LLP attracts a notable spread of work across its offices in Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester. Led by Sean Crotty and Laurence Pritchard, the team acts for a broad base of public sector clients, such as local authorities and hospitals, and private companies. Among the firm’s areas of strength is games and interactive media; in 2016, managing partner John Schorah, Crotty, Patricia Grinyer and Haydn Rogan acted for Playground Games on its agreement with a major global publisher to develop a video game and related downloadable content. In another highlight, Pritchard led the advice to Swissport on the provision of ground handling services to airlines at airports in the UK. Martin Vincent and Vincent King are names to note in Manchester, while associates Victoria Robertson and Haroon Younis are key contacts in Leeds.


Corporate tax

Index of tables

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  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP handles a steady stream of large corporate transactions, investment funds and private equity work and capital markets transactions. The tax team is also privy to the increasingly tumultuous legislative landscape and advises its blue-chip client base on tax-risk management, strategic planning and the potential impact of various legal and political developments. Headed by David Haworth, the department fields specialist partners in a number of areas. Helen Lethaby has particular expertise in fund and deal structuring, acting for a range of global investors; Paul Davison leads the finance tax group; Colin Hargreaves, Sarah Falk and Jill Gatehouse are consistently involved in some of the market’s largest corporate finance transactions and restructurings; and Murray Clayson heads the firm’s transfer pricing unit. Significant clients have included household names such as Anheuser-Busch InBev, BT, Tesco, Betfair Group, BP and Honeywell International. Helen Buchanan leads the contentious tax group, but also maintains an active non-contentious practice; Peter Clements and David Taylor are also key contacts.

Slaughter and May’s tax group is regularly involved in some of the most prominent corporate deals in the London market and has also seen a steady increase in the amount of tax advisory work undertaken in 2016-2017. In one particularly stand-out matter, Mike Lane advised Equinix on the tax aspects of the acquisition of Telecity Group, and most importantly, on the separation and sale of eight of the target’s assets, which was a condition for obtaining clearance for the acquisition from the European Commission. Dominic Robertson acted for GlaxoSmithKline in relation to its joint venture with Verily Life Sciences and developed the tax relief strategy associated with the joint venture agreement. Other notable highlights include Steve Edge’s work for Vodafone Group in connection with the merger of its Dutch operations with Liberty Global, and Tony Beare assisting DONG Energy with the UK tax aspects of a 50% disposal of interest in the Race Bank offshore wind farm. Department head Sara Luder handles both transactional tax matters and tax advisory work, while William Watson has extensive experience of the real estate and oil and gas sectors. Jeanette Zaman and Gareth Miles are also contacts in the department.

In line with the wider firm’s strengths, Allen & Overy LLP’s tax team is particularly strong in advising on the tax aspects of capital markets, structured finance and international M&A transactions. While the transactional support practice has been particularly busy in 2016-2017, the team has also noticed a marked increase in stand-alone tax advisory work. Indeed, as an example of both sides of the non-contentious practice, joint head Christopher Harrison assisted Bermuda-incorporated VimpelCom with the tax aspects of its joint venture arrangement with CK Hutchinson Holdings and also handles post-transaction advisory work for the client. Vimal Tilakapala jointly leads the group and acts for a list of global financial institutions in relation to the tax aspects of various equity financing transactions and structured product portfolios, and also provides ongoing advice on cross-border financing arrangements. Charles Yorke and Lydia Challen were instructed by Clydesdale Bank plc in relation to its demerger from National Australia Bank and subsequent IPO, and also advised on the client’s new regulatory capital instruments. James Burton, who specialises in real estate and direct tax, was promoted to partner in 2016.

Well-engaged and very highly regarded’ in the area, Clifford Chance handles the tax aspects of a wide range of financing, capital markets and investment transactions, and has been especially active on the advisory front in 2016-2017. The group is ‘very responsive to new announcements and proposals’ in the market, as evidenced by its active Brexit-related global structuring and supranational taxation advice practice. Department head Chris Davies is acting for AIG in relation to Project Bloodhound, which has involved a structured transaction accommodated to three separate tax jurisdictions, whereby the client will acquire a significant loan portfolio backed by UK commercial property. In 2016, Nicholas Mace assisted Sainsbury’s with the tax aspects of a unique structure in relation to the client’s £1.4bn takeover of Home Retail Group, which combined the establishment of a new holding company, a court-approved scheme of arrangement, a capital return and a takeover into a single process. Anthony Stewart provides ongoing advice to Investec Bank regarding its range of structured products, while David Harkness is instructed by clients such as ICAP and Deutsche Bank. Dan Neidle is also highly recommended.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s tax department is anchored by a transactional team that has expertise in M&A, fund formation, private equity work and restructuring. It is particularly well-positioned to advise on transactions involving heavily regulated sectors such as insurance and upstream energy. Indeed, practice head Isaac Zailer advised E.ON on the tax aspects of the $1.72bn disposal of the client’s entire North Sea oil and gas business. Additionally, Howard Murray is acting for EDF and its subsidiary, NNB Generation Company, on the tax structuring and financing associated with the Hinkley Point C project. In the real estate space, Neil Warriner acted for Qatari Diar in connection with the negotiation and creation of tripartite rental property joint venture, with assets of £1.4bn and plans to develop and manage 4,000 homes. William Arrenberg was instructed by Brookfield Property Partners to draft and negotiate the tax provisions and protections in relation to the £560m acquisition of the entire issued share capital of the unit-holders in the Jersey Property Unit Trust. Aurell Taussig is another key contact and advised Man Group on its $232m acquisition of Aalto Invest – a firm with offices in the US, UK and Switzerland.

Linklaters LLP’s tax department has a wealth of ‘technical expertise and the ability to apply it to a variety of commercial circumstances’. It handles taxation across a range of specialisms, from corporate and financing transactions, to advising asset managers and investment funds, and also has a dedicated private equity tax structuring practice. As an example of the group’s private equity work, the ‘calm and creativeMark Kingstone assisted TDR Capital with the structuring of its acquisition of Euro Garages and the subsequent merger of that business with the client’s existing forecourt retail business to form Intervias. In the funds space, Kingstone acted on the tax structuring and documentation of PW Real Estate Fund III, which reached its hard cap of €1.5bn at its second close, in 2016. Lynne Walkington acted for Deutsche Börse AG on the tax and holding structure in relation to its merger with London Stock Exchange Group plc. A ‘commercial and technical problem solver’, Yash Rupal heads the practice group, which is also rated for its ‘impressive strength in depth’, fielding highly recommended associates such as Sam Lintonbon and senior associates such as Sarah Lindley. Partner Dominic Winter is another key contact in the tax department.

Ashurst is ‘technically very good across all areas of tax, with a commercial and practical approach’, covering a range of funds, financial products, transactional tax and cross-border advisory work. The team has a notable presence in the energy and infrastructure sector, and Nicholas Gardner advised China General Nuclear Power Corporation regarding the tax aspects of an investment into Hinkley Point C, in addition to the establishment of a joint venture for the development of two other nuclear power stations. Gardner also acted for Spanish conglomerate Abertis Infraestructuras in relation to the tax structuring of the €948m acquisition of a 50% interest in a Chilean toll road from Alberta Investment Management Corporation. With experience in a huge range of corporate tax work, Alexander Cox is ‘truly excellent’ and assisted Inflexion Private Equity with the tax structuring in relation to the first and final closings of two new PE funds. Simon Swann specialises in real estate taxation, while Paul Miller handles the tax aspects of various financial products.

In terms of personnel, Baker McKenzie boasts one of the largest tax practices in London and further bolstered its offering in 2016 with hires from EY, KPMG and Deloitte. It combines a traditional transactional tax offering with stand-alone tax planning and transfer pricing units. Patrick O’Gara led a cross-border team which acted as special tax counsel on the transactional issues and post-deal tax advice of the $18bn Willis Towers Watson merger. Similarly, James Wilson advises Coach as global tax counsel on the post-acquisition integration of the Stuart Weitzman business. Richard Fletcher heads the firm’s transfer pricing group, which has worked alongside the tax department to handle global restructuring for multiple household name clients in the tech, online business and manufacturing sectors. As one of the founding members of the transactional tax group, Alistair Craig is a key contact and acts for clients such as Barclays, Accenture and Platinum Equity. James MacLachlan and Geoff Kay both retired.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s tax lawyers ‘get things right and respond in good time’. In 2016, the department hired to strengthen its economics and transfer pricing sub-group, and also brought on Elliot Weston from Gowling WLG as well as two senior associates and three associates. Representative of the work he’ll bring to the firm, Weston acted for Singaporean client Keppel DC REIT on the tax structuring of an investment into a data centre in the UK. The tax team is capable of pitching and winning work against Big 4 firms, which is how Philip Harle won an instruction from Lloyds Development Capital and NewCo, as an acquisition vehicle, which he advised in relation to a £12m investment in Blue Bay Travel. The practice is also active in the finance space, and acts as UK tax advisor to The Department of Education in relation to its £4bn securitisation of income-contingent student loan repayments. Karen Hughes is another key contact and Philip Gershuny retired at the end of 2016.

The tax department at Macfarlanes LLP comprises five key sub-groups: group tax, M&A, investment management, real estate tax and remuneration. The team also has dedicated practitioners in specialist areas such as transfer pricing and VAT, which have been strengthened by the arrivals of new practice heads; Batanayi Katongera from Olswang, and Chris Mortimer from PwC, head transfer pricing and VAT, respectively. In the M&A space, Ashley Greenbank advised Verizon Communications on the tax structuring in connection with its $2.4bn acquisition of Fleetmatics Group and subsequent group reorganisation. James McCredie assisted Legal & General Group with the establishment and tax structuring of a £600m real estate holding fund in connection with a development joint venture with a Dutch pension fund. Damien Crossley heads the tax department and advised Silverfleet Capital on the gamut of tax structuring and post-transaction issues in connection with the client’s acquisition of Lifetime Training Group. In 2016, Kirsten Prichard Jones joined as senior counsel from Nabarro and Peter Abbott was made partner.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s tax department has a reputation for acting on international transactions, especially in emerging markets, and also has expertise in the property and funds areas. It is heavily focused on several key industry sectors, which include energy, insurance, technology, rail and aviation. Practice head Dominic Stuttaford has advised Barclays Bank plc on multiple matters in 2016-2017, having handled the tax aspects of the client’s sale of its Egyptian operations, the disposal of its French operations to Annacap and also on the sell-down of its South African operations. Specialising in real estate and funds work, Angela Savin acted for Civitas Social Housing in connection with the tax structuring of the investment-client’s £350m IPO. In the energy sector, Matthew Hodkin advised Endeavor Energy on the tax risk allocation of the funding and construction of a dual-fuel power project in Ghana. Chris Bates is another key contact and has experience of advising financial institutions on a range of structured transactions.

Reliable and responsive’, Simmons & Simmons handles tax advisory work and transactional support, and is especially active in the areas of financial services, life-sciences and TMT. In addition, the tax team is particularly recommended for its expertise in investment funds, and in 2016 Martin Shah acted for Oil and Gas Climate Initiative in relation to the tax structuring of a $1bn collaborative investment fund aimed at addressing climate change. On the advisory side, Shah also advises a number of US asset managers on the transfer pricing as well as direct and indirect tax issues of establishing their UK operations. Department head Nick Cronkshaw, who is ‘extremely able’, advised APG Rechtenbeheer on the merger of two London residential projects to form a £1.4bn joint venture with Delancey and Qatari Diar. Mark Sheiham specialises in the tax aspects of structured finance and capital markets transactions and continued to assist Greensill Capital (UK) in relation to tax issues arising from its supply chain financing programme. Hatice Ismail was promoted to partner in 2016.

The tax department at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP is best known for handling the tax aspects of cross-border M&A and private capital matters, especially where there are dual US and UK issues. James Anderson heads the firm’s European practice group and is regularly instructed by alternative asset managers and financial institutions. He advised Phoenix Group Holdings on the tax aspects of its £935m acquisition of Abbey Life Assurance Company and the related rights issues; similarly, he is acting for Banco BTG Pactual in relation to its sale of Swiss banking group BSI. Alex Jupp made partner in 2016 and was instructed by The Coca-Cola Company as part of a multi-jurisdictional team that handled the combination of Coca-Cola Erfrischungsgetränke with Coca-Cola Enterprises and Coca-Cola Iberian Partners. He also acted for Ctrip.com International on the tax aspects of its $1.7bn acquisition of Skyscanner Holdings. The tax team also handles tax advisory and restructuring work for hedge funds and high-profile investment management firms.

Travers Smith LLP fields a sizeable, ‘hard working, knowledgeable and practical’ tax team with specialisms in corporate finance and transactions, funds and asset manager work and real estate and infrastructure taxation. Simon Skinner, the department’s head as of 2017, was instructed by Melrose to advise on the tax aspects of its group restructuring in addition to the structuring of a multibillion-pound capital return to the client’s shareholders following the sale of its Elster Water metering division to Honeywell International. Additionally, Elena Rowlands was made partner in 2016 and acted for The Pensions Infrastructure Platform (PiP) in relation to the tax structuring of its PiP Multi-Strategy Infrastructure Fund. Emily Clark undertakes advisory work for asset managers and funds clients and assisted Medicxi Ventures with the tax structuring of its formation as an independent life sciences firm. Simon Yates also handles a range of advisory and high-value transactional work. Russell Warren and Kathleen Russ are tax partners specialising in private equity transactions and Richard Stratton is another key contact.

With extensive experience of ‘the breadth of real estate transactions’, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP specialises in real estate taxation, including the tax aspects of real estate investment funds. Elizabeth Bradley, who leads the global tax group, acted for China Life and Brookfield on the £346m acquisition of the corporate structure owning Aldgate Tower, and also assisted China Life with the joint venture and asset management arrangements in connection with the acquisition. The department head also worked alongside Matthew Poole in relation to the tax structuring of Time Inc’s £415m sale of IPC Magazines Group to a joint venture. Richard Harbot is known for providing ‘high-quality, commercial tax advice’ to clients such as household name private equity clients and multinational corporates. John Overs and Paul Shaw are also partners in the tax department. Michael Wistow left for White & Case LLP in 2016 and Neal Todd and Gary Richards both retired. In 2017, the team hired Mark Brailsford from Osborne Clarke LLP.

Following a three-way merger with Nabarro and Olswang, CMS’s tax department has significantly expanded, both in terms of personnel and in breadth of specialism and experience. The department now fields 13 partners and has expertise in areas such as real estate taxation, tax planning in connection with a wide range of corporate and private equity transactions, fund structuring, employee incentives and IP and technology tax issues. Richard Croker leads the corporate tax team alongside department co-head Stephen Hignett, the latter of whom has been involved in multiple, complex demergers and reorganisations in 2016. Similarly, on the corporate transactional side, Sam Dames, Mark Joscelyne and Aaron Fairhurst have experience of the gamut of M&A, finance and private equity work. Clíona Kirby maintains an active tax advisory practice and advised DV4 Limited on the tax structuring of a residential investment partnership with Qatari Diar Real Estate and a Dutch pension fund asset manager. Additionally, Nick Burt, Jim Hillan and the ‘practical and solution-focusedGraham Chase have particular expertise in real estate and funds taxation.

DLA Piper’s tax team is ‘adept’ at handling international M&A, restructurings and real estate and finance transactions, and also has a dedicated transfer pricing group. Richard Woolich leads the department and was instructed by Aareal Bank to advise on the UK tax aspects and manage the international tax advice in relation to the refinancing and restructuring of Invesco Fund’s EU property portfolio. ‘A consummate professional’, Paul Rutherford acts for Heineken Group in connection with the tax efficiency of its offer to acquire a securitisation group, Punch Taverns A, from Patron Capital. Neville Wright has expertise in the tax aspects of real estate transactions and advised Oxford Properties on its sale of the Green Park business park to Singapore-based Maple Tree Investments. The transfer pricing group is jointly led by Joel Cooper and Randall Fox.

With expertise in providing dual UK and US corporate tax advice to investment fund clients, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is ‘excellent for full-service work’ and is able to ‘effectively communicate commercial advice’. One of the ‘best tax brains in the City’, Richard Ward advised CPP Investment Board on the tax issues and incentive plans in connection with the client’s $1.1bn acquisition of Ascot from AIG. He also acted for Park Square Capital Partners regarding the tax provisions of the Park Square Capital Partners III fund formation. Matt Saronson is recognised for his ability to ‘break down arcane topics in a simple way’ and was instructed by AltaOne Capital to draft the economic provisions in an acquisition agreement for 37.6% of the share capital of Cegrid Group. Cécile Beurrier has experience in the tax aspects of debt and equity offerings and advised Pernod Ricard on the US tax issues associated with its successful close of a €600m Eurobond offering.

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP fields a sizeable UK tax team with specialisms in private equity, real estate and credit transactions. Additionally, the group has experience in the tax aspects of financial restructuring and fund formation, and practice head Jonathan Kandel recently acted for IK Investment Partners in relation to the final close of its eighth mid-cap fund, IK VIII Fund, which claims capital commitments of €1.85bn. In the real estate and M&A space, Kandel advised GIC, the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore, in relation to its €2.4bn acquisition of P3 Logistic Parks. Ian Ferreira, Frixos Hatjantonas and Dulcie Daly are also recommended. The tax department followed substantial growth in 2015 with the recruitment, in 2016, of Timothy Lowe from Linklaters LLP, while, also in 2016, Oliver Currall left for Sidley Austin LLP.

Latham & Watkins handles the gamut of corporate tax issues involving M&A, private equity and capital markets transactions, especially where there are multiple jurisdictions involved. As an example, in 2016, London-practice head Sean Finn advised Allergan in relation to the $40.5bn sale of its global generic pharmaceuticals business to Teva Pharmaceutical. He also acted for ViaSat in connection with the structuring agreements of a joint venture with EutelSat Communications. Karl Mah also has experience of cross-border M&A, and advised ICU Medical on its $1bn acquisition of the Hospira Infusion Systems business from Pfizer, a deal that was structured as a cash/stock combination and required tax structuring appropriate to over twenty different jurisdictions. He was also instructed by J.P. Morgan as lead arrangers in relation to the €6.4bn refinancing of Pirelli. Sarah Gadd, a specialist in employment tax, was promoted to counsel in 2017.

McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP has a stand-alone tax practice that provides transactional support in addition to offering tax advisory services to multinational corporates, financial services institutions and ultra high-net-worth individuals. The department was joined by Russell Hampshire in 2016, who had previously served 16 years as a tax partner at KPMG. He provides ongoing advice to multiple US multinationals concerning the impact of various action items of the base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) initiative. James Ross assisted Irving Oil with the tax aspects of its acquisition of the Whitegate oil refinery in Ireland through a competitive auction process. Ross was also instructed by Praxair in relation to its acquisitions of Yara International and NOxBOX. Matthew Herrington is the team’s transfer pricing specialist and Tom Scott is another key contact in the practice group. Olam International, Universal Health Services and Electronic Arts are clients.

A cut above most other specialist tax firms’, NGM Tax Law LLP is a boutique tax outfit that is regularly instructed by other law firms in relation to particularly complex tax issues, and also acts directly for banks and multinational corporates. The team comprises a total of 12 partners and consultants bred from international, tax-focused law firms, including Magic Circle and Big Four firms, and has ‘deep industry knowledge’ of corporate M&A, non-contentious trusts, private equity work, international restructuring and non-transactional tax planning. In 2016, firm-founders Mark Nichols and Keith Gregory were instructed by a South-east Asia-based corporate finance house to devise a particular structure allowing relief under a specific HMRC assurance programme, which the client had not previously qualified for. Simon Meredith acted for a UK law firm on behalf of the sellers in connection with the sale of Sipsmiths and helped craft a structure to maximise the amount of tax relief for a transaction that was paid in instalments.

The tax department at Stephenson Harwood is known for its ‘responsiveness and good technical knowledge’ in a set of key areas including real estate, M&A, investment funds and transportation and asset finance. Indeed, practice head and ‘proactive problem solverHugo Jenney is assisting Transport for London with the direct and indirect tax aspects of the £15bn Crossrail development. He also provided tax advice to Mount Eden Land in relation to the £581m senior debt and mezzanine Eurobond refinancing of the high-profile Langham Estate. In 2016, Maryanna Sharrock advised Acadia Healthcare on the tax provisions and stamp duty filing in connection with its £1.3bn acquisition of the Priory Group. Another active member in the tax team, John Meehan is acting for Osprey Equity Partners in relation to the structuring and launch of a new REIT. The firm is continuing to invest in the tax practice and added four new associates in 2016-2017.

The tax group at Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP is ‘an integral part of a very strong overall corporate practice’, with expertise in private equity, asset managers and private funds, structured finance and M&A. Specialising in funds work, David Irvine ‘combines deep technical knowledge with an ability to express complex subjects in straightforward terms’. Oliver Walker, ‘a plain speaking and technically excellent’ partner, has particular expertise in private equity transactions and acted for OMERS Private Equity in relation to the tax aspects of the sale of V.Group to Advent International. Senior consultant Andrew Norwood has built a strong reputation advising on the taxation of securitisation transactions and is instructed by well-known asset managers in connection with the tax structuring of various collateralised loan obligation (CLO) transactions. Additional clients include Paragon Offshore, L’Oréal and Qatar Airways.

With experience of the tax aspects of real estate, financial services, private equity, restructurings and a range of other corporate transactions, White & Case LLP provides clients ‘a seamless working dynamic between the corporate tax team and the general corporate team’. The group also offers a stand-alone advisory service and has also developed expertise in advising foreign governments in relation to their tax legislation. Prabhu Narasimhan, who is ‘technically gifted, but at the same time very commercial’, is acting for Kaupthing Bank in relation to its Icelandic insolvency proceedings and international restructuring in what was one of the largest-ever bank insolvencies. Led by Narasimhan, the firm’s tax group now acts as primary tax advisers to Novator Partners, a role which covers both transactional and advisory work. Michael Wistow, a new hire from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP in 2016, is acting for Bupa on its acquisition of 380 dental practices owned by Oasis. Peita Menon heads the UK tax practice and is also recommended.

Addleshaw Goddard’s tax department handles a wide range of corporate transactions with specialisms in real estate, financial services and private equity. London practice head Elaine Gwilt advises on a significant number of M&A and real estate transactions. In the real estate space, she acts for certain funds managed by Aberdeen Asset Management and was involved in the £43m acquisition of the Albert Dock in Liverpool. Gwilt also provides a tax advisory service to private equity houses. Paul Concannon was promoted to partner in 2016 and advised a high street lender in connection with the tax aspects of the reorganisation of multiple offshore private branches. Peter Sayer is also active in the real estate sector, with expertise in student accommodations, and also assisted the management team of Plinian Mining Group with the tax structuring and establishment of a new partnership fund.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld is particularly strong at handling the tax issues encountered by hedge fund clients and has extensive experience of international restructurings. It also provides stand-alone tax advice and works closely with its Geneva office, which provides a stream of investment fund and international banking clients. In one of the department’s flagship deals, Stuart Sinclair acted for a group of investment and pension funds, insurance companies and banks as bondholders of three major, failed commercial Icelandic banks in connection with the proposed restructuring of the failed bank estates; Sinclair simultaneously lobbied for specific amendments to Icelandic tax law, which were enacted. He also worked alongside Sophie Donnithorne-Tait to advise OM Asset Management and Old Mutual in connection with the UK tax aspects of a $400m bond issuance and a subsequent $213m secondary offering.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s ‘technical ability and relevant industry knowledge’ in investment funds, the tax team's core area of expertise, ‘must be considered unique’. Cathryn Vanderspar advised UK Mortgages Limited on the cross-border structuring of a public securitisation structure backed by £300m of buy-to-let mortgages, and also assisted the client with its investment in a separate securitisation structure with exposure to newly originated owner-occupied mortgage loans. In 2016, corporate tax head Ben Jones advised Greencore Group on the UK tax aspects of a £440m rights issue to fund the acquisition of Peacock Foods. ‘One of the sharpest, most pragmatic, effective and courteous tax lawyers in the City’, Camilla Spielman acted for Standard Life Investments in relation to the merging of two property authorised investment funds, in addition to assisting in the restructuring and merger of the respective feeder funds, following the client’s acquisition of Ignis Investment Management. John Buckeridge is also recommended for funds taxation.

Fieldfisher’s tax team has ‘exceptional capabilities in corporate tax, in particular in relation to corporate finance transactions’ and is driven by dedicated strengths in the TMT, life sciences and financial services sectors. Derek Hill heads the tax structuring group and is instructed by Alternative Resolution Consultancy, a joint venture aimed at assisting individuals facing financial hardship as a result of investments in tax-structured film finance structures. Specialising in corporate finance transactions, Andrew Prowse has a ‘superb grasp of business taxation’ and handles M&A transactions for various TMT and financial services clients in 2016-2017. Additionally, Nick Noble has provided tax advice to financial services clients in relation to a number of lending transactions. Graeme Nuttall OBE is another contact in the practice group and has extensive experience of structuring employee ownership schemes.

Mayer Brown International LLP has a diverse and proactive tax practice, which ‘stays at the forefront of industry trends’ in its core areas including real estate and investment funds. Sandy Bhogal leads the London tax team and is highly regarded in the market for his ‘technical expertise, commercial awareness and negotiating skill’. In 2016, he advised Rina SpA on the tax aspects of the £119m acquisition of the entire share capital of Edif Group, in addition to the subsequent restructuring. The department head also has a discrete tax advisory practice focused on the funds and financial services sectors. With expertise in the taxation issues around corporate finance, M&A and group reorganisations, James Hill acted as legal adviser to Dah Chong Hong in relation to its $350m acquisition of Li & Fung’s consumer and healthcare distribution business in mainland China and South East Asia. Additional clients for which the team has performed significant tax work include Unilever, Moody’s and Macquarie Bank.

From 2014, when the UK tax team took its current shape, Ropes & Gray LLP has gained recognition for its work in the areas of private equity, fund formation, credit and real estate. In 2016, Andrew Howard was promoted to partner. He is assisting Virgin Media with the tax aspects of multiple innovative securities transactions and, on the M&A side, he was instructed by firm-client Pfizer to handle the tax issues related to its $1.58bn acquisition of certain development and commercial rights from AstraZeneca. The London team is led by Brenda Coleman, who is acting for CVC Credit Partners in relation to the concurrent formation of three funds, and was also recently appointed as fund formation counsel for Nordic Capital’s Nordic Capital Fund IX. She has also advised on the tax aspects of multiple M&A transactions in 2016-2017, and assisted Mezzvest with the tax structuring of a European senior credit platform.

The corporate tax department at Shearman & Sterling LLP is regularly involved in the firm’s largest M&A, securities and private equity deals. Practice head Simon Letherman acted for a consortium of underwriters, led by HSBC Securities (USA), in connection with HSBC Holdings plc’s $7bn issuance of fixed and floating rate senior unsecured notes. In the M&A space, he advised Liberty Global on the deal structuring and subsequent share listing relating to its acquisition of Cable & Wireless Communications. Letherman also assisted General Electric Capital Corporation with the UK and Indian tax aspects of its $300m sale of GE Capital Services India and GE Money Financial Services to Plutus Financials. Other notable clients include Société Générale, Intercontinental Exchange and Qatar Investment Authority. Sarah Priestley joined Goodwin in 2016.

Sidley Austin LLP’s UK tax department has experience of a range of corporate transactions, particularly in the private equity space. Oliver Currall joined the team from Kirkland & Ellis International LLP in 2016 and advised TowerBrook Capital Partners and KKR on the tax structuring of a joint mandate to invest €250m for a minority stake in OVH. Will Smith, who has a transactional and advisory practice, handled the tax aspects of Wells Fargo Bank’s purchase of its new European headquarters; his advisory work has focused on assisting investment fund clients with issues arising from potential changes in the UK tax regime. Drew Scott leads the London tax group and has experience of contentious and non-contentious tax matters. Graeme Harrower retired in 2017. Additional key clients include BlackRock, Tai United and Bank of Cyprus.

The ‘knowledgeable and commercial’ corporate tax team at Taylor Wessing LLP is considered by some as ‘a go-to practice for real estate special purpose vehicle’ tax structuring. Indeed, Peter Jackson advised Tritax Big Box REIT on two separate placings totalling £550m, in addition to the tax structuring of a number of acquisitions of holding vehicles and subsequent property extractions and group reorganisation. Other areas of expertise include technology, private wealth and private equity. Robert Young, who replaced Jackson as practice head in 2017, acted for onefinestay in relation to its sale to AccorHotels and also coordinated the provision of French and US tax advice. Nikol Davies left the firm to return to Australia in 2017, but Graham Samuel-Gibbon joined from EY, where he had been a director in the international tax services department. Richard Carson is an active consultant in the department.

Bird & Bird LLP’s tax department regularly acts for the firm’s hi-tech and venture capital-backed client base, and has particular specialisms in international-facing IP tax, employment and shareholder tax and the taxation of solar energy projects. Practice head Mat Oliver has acted for a number of renewable energy developers, such as Bluefield Partners, in relation to their UK solar energy developments. Colin Kendon specialises in employee and shareholder taxation and has experience of group reorganisations and management buyout transactions. Past clients have included Tomorrow London, Altus UK and Axio Data Group.

Burges Salmon LLP has a broad tax practice that has traditionally supported the firm’s transactional groups, but is increasingly providing tax-driven restructuring advice, especially to clients in the power and energy industries. Nigel Popplewell has particular experience in property-related tax and corporate restructurings and has advised YTL Hotels on the various tax aspects of a number of the client’s recent hotel and property acquisitions. John Barnett has expertise in private equity, investment funds, remuneration and tax planning, and has been instructed by clients such as Octopus Investments, UBS and Yeo Valley Group.

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLPpunches way above its size’ in the UK tax market and has particular experience of investment and fund structuring, restructuring and securitisation transactions. Adam Blakemore leads the practice group and ‘has exceptional knowledge of tax legislation and how to apply it in practical situations’. ‘A truly outstanding tax lawyer’, he advised a global financial institution on the tax structuring of the first securitisation of marketplace consumer loans in Europe. The London team was also part of a cross-office team that acted on behalf of a certain group of lenders in connection with the €1bn restructuring of The Camaïeu Group.

Clyde & Co LLP has expertise in employment taxation and inward investment and is particularly active in the insurance and real estate sectors. In 2016, David Blumenthal assisted Appleby Westward Group with the tax issues surrounding the client’s acquisition of Gillett’s Callington, which included the acquisition of the target’s 63 stores throughout South West England. Tax department head Ray Smith advised Simec Group on its acquisition of Alcan Aluminium UK, which owns the last smelter to be sold in Rio Tinto’s UK portfolio; indeed, this acquisition also included two hydropower plants, a port and 100,000 acres of estate land. AIG, MetLife and Liberty House Group are also clients.

The London-based tax team at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP has experience of the tax planning aspects of corporate M&A, private equity and capital markets transactions, and is well-positioned to handle transatlantic transactions. Jonathan Cooklin heads the UK tax department and is instructed by corporates and financial institutions in connection with the tax aspects of international M&A, corporate finance and restructurings. John Paton oversees the firm’s tax practice in Europe and Asia and specialises in US and international tax planning particularly in relation to capital markets transactions. The team has acted for all the well-known global investment banks, such as J.P. Morgan, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse.

Dechert LLP’s London tax department ‘couples very strong expertise with a commercial and pragmatic approach’ and has considerable expertise advising investment managers on the tax structuring of transatlantic transactions. Indeed, department head Mark Stapleton has ‘strong understanding of the asset management industry’, but also handles the tax aspects of public and private M&A, real estate acquisitions, structured products and various other corporate and banking transactions. Stapleton provided detailed tax advice to Apollo Global Management in relation to its new global asset management business, which aims to provide investment management services to US and EU CLO and securitisation structures. Daniel Hawthorne is a senior associate in the department.

Dentons offers ‘technical and commercially reliable’ tax advice in connection with M&A, reorganisations, joint venture agreements and funds and real estate transactions. Department head Alex Thomas, who has an active transactional and advisory tax practice, advised John Lewis on the tax provisions of a joint venture agreement with Clipper Logistics. The team has extensive experience in the oil and gas sector and acted for Hurricane Energy on its £74m capital raising and open offer to existing shareholders, for the purpose of developing certain North Sea assets. Another ‘first-class tax lawyer’ in the team, Suhail Qureshi displays ‘exceptional commercial acumen’ and has been involved in a range of corporate transactions in 2016-2017. Jeremy Cape joined Squire Patton Boggs in 2017, and Andrew Thornton took a position with one of the firm’s underwriter clients.

Goodwin’s tax team is driven by ‘a hands-on, practical’ approach and has enjoyed an expansion of the firm’s London-capabilities, which has exposed it to a broader range of transactional work. Sarah Priestley joined the firm in 2017 from Shearman & Sterling LLP and now heads the London tax team. Ben Eaton has ‘outstanding knowledge of foreign tax systems and is able to use that knowledge to provide multijurisdictional structuring advice’. He has extensive experience in real estate and private equity transactions and is instructed by clients such as Deutsche Asset Management and TA Associates. Laura Charkin advised the UK Green Investment Bank on multiple closings by the UK Green Investment Bank Offshore Wind Fund.

The tax team at Gowling WLG has experience in a wide range of corporate transactions including work in the technology and pharmaceutical sectors, but is especially strong in the investment funds space. Michael Murphy specialises in corporate M&A and capital markets transactions and has particular experience acting for clients in the life sciences sector. National department head Lee Nuttall splits his time between the firm’s Birmingham and London offices and specialises in the tax aspects of private funds transactions, but has also been instructed in advisory roles in stand-alone matters. Elliot Weston joined Hogan Lovells International LLP in 2016.

The corporate tax department at Jones Day has considerable experience of real estate-related transactions, but also handles the tax aspects of the acquisition and disposal of financial assets. Department head Blaise Marin-Curtoud advised Oxenwood Real Estate on the tax issues arising from multiple acquisitions in its logistics portfolio, in addition to incentive arrangements for the founders and management team. Charlotte Sallabank was instructed by the management team of NewDayCards to handle the full-range of corporate tax issues associated with the sale of the business to Cinven and CVC. Newly made partner Anthony Whall specialises in real estate tax and M&A and is instructed by clients such as Euronext and Altium Capital.

Mishcon de Reya LLP carries out a wide range of transactional tax work, but has particular experience of real estate-related tax mandates. Jonathan Legg leads the real estate tax group and acted for Chelfield Partners in relation to the £180m sale of two Central London hotels, which involved the sale of a Luxembourgish holding company to a Danish pension fund. John Skoulding heads the corporate tax department and was instructed by The O’Brien Group to design and manage a corporate demerger, reorganisation and refinancing, and also implemented an employee incentive scheme for the client. Gary Richards has extensive experience of domestic and cross-border tax planning.

With instructions from a variety of multinationals, investment funds and private equity firms, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP’s tax department is an integral part of the firm’s UK structured finance and private investment funds teams. The tax group is led by Kate Habershon, who has experience in a range of debt capital markets and fund structuring work for venture capital firms and investment banks. Paul Beausang specialises in real estate-related taxation and the tax aspects of structured finance transactions. Past clients have included Gramercy Property Trust.

Osborne Clarke LLPprovides exceptional advice’ to corporates and funds clients, and with ‘personalised service at out-of-London prices’ the firm provides clients with ‘compelling reasons’ to look beyond the normal City firms for tax advice, according to one source. Michael Bell was instructed by the management team of Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group to handle the international tax structuring of its £921m sale to AMC Theatres. Erika Jupe is advising Solarplicity on the tax aspects of the formation of a group structure incorporating a portfolio of solar PV assets. Tracey Wright is highly recommended. Senior associate Tom Pygall joined from King & Spalding LLP in 2016.

Paul Hastings LLP provides ‘very good advice on complex issues’ and has an ‘excellent understanding of the commercial drivers’ of cross-border corporate and finance transactions. Arun Birla ‘really understands what a client wants’ and has experience in the full gamut of transactional tax work and advisory matters. His recent work has spanned fund formation, securities issuances and M&A, in addition to advising clients such as Credit Suisse on the tax structuring of certain structured products. Associate Jiten Tank assisted Aalto Invest Holding and its owners with its disposal to Man Group. Significant clients include AIG, Filtration Group and DRC Capital Funds.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s transactional tax team has been involved in some enviable mandates in 2016-2017, which have showcased the team’s aptitude in pre-transaction and post-transaction international tax structuring. Eloise Walker is the primary contact in the London transactional tax group and leads the firm’s international tax initiative. Indeed, much of Walker’s work involves tax planning across a number of legal jurisdictions; as an example, she acted for Teva Pharmaceuticals Europe BV on the £603m disposal of its interest in Activas UK and Activas Ireland. Similarly, she advised the shareholders of Skyscanner on its £1.4bn disposal to China’s largest online travel firm, CTrip. Leeds-based John Christian is another key contact in the firm’s UK corporate tax department, and Heather Self has particular experience in international tax planning. The team’s varied client base includes AMC Entertainment Holdings, HSBC and Costain.

Proskauer Rose LLP is known for its ability to ‘manage significant transactions to very tight deadlines’ and has seen a considerably broader range of work following a couple years of expansion in the firm’s UK corporate team. Department head Robert Gaut has ‘exceptional knowledge of funds taxation’ and provides tax advice to a number of very significant investment funds and asset managers in relation to fund formations, closings and investments. The firm’s client base is not limited to funds and asset managers; Gaut also advised Crowe Horwath on the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of BaxterBruce and Instratus. Catherine Sear and London-office head Mary Kuusisto, who is an ‘outstanding’ adviser on US tax issues in the private equity sector, are also recommended.

In 2016, Reed Smith LLP significantly expanded its tax practice with the addition of Gareth Amdor, who was head of tax for the now defunct London office of King & Wood Mallesons. The department has extensive experience of the media, life sciences, private equity, financial services and energy and natural resources sectors. Caspar Fox advised Motif Bio on the tax implications of its dual-listing on NASDAQ and AIM. Consultant Simon Gough is advising Heidrick & Struggles International on withholding tax issues in connection with the client’s in-house cash pooling and netting arrangement with a UK finance company. Senior associate Philippa Michie joined from Ashurst in 2016.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s transatlantic tax group is regularly involved in the US tax aspects of large M&A, and also provides UK tax advice on corporate finance, structured finance, securitisation, capital markets and real estate transactions. Indeed, European counsel Andrew Thomson advised CNH Industrial on the UK tax issues associated with its SEC-registered $600m note issuance. Working between the firm’s London and New York offices, Eric Wang and Ronald Creamer focus on US tax matters and provided supplemental tax structuring advice to Anheuser-Busch InBev following its colossal £79bn acquisition of SABMiller’s outstanding share capital.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP’s tax group is particularly strong in real estate and development projects, especially where there are Middle Eastern or South-east Asian deal-participants that require Islamic-compliant structures. Andrew Sneddon heads the practice group and has been instructed to provide tax advice to clients such as Balfour Beatty Investments, European Islamic Investment Bank, Gatehouse Bank, Apache Capital Partners and various UK local authorities. Michael Surry was recently made partner and has experience of advising public and private bodies on a range of property development and corporate transactions.

Vinson & Elkins RLLP has traditionally been a market leader in the oil and gas space, but its UK tax practice is looking to expand its breadth with the additions of counsel Sara Stewart from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP and senior associate Andrew Callaghan from Travers Smith LLP, the latter of whom has expertise in private equity. Jenny Doak and of counsel Michael Thompson have extensive experience in oil and energy taxation and were instructed by Apache Corporation to specifically handle the tax aspects of its disposal of interest in the Scottish Area Gas Evacuation system and Beryl Pipeline. Other notable clients include Helios Investment Partners and Africa Oil Corp.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP’s tax team has deep sector expertise in energy and infrastructure, and is one of the few UK tax groups with specialism in maritime-related taxation. Richard Stephens heads the tax group and has provided tax structuring advice to BP Pension Fund in relation to multiple transactions in 2016, including two forward funding developments and a London property disposal. In the M&A space, Tom Jarvis acted for DONG Energy in connection with its sale of a 50% stake in a UK offshore wind project and related joint venture agreements. Senior associate Claire Miles joined the team from Macfarlanes LLP.


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Baker McKenzie’s customs group draws on the resources of the firm’s trade and tax departments, and has ‘outstanding knowledge of customs rules and regulations; and not just those in the UK and EU'. Jointly headed by Ross Denton and the ‘clear and approachable’ of counsel Jennifer Revis, the team has extensive experience in HMRC investigations, but has also built relationships with global regulators through ‘access to contacts in various parts of the world’. Since the Brexit referendum, the emphasis has been on taking proactive steps toward meeting the challenges that may arise from the implementation of the Union Customs Code (UCC), the future of Britain’s trade outside the EU and more broadly the state of global trade relations during a Trump presidency. To this end, the customs department has advised a range of well-known retailers, food and beverage companies, engineering clients and aerospace companies, and has picked up several new household-name digital media clients in 2016-2017. Tax department head Mark Delaney and associate Jessica Mutton are also recommended.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s specialist customs and excise practice group is driven by a number of sector specialisms including retail and manufacturing, but the team is particularly experienced in the excise duty issues affecting the beer brewing industry. The customs group is headed by Jason Collins and Stuart Walsh, two experienced tax litigators who have represented household-name brewery clients in excise and alcohol duty disputes with HMRC and also advise on issues such as supply chain arrangements and regulatory compliance. Ian Hyde as well as senior associates Ian Robotham and Jake Landman are also recommended.

Customs and excise law is among the real specialisms of The Khan Partnership LLP, which boasts expertise in customs licensing, tariff classification, anti-dumping, valuation and duty disputes. The group is headed by Hassan Khan, who has extensive experience in the customs and excise landscape, having previously served as head of the international division of HM Customs and Excise Solicitors Office. On the non-contentious side, the team provides compliance advice to clients such as LG Corporation, Dunlop Tyre and various Nissan entities worldwide. Additionally, the firm’s contentious offering covers HMRC investigations and litigation. As an example, Khan was instructed by Unifruit Group in a tax fraud case against HMRC. Other notable clients include London City Bond, London Fields Brewery and Condor Ferries.

The customs and excise practice at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP comprises practitioners from the tax and trade and competition teams, and provides advice on regulatory compliance, import and export controls and trade sanctions. Preparatory advice concerning the future of UK trade relationships after Brexit has been a pressing issue, and the department has advised a number of well-known clients on this. Clients include food and beverage distributors, tech companies as well as auto and aerospace manufacturers. Tax practice head Giles Salmond, James Lindop, a principal associate in the EU, competition and trade department, and associate Monika Zejden-Erdmann are also recommended.

According to one source, RPCmust now be considered a strong player’ in the area of customs and excise and ‘there are not many firms in London that could handle the customs and anti-dumping duty cases this firm handles’. An experienced tax litigator and accredited mediator, Adam Craggs heads the department, which was significantly strengthened by the arrival of ‘prominent and commercially aware’ senior associate Michelle Sloane, who joined from The Khan Partnership LLP. Sloane is assisting Bonded Warehousekeepers Association with all HMRC queries, excise duty and supply chain issues. The department also advises on alcohol duty and anti-dumping issues for a number of spirit bottling companies, distilleries and online retailers. Robert Waterson is also recommended.


EU and competition

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Clifford Chance LLP’s ‘extremely knowledgeable’ and ‘technically proficient’ team comprises ‘good tactical and strategic thinkers’ and advises clients across a wide range of industries including financial institutions, healthcare, life sciences, chemicals, TMT, and energy. ‘Fantastic’, ‘very smart’ and ‘very experienced’ practice head Alex Nourry is praised for his ‘pragmatic, business-oriented advice’; he advised Thomson Reuters on the European Commission’s investigation into its licensing practice, including handling the appeal of the Commission’s decision by Morningstar before the General Court in Luxembourg. The ‘exceptional’ Nelson Jung, who joined the team last year from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), advised Cineworld on the merger control aspects of its acquisition of five venues worth £94m, which was cleared unconditionally by the CMA. Greg Olsen is leading the team advising Mastercard on the European Commission’s ongoing investigation into its inter-regional interchange fee and cross-border acquiring rules. In another key mandate, Jenine Hulsman led the team advising Deutsche Telekom and EE Limited in relation to the unconditional Phase II clearance by the CMA of BT’s £12.5bn acquisition of EE Limited. Other notable clients include Booker Group, Cinven, EDF, J Sainsbury, Samsung, and NBCUniversal. Senior associates Petra Carey and Chandralekha Ghosh are also recommended. Chris Worall joined Burges Salmon LLP.

Simon Priddis heads the practice at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, which advises clients on transactional, counselling, and investigatory antitrust issues on a cross-jurisdictional basis. Priddis advised London Stock Exchange Group on the EU merger control review of its proposed merger with Deutsche Börse AG worth €24bn, while Rod Carlton was part of the team advising Formula One Group (F1) and its shareholders on the sale of F1 to Liberty Media Corporation, which was cleared by the CMA and in six other jurisdictions following a two-stage acquisition. Deirdre Trapp is advising SSE on a number of matters, including in relation to the CMA’s energy market investigation, and, together with Bea Tormey, on the Ofgem investigation into SSE’s alleged abuse of dominance in the electricity connections market. In other highlights, Alex Potter advised Sysco Corporation on its acquisition of Brakes Group for $3.1bn, which was cleared unconditionally in phase I by the European Commission; and John Davies advised AB InBev on its combination with SAB Miller, which closed in late 2016, and continues to handle ongoing issues related to the integration of the two companies. Also recommended are James Aitken and newly made-up partner Michele Davis, who were part of the team advising CK Hutchison on the antitrust aspects of its proposed acquisition of O2 UK, and Martin McElwee, who represented Rexam on the global merger control aspects of its £4.3bn takeover by US rival Ball Corporation.

Linklaters LLP’s ‘prompt’, ‘commercial’ and ‘balanced’ practice attracts praise for its ‘client-focused’ and ‘problem-solving’ approach and for its ‘impressive practical experience and market-leading legal skills’. Nicole Kar (‘a clear and insightful adviser’) leads the team, which counts BP, Siemens, Vodafone, and Visa Europe among its clients. Christian Ahlborn advised Deutsche Börse on the merger control strategy for its €24bn merger with London Stock Exchange Group, while Kar and Simon Pritchard advised both parties before the CMA on the £125m acquisition of Sainsbury’s pharmacy business by Celesio UK. Michael Cutting continues to advise National Grid on the two-step divestiture of its UK gas distribution business worth £13.8bn (which is currently in a phase I review before the European Commission) and acted for Centrica on the CMA’s investigation into the UK energy markets. Natura Gracia (‘positive’, ‘provides very clear advice’) and Sir Christopher Bellamy (who provides ‘extremely valuable strategic input and experience’ and ‘keeps the big picture in mind’) are also recommended. Rachel Hetherington was promoted to counsel and Gavin Robert departed to join Euclid Law.

The ‘constructive’ and ‘deeply knowledgeablePhilippe Chappatte leads the ‘first-class’ and ‘very dedicated’ team at Slaughter and May, which provides an ‘impeccable service’ and acts for clients such as Asda Walmart, British Airways, Bupa, Deutsche Bank, Vodafone, and INEOS. Claire Jeffs and Lisa Wright led the team advising Google in relation to ongoing Article 102 investigations by the European Commission into search and advertising, which concerns Google’s AdSense advertising service. Isabel Taylor advised Bupa in relation to the CMA’s market investigation into the provision of private healthcare in the UK, and Bertrand Louveaux (‘very astute’, ‘extremely passionate on behalf of his clients’) advised Nationwide in relation to the CMA’s retail banking market investigation. Chappatte led the team advising VocaLink and its shareholders on its proposed acquisition by Mastercard. Special adviser Jackie Holland advised the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on the state aid investigation of an investment contract granted to Drax Power Limited, and succeeded in securing unconditional clearance from the European Commission at phase II. The practice features a number of ‘high-calibre’ associates, including Jantira Raftery (who is praised for her ‘keen intellect’ and ‘direct and determined’ approach).

Allen & Overy LLP’s practice in London is headed by Mark Friend, a ‘truly meticulous lawyer of great ability’ who provides ‘a balanced and nuanced understanding of issues’. The team, which is active across the telecoms, energy, financial and IP sectors, counts News Corp, HSBC, Walgreens Boots Alliance, and Asahi among its clients. The team currently sits on 13 legal panels, including the panels of Lloyds Banking Group, Shell, and Imperial Brands. Antonio Bavasso is the firm’s global co-head of antitrust and advised VEON on the merger control and Italian regulatory approval of its joint venture with CK Hutchison and secured approval from the European Commission. Philip Mansfield led the team representing Hitachi in an investigation by the European Commission into suspected cartel conduct in the automotive parts sector. Alasdair Balfour and counsel Thomas Masterman advised Tullett Prebon on the competition aspects on its purchase of the voice broking business of ICAP, which was cleared by the CMA following an agreement to divest ICAP’s oil broking business. Other notable highlights included advising 20th Century Fox on the European Commission’s investigation into territorial restrictions on cross-border access to pay-tv content and 21st Century Fox on its proposed takeover of Sky; and advising Premaitha on its application to the European Commission for an investigation into rival biotech companies for anti-competitive conduct. Newly promoted partner Dominic Long is a ‘rising star’ and praised for his ‘strong intellect’ and ‘ability to translate legal advice with ease’.

The ‘responsive’ and ‘client-focused’ team at Ashurst provides ‘partner-led’ and ‘high-quality legal advice’ with a ‘very pragmatic and commercial approach’. Nigel Parr and Euan Burrows jointly head the practice, which is active across the range of competition law disciplines. Notable clients include Imperial Tobacco, Intel, Wm Morrison, and Royal Mail. Neil Cuninghame advised China General Nuclear on its £18bn investment into Hinkley Point C and the establishment of a UK partnership for the development of new nuclear power stations in Suffolk and Essex, which raised various antitrust, merger control, and state aid issues. Parr is acting for Lloyds Banking Group in relation to the CMA’s investigation into personal current accounts and SME banking. Duncan Liddell is advising Virgin Media on business connectivity market review appeals; he and counsel Charles Hammon are singled out as ‘very experienced, user-friendly, strategically astute advisers’. Ross Mackenzie is advising Direct Cash Payments on UK merger control aspects of its proposed acquisition by Cardtronics for $460m. The practice is also acting for Lloyds Banking Group in the Payment System Regulator’s market reviews of indirect access to payment systems and infrastructure provision.

The ‘excellent’ practice at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is led by Stephen Wisking, who is a ‘valuable sounding board’ for clients, and ‘always provides sound advice’. He is advising longstanding client Sky in connection with the merger control aspects of its proposed £11.7bn acquisition by 21st Century Fox, as well as on the European Commission’s investigation into territorial restrictions on cross-border access to pay-tv content. Susan Black (who is praised for her ‘good commercial and legal advice’) led the team advising Arriva on the merger control review by the CMA of its acquisition of the Northern Rail Franchise. ‘Trusted and valued adviser’ Kim Dietzel continues to act for Virgin Atlantic Airways on a number of regulatory and competition law issues, including acting alongside ‘proactive’ and ‘perceptive’ senior associate Suzy Campbell in relation to its joint venture with Delta Airlines, and advising on its continued application of the remedies accepted by the European Commission in relation to the oneworld transatlantic alliance between British Airways, American Airlines, and Iberia. Veronica Roberts advised Telefónica on the proposed merger between O2 and Three and Tim Briggs advised a consortium in relation to its bid to acquire a controlling 51% interest in the four regional UK gas distribution networks owned by National Grid. The practice was appointed to the panel of Northern Ireland Electricity Networks in 2016. Former practice head James Quinney is now a consultant in the team.

Suyong Kim and Angus Coulter head the practice at Hogan Lovells International LLP, which counts SABMiller, Vodafone, and Kingfisher among its clients. Kim and Ciara Kennedy-Loest led the global team advising Alstom on its €12.4bn deal with GE, including merger notifications in more than 30 jurisdictions. Mark Jones led the advice to Foxconn on its acquisition of the Nokia phone manufacturing and distribution business from Microsoft. Susan Bright was part of the team serving as EU antitrust counsel to SABMiller in obtaining EU clearance for its $106bn acquisition by AB InBev. Coulter acted for AIB, Christopher Hutton acted for The Co-Operative Bank, and Jones acted for TSB on the CMA’s investigation into UK retail banking. Other highlights for the team included advising VocaLink on the Payment System Regulator’s market review into the ownership and competitiveness of infrastructure provision in the UK. Coulter also advised Mitsui OSK Lines on the European Commission’s investigation into practices in container shipping. Julia Marlow was promoted to counsel. Paul Dacam retired.

Baker McKenzie’s practice continued to advise EDF in relation to the CMA’s investigation in the UK energy sector. In another key matter, Ross Denton advised Mitsubishi Electric Corporation on its settlement process in relation to the European Commission’s investigation into car parts. Samantha Mobley led the team advising on the merger control aspects of Cardtronics’ acquisition of DirectCash Payments, and advised Clarcor on its merger with Parker Hannifin Corporation. Keith Jones co-ordinated the antitrust clearance aspects of Platinum Equity’s acquisition of the Network Power business from Emerson Electric Group, which involved eight competition authorities around the world, while Luis Gomez acted for Bain Capital on its disposal of The Brakes Group to Sysco Corporation, which involved obtaining merger clearance at the European Commission. Other notable clients include British Airways, AIG, and Shell. Nicola Northway joined the team from Barclays and Tristan Grimmer was promoted to partner.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s ‘responsive’, ‘client-focused’ practice attracted a number of new clients in 2016, including Royal Mail, BT, and the Department of Health. The team, which has particular strength in regulated sectors, is particular active in mandates related to utilities and financial institutions. Notable clients include National Grid, Heathrow Airport, and Tesco. ‘Fantastic’ practice head Andrew Hockley (who is praised for his ‘high-calibre, laser-focused, sound and sensible advice’) is advising BT on the merger control aspects of its acquisition of IP Trade, which is under review by the CMA. Brussels-based David Anderson led the team advising the Michael Jackson Estate on the sale of its interest to Sony Music for $750m, which involved obtaining unconditional clearance from the European Commission. The practice also advises on state aid, dawn raid, and competition law compliance matters. James Marshall takes a ‘practical, commercial approach to his advice’ and provides an ‘extremely high level of client service’. Also recommended are ‘very professional’, ‘knowledgeable’ and ‘fast-thinking’ associate Victoria Newbold; Edward Coulson and associate Andrew Leitch, who joined the team from Hausfeld; and consultant Anthony Rosen, who joined from Sky.

Maurits Dolmans heads the ‘highly expert’, ‘responsive’, and ‘rigorous’ practice at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP; his recent work includes advising Google on the European Commission’s investigation into the company’s alleged abuse of a dominant position in relation to online search, and on the CMA’s call for information on the commercial use of consumer data. Counsel Paul Gilbert advised Barclays on the sale of its index benchmarking and risk analytics business to Bloomberg, and acted for Amundi on the acquisition from Oddo et Cie of an 87.5% stake in KBI and its subsidiaries. ‘Highly effective drafter and negotiator’ David Little was promoted to counsel and was part of the team advising Dow Chemical Company on its $130bn all-stock merger with DuPont. Nicholas Levy advised The Coca-Cola Company on a complex transaction that combined the bottling operations of Coca-Cola Enterprises, a US company that owns the Coca-Cola bottlers in countries such as Belgium, France, and Great Britain; Coca-Cola Iberian Partners; and Coca-Cola Erfrischungsgetränke. Other key clients include 21st Century Fox, HarperCollins, LafargeHolcim, Merck, and Sony Corporation.

Malcolm Walton leads the ‘excellent’ practice at Macfarlanes LLP, which was joined by Cameron Firth, Christophe Humpe, Tom Usher, and ‘commercial and pragmatic’ senior consultant Stephen Kon (who is praised for his ‘technically brilliant and creative advice’) from King & Wood Mallesons. Usher (who ‘combines expertise with pragmatism’ is a ‘good listener’ and provides ‘commercial advice’) advised Ladbrokes on its merger with Coral, which was cleared at phase II by the CMA, while Humpe advised Visa Inc on its merger with Visa Europe, and provided advice to a number of pharmaceutical companies under investigation by the European Commission in connection with alleged pay for delay settlement agreements. The ‘technically excellent’ Firth (who is praised for his ‘solution-focused approach’) is advising Actavis UK and Auden McKenzie on the CMA’s investigation into alleged excessive and unfair pricing of hydrocortisone tablets. ‘Confident and straightforward’ senior counsel Fiona Beattie is also recommended. Former head of competition Marc Israel joined White & Case LLP.

Martin Coleman is the global head and the ‘energetic, personable and wisePeter Scott is the European head of Norton Rose Fulbright’s ‘strong team, which is committed to providing an excellent service without any arrogance’. Other key figures include Mark Tricker, Ian Giles (who has ‘excellent legal skills and a very helpful attitude’), and Mark Simpson. Simpson led the team defending HSBC against allegations of collusion into the European Commission’s investigation of manipulations of the Euro inter-bank rate, while Tricker successfully advised Carlsberg on the outsourcing of certain logistics operations to DHL Supply Chain Limited, which was cleared by the CMA. Scott is advising Mercer in respect of the Financial Conduct Authority’s asset management market study and its provisional decision to refer it to the CMA for a market investigation. Other recent work includes advising Reckitt Benckiser Group on its acquisition of the K-Y brand from Johnson & Johnson, which was cleared in the UK and involved filings in multiple jurisdictions.

The ‘excellent’ practice at Pinsent Masons LLP is praised for its ‘huge diversity of competition law expertise’, ‘understanding of what the client is looking for’, and ‘impressive strength in depth’. Clients include Teva Pharmaceuticals, DCC and Saint Gobain. Practice head and ‘seasoned competition lawyer’ Alan Davis, who joined from Jones Day, is advising CST Industries in the CMA’s cartel investigation into the supply of galvanised steel tanks for water storage. Guy Lougher (who has ‘excellent judgement’ and is ‘unflappable under pressure’) acted for E.ON in the CMA’s market investigation into the retail energy market, and advised new client AMC on the merger control aspects of its acquisition of the Odeon & UCI group, which involved merger notifications to the European Commission and the CMA. Also recommended are Angelique Bret, who is ‘a rising star with a wonderful client touch’, and who is praised for her ‘thoughtful, pragmatic and calming approach’; newly made-up partner Caroline Ramsay, who is based in Glasgow, has ‘cutting-edge experience’ and is ‘very good at meeting short time scales’; and Giles Warrington in Birmingham, who is a ‘true gentleman’ with ‘excellent experience in market investigations’. Jenny Block joined Ofwat as general counsel.

Bruce Kilpatrick heads the ‘incredibly attentive’, ‘commercial’, and ‘practical’ team at Addleshaw Goddard, which counts Sainsbury’s, JD Sports, and RBS among its clients. Rona Bar-Isaac advised William Hill on its submissions to the CMA in response to the merger of Ladbrokes and Coral, while managing associate Al Mangan acted for JRJR, owner of Kleeneze, in relation to its acquisition of Betterware Limited, which received clearance from the CMA. Kilpatrick is defending NKT Cables in claims brought by National Grid and Scottish Power for alleged overcharges in relation to the high voltage cables infringement decision by the European Commission. Other recent work includes advising Manchester Airports Group in relation to a successful leniency application to the Civil Aviation Authority in relation to a price-fixing arrangement; the team successfully argued for the reduction of the proposed £12.5m fine down to zero. Manchester-based Phil McDonnell left the team to join Ernst & Young Global Limited

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld provides ‘thoughtful and proactive analysis’ and advises clients on merger control and antitrust investigations, with particular strengths in the financial, energy, technology, and IP sectors. Practice head and ‘highly regarded antitrust expert’ Davina Garrod is praised for her ‘in-depth understanding of the regulatory landscape in markets’ and ‘multi-jurisdictional knowledge’. Garrod represented LEO Pharma in merger control investigations in multiple jurisdictions – including by the CMA – in relation to its €675m acquisition of the global dermatological product portfolio of Astellas Pharma; she also advised more than 100 financial institutions holding in excess of $33bn of bonds issued by insolvent Icelandic banks on EU and EEA state aid issues. Other clients include Goldman Sachs, Lukoil, Apollo Global Management, and new client Foxconn. Associate Scott Pettifor is also recommended, as is associate Alaric Green, who joined in March 2017 from Slaughter and May.

The ‘extremely knowledgeable and experienced’, ‘client-friendly’, and ‘pragmatic’ team at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLPpunches well above its weight’ and counts Philip Morris International, AT&T, General Electric, CPA Global, and Intercept among its clients. Practice head Tim Frazer is ‘an expert in the field’; ‘he knows the life sciences industry inside out’. Frazer is leading the team advising Monsanto on the multi-jurisdictional clearance of its $66bn merger with Bayer. Other recent work includes advising Mondeléz International on its acquisition of a Cadbury licence from Burton’s Biscuit Company. Senior associates Mark Gardner and Karoline Phillips are also recommended. Susan Hinchcliffe joined General Electric.

The ‘responsive’ and ‘commercially-focused’ team at Bristows LLP is well regarded for its expertise in the IP and TMT sectors, where it provides an ‘inventive’ and ‘highly tailored’ approach to clients including Google, Samsung, International Copyright Enterprise Services, Sony, and Laboratoires Servier. Practice head Pat Treacy is advising longstanding client Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe on resisting a potential interim injunction application in relation to abuse of dominance allegations, while Stephen Smith (who joined from RPC, is providing strategic advice to the British Brands Group in relation to the operation of the Groceries Supply Code of Practice. Other recent work includes advising Denon and Marantz in respect of the European Commission’s investigation into suspected anti-competitive practices in the EU. Treacy and newly made-up partner Sophie Lawrance provide ‘highly bespoke advice in a measured and digestible way’; they are praised for their ‘in-depth knowledge’ of the TMT and IP sectors.

Cyrus Mehta and Caroline Hobson head the ‘excellent’ practice at CMS, which has been strengthened following its three-way merger with Olswang LLP and Nabarro LLP. The amalgamated practice, which provides ‘solid, commercial, and balanced’, acts for a list of heavyweight clients including Mercedes-Benz UK, Thomson Reuters, BT, Amazon, and IMG, and the practice is active across the energy, life sciences, financial services, transport, and technology sectors. The ‘commercial and client-friendlySatyen Dhana acted on EU and UK merger control and competition issues arising from SSE’s sale of its stake in Scotia Gas Networks to the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, while Graeme Young advised the University of Glasgow in relation to the CMA’s investigation into the university’s student debt policy. Mehta advised the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) on the CMA’s remittal investigation following a successful appeal against the CMA’s decision to impose divestments during its original investigation into private healthcare. Brian Sher (who is praised for his ‘devotion to his clients’ and ‘boundless energy’) advised GlaxoSmithKline on the competition law aspects of disputes with generic companies over infringement of trade mark rights in multiple European jurisdictions. Other recent work includes advising PVC Holdings in relation to the CMA’s cartel investigation into a number of modelling agencies, and acting for an overseas financial institution subject to an investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority.

The ‘effective’ Sam Szlezinger heads the practice at DLA Piper; his recent highlights include advising VimpelCom on merger control clearance for the acquisition by its subsidiary Mobilink of competing mobile network operator Warid, and acting for FA Premier League (FAPL) on Ofcom’s investigation into the sale of FAPL’s UK live broadcasting rights for football matches. Alexandra Kamerling (who is noted for giving ‘great advice’ that is ‘practical and commercial’) led the team advising Qualcomm on a joint venture agreement with TDK requiring clearances in a number of jurisdictions. Sarah Smith and Szlezinger advised Heineken on its acquisition of the partial Punch pub estate, which involved handling merger control issues before the CMA. Other notable clients include Etihad Airways, Gazprom, NTT Data, and Merck. Also recommended are ‘personable’ senior associate Ilan Sherr, who provides ‘great commercial advice’, and Richard Jenkinson, who joined the team from Dentons.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP provides ‘prompt’, ‘reliable’, and ‘user-friendly’ advice to a client base that includes Vodafone, Volkswagen Group, Roche Products, and Cobham. Practice head and ‘excellent adviserRos Kellaway acted alongside senior associate Aysha Fernandes and others advising RWE UK’s supply, generation, and trading businesses on the CMA’s energy market investigation. The practice has experience in cartel and market investigations, merger control work, and in providing strategic behavioural and compliance advice. Stephen Rose and Julia Woodward-Carlton are also recommended, as is Peter Harper, who joined from Allen & Overy LLP in 2017.

Experienced competition lawyer’ and ‘sharp legal mind’ Charles Whiddington heads the team at Fieldfisher, which includes John Cassels and the ‘efficient’, ‘technically excellent’, and ‘approachable’ Nicholas Pimlott. Cassels provided strategic competition advice to Kellogg/Pringles EMEA GC in relation to business risk issues, while Pimlott led the state aid advice to Sports England in connection with its £200m Parklife project. The team also acted for Starbucks on a pan-European risk and compliance audit, and advised Sazerac on EU competition, IP, and regulatory issues associated with their branded spirits. Other key clients include BBC, Digital UK, and S&P Global. Associate Lisa Hatfield is also recommended.

Matt Evans heads the team at Jones Day, which counts MasterCard, Level 3, Linear Technology, Chevron, and Goldman Sachs among its clients. Evans advised Mittal Investments on its sale of Hope Construction Materials to Breedon Group, securing a conditional clearance from the CMA, and represented Wabtec before the European Commission in respect of its $1.8bn acquisition of Faiveley, securing a conditional phase II clearance. Other recent work includes advising Newell Brands on its sale to Stanley Black & Decker which involved merger clearance in multiple jurisdictions, including in the UK; and advising DV4 on obtaining phase I clearance from the European Commission for itsjoint acquisition, with Qatari Diar and APG, of residential developments in London. Nick Cotter is part of the team advising CST Industries in relation to the ongoing civil cartel investigation into galvanised steel tanks. Alan Davis joined Pinsent Masons LLP.

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP’s clients include Sun Capital Partners, Vista Private Equity, Danaher Corporation and Tenneco. Practice head Paula Riedel successfully represented Teva Pharmaceuticals in the CMA’s investigation into alleged ‘pay for delay’ settlement agreements involving the Teva-controlled company IVAX, and advised Accenture on its sale of Navitaire to Amadeus. Sally Southwell and Sarah Jordan advised Sithe Global, a Blackstone portfolio company, on merger control notifications in the Philippines in relation to the sale of its electricity generation assets to Aboitiz Power, securing unconditional clearance by the Philippines Competition Commission. The team is also advising Bain Capital in relation to its sale of German portfolio company FTE Automotive to Valeo. Southwell joined in 2016 from Linklaters LLP. Shaun Goodman has left the profession.

The practice at Latham & Watkins is jointly headed by Jonathan Parker, who was hired in 2016 from the CMA, and John Colahan. Parker advised Onex Corporation on its acquisition of Parkdean Resorts, secured approval from the European Commission, while Colahan advised RPC Group on its acquisition of ESE World BV, securing unconditional merger clearances in multiple jurisdictions. The team also advised Survitec on its acquisition of Wilhelmsen Maritime Services and advised GTCR UK on its acquisition of PR Newswire, both cleared at phase I by the CMA. Other key clients include Allergan, Adecco, InterXion Holding, and Singapore Airlines. Associates Sophia Lange and Maija Hall joined the team from the firm’s Brussels office and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, respectively. John Kallaugher is also recommended.

Matthew Readings heads the practice at Shearman & Sterling LLP, and advised longstanding client Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) on its $650m acquisition of Trayport, which involved a phase II investigation by the CMA. James Webber is advising Albermale Corporation on the sale of its Chemetall Surface Treatment business to BASF for approximately $3.2bn, including advising on antitrust issues and on the multi-jurisdictional merger clearance process. Christopher Bright is advising Viacom and its subsidiary Paramount Pictures on the European Commission’s investigation into cross-border access to pay-tv content. Other recent work for the team includes advising Jaguar Land Rover on state aid issues in relation to the development or redevelopment of manufacturing plants, and advising Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) on the competition law aspects of its contemplated bid for London Stock Exchange. Nokia, Qualcomm, the Dow Chemical Company, Thomson Reuters, and EFG Hermes are also clients.

The practice at Simmons & Simmons has particular strengths in the financial, energy, and TMT sectors; according to one client, its life sciences and IP knowledge ‘sets the team apart’. Charles Bankes and the ‘pre-eminentTony Woodgate head the team, which includes the ‘extremely reassuring and professionalPeter Broadhurst, and which counts Ofgem, Nippon Electric Glass, Cheyne Capital, and Schlumberger among its clients. Bankes acted for new client Future plc in relation to its £14.2m purchase of the issued share capital of Miura Holdings Limited, securing conditional clearance by the CMA. Broadhurst advised Lion Trackhire on the CMA’s merger control review of its £38m sale to Ashtead Group. Supervising associate Ajit Kainth was part of the team advising a consortium of banks, including Morgan Stanley and Nomura, on competition law issues related to the projected creation of a standard repackaging documentation platform.

The ‘outstanding’ team at Travers Smith LLP provides ‘in-depth legal knowledge’ with a ‘personalised’ and ‘efficient’ approach, and is praised for its ability to balance ‘legal requirements and commercial realities’. Practice head Nigel Seay (‘smart’, ‘flexible’, ‘able to think creatively and commercially’) and ‘practical’ associate Paul McComb advised new client Breedon Aggregates on the £336m acquisition of Hope Construction Materials. Newly made-up partner Stephen Whitfield (who is ‘absolutely brilliant’, ‘very knowledgeable’ and ‘easy to talk to’) is advising Micro Focus on its £6.6bn acquisition of Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s non-core software business, which involves obtaining clearance in multiple jurisdictions, including the EU, and on its $540m acquisition of Serena Software. Other recent work includes advising Dee Valley Water on its proposed acquisition by Severn Trent, which involves the CMA and Ofwat. The team is also active in EU and UK market and cartel investigations, and provides strategic compliance advice.

Peter Willis heads the practice at Bird & Bird LLP, which counts The Football Association, EirGrid, and Sanofi Pasteur among its clients. Richard Eccles advised Wilhelmsen Maritime Services on the merger control aspects of the sale of its maritime safety business to Survitec, which involved securing clearances in multiple jurisdictions including in the UK. Eccles also provided competition law and state aid advice to the European Space Agency on proposals for new satellite-based commercial operations. Other key matters include providing compliance advice and dawn raid training to Kaspersky Lab UK, and assisting Fujifilm with the competition law aspects of an IP dispute with a competing business. Associate Ariane Le Strat is also recommended.

Dentons has a sector-focused practice with particular strengths in the energy, financial institutions, retail, transport, construction, and media areas. Practice head Adrian Magnus and managing associate Alex Haffner continued to advise World Fuel Services Corp on the merger control aspects of its acquisition of ExxonMobil’s aviation fuelling operations, which involved securing clearance in multiple jurisdictions, including by the European Commission. Other recent work includes advising John Lewis on competition aspects of its partnership with Clipper Logistics, and advising NYX Gaming Group on merger control aspects of its acquisition of OpenBet, which involved multiple jurisdictions. Managing associate Rebecca Owen-Howes is part of the team advising Total Outre-Mer on the merger control aspects of its acquisition of shares in Gulf Africa Petroleum Corporation from Reliance Industries. The team’s other clients include Flextronics, Aegon UK, Accor Hotels, J Sainsbury, and Royal Mail Group.

The ‘very responsive’ and ‘practical’ team at Dickson Minto WS is headed by Ajal Notowicz, who is a ‘very clear communicator’ with ‘phenomenal grasp of his subject’. The practice advises private equity houses, large corporate clients, and SMEs on merger control and behavioural antitrust matters. Notowicz acted for Compass Partners on its investment in a portfolio of assets owned by Bridgepoint and assisted BC Partners with the acquisition of 22 mental healthcare hospitals across the UK. Associate Maria Ziprani joined from CMS and was part of the team advising Wireless Infrastructure Group (WIG) and Wood Creek Capital Management on European Commission merger control issues arising from the acquisition by 3i of a controlling stake in WIG. Other clients include AG Barr, Aggreko, Charterhouse Capital Partners, Allflex, and Wireless Infrastructure Group.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP fields a ‘co-operative’ team of ‘true professionals’ led by Gillian Sproul and which includes Lisa Navarro and senior associate Simon Harms; ‘both are equally excellent, with great time management skills’. Sproul advised Jarden Corporation on the merger control aspects of its $15.4bn acquisition of the Jarden by Newell Rubbermaid, which involved multiple jurisdictions including the EU, while Navarro acted for Smiths Group on merger control and information exchange issues related to the divestment of its in vitro fertilisation business to CooperSurgical for £140m. The team is also advising Rentokil Initial on the antitrust aspects of its joint venture with Franz Haniel & Cie, and is advising Capita in relation to its acquisition of Vodafone’s paging business, which has involved a notification to the CMA. The practice continues to advise clients such as G-Form and Macmillan on the EU and UK competition law implications of their distribution strategies.

The ‘flexible’ practice at K&L Gates LLP is praised for its ‘in-depth analysis’ and ‘good knowledge of its client needs’. Key sector strengths include sports, mining and metals, and automotive. Practice head Scott Megregian advised Lockheed Martin on raising concerns before the European Commission in relation to Airbus Safran Launchers’ acquisition of Arianespace, resulting in a referral to phase II and a number of remedies imposed on the parties as conditions for approval. Neil Baylis advised LKQ Corporation on its acquisition of Andrew Page, including a successful request for derogations from the CMA’s interim hold separate order; he is also continuing to act for Balmoral Tanks in connection with the CMA’s investigation into the supply of galvanised steel tanks for water storage. Other clients include Danaher Corporation, Continental AG, Formula One, and Nest Labs.

David Harrison heads the ‘very solid’ team at Mayer Brown International LLP, which is noted for its ‘broad experience’ and ‘creative approach’, and which acts for clients including Agility Logistics, Assured Guaranty Limited, and Star Capital Partners. Harrison advised Wells Fargo on the merger control aspects of its $32bn acquisition of General Electric’s commercial distribution finance business. In another key matter, of counsel Warsha Kalé is part of the team advising CITIC Telecom CPC on the worldwide merger control aspects of its acquisition of the telecommunication assets of Linx Telecommunications. Other highlights included advising Unilever on general competition law issues and compliance, and advising Moody’s Corporation on a collaboration with Euler Hermes Ratings to provide credit ratings for SMEs and mid-cap companies across Europe.

The ‘dedicated’ and ‘hardworking’ team at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP is praised for its ‘common-sense, practical approach to complex matters’. ‘Fine leader and team playerFrances Murphy (who is noted for her ‘deep insight’, ‘strategic thinking’, and ‘positive and resilient approach’) heads the practice; she is advising Sanofi-Aventis on a range of competition issues, including in relation to its supply arrangements in Europe. Of counsel Joanna Christoforou, who joined from Ashurst, is part of the team advising AstraZeneca UK on new means of supplying and pricing medicine following the restructuring of the NHS’s buying practices and the establishment of healthcare and pharma regulator Monitor. Omar Shah, who joined the team from Latham & Watkins, is advising the London Metal Exchange on competition and public law issues arising from its decision to impose charge capping in respect of metal stored in its worldwide warehouse network. The team is also acting as lead counsel to Concordia in relation to two investigations by the CMA.

Reed Smith LLP’s sector strengths include life sciences, aviation, media, energy, and trade, with a particular emphasis on the shipping sector. The team is led by Edward Miller and Marjorie Holmes, who is praised for her ‘experience’ and ‘excellent knowledge’ of this ‘unique sector’. Miller advised Situs Group Holdings Corporation on the merger control aspects of its acquisition of Hatfield Philips International, and advised a well-known international consumer apparel group on competition law compliance issues. Holmes is advising The Alliance on EU compliance issues, including in relation to Article 2 on self-assessment, and is assisting the BBC with its response to the European Commission’s investigation into the e-commerce sector. Other recent work includes advising a third party giving evidence in the CMA’s investigation into Trayport’s acquisition by Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). Channel 4 and an international pharmaceutical company are also among the firm’s clients.

Led by the ‘outstandingPatrick Harrison (who is praised for his ‘mastery of the substantive competition laws’, ‘fantastic client-oriented manner’ and ‘fresh approach’) and Stephen Kinsella (who splits his time between London and Brussels and is an ‘impressive advocate’ and ‘extremely astute adviser’), the ‘fantastic’ and ‘experienced’ team at Sidley Austin LLP delivers ‘user-friendly’, ‘quick, clear and concise’ advice. Harrison advised Recall Corporation in relation to its sale to Iron Mountain for $2.6bn, and acted for Heineken in relation to the antitrust aspects of its $781m acquisition of certain assets from Diageo. The team’s other highlights included providing multi-jurisdictional merger control advice to TowerBrook Capital Partners on a number of acquisitions, and acting for Nidec Corporation on its $1.2bn acquisition of certain businesses from Emerson Electric Company, which involved clearance in a number of jurisdictions including the EU. Other clients include eBay, Bayer Cropscience, and Mastercard. Senior associate Rosanna Connolly is also recommended.

The ‘strategically excellent’ Robert Vidal heads the team at Taylor Wessing LLP; he can ‘think outside the box’ and ‘sees things from his client’s business perspective’. The team remains particularly strong in the pharmaceuticals and technology sectors; Vidal and ‘technically excellent’ senior counsel Louisa Penny advised News Corporation and News Corp UK & Ireland on its proposed acquisition of Wireless Group for £220.3m, securing a decision from both the CMA and Ofcom not to investigate the acquisition under the Enterprise Act 2002. Together with senior associate Richard Craig, Vidal also advised Esterline Technologies Corporation on the disposal of the air countermeasures and pyrotechnics business and certain assets of Wallop Defence Systems to Chemring, which was cleared by the CMA. The team also advised Ranbaxy Laboratories and its owner Sun Pharmaceutical Industries on the European Commission’s investigation into pay for delay agreements.

The Bristol-based practice at Burges Salmon LLP is led by Laura Claydon and has significant sector experience in transport, retail, and water. Claydon led the team advising Co-Operative Group on the acquisition of 15 Budgens stores from Booker, and the sale of 298 of its smaller stores to McColls, both of which were cleared by the CMA in 2016. The team also advised a firm of surveyors, property consultants, and estate agents in the South West in relation to the CMA’s investigation into the residential estate agency services sector and provided advice to a waterways charity in relation to the application of its public competition law compliance code of practice, which involved advising on horizontal and vertical competition issues, potential abuse of dominance issues, and potential anti-competitive behaviours. John Houlden continues to advise the University of Bristol on a range of state aid and procurement law matters. Chris Worall joined the team from Clifford Chance LLP.

The ‘excellent’ practice at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is jointly headed by Paul Henty and Paul Stone, who has ‘excellent client skills’, ‘deep technical knowledge’ and ‘an astute tactical sense’). Stone acted for Consultant Eye Surgeons Partnership on a cartel investigation by the CMA into private ophthalmology, securing a settlement and a 25% fine reduction; he is also advising the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Bahrain on a variety of competition law matters. Other recent work includes advising Lloyds Pharmacy on a leniency application to the CMA arising from its care home medicines cartel investigation. The team also acts for ITV, YouView, and Celesio. Associates Rory Ashmore and Elora Mukherjee are also recommended.

DAC Beachcroft LLP provides a ‘can-do’, ‘highly pragmatic’ approach and ‘in-depth knowledge’, with a focus on regulated or publicly owned sectors, including healthcare, financial services, and postal services. Practice head Alexandra von Westernhagen (who is noted for her ‘diverse knowledge of EU law’ and ‘ability to explain complex topics in clear terms’) advises Royal Mail on competition law and regulatory issues in relation to UK and EU law, and is providing state aid advice to North East Finance on its establishment of a suite of public investment funds for SMEs in the North East. Legal director David Harrison is part of the team advising British Business Bank on a number of state aid matters, including its Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme; he is also advising the Association of Independent Healthcare Organisations on competition law issues arising from horizontal co-operation between competitor groups in a policy initiative to bring more people into private healthcare.

At Gowling WLG, practice head Bernardine Adkins advised Estée Lauder Companies on merger control issues in relation to its acquisition of Too Faced for approximately $1.4bn, and continues to advise Carter Thermal Industries in relation to the Competition and Markets Authority’s cartel investigation into the supply of galvanised steel tanks. The team also advised Opus Energy Limited on merger control issues arising from the sale by auction of its entire share capital, worth £340m, to Drax Group. Other key clients include Dixons Carphone, AstraZeneca UK, Aston Martin Lagonda, and Seiko Epson Corporation. Samuel Beighton and Birmingham-based Anna Cundall were promoted to director and associate, respectively.

Anthony Woolich (who is noted for his ‘keen analytical mind’ and ‘good grasp of the commercial impact’) heads the ‘professional’, ‘responsive’, and ‘client-focused’ team at HFW, which includes Costas Frangeskides and Daniel Martin, and whose sector expertise includes shipping, aviation, logistics, energy, and TMT. The team secured clearance in China, Germany, and South Korea in relation to Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company’s restructuring of two joint venture companies it had formed with Rolls Royce and Singapore International Airlines. The firm also counts Maersk Group, BP, Morgan Stanley, and Ecom Agroindustrial Corporation among its clients. Associate Jeremy Kelly (who splits his time between London and Brussels) is also recommended.

Douglas Lahnborg heads the practice at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP, which has particular strengths in the technology sector, and counts Crane Co, Sony, Lucozade Ribena Suntory, Telenor, and PayPal among its clients. Lahnborg and senior associate Matthew Rose were part of the team providing merger control advice to Iron Planet Holdings in relation to its $758m acquisition by Ritchie Bros Auctioneers, and advised Apigee Corporation on its $625m acquisition by Google. Other recent work includes merger control advice to AVG Technologies in relation to its $1.3bn acquisition by Avast Software. Managing associate Saira Henry is also recommended. Patrick Hubert, previously head of antitrust at Clifford Chance’s Paris office, joined the practice in Paris, along with three members of his team.

Shepherd and Wedderburn’s clients include Scandinavian Airlines, BT, the European Competitive Telecoms Association, Heineken, John Lewis, and Scottish Power. The ‘helpful’, ‘responsive’ and ‘practicalJohn Schmidt leads the ‘down-to-earth’ practice, which delivers ‘high-quality specialist advice’ and ‘hands-on attention from partners’. Schmidt, together with solicitor Zeno Frediani, successfully represented Teva UK in the CMA’s investigation into agreements in the pharmaceutical sector, and continues to advise Teva in relation to the European Commission’s investigation into patent dispute settlement agreements regarding an ACE inhibitor. Other recent work includes advising Skyscanner on the merger control aspects of its £1.4bn deal with Ctrip. The practice is active across a number of sectors, including energy and pharmaceuticals, and has particular strengths in the TMT sector thanks to Gordon Moir and consultant Annemaree McDonough.

Martin Rees and Diarmuid Ryan head the ‘responsive’ and ‘always accessible’ team at Squire Patton Boggs, which provides ‘pragmatic’ advice and ‘first-class service’ across a number of sectors including TMT and life sciences. Ryan (who is noted for his ‘outstanding knowledge’ and ‘great combination of skills, experience, and personality’) is advising a service provider to auction houses under investigation by the CMA in connection with suspected anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominance. together with newly made-up partner Will Sparks in Brussels, Ryan advised Synthomer on its acquisition of Hexion’s performance adhesive and coatings business. Other recent work includes successfully advising a bathroom fittings manufacturer in relation to the CMA’s bathroom fittings probe, and advising Ashtead Group on the CMA’s review of its proposed acquisition of Lion Trackhire. Francesco Liberatore is also recommended.

At Stephenson Harwood, practice head Marta Garcia (who is ‘very thorough’ and provides ‘pragmatic recommendations’) advised Acadia Healthcare on the preliminary competition law aspects of its acquisition of the Priory Group, and advised Arriva Rail London Limited on the award of the London Overground 2 concession by Transport for London, successfully persuading the CMA there was no case to review the award. Associate Simon Albert was part of the team advising Vistra Group Management on its acquisition of the Jordans Group from the West of England Trust. The team has strengths in a number of sectors, including transport, financial services, life sciences, and energy.

The ‘very committedJuan Rodriguez heads the practice at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, and is leading the global team advising Bayer AG on the competition law elements and clearances for its $66bn acquisition of Monsanto. European counsel Axel Beckmerhagen was part of the team acting for Iveco and its parent CNH Holding International on a settlement with the European Commission over fines for participation in a truck maker cartel. The team continued to advise Alcatel-Lucent on its acquisition by Nokia and Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division on its acquisition of Navico and C-MAP from Altor 2003 Fund, both cleared by the European Commission. Rodriguez is also leading the team representing Fiat Chrysler Finance Europe in a EU state aid investigation regarding Luxembourg tax.

Mark Powell heads the ‘tactically astute’ and ‘impressive’ team at White & Case LLP; he is acting for BUPA in relation to its acquisition of Oasis Dental Care. Marc Israel, who joined the team from Macfarlanes LLP, acted for the successful immunity applicant GB Eye in relation to the CMA’s cartel investigation into online price fixing; he also advised Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank on their joint acquisition of the private equity portfolio of the National Bank of Greece for €288m, and, together with associate Aqeel Kadri, advised Legal & General Investment Management on the Financial Conduct Authority’s asset management market study. Jacquelyn MacLennan assisted DX (Group) in relation to its acquisition of The Legal Post (Scotland) and First Post, while James Killick is leading the advice to Pfizer in relation to the CMA’s investigation into alleged excessive pricing; both divide their time between Brussels and London. MacLennan, Charles Balmain, and John Reynolds remain particularly active in competition litigation.

The practice at Winston & Strawn London LLP continues to be active in cartel and competition investigations, state aid, and merger control work, in addition to providing strategic competition law advice. Practice head Peter Crowther and associate Jade-Alexandra Fearns advised Motorola Solutions on its £817.5m acquisition of Airwave, including the CMA’s investigation into the completed acquisition.

James Ashe-Taylor leads the team at Constantine Cannon LLP, which has a particular focus on the telecommunications, automotive, airlines, and payment systems sectors, and includes Richard Pike (who is ‘extremely personable’, ‘knows his sectors’ and provides ‘detailed technical knowledge’) and associates Irene Fraile and Yulia Tosheva. The practice is active in merger control, strategic competition and compliance advice, and antitrust investigations, and counts Three, British Airways, Boots UK, and Brookfield Utilities UK No 2 Limited among its clients.

With particular strengths in the TMT and life sciences sectors, the practice at Cooley (UK) LLP continues to provide competition law advice and to assist clients with investigations by the European Commission and the Competition and Markets Authority. Practice head Becket McGrath (who is ‘very knowledgeable’ and ‘delivers good results and risk assessments’) advised Rovi Corporation on the non-US merger control aspects of its acquisition of TiVo. Other key clients include the Guardian Media Group, The Pokémon Company, Harrods, and new clients OpenLink and ChannelAdvisor.

Timothy McIver heads the practice at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, which specialises in merger control in a number of sectors including technology and communications, energy, aviation, and financial services. McIver advised Dover Corporation on its $780m acquisition of Wayne Fueling Systems from Riverstone Holdings, which was cleared in the UK with remedies by the CMA; he also advised Solenis on its separate acquisitions of Lostris International, Wester Blend, and Nopco Paper Technology. Other highlights included advising on global merger control approvals, including from the European Commission, of American Securities LLC and P2 Capital Partners LLC‘s acquisition of joint control over Blount International. Other key clients include Eutelsat Communications, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and American International Group.

European competition "wunderkind"’ Oliver Bretz heads the practice at Euclid Law, which grew last year with the arrivals of Marie Leppard from Clifford Chance LLP, senior consultant Gavin Robert from Linklaters LLP, and counsel Daniel Cummins, as well as the promotion to partnership of Sarah Long (who is ‘user-friendly’ and provides ‘commercially-focused advice’). The team delivers ‘exceptional quality’, thinks ‘outside the box’, and is praised for its ‘flexibility’ and ‘reactivity’. Bretz (who has ‘deep knowledge of competition law’ and a ‘practical approach’, providing ‘invaluable and spot-on advice’) advised Statoil Fuel & Retail on the divestment approach necessary to obtain phase I clearance of its acquisition of Shell’s retail fuel network in Denmark; together with Leppard, Bretz is acting for a major investment bank in the European Commission’s cartel investigation into FOREX manipulation. Brussels-based Damien Geradin, who joined the firm following the merger of his practice EDGE Legal, assisted Bpost with the notification of a state aid package granted by the Belgian government to the European Commission, and is advising O2 on the European Commission’s investigation of network sharing agreements between O2 and T-Mobile in the Czech Republic. The team also advised a client on bringing a competition complaint to the CMA in relation to Intercontinental Exchange’s acquisition of Trayport.

Tobias Caspary heads the ‘exemplary’ practice at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (London) LLP, which provides ‘absolute subject matter expertise’ and ‘responsive practical advice’ with a focus on multi-jurisdictional merger control investigations. The team includes associates Neda Moussavi and Max Küttner, who joined in 2016 from the CMA. The ‘excellent’, ‘highly knowledgeable’, and ‘business-savvy’ Caspary acted for Combe, an interested third party in the CMA’s phase II merger investigation of Reckitt Benckiser’s acquisition of the KY brand, and advised Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories on its $1.4bn acquisition of Interactive Intelligence Group. The ‘extremely collegiate and responsive’ Moussavi was part of the team advising Aleris Corporation on its sale to Zhongwang International Group, and the team advised AEA Investors in the $2.1bn sale of its portfolio company Dematic to KION Group. Other clients include New Mountain Capital, Goldman Sachs, Ascential Group, and Onex Partners.

Ali Nikpay heads the team at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, which includes Patrick Doris and of counsel Deirdre Taylor. Doris advised an industrial client on the polyurethane foam cartel investigation and secured immunity from fines by the European Commission, and represented a global banking entity in relation to a global investigation into the manipulation of currency exchange rates. Taylor has provided antitrust advice to clients across such sectors as telecommunications, aviation, financial services, and pharmaceuticals. The practice’s other clients have included UBS, Gala Coral, Schlumberger, Facebook, and Debenhams.

The ‘excellent’ practice at Ince & Co delivers strong expertise in the shipping sector, and has strengths in the aviation, transport and energy sectors. Practice head Philip Ruttley led the team acting for NYK in respect of the long-running European Commission investigation into alleged price signalling in the container shipping sector and, together with managing associate Solange Leandro, continues to provide compliance advice to Air New Zealand. Alison Marriott joined the team from Simmons & Simmons as a consultant.

Mishcon de Reya LLP’s clients include Sainsbury’s, Hewlett-Packard, Esso Petroleum, Whitbread Group, and Camelot. Practice head Andrij Jurkiw advised Viva Model Management on the CMA’s cartel investigation into UK model agency services, and, together with managing associate Natasha Pearman (who joined from Pinsent Masons LLP) advised Cineworld on its acquisition of five UK cinemas, securing phase I clearance by the CMA. The team also advised Hammer plc on the sale of shares in the company to DCC plc and secured the European Commission’s unconditional clearance at phase I. Litigation-specialist Sarah Houghton was promoted to partner.

The ‘excellent’ team at Osborne Clarke LLP is headed by ‘exceptional lawyer’ Simon Neill (who is ‘vastly knowledgeable’, ‘likeable’, and a ‘reassuring presence in difficult discussions’), and ‘goes over and above’, helping clients make the ‘correct commercial decisions’. Neill advised SMART Technologies on the CMA’s review of its acquisition by Hon Hai Precision Industry, securing unconditional clearance, while legal director Marc Shrimpling from the Bristol office advised Dyson on its European distribution model in relation to EU and national competition laws. Associate director Katherine Kirrage is part of the team advising Nomad Foods on competition law compliance in all areas of the business across the EU. The team is also advising EE in connection with the Home Office’s procurement for the emergency services mobile communications programmes, and News UK on a wide range of competition law matters. Bristol-based senior associates Rebecca Malone and Zoë Hare are also recommended.

Rising starLambros Kilaniotis (who is ‘very knowledgeable’ and ‘hard-working’) heads the team at RPC, which was appointed to RSA Group’s legal panel and counts Sports Direct International, Coca-Cola European Partners, ASOS, Daily Mail & General Trust, and Johnson Controls among its clients. Kilaniotis advised ANV Holding on the competition and merger control aspects of its $218m acquisition by AmTrust Financial Services, and advised Paine & Partners on its strategic investment in Meadow Foods. Senior associate Melanie Musgrave is part of the team providing strategic advice to RSA Group on issues arising from the CMA’s investigation into the private motor insurance market. Stephen Smith joined Bristows LLP.

The ‘competitive and creative’ practice at Watson Farley & Williams LLP delivers strong sector experience in transport, energy, and natural resources, and counts OMV AG, Budapest Airport, Airport Strategy & Marketing (ASM), The GSM Association, and the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust among its clients. Practice head Jeremy Robinson (‘knowledgeable’, ‘proactive’, ‘engaging’) is advising DONG Energy on the competition law aspects of various long-term exclusive trading agreements and, together with associate Vineet Budhiraja, advised Pensionskassernes Administration on the competition aspects of its acquisition of a 50% stake in the Teesside renewable energy plant. The team also advised OMV AG and OMV Exploration & Production on the sale of 100% of the shares in its subsidiary OMV (UK) to Siccar Point Energy.


Equity capital markets

Index of tables

  1. Equity capital markets
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

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Next generation lawyers

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Allen & Overy LLP regularly advises underwriters and issuers on the UK and US aspects of a range of equity transactions. The team’s roster of investment bank clients and its integration with the firm’s wider EMEA capital markets practice enables it to act on some of the largest London and cross-border issuances and listings. In one of the department’s largest deals of 2016, practice head David Broadley and James Roe advised Coca-Cola Iberian Partners on its three-way merger with Coca-Cola Enterprises and Coca-Cola Erfrischunsgetränke to form Coca-Cola European Partners, which involved listings on the NYSE, LSE and five other European exchanges. On the lender side, Roe advised a 14-bank syndicate as joint bookrunners on the €2.45bn capital raising by Steinhoff, which has a primary listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and a secondary listing in Johannesburg. Adam Wells heads the US corporate finance practice and acted alongside Richard Browne to advise Cobham in connection with its £500m capital raising. Additionally, Jeff Hendrickson assisted Tullett Prebon with its issuance of 310 million new shares to ICAP shareholders in connection with the client’s acquisition of ICAP. Other significant mandates in 2016 have included the CMC Markets IPO and the highly publicised Clydesdale Bank IPO.

With an even split of issuer and underwriter work and a deep specialism in the oil and gas sector, Ashurst is regularly involved in some of the largest London-market IPOs. Indeed, Karen Davies and Eric Stuart advised EnQuest plc, the largest independent UK oil producer in the North Sea, on the placing and open offer in multiple jurisdictions in connection with the client’s multibillion-dollar restructuring. Nicholas Holmes heads the equity capital markets practice and advised a syndicate of lenders, including Barclays and J.P. Morgan, on Countryside Properties’ successful £1.1bn main-market London IPO. Similarly, he acted for a group of leading investment banks in relation to the €815m block trade in Abertis Infraestructuras. Jennifer Schneck leads the firm’s US securities practice, and Nick Williamson is an active member of the equity capital markets group, who specialises in the energy and natural resources sectors. The department is instructed by issuers such as Time Out Group and Chesnara, while sponsor clients include UBS, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Jefferies International.

Clifford Chance has continued to attract enviable bank-side and issuer-side work throughout the London and European equity capital markets. In one of the department’s flagship deals of 2016, Adrian Cartwright, who heads the global equity capital markets practice, acted for National Australia Bank and CYBG in relation to the demerger of the two entities, and CYBG simultaneous IPO and listing on the LSE. Additionally, Cartwright and US securities expert John Connolly advised Informa on its £715m rights issue, which was used to fund the client’s £1.2bn acquisition of Penton. As underwriter’s counsel, the team acted for a consortium of banks led by Goldman Sachs International and Bank of America Merrill Lynch on Ascential’s IPO and listing on the LSE. Similarly, the group was instructed by the underwriter banks in relation to Metro Bank’s £400m pre-listing equity capital raise and subsequent listing on London’s main market. In the wider European market, Iain Hunter and Christopher Walton worked alongside the firm’s Warsaw office to advise the underwriters of Alior Bank’s PLN2.2bn rights issue to fund the acquisition of the banking business of Bank BPH from GE Capital.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is regarded as having one of the most formidable corporate teams in London. Mark Austin acts for corporates and investment banks on a range of public and private securities offerings and is a member of the Primary Markets Group, which advises the LSE on capital markets issues. Christopher Mort has notable experience of headline listings, and was recently instructed by ConvaTec Group on what was the UK’s largest IPO in 2016. Doug Smith has experience acting for sponsors, issuers and underwriters on a range of capital markets transactions, such as IPOs, secondary offerings and private placements. Specialising in US-securities, Sarah Murphy acts for corporates seeking an opening to the US and international capital markets and Julian Makin is another key contact.

The equity capital markets department at Herbert Smith Freehills LLPranks among the highest quality teams in the London market’. Known particularly for its FTSE 100 client-base, it is currently involved in two substantial and highly sensitive European equity transactions, and also has deep expertise in emerging market listings. Department head Charles Howarth, rated for his ‘technical excellence’, is advising Barclays and Deutsche Bank as joint sponsors and financial advisers on the highly publicised merger of London Stock Exchange Group plc and Deutsche Börse AG and the subsequent admission to the premium listing segment of the Official List of the UK Listing Authority and the LSE. Mike Flockhart specialises in corporate finance transactions and acted for the banks, including HSBC and Morgan Stanley, on the £735m rights issue by Phoenix Group in order to fund its acquisition of Abbey Life from Deutsche Bank. Other recent highlights include advising the underwriters of Allied Irish Banks’s €12bn IPO. Tom O’Neill heads the US securities practice, and Dinesh Banani is also highly recommended and specialises in the US-law aspects of international offerings by non-US issuers. James Palmer is another key contact.

Latham & Watkins’ equity capital markets team is especially well-known for its presence in the Nordic, Benelux and Swiss markets and has particular expertise in private equity-backed IPOs and foreign private issuances on US exchanges. European equity capital markets department head Olof Clausson advised Morgan Stanley & Co, J.P. Morgan and Nordea as underwriters on the part-privatisation and DKK19.7bn IPO by DONG Energy; this was Europe’s largest PE-backed IPO in 2016. Similarly, Clausson acted for Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley & Co and Nordea as underwriters of Nets’ IPO on Nasdaq Copenhagen, which was 2016’s second largest PE-backed European IPO. On the issuer-side, David Boles acted for the issuer and sponsor in relation to Resurs Holding’s IPO and listing on Nasdaq Stockholm. He also acted alongside Clausson for VAT Group AG in relation to its IPO of 12 million registered shares on the SIX Swiss Exchange. Richard Brown heads the firm’s UK equity capital markets group and was instructed by TI Fluid Systems in connection with its proposed IPO and listing on the LSEs. Joshua Kiernan joined from White & Case LLP in 2016.

Given the commerciality and breadth of industry knowledge within the team’, Linklaters LLP’ equity capital markets department is ‘one of the highest quality groups’ in the City. It attracts instructions from issuer, sponsor and underwriter clients and has been involved in a number of recent UK main market IPOs. Jason Manketo, who jointly leads the department, acted for Credit Suisse Securities as global coordinator of Detsky Mir’s £295m IPO, which was offered to Russian and international investors. Mike Bienenfeld and James Wootton, ‘an exceptional young partner’, acted for multiple banking syndicates as joint managers, global coordinators, and bookrunners, in addition to UBS as sponsor, on ConvaTec Group’s IPO, which raised £1.46bn and was the largest UK IPO of 2016. Joint practice head John Lane helped advise Metro Bank on its £400m IPO – one of the few successful London IPOs in Q1 2016. In another issuer-side mandate, Iain Wagstaff assisted CMC Markets with its IPO offering to qualified US and UK investors and a further offer to retail investors. In the wider European market, the London group led a cross-office team that advised the underwriters on Dutch-insurer ASR’s IPO on Euronext Amsterdam. The department was also involved on the issuer’s side of the Countryside Properties IPO, and on the underwriter’s side of the CYBG IPO.

With a sprawling global network and instructions from investment banks and issuer clients, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is particularly active in the Nordic region and also has experience of emerging markets equity transactions. Sebastian Sperber and counsel Sarah Lewis acted for Goldman Sachs International and Nordea Bank, in addition to a number of other managers and bookrunners, on Ahlsell’s SEK6.9bn IPO, comprising an offering to Swedish retail and institutional investors and an international private placement; this was one of the top-ten successful European IPOs of 2016. In one particularly noteworthy issuer-side mandate, David Gottlieb, Simon Ovenden and Raj Panasar advised Alrosa on its sale of RUB52.2bn of its share capital in a domestic Russian offering and further international offering; the London team acted alongside the firm’s Moscow office, which was Russian counsel to both Alrosa and to the Russian Federation. The UK team also acted for Credit Suisse in relation to Engro Fertilizers’ secondary offering of 295 million ordinary shares through a block trade; the client is listed on the Pakistan Stock Exchange.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP runs an extremely active equity capital markets practice from its London office, which is well-regarded for its advice to issuers and underwriters in global IPOs and equity-related offerings. The department is consistently involved in some of the most valuable equity transactions throughout the whole of the European market. Paul Etienne Kumleben and Simon Witty jointly head the practice group, while John Banes and Reuven Young are also key contacts. Past issuer clients have included Abn Amro Group NV, Novo Nordisk AS and Bravida Holding AB.

Shearman & Sterling LLP is regularly instructed by issuers and underwriters in major UK, US and international equity capital markets transactions, but was particularly active on the bank-side in 2016. European equity capital markets department head David Dixter advised Danske Bank and Morgan Stanley, as joint global coordinators and bookrunners, on the €474m IPO and Nasdaq Helsinki listing of DNA Oyj. He also advised the underwriters, led by Goldman Sachs and UBS, in the €2.4bn capital increase by Banco Popular Español through a rights offering of about 2 billion ordinary shares. Outside of Europe, the team acted for EFG Hermes Promoting, as sole global coordinator and bookrunner, on the IPO and listing on the Egyptian Stock Exchange of Cleopatra Hospital Company. Issuer clients include Tele2, Nokia, Sasol and Norrporten. Apostolos Gkoutzinis leads the firm’s wider European capital markets department. Pawel Szaja was promoted to counsel and counsel Alejandro Gordano joined the firm from Credit Suisse in 2016. Richard Price joined Anglo American in 2017.

Taking commitment to the next level’, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLPcombines great client service with technical ability’. Working in conjunction with its European and wider, international network, the London team is well-positioned to advise on high-value equity transactions across the globe. Danny Tricot, noted for his ‘incredible work-rate and responsiveness’, advised Phoenix Group Holdings on a £735m rights issue, which was used to partly-fund the client’s £935m acquisition of Abbey Life. As issuer’s counsel, James McDonald is acting for IC Power in connection with its IPO and listing of ordinary shares on the NYSE. He is also working alongside James Healy as underwriter’s counsel to Banca IMI, Citi, Credit Suisse, Société Générale and UBS in relation to the Rule 144a/Reg S offering by Veneto Banca of new ordinary shares for €1bn; this high-profile transaction represents one of the largest recapitalisations of an Italian bank in history. The London team also worked with the firm’s Frankfurt office as issuer’s counsel in DNA Oyi’s €474m IPO. Pranav Trivedi is another contact in the practice group.

Impressive at every level of the organisation’, Slaughter and May acts for a litany of listed companies and consequently has one of the most well-known issuer-side equity capital markets practices in the London market. In one of the firm’s largest IPO deals of 2016, corporate department head Andy Ryde advised GE Capital International Holdings and MONETA Money Bank in connection with the listing of CZK 34.75bn of MONETA’s shares, which was the largest IPO in the Czech Republic in almost a decade. John Papanichola, who has ‘excellent technical and market knowledge’, acted for Centrica on the placing of 350 million ordinary shares, which raised £700m, He also assisted esure Group and Gocompare.com Group with their demerger, also advising the latter on its premium listing on the main market of the LSE. Practice head Nilufer von Bismarck, Susannah Macknay and David Johnson are key contacts. Other notable clients include SEGRO and Ensco.

With instructions from issuers and underwriters, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is strong throughout the European equity capital markets, but has been especially active in the Nordic and Benelux markets. In one of the flagship deals of the year, the team advised New Energy Investment, as shareholders, on DONG Energy’s DKK19.7bn IPO and listing on Nasdaq Copenhagen; the largest European IPO of the year and the largest-ever Danish IPO. In the Benelux markets, David Rockwell acted as issuer’s counsel for Basic-Fit on its €994m IPO and listing on Euronext Amsterdam. In 2016, John O’Connor advised Koninklijke Philips on the €839 IPO of 25% of its shares in Philips Lighting. Similarly, he acted for GE Capital on the IPO of one of its subsidiaries, MONETA Money Bank; the offering consisted of over 260 million shares listed on the Prague Stock Exchange. George White focuses on the US securities aspects of international capital markets transactions and splits his time between the firm’s London and New York offices.

The EMEA equity capital markets team at White & Case LLPdisplays a pragmatic, business-focused approach’ to a range of equity transactions throughout various European jurisdictions. The London office is a hub for UK and US qualified lawyers and works alongside the firm’s local securities specialists based in EMEA’s most active capital markets. Working alongside the firm’s Moscow office, Inigo Esteve acted for CJSC Sberbank CIB as agent to the Russian Federation, and Sberbank CIB and VTB Capital as joint global coordinators and bookrunners in connection with the $812m privatisation of the Russian Federation’s 10.9% stake in PJSC ALROSA. In the largest-ever rights issue in Italy, Michael Immordino advised Morgan Stanley, UniCredit, UBS, BAML, J.P. Morgan and Mediobanca as joint global coordinators of UniCredit’s €13bn rights issue. A large team, including Laura Sizemore and Jonathan Parry who is ‘an excellent negotiator and an able diplomat’, was instructed by Parques Reunidos on its €525m IPO on the Spanish Stock Exchange and a subsequent €114m block trade. Acting for issuers and underwriters, the department has also been increasingly active in London main market transactions.

Baker McKenzieinstils confidence’ in issuer and investment bank clients and is best known for handling international listings and offerings of emerging market corporates, but is also active throughout the European market. Nick O’Donnell and US securities expert Adam Farlow advised TBC Bank in connection with the establishment of a UK plc as the group’s holding company through a tender offer and premium listing of the plc’s shares on the LSE. Department head Edward Bibko has been involved in a number of IPOs in the Middle East, including Domty’s $127m IPO, which was structured to an international standard and listed on the Egyptian Stock Exchange. He also acted for Ros Argo in connection with its issue of Reg S/Rule 144a global depositary receipts listed on the LSE and Moscow’s MICEX. James Thompson has particular experience in EMEA capital markets deals and joined the firm from Linklaters LLP while Don Guiney retired.

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP runs ‘a top-notch’ US securities practice from its London office and is involved in some of the largest transactions in the US and global equity capital markets. George Stephanakis jointly leads the EMEA capital markets practice and has ‘unrivalled knowledge of US securities laws’. Department co-head Philip Boeckman advised innogy SE in relation to its €4.9bn IPO and listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Additionally, David Mercado assisted Becle SAB de CV (Jose Cuervo) in connection with its MXN11bn international offering in the US and concurrent MXN5bn IPO and listing on the Mexican Stock Exchange and Latin American Integrated Market; this represents the largest IPO in Mexico since 2013. In addition to its issuer-side practice, the team also has long-standing relationships with banks such as Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan.

With UK and US law capabilities, Mayer Brown International LLP’s London equity capital markets team has a reputation for advising issuers and underwriters on high-value equity transactions throughout Europe. Robert Flanigan and Kate Ball-Dodd are active members of the practice group, and Bernd Bohr is triple-qualified in New York, Germany and England and Wales. Issuer clients have included Aena SA, Entertainment One and Adaptimmune Theraputics plc, while the department has also worked for bank-side clients such as J.P. Morgan Securities, UBS and Numis Securities.

The equity capital markets team at Norton Rose Fulbright is instructed by issuers and investment banks and provides UK and US law advice in connection with a variety of equity transactions. Most notably, the group has been involved in multiple high-value share buy-backs and sell-downs in 2016. Indeed, Fiona Millington and Nick Adams acted for Barclays plc in a 62% sell-down of its stock in Barclays Africa Group, through a bookbuild placing to institutional investors. Similarly, Richard Crosby advised HSBC Holdings on its $2.5bn share buy-back on the LSE. Thomas Vita heads the US corporate finance department and acted, alongside the firm’s Paris office, for Mediawan on the €250m international private placement and listing on the professional segment of Euronext Paris, which represents the first special purpose acquisition company listing in France. The department also has experience of emerging market listings and acted for Obour Land for Food Industries as transaction counsel on its IPO and listing on the Egyptian Stock Exchange. Mark Lloyd Williams is also recommended.

With ‘strengths at partner and associate-level’, Simmons & Simmons’ equity capital markets practice is ‘hard to match in terms of value of service and partner oversight’. It acts for issuers and underwriters and has particular experience in main market transactions involving share offers to the US. Chris Horton is highly recommended and advised J.P. Morgan Cazenove and RBC Europe, as joint sponsors and bookrunners, in connection with the £350m capital raising by 3i Infrastructure through an open offer and placing. The ‘experienced and commercialColin Bole acted for Sanne Group in connection with the firm placing and open offer of 5.8 million consideration shares, the proceeds of which will be used to fund the acquisition of IFS – a Mauritius-based financial services group. Managing associate Andrew Scott joined from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP and US securities partner Julian Perlmutter left to join a US software company in 2016.

Quick, responsive and knowledgeable’, the team at Travers Smith LLP has been historically strong as underwriter counsel and has carved out a specialism in acting for issuers or management teams in private equity-backed IPOs. Indeed, Adrian West advised the management team of Ascential on its pre-IPO corporate reorganization as well as post-IPO issues. Corporate finance team head Neal Watson was instructed by RBC Capital Markets as sponsor to Greencoat UK Wind in connection with its placing, offer and subscription and placing programme to raise up to £300m. In early 2017, the team acted for Zeus Capital and Deloitte LLP in relation to Xafinity’s £190m main market IPO. Key contacts also include Richard Spedding and US securities group head Dan McNamee. The team has also received significant mandates from Numis Securities, Hostelworld Group and Liberium Capital.

With ‘strong knowledge of share placings for brokers and corporates’, CMS has an active transactional and regulatory equity capital markets practice, with particular strength in the mid-market. Cathy Pitt was especially active in 2016 and acted for Winterflood Investment Trusts as sponsor to Hadrian’s Wall Secured Investments’ £80m IPO. James Parkes advised Hollywood Bowl Group on its IPO and admission to the LSE’s main market, and also handled a debt and equity restructuring immediately prior to the client’s IPO. Additionally, Parkes and practice head Gary Green acted for Hunting plc in relation to a cash box placing, which raised about £70.9m. The firm strengthened its US securities capabilities through its highly publicised three-way-merger in 2016. Daniel Winterfeldt left for Reed Smith LLP. The team also has a strong Scotland-based practice, and Graeme Bruce is recommended in the Glasgow office.

DLA Piper has been instructed by underwriter and issuer clients and sees a steady flow of main market London IPO work and secondary offerings. Alex Tamlyn heads the EMEA capital markets practice and Charles Severs and Robert Salter are also key contacts in the department. The team has been instructed by various underwriter clients such as Canaccord Genuity, Deutsche Bank AG and BMO Capital Markets, and has also acted for issuers such as Bonmarché Holdings, Conviviality and PureTech Health. Martin Penn was promoted to partner in 2016.

Dechert LLP’s equity capital markets department is best known for providing UK and US law advice in relation to emerging markets equity transactions, spanning the Middle East, Africa, the CIS and the Caucasus. In 2016-2017, the team, which is led by Camille Abousleiman, handled a variety of matters with cross-border implications in Lebanon, Ukraine, Egypt and Latin America. Sean Geraghty advised Zenith Energy on its admission to the LSE and a related equity raising. The department brought on a number of new partners in 2016: Philip Butler and David Miles joined from DLA Piper, Ross Allardice joined from White & Case LLP and John Markland joined from Kirkland & Ellis International LLP. Significant clients have included Cenkos Securities, Banque Centrale de Tunisie and the International Bank of Azerbaijan.

The team at Greenberg Traurig, LLP has experience in a range of equity capital markets transactions throughout the US, Europe and emerging markets. Andrew Caunt and James Mountain advised Numis Securities as sole bookrunner and sponsor to Luceco’s £200m main market IPO. The London team regularly works alongside the firm’s Warsaw office and was involved in a number of Poland-facing matters in 2016. As an example, Dorothee Fischer-Appelt acted with two Warsaw-based partners to advise Alior Bank on its PLN2.2bn rights offering on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, which was aimed at financing the acquisition of BPH’s banking business from GE Capital. Fischer-Appelt also jointly led advice for Pfleiderer Grajewo in connection with its PLN744m re-IPO on the Warsaw Stock Exchange.

The ‘responsive and pragmatic’ equity capital markets team at Hogan Lovells International LLP is instructed by issuers and underwriters, specialising in AIM floats and step-ups to the London main market. The ‘committed and commercial’ practice head, Maegen Morrison, acted for Canaccord Genuity in relation to its AIM IPO. John Basnage is the firm’s London-based US securities expert and acted, alongside Daniel Simons, for J.P. Morgan Cazenove in relation to its £102m block sale of shares in Regus. Simons also advised Sepura on its main market £65m capital raising, which was the first such transaction following the Brexit referendum. Additional clients include issuers such as Acal and va-Q-tec AG, and underwriters such as Numis Securities and Jefferies International. Fergus Gallagher is a recommended senior associate.

Bolstered by a strong overall corporate department, Macfarlanes LLP has extensive experience in acting for various deal-participants and is especially strong on dual track transactions. Indeed, a team led by Graham Gibb advised Visa on its acquisition of Visa Europe, which included a preferred stock issue of €5.3bn. Harry Coghill acted for Schroder Investment Management as a cornerstone investor in the IPO of Arabian Food Industries Company, which is listed on the Egyptian Stock Exchange). Senior counsel Mark Slade has particular strength in the listed funds and asset management sectors and advised Regional REIT on its listing on the main market of the LSE. Robert Boyle has a broad corporate practice and leads the equity capital markets team.

Paul Hastings LLP’s London-based equity capital markets team has experts in US and UK law, and the firm has been investing heavily in its capital markets practice globally. James Cole acts as international counsel to Hidroelectrica in relation to its dual-listed IPO in Bucharest and London. Peter Schwartz advised Gulf Keystone Petroleum on a financial restructuring, which involved a series of debt-to-equity conversions and also acted for Global Fashion Group on a private placement of €330m convertible preference shares to a group of existing shareholders. The department has acted for a litany of global investment banks, while issuer clients have included CVC Capital Partners and BlackRock.

With ‘technically excellent service and exceptional response times’, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLPpunches well above its weight’ in the areas of capital markets and US securities law. The department regularly provides US-law support to leading City law firms in relation to offerings with US aspects, and has also handled international offerings on a stand-alone basis. Indeed, John Satory and the highly recommended Mark Bergman advised Takeaway.com NV in relation to its IPO and listing on Euronext Amsterdam. Bergman jointly heads the department with David Lakhdhir. Other key clients include Swiss Reinsurance Company, Arrow Global Group and UBS.

In terms of transaction-volume and personnel additions, 2016 was a strong year for Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s equity capital markets team, which has extensive experience in US and European listings. The London group has particular strength in UK IPOs and recently advised Ascential plc on its IPO and listing on the LSE. Adam Signy and Clare Gaskell acted for Melrose Industries on its rights issue of over 1.7 billion shares to fund its acquisition of Nortek. The department has taken on a fair amount of France-facing work, and Alvaro Membrillera assisted KKR with three separate block sales of shares of Tarkett SA. Gregory Conway and Derek Baird are active partners in the capital markets and securities group. Corporate partner Ben Spiers, formerly co-head of M&A at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, joined the firm in 2017 and Wim De Vlieger was promoted to counsel.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP maintains an active equity capital markets practice, which is led by two highly experienced partners. In 2016, Peter King advised the selling shareholders of ConvaTec on its London Stock Exchange IPO – the largest UK IPO in 2016. He also handled follow-on offerings by Equiniti Group, DFS Furniture and Worldpay, after having been involved in each of the three companies’ respective IPOs in 2015. In addition to its London-facing work, the team also works closely with its Polish colleagues and has experience in a range of European capital markets. Managing partner Michael Francies is another key contact in the department. Underwriter clients have included Goldman Sachs International and UniCredit Bank.


Financial services

Index of tables

  1. Financial services (non-contentious/regulatory)
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers
  4. Financial services (contentious)
  5. Leading individuals
  6. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Able to leverage its huge international network, Clifford Chance LLP’s has the ‘breadth and depth of technical knowledge’ to handle a tremendous volume of strategically important regulatory issues for a broad range of clients including banks, infrastructure providers and trade associations. The team has also developed numerous internet-based tools to assist clients navigate the vast range of regulatory issues they face, including "The Financial Markets Toolkit", which provides clients with easy online access to key legislation and know-how developed by the firm across a range of key regulatory topics. Active for a plethora of EU and non-EU financial institutions on the implications of Brexit, the team’s work has included developing business impact analyses and developing legal and regulatory location comparisons for operations across the EU countries. ‘Rising star’ Caroline Meinertz provides ‘solutions-oriented and pragmatic advice’ and has had a key role in much of this Brexit-related advice. Simon Crown has provided the regulatory input on several large financial services-related transactions including Cinven and CVC Capital Partners’ acquisition of leading consumer finance provider NewDay from Varde Partners. Team head Christopher Bates, Simon Gleeson, Monica Sah and Tim Plews are also recommended on the non-contentious front. The firm’s ‘market-leading’ contentious team has been at the forefront of the most significant domestic and multi-jurisdictional regulatory investigations in the industry, but also on occasion on behalf top-level executives and as a ‘result the practice ends up in the Upper Tribunal and gains experience that others do not get’. The ‘excellent’ Carlos Conceicao is ‘very well respected in the City with a great variety of clients’ and provides additional credibility with the regulator having himself formerly served as head of the FSA’s wholesale group in enforcement. ‘The very able’ Kelwin Nicholls is ‘extremely strong on high-profile cases’ which have recently included rate-setting misconduct on behalf of a major bank and market conduct issues on behalf of several commodities firms. The ‘massively experienced’ Simon Davis is ‘very well-thought of in the market’ and is a key member of the team that also includes Dorian Drew, Roger Best, Michael Lyons and Zoe Osborne.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLPoozes class’ and represents an eclectic mix of clients in the financial services industry including investment banks, market infrastructure entities and asset management firms across a range of advisory, transactional, investigative and enforcement matters. The team has recently been particularly active on transactional work within the sector, and as well as advising London Stock Exchange (LSE) on its ultimately aborted merger with Deutsche Borse, also acted for it on its acquisition of US financial data business, Mergent. Michael Raffan provided the regulatory input on both the aforementioned matters and is the relationship partner for a number of high-profile clients of the group including Bank of England - which he recently advised on the structure and terms of the Term Funding and Corporate Bond Schemes put in place as part of the Bank of England’s actions in the immediate aftermath of the EU referendum. James Smethurst led on the LSE’s failed merger with Deutsche Borse and in addition to handling transactional mandates has also been involved in many discrete advisory matters including advising clients on Brexit implications and contingency planning. David Rouch is particularly active in the asset management space and is a key member of the team that also includes Mark Kalderon - who is noted for his regulatory expertise on behalf of commercial and investment banks. On the contentious front, the firm excels in representing clients that are the subject of multi-jurisdictional regulatory investigations (often also involving parallel private litigation) and this has been most starkly realised by the firm’s involvement in numerous market manipulation mandates. Simon Orton, David Scott, Andrew Hart, Ian Taylor and Piers Reynolds are recommended.

Praised for its ‘excellent industry knowledge’, Linklaters LLP’s integrated ten-partner practice provides a ‘first-class service’ to investment banks, investment managers and infrastructure providers across the spectrum of contentious and non-contentious matters affecting their businesses. At the forefront of prudential regulation, the firm is a ‘clear leader’ on ring-fencing matters and continues to be the lead/strategic adviser to two UK clearing banks as they seek to implement this separation of their retail and investment/trading activities As well as being heavily involved in providing strategic advice on other key regulatory issues, including Brexit and MiFID II, the firm has had a key role advising numerous retail and investment banks on ensuring implementation of the recently enacted Senior Managers and Certification Regime. Formerly in-house at a major investment bank, Harry Eddis has excellent insight into the industry and has been active across a wide variety of regulatory issues including those impacting on the clearing sector and Fintech. Eddis recently helped establish LMEprecious, an innovative new suite of exchange-traded, loco London precious metals products. Michael Kent is ‘very strong on regulatory matters’ and is an experienced member of the team that also includes Peter Bevan (who has developed a strong reputation for advising on MiFID II issues); Sarah Parkhouse, who has a focus on regulatory issues arising in the private wealth management and retail sector; and Nadia Swann, who specialises in senior management training (including preparation of CEOs, non-executive directors and a broad range of senior business people) and in regulatory corporate governance and policy management and legal risk and reviews. On the contentious front, the firm has an ‘outstanding offering’ and is regularly involved in high-profile internal investigations, as well as regulatory enforcements/investigations and associated private litigation. Carl Fernandes has a ‘thorough grasp of his area’ and is a key member of the team that also includes the ‘outstandingNikunj Kiri, Martyn Hopper and Christa Band. Clients include Citi, UBS, Lloyds, RBS and Aviva.

Allen & Overy LLP is ‘absolutely outstanding’ at representing clients throughout the continuum of contentious issues, from internal investigations through to enforcement actions (where it is ‘able to deliver its outstanding banking and bank regulatory expertise, through contentious lawyers working seamlessly with the firm’s subject matter experts) and any private litigation flowing out of that. Calum Burnett provides a ‘superb service’ to clients subject to complex domestic and cross-border regulatory investigations and enforcement proceedings. Effectively able to combine commercial litigation expertise with contentious regulatory skills, Mahmood Lone has handled numerous market manipulation matters including his recent work alongside the ‘very impressive’ Tim House, in relation to the defence of a bank in a global FX investigation. Arnondo Chakrabarti has vast experience across both contentious regulatory matters and corporate crime, frequently in the context of a cross-border scenario. On the non-contentious front, recently promoted partner Kate Sumpter ‘has an excellent understanding of the regulatory landscape in Europe for both buy and sell side clients’, and continues to advise HSBC on the ring-fencing of its retail and investment banking operations. Etay Katz has a strong reputation in the industry and as well as acting for individual financial institutions, is also frequently called upon to advise industry and trade bodies on regulatory issues of concern. In addition to providing regulatory advice to The Systemic Risk Council, Katz is also acting for Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) on its ongoing work on the European Banking Authority (EBA) consultation regarding an alternative prudential regulation regime for investment firms. Damian Carolan has a focus on derivatives and securities regulation and the development of new markets and clearing settlement systems; he recently advised London Clearing House on a significant new product development, Swap Agent, for the delivery of centralised infrastructure for uncleared "Over the counter" (OTC) derivatives business. The firm’s non-contentious capability was also boosted in March 2017 by the arrival of Nick Bradbury from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP.

Now led on the non-contentious front by James Perry, following the departure of Rob Moulton to Latham & Watkins in June 2016, Ashurst provides a ‘very strong service’ to a broad range of clients including banks, trading platforms, funds and clearing houses. Perry recently provided guidance on the implications of the Brexit vote to two major financial institutions in the immediate aftermath of the referendum result. Praised for his ‘up-to-date knowledge of rules and regulations’, Jake Green ‘really knows his stuff’ and provides ‘pragmatic and concise advice’ across a range of issues including the regulation of online trading where he recently advised Saxo Bank on the regulatory issues associated with its new robo-self divested platform. Senior associate Tim Cant has developed a strong reputation for MiFID-related advice and was recently a key member of the team that advised numerous buy and sell-side clients on issues related to the implementation of MiFIDII. Edward Sparrow spearheads the firm’s contentious offering and has overseen a team that has been busy across a broad variety of contentious regulatory work and litigation including representing financial institutions in the defence of accusations of market abuse, whistleblowing issues and conflict of interest, among other regulatory sensitive issues. Formerly head of litigation for EMEA at UBS, David Capps has an excellent perspective of the market and in addition to representing financial services clients in enforcement actions/investigations, is also well-versed in handling internal investigations and implementing risk management procedures. Tom Connor is also recommended across a range of financial services contentious matters including derivatives and structured product disputes, wealth management claims and general banking litigation.

The ‘exceptional’ team at Hogan Lovells International LLP provides ‘business friendly advice’ to retail and investment banks, asset managers and infrastructure providers. The firm is praised for its ‘engaging and flexible approach’ which has ensured that it has effectively adapted to changes in the market in recent years and aligned itself at the forefront of areas of growth including Fintech. In this regard, ‘very sharp’ team head Rachel Kent has worked alongside government backed organisation Innovate Finance on the Regulatory Accelerator tool for Fintech companies designed to assist them understand and navigate their way through the FCA’s regulatory regime. Kent has also been at the heart of the firm’s involvement in the preparation of a high-profile report looking at the third country regimes and other alternatives EU passporting in light of the UK’s exit from the EU. Michael Thomas is also recommended, in particular for his market infrastructure expertise. Jon Holland leads the team on the contentious front that is praised for its ‘breadth and depth’ including involvement in some significant market manipulation cases over recent years. Other recommended contentious partners include the ‘thoughtful and consideredLouise Lamb, for consumer finance matters; the ‘incredibly experienced, tactical and strategicNeil Mirchandani; the ‘very sharp and client-focusedAndrea Monks, who is regularly engaged in EU and US-related regulatory investigations; the ‘excellentPhilip Parish; and the ‘incredibly hardworking’ Whiston Bristow.

Norton Rose Fulbright provides a ‘prompt and knowledgeable’ service to wholesale and retail financial services clients from the banking, markets infrastructure and asset management sectors. MiFID II remains an area of particular activity for the team, as highlighted by Hannah Meakin’s continued representation of CME Group on its implementation of the directive, and Jonathan Herbst’s work for FIA European Principal Traders Association (a forum for firms trading their own capital) on the implications of MiFID II in relation to high frequency trading (HFT) entities and market makers. Praised for his ‘forward thinking and ability to listen’, Herbst heads up a four-partner non-contentious offering that also includes Peter Snowdon and Imogen Garner, who leads the buy-side regulatory practice. The firm’s seven-partner contentious team has an ‘excellent reputation’ on behalf of institutions and senior management figures across the panoply of issues affecting the sector, including market manipulation matters, and investigations regarding the Contracts for Difference (CFD) market. The team also includes numerous former regulators in its ranks, affording it strong credibility before the FCA and a strong understanding of its approach. Dual UK and US-qualified partner Lista Cannon is well-versed in handling multi-jurisdictional regulatory investigations and in a case which involves SEC, DOJ and FCA investigations is representing a former senior executive against criminal and civil allegations arising out of multibillion-dollar losses at the Chief Investment Office of JPMorgan. Elisabeth Bremner has ‘superior knowledge of the regulatory landscape’ and is also recommended alongside Katie Stephen. Chris Warren-Smith joined Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP

Shearman & Sterling LLP’s two-partner team is regularly engaged in high-level issues of strategic importance for a range of financial services clients, where they benefit from a co-ordinated international approach on multi-jurisdictional matters. Praised for his ‘client- focused approach’, Barney Reynolds has been at the forefront of Brexit thought leadership and recently penned a widely read report - "A Blueprint for Brexit" - detailing two viable models for leaving the EU. Reynolds is also noted for his ‘leading reputation on market infrastructure matters’ and continues to represent Abu Dhabi Global Market, the new international financial centre in the UAE, including revising the Financial Services and Markets Regulations and Rulebooks to ensure compliance with the Basel III capital requirements. The ‘solutions-orientedThomas Donegan provides an ‘excellent analysis of complex matters relating to EU and UK financial regulatory issues’. As well as discrete regulatory advisory work, Donegan also provides the regulatory overlay on financial services M&A including his recent work for Société Générale on its €251m acquisition of Kleinwort Benson from the Oddo Group. On the contentious front, Jo Rickard handles financial services litigation as part of her broad commercial litigation offering.

Benefiting from ‘strength in depth’, Simmons & Simmons handles a variety of work for its core base of clients in the asset management sector, in addition to a significant roster of sell-side institutions. In addition to receiving direct instructions on MiFID II implementation, clients also benefit from the firm’s MiFID II Manager, a subscription-based tool with a focus on practical implication issues as opposed to merely providing the law. Charlotte Stalin established the MiFID II Manager tool and is noted for her ‘excellence in the area’. Darren Fox provides market-leading regulatory advice, often at a pan-European level, to hedge funds and asset managers. Jonathan Melrose provides regulatory advice across the non-contentious regulatory aspects of commodities, futures and metal derivatives trading. The ‘very client-focusedPenny Miller is also recommended, and the arrival of Rosali Pretorius in February 2017 from Dentons, enhances the firm’s already strong commodities and derivatives regulatory offering. Formerly at the FSA, contentious team head Richard Sims has an excellent perspective of FCA procedures and is frequently involved in the highest-profile investigations handled by the firm on behalf of both institutions and senior executives. Emma Sutcliffe has also recently completed a one year secondment at the FCA and is well regarded for her work on behalf of UK and foreign investment and retail banks, often in the context of a multi-jurisdictional investigation. The ‘pragmatic and commercialRobert Turner is a ‘trusted pair of hands’ on complex banking litigation as well as regulatory contentious regulatory matters. Stephen Gentle is ‘at ease advising both corporates and individuals’ and is able to provide a rounded and comprehensive service to clients by dint of his parallel experience in criminal and white-collar matter, particularly in matters of fraud, insider dealing and market misconduct.

Benefiting from an ‘excellent depth of content knowledge’, Slaughter and May is well-placed to represent a broad ranging array of financial services clients including advising non-regulated businesses on the impact of financial services regulation. The team has provided the regulatory input on the sell-side of numerous financial services M&A transactions; Ben Kingsley provided the regulatory advice to Värde Partners on the sale of leading consumer finance provider, NewDay, to Cinven and CVC Capital Partners. Kingsley also has a burgeoning reputation in the fast moving Fintech space. ‘Exceptionally knowledgeable’ team head Jan Putnis is praised for his ‘ability to think through and round complex scenarios’, and alongside newly promoted partner Nick Bonsall, has been representing two UK banks on their structural reform programme including advice on ring fencing and recovery and resolution planning. On the contentious front, Ewan Brown remains active in relation to market manipulation matters and as well as representing JPMorgan in FX regulatory and government investigations, is also a key partner involved in the firm’s work for Deutsche Bank in its LIBOR regulatory investigations. Praised for his ability to ‘add value’ by virtue of his willingness to ‘explore all relevant different angles’, Jonathan Clark recently secured a notable success at both first instance and on appeal for Banco Santander Totta in persuading the courts to use English law to govern the dispute regarding interest rate swap litigation. Deborah Finkler is also recommended.

Best known for its ‘preeminent reputation’ in the asset management and funds space, Travers Smith LLP provides an ‘excellent service’ across the panoply of issues affecting the sector including matters relating to MiFID II, AIFMD and the EU Market Abuse Regulation. Phil Bartram advised CVC on the UK regulatory aspects of its global fundraise for its seventh flagship fund. Tim Lewis provides ‘well thought out advice’ to private equity and debt fund managers which is mindful of both UK and EU regulations; his reputation was recently underscored by his recent appointment as the Chair of the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA) Regulatory Committee. Mark Evans has a particular strength advising on clearing and settlement systems and recently advised CLS Bank on the development and implementation of a new service for the settlement of FX option trades and other FX contracts cleared by so-called "CCPs". Jane Tuckley is also recommended. Robert Fell has ‘excellent client handling skills’ and excels at handling investigations involving senior executives and traders within financial institutions. The ‘meticulous’ Toby Robinson has an ‘astonishing eye for detail’ and excels at advising clients facing enforcement action brought by the FCA. Caroline Edwards, Huw Jenkin and Stephen Paget-Brown are also recommended at a partner level, and amongst the firm’s ‘particularly deep bench of associates’, Stephanie Lee is ‘clearly a star of the future who shows wisdom beyond her years’.

Praised for its ‘fantastic business acumen and industry knowledge’, particularly in the retail sector, Addleshaw Goddard has excellent relationships with UK clearing banks (Lloyds), building societies (Yorkshire Building Society) and challenger banks (One Savings Bank). Amanda Hulme has a ‘deep knowledge of consumer credit law and Fintech issues’; she recently acted for a major UK high street bank on the implementation of the Payment Account Regulations 2015. The ‘very knowledgeableBrian McDonnell covers regulation impacting on the retail and wholesale markets and recently provided highly important and strategic advice to Virtual Auction constituted an organised trading facility under MiFID II. Other recommended practitioners include ‘pragmatic, thorough and approachable’ Leeds-based Rosanna Bryant, who specialises in mortgage and payment services regulation; the ‘very analyticalBen Koehne, who has ‘great experience in the building society sector’; and Adam Bennett, who is ‘the pre-eminent lawyer to go to for anything relating to building societies and has unrivalled contacts in the sector’. On the contentious side, Chris Brennanuses ex-regulatory experience effectively’, is recognised as a ‘fighter when he needs to be’, and someone who ‘has a deep-rooted understanding of the technical side of the regulations but is also able to use his experience to more accurately predict how the regulator might react to a particular point or strategy’. Nichola Peters’ ‘experience of fraud investigations means she is extremely well placed to deal with regulatory and criminal cross-over issues’.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP contentious and non-contentious teams provide an integrated offering to clients, including banks, insurers and funds which require highly informed advice on the whole range of regulations and their options in response. Described by one client as ‘one of the best financial services litigators around’, team head Nathan Willmott provides ‘tactically excellent, commercial and responsive’ advice and has been heavily involved in the recent market manipulation benchmark cases (LIBOR and FX), as well as the more recent sovereign, supranational and agency (SSA) bond trading manipulation. The ‘very responsive, commercial and personable’ Andrew Tuson has a ‘great depth of legal knowledge’. Sidney Myers and dual UK/US qualified solicitor/advocate Aaron Stephens are also recommended. On the non-contentious front, Matthew Baker advises banks on fund managers across a range of UK/EU regulations including MiFID II and AIFMD. Formerly a secondee at the FSA’s enforcement division, Polly James is well-placed to prepare senior managers for regulatory approval interviews and Section 166 Skilled Person reviews. Clients include AIG, Aviva, Investec and AXA.

CMS’ financial services team displays ‘great industry knowledge’ and provides ‘highly commercial’ contentious and non-contentious advice to retail and wholesale banking clients. Benefiting from an ‘unfathomable depth of knowledge’, Simon Morrisalways puts forth the most accurate position’ and is particularly strong in the retail insurance market. Praised for her ‘cool and considered approach’, as well as her ‘willingness to take on board comments and points from the client’, Alison McHaffie has vast experience advising financial services entities that are subject to regulatory investigations involving retail mis-selling, conflicts of interest and market abuse. The ‘client focused and commercialBill McCaffrey has a ‘detailed knowledge’ of regulatory matters, particularly as they relate to consumer credit. Maxine Cupitt is also recommended. For non-contentious matters, the ‘client friendlyAsh Saluja is ‘extremely knowledgeable and practical’ on the regulatory issues impacting a broad spectrum of financial services entities including banks, broker-dealers, funds and insurers. The ‘technically excellent’ associate James Dickie is a ‘rising star’ who is ‘extremely practical even in the most stressful situations’.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP provides ‘responsive and proactive advice’ across a wide range of regulatory matters impacting retail and wholesale clients in the financial services industry. ‘Particularly strong in the alternative investment funds market’, the team has been helping them navigate the increasingly treacherous regulatory terrain including on compliance with MiFID II and regulatory capital requirements. As well as continuing to advise TSB on the regulatory issues associated with its spin-out from Lloyds Banking Group, team head Clive Cunningham also recently provided the regulatory input on Man Group’s $232m acquisition of Aalto Invest. Andrew Procter is recognised as a ‘good lawyer to have on your side’ and was recently a key part of a multi-disciplinary team which assisted on the establishment of Clear Bank, the first new clearing bank to enter the market in 250 years. The ‘approachable and diligentKaren Anderson and ‘commercial and responsive’ Mark Staley are also recommended. In a combined effort with lawyers from within the competition group, Jenny Stainsby, Hywel Jenkins and Daniel Hudson continue to represent a leading global investment bank and an international financing group on the global reviews into alleged manipulation in the FX market. Other clients include BNP Paribas, Marathon Asset Management, Santander and UBS.

Up to speed on changes occurring in the market’, Macfarlanes LLP provides ‘prompt and reliable advice’, in particular on regulatory matters impacting clients in the funds and asset management space. The ‘pragmatic and business-orientedMichelle Kirschner is noted for funds-related regulatory expertise and recently advised Partners Group on the establishment of its first regulated fund. In a matter which attracted particularly heightened regulatory scrutiny given the target’s designation by HM Treasury as a systemically important institution, the ‘very skilfulPaul Ellison recently provided the regulatory input for Visa on its €21.2bn acquisition of Visa Europe. Dan Lavender and Matt McCahearty are the primary contacts for financial services contentious matters. Praised for their ‘excellent technical abilities and commerciality’, Lavender and McCahearty are representing ICAP on all aspects of the multi-jurisdictional investigations by civil and criminal agencies into Yen LIBOR. Barry Donnelly has significant experience defending financial institutions subject to regulatory investigations; he continues to act for The British Bankers' Association (BBA) and BBA LIBOR throughout the Trans-Atlantic investigations, criminal prosecutions and civil proceedings in relation to the manipulation of the BBA LIBOR benchmark. The firm was weakened somewhat on the non-contentious front by the departure in December 2016 of David Berman to Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP.

Reed Smith LLP's practice was substantially enhanced in in January 2017 with the arrival of King Wood & Malleson’s non-contentious financial services regulatory team. One of the new arrivals, David Calligan ‘brings very wide experience of the regulatory scene’ and has particular expertise on CFD and FX trading-related regulator issues. Tamasin Little is recommended for her AIFMD expertise and continues to act for leading global private equity fund of fund managers HarbourVest Partners on all regulatory aspects of the launch of each of its AIFMD compliant EEA funds. Although she is active across the spectrum of financial services regulatory issues including on behalf of banks, brokers and fund managers, Jacqui Hatfield is particularly noted for her Fintech expertise. Chris Borg and Brett Hillis are well known for their commodity derivatives regulatory expertise, and counsel Joanna Williams has an ‘excellent capacity to boil down complicated regulate into an intelligible form’. The arrival in May 2016 of Douglas Cherry from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP enhanced the firm’s contentious offering, particularly in light of his strong reputation defending clients in FCA investigations and enforcement matters. The ‘excellent’ Charles Hewetson and Robert Falkner are also recommended. Clients include Capital One, ANZ Bank and Bank of New York Mellon.

Sidley Austin LLP’s four-partner team provides ‘practical and pragmatic advice’ to funds, banks and market infrastructure providers, across a broad array of UK and EU regulatory advice. The firm excels at strategic and bespoke advice to clients, often involving advice given with a view to ensuring compliance across numerous regulatory frameworks. Rachpal Thind provides ‘very thorough advice’ to clients including Bank of Cyprus - which she advised on the regulatory issues surrounding its application for a listing on the London Stock Exchange. ‘As bright as they come’ and recognised as a ‘leader in his field’, Leonard Ng is ‘exceptionally practical in his views on FCA and EU regulation’ and is a ‘go-to lawyer’ for hedge and private equity funds across the myriad regulatory matters affecting their businesses. As part of his broad-ranging expertise, John Casanova regularly handles payments-related matters. Clients include Managed Funds Association, Citadel Group and Towerbrook Capital Partners.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP benefits from ‘good regulatory experience and knowledge’, and is ‘prepared to provide advice confidently to sell side firms’. William Garner has a focus on UK and EU regulations affecting the wholesale trading and markets work and is appreciated by clients, not only for his legal expertise, but also his former trading experience. Garner continues to provide regulatory support to financial blockchain specialist, SETL, including an analysis of the regulatory impact of using this novel Fintech technology in the global payments and clearing and settlement space and assistance with an application to use the FCA’s new regulatory sandbox. The ‘responsiveJonathan Bayliss has a ‘good grasp of the issues’, particularly as they pertain to the private banking and wealth management sector.

DLA Piper has an ‘impressive feel for financial services regulation and is adept at giving a balanced, commercial approach which effectively navigates the complexities of the regulatory framework’. The ‘highly experiencedMichael McKee provides ‘skilful and practical advice’ across a broad spectrum of regulatory issues including MiFID II, payments regulation and the Senior Mangers’ Regime. He recently provided all the necessary regulatory input, as part of a multi-disciplinary group, to enable the successful establishment of new digital challenger bank Masthaven Bank. McKee is also on the FCA’s Skilled Person panel and is therefore a useful resource on contentious matters handled by the firm. Formerly at the FSA, contentious head Tony Katz ‘knows the regulation and the regulator intimately and is unafraid to make difficult judgement calls’. Sam Millar is also recommended and is part of a ‘hardworking and strong team’ which is effectively able to mobilise practitioners not only out of London but also throughout its regional network. Clients include Goldman Sachs, HSBC and Noor Capital.

Able to effectively leverage expertise within the firm’s regional offices, and also now benefiting from an enhanced international presence courtesy of the recent merger with Sutherland & Asbill, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s ‘growing reputation’ in the financial services regulation space has been built around the ‘astute and commercial’ advice it provides to both buy and sell-side clients across the panoply of regulations impacting their businesses. Andrew Henderson and Ronald Paterson are frequently at the forefront of the most significant matters handled by the group including recent advice on EU Market Abuse Regulation for clients including AON and Bank of China. Henderson and Paterson are also well attuned to the burgeoning robo-advice market and continue to act for M&G and WealthKernel on regulatory issues associated with it. The ‘very knowledgeable and tacticalGregory Brandman leads the firm’s efforts on the contentious front and provides an ‘effective service’ to financial institutions and executives subject to FCA enforcement actions. Formerly global head of sanctions for Barclays, Zia Ullahis uniquely positioned to provide advice that takes into account the perspectives of the business/financial crime team’. The ‘very commercial’ Manchester-based James Southworth leads the firm’s financial services litigation offering for the North of England.

Praised for its ‘superb industry knowledge’, Fieldfisher provides ‘business-oriented and pragmatic’ advice to an impressive roster of clients, particularly those within the asset management space. Team head Kirstene Baillie has provided strategic advice to numerous alternative investment fund managers on the restructuring of their products in the aftermath of the implementation of AIFMD. Baillie advised Downing on reviewing one of its discretionary management portfolio products and restructuring it such that it can now be treated as separate portfolio arrangements rather than as an AIF and thereby avoid the extra onerous compliance issues associated with AIFMD. The ‘experienced and knowledgeable’ John Worthy has a focus on payments work, while the arrival in February 2016 from Shearman & Sterling LLP of Azad Ali has strengthened the firm’s capability on the sell-side. Able to combine regulatory enforcement expertise with criminal capabilities, the three-partner litigation offering is well-placed to represent individuals and institutions in FCA investigations which are increasingly using criminal powers as part of their toolkit. Team head Duncan Black handles work for financial institutions and individuals; he is currently representing the CEO of a listed company on an FCA investigation into alleged market abuse and the criminal conduct of insider trading.

Although it is small compared to some of its peers in the ranking, Jones Day’s four-partner financial services team provides ‘pragmatic and intelligent advice’ across contentious and non-contentious regulatory issues affecting banks, funds and broker-dealers. Usually acting on matters with an international perspective (where the team often partners with practitioners in one or several of its international offices or instructs local counsel should it not have a relevant presence), the London team provided significant regulatory input alongside the Paris office on the firm’s advice to Euronext on its irrevocable cash offer to acquire LCH Clearnet Group. Formerly in-house at Merrill Lynch, team head John Ahern has strong credentials across trading, clearing and settlement work and is ‘very proficient in EU regulatory law’. The ‘extremely goodHarriet Territt often handles FCA investigations for clients, and is also increasingly active in ensuring effective risk management measures are in place for clients to avoid potential litigation. ‘Proficient and thorough litigatorLucas Moorehas the ability to explain technical and complex legalities in a practical and understandable way’; he continues to act in litigation arising from bank failures. Other clients include BNP Paribas, Standard Bank, Fidelity and Tradition Group.

Often working closely with its US offices, Mayer Brown International LLP’s two-partner team is particularly accomplished in relation to sanctions and anti-money laundering issues, both from a risk management perspective, in addition to in a contentious setting. Mark Compton has a strong grounding in UK and EU financial regulation and regularly acts for a range of investment bank, proprietary traders and funds as they seek to navigate the various directives and legislation impacting on their businesses. Formerly at the FCA, Guy Wilkes has considerable experience of corporate financial crime particularly involving the financial services sector.

The ‘absolutely first-rate’ team at Pinsent Masons LLPreally knows its stuff’, particularly as it pertains to regulation affecting the insurance, asset management, wealth management and retail banking sectors. ‘Detail-oriented’ and ‘realistic about what can and cannot be achieved in the regulatory context’, the firm provides standalone advisory work, in addition to regulatory advice which is complementary to transactions in the sector. Described as a ‘real pleasure to work with’, David Heffron ‘leaves no stone unturned in exploring options for his clients’. He recently advised E.ON UK plc on its Energy Installation Services business' successful application for FCA authorisation as a consumer credit firm. Elizabeth Budd has long standing regulatory expertise on behalf of general and life insurers and is a key member of the non-contentious team that also include products and payments expert Tony Anderson. Colin Read leads on the contentious front and has a ‘focus on trouble-shooting for insurers and wealth management clients’. The team has also been particularly active on data breaches and cyber-crime and is well-regarded for its work on redress schemes where the FCA has been unhappy about the customer experience. Clients include AXA, Allianz and HSBC.

At Baker McKenzie, team head Arun Srivastava has significant visibility in the market, from both a contentious and non-contentious perspective. In spite of a relatively small team based out of London, Srivastava is effectively able to marshall teams utilising practitioners spread out across the firm’s broad network on complex multi-jurisdictional matters including the recent LIBOR and FX cases, where the firm had a significant role.

The ‘high-quality’ team at Dechert LLP handles regulatory work for clients in the investment fund and asset management sector including AIFMD and MiFID II compliance projects. Dual UK and US-qualified Richard Heffner recently advised Investcorp on the £222m acquisition of 3i’s debt management business. Heffner also recently acted for T. Rowe Price on the establishment of a new UK UCITS umbrella fund with five initial sub-funds. US-qualified Karen Anderberg is recommended for her ability to advise UK, US and European investment funds and managers on US regulatory issues. The ‘commercialStuart Martin has a ‘deep and broad knowledge of collective investment’ and is a key member of the team that also includes the ‘very knowledgeableRichard Frase and Peter Astleford.

Able to leverage the firm’s market-leading roster of funds clients (particularly those in the private equity sector), Kirkland & Ellis International LLP’s two-partner team provides an ‘invaluable’ service on the regulatory aspects associated with new fundraisings, investments made in the financial services sector and ongoing compliance work. ‘Very responsive and pragmatic’ team head Lisa Cawleystrikes a perfect balance between technical knowledge and accuracy, as well as market awareness and commercialism’. Cawley recently advised Summit Partners on the regulatory, AIFMD and structuring matters relating to the fund raising of Summit Partners Growth Equity Fund IX, Summit Partners Venture Capital Fund IV and Summit Partners Europe Growth Equity Fund II. Other key members of the team include recently promoted partner Prem Mohan and ‘very commercial’ associate Adam Skinner. Clients include Starwood Capital, Lion Capital and Warburg Pincus.

Headed by Rob Moulton following his move in June 2016 from Ashurst, Latham & Watkins’s nascent financial services team has rapidly established itself as a significant player in the market following a number of other key hires including Nicola Higgs, also from Ashurst in September 2016 and most recently in August 2017 by that of David Berman from Macfarlanes. The firm has been particularly active advising on MiFID II implementation mandates for a raft of clients including Jefferies, Rothschild and JP Morgan. The team also benefits from the ability to tap into the expertise of practitioners across the firm’s global network and this has already manifested itself in a high-profile project, alongside the New York office, on behalf of Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Merrill Lynch International in relation to a major review of the policies and procedures of the global divisions of research, equities and FICC and their compliance with the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) Principles for Financial Benchmarks..

Providing a mix of standalone advisory work, regulatory advice pursuant to financial services M&A, and the regulatory aspects associated with the bringing to market of new products, Osborne Clarke LLP’s three-partner team is particularly noted for its expertise within the consumer finance, payments and asset management space. Paul Anning spearheads the team’s work on the payments front; he has been advising JPMorgan on the regulatory aspects associated with several payments projects including on the application of PSD2 (the second payment services directive) to all of its Treasury Services products. Tim Simmonds is also recommended, in particular for his regulatory expertise surrounding fund formation within the alternative asset management space, as is Kate Johnson who has a particular niche advising on crowdfunding regulatory work.

Now one of the few firms approved by the FCA for skilled persons conduct issues, RPC’s stature in the financial services regulatory landscape continues to grow. Praised for its ‘first-rate insurance industry knowledge’, the firm regularly advises underwriters, insurance companies and Lloyd’s of London entities across the spectrum of non-contentious and contentious regulatory work. As well as his insurance market expertise, the ‘very well-respected and well-connectedRobbie Constance is also active in the wealth management sector, where his recent work includes a growing number of instructions surrounding the regulatory issues impacting on the burgeoning robo adviser market. The ‘responsive and dedicatedRichard Burger is ‘very strong on regulatory matters’, particularly as they relate to sanctions and financial crime where he is able to ‘bring a unique insight to his advice’ as a result of his previous experience at the FSA. Burger recently represented CT Capital in an FCA enforcement investigation relating to Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) complaints handling. ‘First-rate litigatorParham Kouchikali is also recommended and regularly defends clients in FCA enforcement actions.

Leveraging the firm’s impressive roster of global funds clients, Ropes & Gray LLP’s regulatory team provides a vital service to these funds as they grapple with the raft of regulations impacting upon their businesses. Praised for her ‘knowledge of the law and regulation’ surrounding the investment funds industry, the ‘responsive and commercial’ Michelle Moran has a ‘keen legal mind and is able to combine legal knowledge with an excellent business sense’ honed by her previous role as head of legal at Invesco. Moran is also abreast of regulatory developments in the market and is well-positioned to provide ‘proactive advice’ which is cognizant of the mood music coming out of Brussels. Counsel Anna Lawry is also recommended for derivatives advice on behalf of asset management clients. Monica Gogna joined Dechert LLP in September 2017.

Praised for its ‘excellent technical knowledge’, Taylor Wessing LLP provides ‘high-quality advice’ to a varied mix of clients including wealth management entities, Fintech companies, banks and consumer finance companies. The ‘very astute’ Jonathan Rogers provides ‘sound commercial judgement’, and as well as recently advising challenger bank, Monzo Bank, across a raft of regulatory matters (including securing PRA approvals in respect the bank's tier 1 capital instruments), he also advised high-profile digital wealth manager Nutmeg on the regulatory aspects associated with its latest fund raising. On the contentious front, Shane Gleghorn represents financial institutions in regulatory enforcement actions and private litigation, and David McCluskey is noted for his ‘dogged and incisive’ work in relation to the criminal aspects of financial investigations and litigation.

Benefiting from expertise across the firm’s network including in the US, White & Case LLP’s two-partner regulatory team excels at advising financial institution clients on regulatory matters with a cross-border complexion. Stuart Willey heads the team out of London and has recently provided regulatory advice pursuant to numerous financial services M&A-related transactions. As well as working with other practice groups, Willey also regularly handles discrete standalone regulatory work for clients and is recognised for his work relating to the risk retention rules associated with the CLO market. The team was strengthened towards the end of 2016 by the arrival of former EMEA regulatory counsel at BNY Mellon James Greig.

Benefiting from ‘high-level real world understanding of the regulator’, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s two-partner team provides an ‘extremely strong level of industry/regulatory knowledge’ to a range of financial services clients including those in the asset management industry. Active for both individuals and financial institutions, and also able to tap into the expertise of practitioners based out of the US and Asia, the team is well-placed to handle cases involving multiple global regulators. Formerly head of enforcement at the FSA, practice head Helen Marshall has an excellent perspective of the market and someone whose ‘straight talking style is a refreshing change’. Also formerly at the FSA, the team’s other partner Rosemarie Paul is praised for her ‘impressive work ethic, her attention to detail and ability to see the big picture beyond the detail’. Paul is also praised for her ‘genuine interest behind the FCA’s "behavioural economics focus" and has read around this’. On the non-contentious front, despite the recent departure of Christopher Leonard who has moved in-house, the firm still has significant capability at counsel level where its focus is on regulations impacting the investment management sector.

The two-partner team at Blake Morgan LLP has ‘solid expertise’ across retail and consumer matters, both from an advisory and contentious perspective. Team head Richard Humphreys has particular expertise in the Consumer Credit Act and has been advising consumer credit funders on FCA regulatory issues. Formerly at the FSA, ‘knowledgeable and personable’ senior associate Felicity Rowan ‘understand the regulator’s mindset and is exceptionally strong in the current FCA hot topic of retail, conduct, consumer credit regulation and culture’.

Bond Dickinson LLP’s three-partner team provides ‘responsive, practical, commercial and cost-effective’ advice to a wide variety of clients within the retail sector of the financial services industry. ‘Very knowledgeable’ team head Andrew Barber has ‘in-depth knowledge of prevailing market conditions’ particularly as it relates to consumer credit regulatory matters. Barber has recently been particularly active advising clients in the retail (shopping sector) on consumer credit issues including advising New Look Retailers on the regulatory issues linked to the outsourcing of credit services to customers together with the supply and operation of staff and VIP discount cards. The arrival of Emma Radmore from Dentons in August 2016 enhances the firm’s regulatory expertise particularly in relation to advice on the perimeter of the Financial Services and Markets Act, in terms of both products and activities. Clients include TSB Bank, Sainsbury’s Bank, B&Q and Brewin Dolphin.

Covington & Burling LLP is also ranked.

Although the team was weakened on the commodities and derivatives regulatory front by the departure in December 2016 of Rosali Pretorius to Simmons & Simmons, Dentons still remains a presence in the market, particularly in relation to the regulatory aspects associated with retail and wealth management sectors. ‘Commercial and technical’ team head Michael Wainwright recently provided the regulatory overlay pursuant to Aegon’s £140m acquisition of investment platform Cofunds. Wainwright also advised UBS Private Bank on an update of the bank’s mortgage documentation to reflect changes to FCA rules following the implementation of the mortgage credit directive. ‘Responsive and commercial’ managing associate Nicholas Ralph has ‘extensive technical knowledge of financial services laws in the UK and is able to identify risks and solutions quickly and succinctly’. Other clients include Skipton Builing Society, The Co-operative Bank and LGT Group Foundation.

The ‘small but knowledgeable’ two-partner team at Farrer & Co provides ‘pragmatic and commercial advice’ and ‘goes the extra mile to deliver a first-class service’ to many leading private banks and wealth management firms. Team head Grania Baird has a ‘broad knowledge of the regulatory world in which private banks and wealth managers operate’ and is noted for her ‘appreciation of the practical implications of the law and ability to advise accordingly’. Baird recently undertook a review for a major private bank to ensure that its client money arrangements were in line with the current FCA regulations in this area. The recently promoted Andy Peterkin is also recommended.

Fox Williams LLP provides a ‘commercial and responsive service’ across both non-contentious and contentious matters. Formerly at the FSA, Peter Wright is well-placed to ‘advise clients on how the FCA will react and respond’ and provides ‘clear, accurate and sensible advice’ to clients facing FCA investigations. ‘An expert on UK banking regulation’, Sona Ganatra regularly represents senior executives who are subject to regulatory investigations. James Carlton specialises in financial crime and has been involved in numerous high-profile FCA and SFO fraud investigations. ‘Well-versed on market developments’ in the Fintech sector, ‘very commercial’ team head Jonathan Segal acts for numerous peer-to-peer lenders. Benefiting from former in-house experience within the brokerage industry, Nigel Brahams is ‘excellent at identifying the key issues that are relevant’ to clients in that space. As part of his broad-ranging regulatory expertise, Brahams also has a particular focus on blockchain matters.

Headed by Gregg Beechey, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (London) LLP’s one-partner team provides a ‘knowledgeable, responsive and practical’ service in support of the firm’s growing asset management presence in the London market, in addition to matters emanating out of the US. Praised for his ‘sound commercial judgement and ability to recognise the points that matter’, Beechey has a ‘real depth of industry knowledge’ and recently provided the regulatory overlay to Permira on the raising of its latest flagship buyout fund, Permira VI. Other clients include Duke Street, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and SVG Capital.

Gowling WLG provides a ‘responsive and commercial service’ across a broad range of regulatory issues impacting on clients in the consumer credit, Fintech, asset management and insurance space. Associate Richard Ellis has ‘significant insurance knowledge’ and delivers advice from a ‘pragmatic industry standpoint’. Alongside Sharon Ayres and Penny Sanders, Ellis has been handling a significant amount of work for Ecclesiastical Insurance Office, including ensuring insurance products are compliant with regulation, structuring and presenting insurance products appropriately and assistance drafting delegated underwriting arrangements. Other highlights included advising the Singapore Exchange on the regulatory aspects underpinning its acquisition of the Baltic Exchange. Other clients include Gravis Capital Partners, Crowdcube Capital and Route 66 Ventures.

Led by Daniel Tunkel, Howard Kennedy LLP’s financial regulation team is particularly active advising small and lower mid-cap investment funds on the regulation impacting their businesses. Tunkel regularly assists foreign clients establish regulated businesses in, or promote their investment products and services in the UK.

K&L Gates LLP is particularly accomplished at providing regulatory advice across the gamut of issues impacting asset management clients including matters relating to MiFID II and EMIR. Andrew Massey is noted for his retail funds expertise and recently advised PanAgora Asset Management on the scope and application of EMIR and on the application of AIFMD and broader marketing issues. The ‘solutions-oriented and responsive’ Sean Donovan-Smith provides ‘practical, business friendly legal/regulatory solutions’, particularly in relation to funds-related regulatory matters. The ‘very knowledgeable and responsive’ Philip Morgan and Jacob Ghanty are also recommended. David Savell has a ‘stellar reputation’ for contentious work and ‘excels at leading defence teams in complex financial matters’. Other clients include Federated Investors, Wells Fargo and Genesis Investment Management.

Katten Muchin Rosenman UK LLP provides a ‘creative, practical and business-minded service’ to clients at every point along the trading continuum on both the buy and sell side including broker dealers, clearing houses, and proprietary trading firms. Much of the London team’s work revolves around advising US clients on their activities in Europe and helping minimize the regulations they are subject to. Nathaniel Lalone has been advising the Futures Industry Association on several cross-border initiatives including legal due diligence and analysis to facilitate US futures commission merchants in meeting the new "indirect clearing" requirements under MiFIR for exchange-traded derivatives. David Brennand has a particular focus advising asset managers on the structuring and ongoing operation of hedge and other alternative fund structures investing in a diverse range of asset classes. ‘An authority in her field’, US-qualified Carolyn Jackson is able to ‘combine her US and EU regulatory knowledge’ along with former trading experience to provide an ‘excellent service’ on commodities regulatory issues. Neil Robson is also recommended. Other clients include LCH Clearnet, Flow Traders and TwentyFour Asset Management.

Led by the ‘vastly experienced and knowledgeable’ Robert Courtneidge, Locke Lord LLP’s two-partner team is noted for its ‘superb service’ to clients throughout the value chain within the payments and cards industry. Courtneidge has been advising Deutsche Bank on the creation of a virtual leger system using electronic money solutions. Siobhan Moore is the other key partner; she recently advised Sodexo Pass International on the migration of a pre-paid programme to a new e-money issuer. Clients include Blue Snap, Paysafe Group and Tuxedo Money Solutions.

Best-known for its contentious financial services expertise, the ‘responsive’ team at Mishcon de Reya LLP has a ‘true expertise in FCA investigations and enforcements’. ‘Very experienced and calm’ team head Adam Epstein is ‘particularly highly regarded’ for his representation of individuals who are the subject of regulatory enforcement actions. On the non-contentious front, team head Tim Flood is noted for the ‘commercial and innovative solutions’ he provides to funds. Flood has provided ongoing advice to Woodford Investment Management on UCITS matters and compliance with AML requirements. Associate Charlotte Davidson is also ‘able and thorough’.

Paul Hastings LLP’s ‘proactive and well-connected’ four-partner has an ‘excellent reputation’ for payments-related financial services regulatory matters including virtual currency, e-money and global money transfer programs. Praised for his ‘excellent people skills’, Ben Regnard-Weinrabe has ‘wide-ranging knowledge of the payments regulatory environment’ and takes the lead on many of the most important mandates handled by the team. Ashley Winton is ‘an extremely strong and commercial data privacy expert’. Clients include Facebook, Lloyds Banking Group, Paysafe Group and Hyperwallet.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP’s four-strong team provides a pivotal service to a range of banks, asset managers, and brokers on ad-hoc advisory work, in addition to providing the regulatory overlay pursuant to transactional work. Counsel Patrick Brandt is well-placed to provide insightful advice, particularly in light of his former role at the FSA, and has been busy advising numerous asset managers on AIFMD compliance. Brandt also regularly works with the firm’s corporate and capital markets teams on the regulatory issues associated with a financial services-related M&A transaction or a capital raising by a financial services entity. Brandt recently advised Janus Capital Group on its $6bn merger with Henderson Group, and provided EU regulatory input regarding for Barclays, Deutsche Bank and HSBC as joint bookrunning managers on American Express Credit Corporation’s €1bn bond offering.

An ideal choice for clients who want a fairly aggressive approach to dealing with the relevant authorities’, Stephenson Harwood has a ‘very strong practice, particularly acting for individuals on work that straddles the criminal and regulatory sphere’. ‘Tough and determined’ team head Tony Woodcock has a ‘complete mastery of his field’ and has vast FCA and PRA experience, on behalf of both individuals and institutions with ‘enough criminal law instincts to ensure all bases are covered’. The ‘clever, committed and charmingSara George has been involved in ‘some of the crucial stand offs with the regulators over the past few years’. The ‘experienced, approachable and thoroughJohn Fordham is also recommended. On the advisory front, Richard Small specializes in market abuse, custody and regulatory issues impacting on the private wealth sector. As well as discrete advisory work, Sean Jeffrey also regularly provides the regulatory input on transactional matters within the financial services sector.

TLT has a focus on advisory and contentious work across the retail sector. Russell Kelsall is active across both non-contentious and contentious work and is noted for his ‘knowledge in relation to consumer credit matters, in particular’. Kelsall and Emily Benson, who was herself formerly at the FSA, have been involved in a considerable amount of advisory work for consumer credit sector clients following the transition of regulation from the OFT to the FCA. Formerly head of investigations and enforcement at Barclays, Jake McQuitty heads the firm’s contentious offering. Clients include RBS, Nationwide Building Society and Santander UK plc.

Led by the ‘very experienced and straight-talkingPeter Bibby, Brown Rudnick LLP’s two-partner team represents individuals and corporates engaged in FCA investigations and enforcement actions. Himself previously head of enforcement at the FSA, Bibby has a ‘thorough knowledge of the regulator and its rules’; he recently achieved a successful outcome for a major UK fund manager in an FCA investigation into alleged front office failings which made the firm vulnerable to an attempted fraud worth around $120m. Bibby is also representing an executive of a major UK bank in a joint FCA/PRA investigation regarding his conduct as well as that of other senior members of the management during the financial crisis. Neil Micklethwaite is well-versed at representing hedge funds accused of insider trading and market abuse offences.

Boutique firm Corker Binning has ‘huge expertise and experience in advising senior individuals in high-profile, complex and sensitive criminal investigations’. A ‘doyen of the field’, Peter Binning specialises in regulatory cases with a significant criminal overlay and has experience defending individuals accused of a range of offences including insider dealing, sanctions and tax evasion. Binning also has experience of handling some of the more esoteric cases around including his recent cold shouldering case on behalf of the respondent in what was only the third such case in the history of the Takeover Panel. The ‘excellentDavid Corker is also recommended, as is the ‘incredibly talentedJessica Parker and the ‘very erudite and savvyAndrew Smith. The team was also enhanced by the arrival in October 2016 of Claire Cross from the criminal prosecution team within the FCA.

Irwin Mitchell’s two-partner team has a strong reputation in the market for advising both corporates and individuals as defendants in criminal and civil regulatory investigations. In addition, the team continues to handle a growing amount of work on behalf of corporates in internal investigations involving potential criminal and regulatory breaches. ‘Very canny’ team head Sarah Wallace is a ‘streetwise financial services lawyer and is very alive to the interplay of civil and criminal aspects of an investigation or dispute’. Wallace recently successfully persuaded the FCA to drop its investigation brought against a UK company which had been accused of providing advice and promotion of an unauthorised collective investment scheme. Senior associate Katie Byrne was also involved in the aforementioned matter, and like Wallace is particularly adept at handling matters where there is a significant interplay between civil and criminal proceedings.

A ‘standout performer’, Kingsley Napley LLP’s ‘corporate criminal expertise affords it greater bite in the area’. The ‘highly intelligent and calmStephen Parkinson is ‘admired by those who lead the prosecuting authorities, from whom he obtains, as a consequence, results which appear impossible’. The ‘very well respectedLouise Hodges is the ‘first choice for traders and other regulated persons who find themselves in the line of fire’. Blessed with ‘extraordinary emotional intelligence’, Eve Giles has a true ‘dedication to her clients’ cause’ and is also appreciated for her ‘mastery of interview tactics’.

Specialising in regulatory investigations at the nexus of civil and criminal liability, Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP has an ‘exceptional reputation defending individuals’ where it is able to provide ‘practical, subtle and precise advice’. Hannah Lamingcombines exceptional knowledge of the law with acute tactical awareness’ and is representing a company executive in an FCA investigation as to potential insider dealing. ‘Highly respected for his modesty, integrity, balance and his calm’, Neil Swift provides ‘excellent judgement’ to clients across a broad array of conduct issues including handling numerous matters for individuals accused of market manipulation. Described variously by clients as the ‘Godfather and Gandalf in one body’ and a ‘market legend’, Monty Raphael QC has ‘seen it all’ in the white-collar arena and remains a key member of the team that also includes ‘fantastically creative and tenacious litigatorSarah Gabriel.

WilmerHale has a ‘fantastic reputation’ representing individuals who are the subject of regulatory investigations. The team continues to be involved in many of the most high-profile scandals affecting the financial services industry, including numerous engagements relating to market manipulation. The ‘commercial and tactical’ Stephen Pollard is an ‘excellent advocate’ and leads the team that also includes ‘clever and confident’ counsel Elly Proudlock, who is noted for her ‘excellence on the details’. Senior associate David Rundle also has a burgeoning practice and has an excellent perspective of the regulator, having previously spent time within the FCA’s enforcement division.

Withers LLP has a ‘strong financial services practice, particularly when it comes to representing individuals facing regulatory action’. Formerly at the FSA for a number years, Harvey Knightknows the system inside out’ and will ‘really go the extra mile for his clients’.

Litigation boutique Bivonas Law LLP provides ‘high service levels’ to individuals facing regulatory investigations or criminal charges. A ‘credit to the industry’, Cindy Dorrington displays ‘great tenacity and work ethics’ and has been involved for individuals in numerous benchmark cases. Dorrington also has significant expertise in relation to fraud matters including money laundering cases. ‘Dedicated and hardworking’ managing partner Antony Brown is also recommended, as is civil fraud expert John Bechelet, who has a ‘great ability to get to the nub of a problem and to explain complex issues in layman’s terms’. Although the firm is largely focused on contentious work, it also provides a considerable amount of advisory assistance to clients on matters relating to the implementation of the Senior Managers Regime.

Traditionally one of the ‘leading conflict-free banking litigation firms’, Cooke, Young & Keidan LLP has, since its establishment in 2009, supplemented that expertise ‘with an excellent and increasing reputation in contentious financial services, particularly with banking litigation becoming ever more complex with regulatory elements and issues’. The ‘conscientious and personable’ Stephen Elam heads the firm’s FCA regulatory practice and has expertise across many of the most pressing issues occupying the minds of the regulator including recent work relating to benchmark and fix manipulation. The ‘hugely energeticMarc Keidan has a ‘key ability to think outside the box’ and regularly acts in financial disputes in opposition to the banks and in hedge fund related work.

Praised for his ‘exceptional industry knowledge and awareness’, Justin McClelland is the sole partner within Winston & Strawn London LLP’s financial services contentious team. Active across both the retail and wholesale arena for both individuals and institutions, much of the work handled by McClelland is of a cross-jurisdictional nature and often involves co-ordinated investigations/enforcement actions by the UK regulators as well as in the US in the form of the DOJ and SEC. Recent work has included representing individuals in relation to LIBOR and FX.


Flotations: small and mid-cap

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Addleshaw Goddard’s clients ‘enjoy direct access to the lead partner on all transactions’. Led by Nick Pearey, it focuses on handling some of the most complex and high-value mandates in the AIM arena, and also features prominently in mid-cap Main Market matters. In 2016, Pearey led a group, which included Simon Wood and managing associate Jeremy Cruse, in the advice to GVC on its £1.1bn takeover of bwin.party Digital Entertainment Plc (part of the transaction involved a £150m equity-linked fundraise and step up from AIM to the standard segment of the Main Market). In another highlight, Roger Hart (who is praised for his ‘top-quality legal advice’), managing associate Jamie Partridge (‘hands-on and extremely diligent’) and others acted for Accrol Group Holdings on its AIM IPO, with the client having a market capitalisation of £93m on admission. Other clients include Cenkos Securities, Peel Hunt and Liberum. Tim Field is ‘a thoroughly grounded and highly experienced lawyer’. Giles Distin joined from Squire Patton Boggs.

Michael Anderson and Benjamin Lee jointly lead the team at Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP, which has a first-class reputation in the mid-cap arena, where it handles Main Market and AIM IPOs and secondary offerings for corporate issuers, brokers and investment banks, among other clients. The practice is marked by its broad sector coverage; Alexander Keepin is particularly knowledgeable about listings involving energy and natural resources companies. Elsewhere, the group handles matters involving companies in the betting and gaming, healthcare and retail industries. In 2016, Lee, Richard Werner, senior associate Matt Oliver and others acted for Secure Income REIT on a secondary placing of ordinary shares. In addition, Nicholas Myatt advised Canaccord Genuity (as joint bookrunner and NOMAD) and Shore Capital Stockbrokers (as joint bookrunner) on a £40m secondary placing by AIM-listed pharmaceutical company Vernalis. Senior associate Brian Mulkerrins is also recommended. Alex Latner joined Playtech as general counsel. Gareth Jones and Julian Stanier joined Pinsent Masons LLP.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s first-rate reputation in the London market, combined with its international reach, makes it a strong choice for sophisticated domestic and cross-border mandates. Richard Sheen recently advised Purplebricks on its £50m placing to fund its expansion into the US, having previously handled its AIM IPO in 2015. In another matter, Sheen, senior associate Clementine Hogarth and associate Matthew O’Shea acted for Canaccord Genuity Limited (as NOMAD, financial adviser and broker) on the migration of ThinkSmart’s listing from the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) to AIM. Raj Karia leads the team, which includes Simon FT Cox, who has particular expertise in the natural resources sector, and Stephen Rigby, who specialises in renewable energy, power and oil and gas. Fiona Millington is also recommended.

Pinsent Masons LLP manages a varied workload, which includes AIM/Main Market/overseas listings, dual listings, secondary offerings and reverse takeovers. Reflective of the international footprint of the practice, Robert Moir acted for Warsaw Stock Exchange listed recruitment company Work Service on its listing on the London Stock Exchange. Jon Harris and legal director Michael Lakin managed the English law aspects of Procurri Corporation’s IPO on the Mainboard of the Singapore Stock Exchange. Another key feature is the firm’s strong focus on sectors such as technology, life sciences and energy; Russell Booker assisted Loopup Group with its £40.8m AIM IPO, representing the first technology-related IPO post-Brexit. Rob Hutchings, Hannah Brader and others assisted Motorpoint Group with its £200m Main Market IPO. John Tyerman leads the team, which also acts for brokers, bookrunners and NOMADs.

Travers Smith LLP acts for a significant number of AIM-listed companies, and it also advises a number of major NOMADs including Cenkos, Numis and finnCap. In a particularly notable highlight for 2016, Adrian West and Lucy Stephenson acted for Liberum Capital as NOMAD and sole bookrunner on the £167m AIM IPO of Hotel Chocolat Group. In another key mandate, Richard Spedding advised Investec Bank as sole broker and NOMAD on easyHotel’s £38m placing. On the issuer side, Jon Reddington and Spencer Summerfield assisted AIM-listed client Breedon Group with its £41m equity placing to part-finance the client’s £336m acquisition of Hope Construction Materials. Charles Cassana, Dan McNamee and senior associate Brent Sanders add US securities law capabilities to the practice. Tom Coulter is the lead associate in the team.

Ashurst’s highly regarded practice has longstanding relationships with Main Market and AIM-listed companies (it acts for more than 60 publicly quoted companies), and also advises global investment banks and brokers. In 2016, Nicholas Holmes led a team, which included senior associates Marianna Kennedy and Tara Waters, on the advice to Peel Hunt and Liberum Capital on Joules Group’s £140m AIM IPO. On the issuer side, a notable mandate involved David Carter, Dominic Ross, Alexander Cox and others acting for Time Out Group on its AIM IPO. Michael Robins acted for AIM-listed Atlantis Resources on its £6.5m placing of ordinary shares. Nick Williamson and Nick Bryans are also highly regarded. A hallmark of the practice is its strong US securities law offering; Jennifer Schneck, Eric Stuart and senior associate Jeffrey Johnson have expertise in this space. Simon Bullock recently made partner, while Jonathan Parry departed for White & Case LLP.

Following CMS’s recent merger with Nabarro LLP and Olswang LLP, the amalgamated practice now benefits from a team that combines Nabarro LLP’s historical strengths in the healthcare and life sciences, technology, corporate real estate and infrastructure sectors, with Olswang LLP’s traditional strengths in industries such as TMT and leisure. James Parkes was the lead adviser to Hollywood Bowl Group on its £240m IPO and admission to the Main Market, representing one of the few IPOs to successfully complete in the aftermath of the UK referendum on EU membership in 2016. Cathy Pitt acted for N+1 Singer as sponsor and placing agent on RM Secured Direct Lending’s £50m IPO. Iain Newman acted for Investec on a number of placings (including IMImobile Plc’s £5m placing), while Alasdair Steele advised Allenby Capital and Dowgate Capital as joint brokers on the £16m AIM IPO of Franchise Brands. Paul Blackmore is also highly regarded.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’s team handles the full spectrum of transactions for small-cap and mid-cap companies, as well as brokers, including AIM and Main Market IPOs, secondary issues and reverse takeovers, among other areas. The group has also recently been advising clients on the impact of the implementation of the Market Abuse Regulation. The practice draws work from a broad cross-section of industries, with particular strengths in areas such as TMT, financial services and investment trusts, and energy and natural resources. 2016 highlights included Andrew Collins and recently promoted partner Paul Arathoon acting for N+1 Singer as NOMAD and broker in the £80m AIM IPO of UK wealth manager Harwood Wealth Management. Collins and Arathoon also acted for Allenby Capital (as NOMAD and joint broker) and Peterhouse Corporate Finance (as joint broker) on the £5m AIM IPO of GoTech Group (formerly Guscio). Also recommended are practice head Clive Hopewell, Chris Putt, Mark Howard and recently promoted senior associate Jaspal Sekhon.

DLA Piper’s broad offering provides support on domestic capital markets mandates to companies and their advisers across its UK offices, and also leverages the firm’s wider global platform for cross-border matters. In addition to fielding English-qualified practitioners, the London office also houses US-qualified capital markets lawyers, such as George Barboutis, who heads the US securities practice for the EMEA region, and senior associate Iryna Nagayets. Charles Severs, practice head Alex Tamlyn and senior associate Robert Newman acted for Liberum Capital Limited as the underwriter on Time Out Group’s £195m AIM IPO. Tamlyn was also the lead adviser to Hutchison China Meditech Limited on its listing of American Depository Shares on the NASDAQ Global Select Market. Tom Heylen’s clients include Halyard Health, Tissue Regenix and online retailer Amazon. Martin Penn, who made partner in 2016, is also recommended.

At Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP, practice head Stephen Nash, Jonathan Stanley and Danielle Boland-Brown acted for Numis Securities (as NOMAD/joint bookrunner) and Panmure Gordon (as joint bookrunner) On Morses Plc’s £140m AIM IPO. In another highlight, Sebastian Orton and Stanley advised Stifel as sole bookrunner on a £150m block trade of shares, and subsequently acted for the client as the sponsor on Secure Trust Bank’s transfer from AIM to the Main Market. The group also acted on the issuer side in the AIM IPOs of Joules Group and Van Elle Holdings. Other highly regarded practitioners include Mark Roe, who recently made legal director, Steven Hacking and Alistair Cree.

In 2016, Fieldfisher acted for 29 AIM-listed companies, as well as a significant number brokers and NOMADs. Its team is particularly noted for cross-border transactions involving the energy and natural resources sectors. Brad Isaac acted for SP Angel Corporate Finance, Whitman Howard and Brandon Hill Capital in their respective capacities as the NOMAD and joint brokers on a reverse takeover by San Leon Energy and placing of new shares, which raised £170.3m; This matter represented the second-largest AIM fundraising of 2016. Anthony Brockbank advised Mirabaud Securities and Panmure Gordon on their $40m secondary placing to assist Savannah Petroleum with financing the development of exploration assets in Niger. Other clients include KEFI Minerals, Atalaya Mining and Gulfsands Petroleum. Neil Matthews leads the team, which also has a strong following in the CIS region. Director Nicholas Heap and senior associate Edward Westhead are also highly regarded.

Gowling WLG has been active in the AIM arena since the market first launched in 1995; the firm acts for companies located worldwide on their transactions in this space. Sunil Kakkad, who jointly heads the practice with Jeffrey Elway, acts for Indian companies and financial institutions on cross-border matters. Sefton Collett handles equity capital markets transactions across a number of jurisdictions, particularly in Australia. Dominic Prentis has experience acting for companies based in Russia and French-speaking parts of West Africa. John Reed advised Vinacapital Vietnam Opportunity Fund Limited on its move from AIM to the Official List, one of only six investment funds to have moved since 2011. Another recommended individual is Kristian Rogers, who acted for venture capital investor Draper Esprit on its admissions to the AIM market and Irish ESM Market, as well as associated fundraising of more than £100m.

Osborne Clarke LLP’s ‘incredibly responsive’ team ‘avoids trivia and helps clients focus on the things that matter’. In addition to acting for FTSE AIM 50 and FTSE AIM 100 clients, it also attracts mandates from brokers, investment banks and other financial institutions. In 2016, practice head Jonathan King and senior associate Jake Turcan acted for Investec as NOMAD, broker and bookrunner in Blue Prism’s AIM IPO and £20m institutional placing. In another matter, Mark Wesker was the lead adviser to Tribal Group on a £21m rights issue, which followed the client’s circa £20m disposal of its non-core Synergy business to Servelec Group. Other key figures include Matthew Bodfield, who made partner, and Rebecca Gordon, a notable hire from Dentons.

Simmons & Simmons’ team is particularly active in AIM work related to the life sciences and wider healthcare sector, where it acts for companies and brokers/NOMADs. In 2016, Charles Mayo, supervising associate Tim Wass and others acted for Stifel Nicolaus Europe as the NOMAD and broker in Oxford BioDynamics’ AIM IPO, while Chris Horton, Patrick Graves and supervising associate Stephanie Featherstone advised Cenkos Securities as NOMAD and broker on Creo Medical Group’s £20m AIM IPO and placing. Other areas of strength include TMT (including fintech), financial institutions and asset management/investment funds.

Stephenson Harwood, which provides ‘pragmatic advice and a clear steer on what the listing authorities will approve’, has a particularly strong listed funds capability. In 2016, it featured in four out of six investment company IPOs, one of which involved Alex Haynes acting for finnCap as NOMAD and broker to Pacific Capital Partners on the IPO of Pacific Industrial & Logistics REIT. Outside of funds-related listings, the team also features in high-profile corporate AIM and Main Market admissions. Practice head Tom Nicholls, senior associate Tom Page and associate Gabrielle Pugh acted for Hotel Chocolat Group on its £167m AIM IPO. Another highlight saw the firm advise Shield Therapeutics on its £162m AIM IPO. William Saunders is another key contact in the team, which was strengthened by the recruitment of Anthony Clare from Ashurst.

Bird & Bird LLP’s AIM work is weighted towards the TMT and various other technology-driven and IP-rich sectors, such as financial services, life sciences and IT. Simon Fielder, who has particular experience working with Asia-based companies, and co-heads the firm’s India strategy group, acted for online Halal verification service DagangHalal on its AIM IPO in 2016. Richard Eaton has a strong track record advising US clients seeking access to the UK’s capital markets. Simon Allport is also recommended.

Covington & Burling LLP is also ranked.

Dechert LLP’s team is ‘strong at all levels of seniority’, with clients ‘always being quickly and efficiently connected to an appropriate expert’. Sean Geraghty heads the group, which handles all aspects of AIM/Main Market listings and other equity offerings for corporate issuers, brokers and investment banks. In 2016, Geraghty acted for AIM-listed client Advanced Oncotherapy on its circa £4m open offer of shares to the company’s existing shareholders. In another matter, Patrick Lyons, who is a dual UK/US-qualified partner, worked with members of the New York office on the advice to Zealand Pharma on its accelerated bookbuild private placement. Lyons also has extensive emerging markets expertise (particularly in the Middle East and Africa), and handles matters ranging from IPOs and secondary offerings to rights issues and tender offers for sovereign and quasi-sovereign issuers and financial institutions.

Dentons’ footprint in the Middle East, CIS region and Africa is a notable driver of work for the London team, which is led by David Collins. It has a strong track record in mid-market IPOs; transactions span a wide range of sectors, with oil and gas, automotive and technology being particular areas of strength. Its workload also covers secondary offerings, reverse takeovers, private placements and tender offers. Darren Acres and others are acting for Hurricane Energy in a $520m fundraise through an accelerated bookbuild to finance the development of an untapped oilfield on the UK Continental Shelf. The firm also advised the same client on two other separate fundraisings in 2016. In addition to acting for issuers, Collins’ team also advises NOMADs and brokers on AIM-related issues; clients include Brandon Hill Capital, Westhouse and Allenby Capital. Neil Nicholson, Jeremy Cohen and recently promoted partner Joseph Altendorff are recommended. US securities law expert Cameron Half recently joined from Allen & Overy LLP.

Dorsey & Whitney has a strong and growing reputation for small and mid-cap work. Kate Francis and associate David Elphinstone acted for Corero Network Security on its £9m fundraising through a conditional firm placing, subscription and open offer. Francis also worked with Max Beazley and associate Daniel Park on Atlantic Group’s delisting. Practice head Mark Taylor, who specialises in UK securities law, advises on AIM and Main Market IPOs, rights issues and open offers, and pre-IPO placings, among other matters. Chris McFadzean departed the firm.

Fox Williams LLP’s team is noted for its ‘outstanding technical understanding of the drivers of an IPO’. Its notable sector specialisms are in technology and financial services (including fintech), as well as natural resources. In addition to IPOs, it serves as a one-stop shop for other matters, such as capital raisings and placings, as well as associated public and private M&A, and regulatory advice. Led by Richie Clark, the team undertakes a significant amount of work for dual-listed companies from Australia, North America and South Africa, as well as companies with assets in Africa or the CIS region. Paul Osborne and Sean Williams acted for Plexus Holdings on two financings in 2016, one of which involved raising $5m through a subscription agreement with LLC Gusar, while the other transaction concerned a separate £6m placing of ordinary shares. In another matter, Clark is working with Guy Morgan (a recent hire from Stephenson Harwood) and senior associate William Li on advice to SacOil concerning its proposed reverse takeover of a South Africa-focused petroleum product wholesaler, and its subsequeng re-admission to AIM. Morgan ‘marries an eye for detail with a commercial nous that really cuts through the issuesAndrew Woolf is another partner in the group. Nick Sayers joined Payne Hicks Beach.

K&L Gates LLP’s global platform makes it well positioned to advise on matters with a cross-border dimension, with the practice generating a large amount of work from US companies looking to move to AIM, as well as clients located in Singapore, China and Australia. Senior associate Riley Kemp, who relocated from the Perth office in 2016, worked with Tom Wallace to advise finnCap as NOMAD and broker to eServGlobal on its £15m placing to UK investors and open offer under Australian law to raise up to £3m. Another highlight for the firm involved Wallace and others assisting Tax Systems with its reverse takeover of Tax Computer Systems, which was part funded by a £45m placing. James Green, who co-heads the firm’s Africa practice group, handles Main Market and AIM transactions for companies and NOMADs/brokers. Paul Tetlow heads the practice. Tom Sibert joined Therium Capital Management, while Jeremy Landau moved to Taylor Wessing LLP.

A significant proportion of Macfarlanes LLP’s capital markets work derives from its private equity capability. In 2016, Mark Slade acted for Queripel Partners, a majority shareholder of Premier Asset Management, in the investment manager’s £140m AIM IPO. In another matter, Harry Coghill advised Schroders Investment Management (as a cornerstone investor) on the IPO of Arabian Food Industries Company (Domty) on the Egyptian Exchange. Robert Boyle, who heads the practice, acted for ThinkSmart on its delisting from the ASX and related admission to AIM. In addition to undertaking transactional work, Boyle also provides ongoing corporate advice to listed issuers. Revolution Bars Group, Game Digital and Peel Hunt are other clients.

Mayer Brown International LLP’s clients are ‘always happy to use it on a deal’, with its ‘highly responsive and user-friendly team’ handling a balanced mix of mandates from issuers, NOMADs and brokers. Led by Kate Ball-Dodd, the team acts for clients across a range of sectors, including technology, insurance, media and entertainment, and life sciences. The group has a wealth of experience in large AIM listings, and also advises on a significant number of overseas listings. Robert Hamill led the advice to Oxford BioDynamics on its AIM admission, and Richard Smith worked with members of the firm’s US offices in assisting AIM-listed GW Pharmaceuticals with a $289.8m offering of American depositary shares on the NASDAQ Global Market. Connor Cahalane is another active practitioner.

Memery Crystal LLP fields six partners who are active in Main Market and AIM-related matters, with particular expertise in sectors such as oil and gas, mining, property and technology. The team has a strong track record acting for UK and international companies; in a recent highlight, Nick Davis led a team advising SigmaRoc on its acquisition of LafargeHolcim, which was financed by a £50m placing of convertible loan notes and ordinary shares. Other corporate clients include AFG Energy, Caledonia Mining and Gaming Realms. The group also acts for brokers, NOMADs and sponsors; practice head Lesley Gregory, Michael Dawes and others acted for Cenkos Securities (as NOMAD and broker) on a number of transactions, including Kromek Group’s firm placing and open offer, which raised £21m. Kieran Stone, Greg Scott and Andrew Titmas are other names to note.

Squire Patton Boggs has a diverse offering, with its team (which is spread across its four UK offices) covering the gamut of public and private securities transactions for domestic and international clients. Edward Dawes acts for mid-cap publicly-listed companies and brokers located in the North of England, the Midlands and London. Massimo Galli specialises in advising Italian companies on accessing international capital markets. Adam Hastings combines sector expertise in mining, energy and natural resources, with experience of advising businesses in Australia and sub-Saharan Africa. Jane Haxby leads the team, whose clients include City of London Group, Rotala, N+1 Singer and Panmure Gordon. Giles Distin departed for Addleshaw Goddard and Steven Glover left to become assistant company secretary at Cranswick.

Taylor Wessing LLP acts for a wide range of clients in public and private fundraisings, as well as transactional matters, with particular expertise in mandates connected with the technology, life sciences and real estate sectors. Robert Fenner and Tandeep Minhas acted for Creo Medical Group on its £1.4m pre-IPO fundraising and also advised the client on its £20m AIM IPO; the funds from the IPO will be used to develop a new range of minimally-invasive surgical devices. Another notable individual is William Belcher, who acted for Cyan Holdings on its £10m fundraise, by way of a placing and subscription for new ordinary shares. Russell Holden’s team includes Jeremy Landau, who joined from K&L Gates LLP in 2016, and senior associate Katie Bennett.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP, whose UK team benefits from support across the global network, is particularly well known for its sector strengths in areas such as transport, energy and natural resources. Martin Thomas, and senior associates Danny Heathwood and Jenny Hodges, recently acted for US-based Diversified Gas & Oil on its AIM admission and related placing to raise $50m; this matter represented the largest AIM oil and gas flotation since the fall in oil prices in mid-2014. It is also increasingly active in other industries, including real estate, technology and consumer services; in 2016, Thomas was the lead adviser to real estate investment company European Investment Grade Properties on its admission to the Gibraltar Stock Exchange, which involved a £50m corporate bond (the first-ever bond listing on the Exchange). Practice head Jan Mellmann has recently acted for clients such as North River Resources, Charaat Gold Holding and Mariana Resources. Dearbhla Quigley is also recommended.

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s Matthew Darling has a wealth of experience acting for technology sector clients ranging from start-ups and high-net-worth individuals to AIM-listed companies. In 2016, Darling, legal director Michelle Jones and others acted for Castle Street Investments (now CoreTx Holdings) on the acquisition of Selection Services by way of a reverse takeover and the company’s re-admission to AIM. The firm’s practice also covers other sectors, such as natural resources, real estate and insurance. In 2016, Clive Garston advised cosmetics group Warpaint London on its AIM IPO. Complementing its work for issuers, the team also serves NOMADs/brokers; Jonathan Deverill acted for Cenkos Securities on a placement by dual AIM/ASX-listed Salt Potash Limited to raise A$3.2m.

Fladgate LLP’s practice handles a range of cross-border work; consultant Neil Vickers acts for clients such as KazakhGold, Sinochem and Aurora Russia. In addition, Avram Kelman specialises in Anglo-Israeli capital markets transactions, while Paul Airley and Nigel Gordon are particularly experienced in Anglo-Canadian matters. David Robinson has been instrumental in increasing the firm’s links with Asia-based clients. On the domestic front, in 2016, Airley was the lead adviser to Angus Energu on its AIM admission and £3.5m placing. In a separate matter, Vickers acted for Shore Capital (as NOMAD and broker) on the AIM admission and placing of Yü Group. Grant Gordon leads the team, which includes Chris Chrysanthou.

Hamlins LLP’s practice is led by Daniel Bellau, who covers the full range of matters related to the Official List, AIM and NEX Exchange. Bellau acted for Allenby Capital as the joint broker (along with Whitman Howard) in the £3.16m fundraising by AIM-listed company TyraTech, and also advised the same client as NOMAD and broker on a placing by AIM-listed InfraStrata. Ted Baker, Beaufort Securities and Northland Capital Partners are among a number of other key clients. The team is ‘excellent at partner and associate level’.

Kerman & Co LLP’s team has substantial experience in Main Market and AIM-related matters. It is particularly active in the mining and natural resources arena, which was recently demonstrated when Joan Yu assisted Emmerson with its successful Main Market listing and placing. In addition, the team also acts for listed companies (and entities seeking admission to trade) on the NEX Growth Market. Peter Kohl, who heads the practice, joined from Hogan Lovells International LLP in 2016. The team also added Simon Holden and Martin O’Donoghue from Lester Aldridge LLP and Teacher Stern LLP, respectively. Michael Corcoran joined Hill Dickinson LLP as a consultant.

Marriott Harrison LLP’s extensive coverage of the AIM Market sees its team handle a wide range of matters, ranging from pre-IPO fundraises and AIM listings to follow-on offerings, reverse takeovers and regulatory compliance issues. The practice had an active 2016, with the firm securing new mandates from institutional clients such as N+1 Singer, Shard Capital Partners and Cairn Financial Advisers. Recent highlights include advising Northland Capital Partners as sole broker and NOMAD on the £13m AIM IPO of SalvaRx, and acting for finnCap as the NOMAD and broker on a £3.5m placing by RedT Energy. It also has a strong following of corporate clients, including Fulham Shore, Imaginatik and Volvere. Simon Charles leads the team.

Notable areas of strength at Mills & Reeve LLP include assisting technology companies (particularly fast-growth companies) with obtaining AIM admission, as well as fundraising and various other post-IPO corporate and commercial matters. In 2016, Stephen Hamilton was the lead partner acting for Midwich Group on its £165m AIM IPO and related £75m fundraising; he also advised Mercia Technologies on the AIM listing of portfolio company Concepta Diagnostics Limited. Paul Johnson and Anthony McGurk are the other main partners in the team.

Mishcon de Reya LLP leverages its industry expertise in areas such as real estate, betting and gaming, and IT, as well as private equity, with the firm often assisting private equity sponsors with exits from their investments via IPOs. Saul Sender’s team includes legal director Shantanu Sinha, who handles AIM IPOs, fundraisings and reverse takeovers across a wide range of sectors for issuers, brokers and NOMADs. Ross Bryson is another active practitioner in the team, which acts for clients including fastjet, Arden Partners, Cenkos Securities and Cloudtag Inc.

Shepherd and Wedderburn impresses with ‘the level of involvement from its good, practical and knowledgeable partners’. Practice head Walter Blake, in particular, has ‘a particularly fine ability to identify, understand and resolve the most difficult issues in complicated deals’. The firm attracts work from listed and private companies across a multitude of sectors, particularly areas such as energy and natural resources, life sciences/pharmaceuticals and IT/technology. In a highlight in 2016, Blake acted for Goals Soccer Centres on its placing, which raised £16.75m. Blake also undertakes a significant amount of work for brokers, and advised Numis Securities on a £6.3m placing by Ilika.

At Walker Morris LLP, Daniel O’Gorman acted for N+1 Singer as NOMAD and broker in Microsaic System’s £5.4m AIM secondary fundraising. O’Gorman is recommended for his ‘strong industry knowledge’. More recently, Richard Naish and Michael Taylor assisted Intercede with its £5m fundraise through a placing of shares and convertible loan notes on AIM. In addition to handling IPOs and equity fundraisings, the teams also advises AIM-listed clients on corporate transactions.


M&A: upper mid-market and premium deals, £250m+

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Renowned for its multi-jurisdictional M&A capabilities, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s practice combines world-class transactional strength with a full-service offering, fielding impressive corporate tax, competition and employment teams. The department is best known for its high-profile public M&A work across a wide range of sectors, but is also noted for its experience in private M&A, complex joint ventures and carve-outs. It is headed jointly by Piers Prichard Jones – who advised London Stock Exchange Group on its proposed $28bn merger with Deutsche Börse and on its defence against a takeover offer by Intercontinental Exchange – and Jennifer Bethlehem, who acted for Boehringer Ingelheim on its €20bn asset swap with Sanofi. Simon Marchant acted for AB InBev on its £78.4bn acquisition of SABMiller, constituting the largest-ever takeover of a London-listed company. Stephen Hewes has remarkable experience in technology-sector M&A; he assisted SoftBank Group with its £24.3bn purchase of ARM Holdings – the largest-ever acquisition of a European technology company. He also advised Hewlett Packard Enterprises on the spin-off and merger of its non-core software assets with Micro Focus International. Natasha Good is also recommended for M&A in the TMT sector. Recently promoted partner Charles Hayes acted for Formula One on its $4.4bn sale to Liberty Media. Edward Braham, managing partner Julian Long and Alison Smith, who is especially strong in the retail, consumer and healthcare sectors, are also recommended. In 2016, Will Lawes and Mark Rawlinson departed to go in-house at Lazard and Morgan Stanley, respectively. Ben Spiers joined Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP.

Linklaters LLP’s ‘very impressive’ practice is known for its strength in public M&A, and its expertise in complex work such as reverse takeovers and demergers. Clients describe its responsiveness, business acumen, strength in depth and value for money as ‘excellent’. Financial services, high-end retail, technology and telecoms are key sector strengths; the department is also noted for its experience in the mining sector. In the finance space, Roger Barron and Simon Branigan advised Deutsche Börse on its proposed £21bn merger with London Stock Exchange Group, while on the retail side Iain Fenn, Owen Clay and Nick Garland assisted Home Retail Group with its £1.4bn takeover by J Sainsbury. Other retail mandates include Charles Jacobs’s advice to Steinhoff International Holdings on its £597m acquisition of Poundland Group. Barron and Jessamy Gallagher advised National Grid on the sale of a 61% stake in NGGD, its £13.8bn UK gas distribution business, to a consortium of infrastructure investors. Ian Hunter made partner in April 2016; he and David Avery-Gee acted for Glencore International on the £2.5bn sale of 40% of its agricultural business to Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and on the sale of a further 10% of the business to British Columbia Investment Management Corporation for $625m. The department’s other clients include Nestlé, Visa Europe, AXA and BP. Iain Wagstaff and Richard Godden are also recommended. Private equity specialists David Holdsworth and Stuart Boyd joined Kirkland & Ellis International LLP in May 2016.

The ‘outstanding, highly responsive’ team at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP has ‘absolute control of transactions in numerous jurisdictions’, and is commended for its ‘perfect combination of legal and commercial advice’. The practice is headed by Michael Hatchard and Scott Simpson, who is praised for his ‘in-depth M&A expertise and business acumen’. Though active in a wide variety of sectors, the team had a particularly good year in manufacturing and retail: Hatchard acted for Ball on its $8.4bn purchase of Rexam, and advised both companies on the sale of $3.4bn-worth of their assets and operations in Europe, Brazil and the US to Ardagh Group. Hilary Foulkes acted for BA Glass on its joint acquisition, with CVC Capital Partners, of Anchor Glass Container from KPS Capital Partners, while Lorenzo Corte advised F.I.L.A. (Italy) on its purchase of Daler-Rowney and its $357m merger with Space. In the TMT space, Scott Hopkins acted for Nikkei on its $1.3bn purchase of Financial Times Group from Pearson; Michal Berkner assisted one of the founding shareholders of 888 Holdings with its proposed $1.4bn purchase of bwin.party digital entertainment; and Simpson and Berkner advised Nokia (Finland) on its $16.6bn merger with Alcatel-Lucent (France). Sandro de Bernardini made partner in April 2016; he, Simpson and Lorenzo Corte acted for LetterOne Holdings on its $200m investment in Uber Technologies, its $1.6bn purchase of E.ON E&P Norge from E.ON Beteiligungen, its $5.8bn acquisition of RWE’s oil and gas unit, and its $725m sale of DEA UK Holdings to Ineos. The department’s other clients include Coty, 21st Century Fox and Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding. Richard Youle arrived from White & Case LLP in May 2017.

Slaughter and May fields a team of ‘technical experts’ that provides ‘value for money’, ‘great industry knowledge’ and ‘detailed reasoning where necessary’. Praised for its ‘terrific strength in depth’, the ‘proactive, reliable’ practice ‘makes molehills out of mountains’, ‘handling complex matters’ in a wide variety of sectors. Many of the practice’s largest matters in 2016 were in the TMT space: Steve Cooke advised ARM Holdings on its £24.3bn purchase by SoftBank Group, which was the largest-ever acquisition of a European technology company, while Andrew Jolly assisted Cable & Wireless Communications with its £3.6bn purchase by Liberty Global. The practice also handled a significant TMT demerger, with John Papanichola advising esure Group and Gocompare.com Group on the latter’s spin-off from the former. Other TMT clients include Vodafone and Reliance Communications. In the biotech space, Martin Hattrell advised Shire on its $32bn merger with Baxalta. In another high-profile mandate, Gary Eaborn assisted Tata Steel with various sales of its UK operations, including the sale of its Clydebridge and Dalzell steel facilities to the Scottish government, and the sale of its subsidiary Longs Steel UK to Greybull Capital. He also acted for Dätwyler on its £615m takeover offer for Premier Farnell. The ‘calm, experiencedRoland Turnill is ‘highly intelligent, and works well with other advisers and client teams’; he heads the practice with Andy Ryde. William Underhill, Tim Boxell, Craig Cleaver, the ‘excellentVictoria MacDuff (who made partner in May 2016) and senior statesman Nigel Boardman are also recommended. Murray Cox and Paul Mudie also made partner in May 2016.

Allen & Overy LLP attracts praise for its ‘very high level of service’ and ‘practical advice’, as well as its ‘detailed market knowledge’ and ability to provide ‘strong technical support across a broad spectrum of sectors and specialist areas’. Public M&A is a high-profile strength of the practice, which counts TMT, energy, financial services and consumer goods as key sectors of expertise. David Broadley is ‘always one step ahead of his clients and ahead of the pack’; he, Seth Jones and the ‘quick-thinking, commercial’ Simon Toms, who is ‘cool under pressure’, acted for 21st Century Fox on the corporate, regulatory and competition aspects of its £11.7bn purchase of a 61% stake in BSkyB; the move would give the company full ownership of BSkyB. Also in the TMT space, Toms, Andrew Ballheimer and Tom Levine acted for VimpelCom on its formation of a €21.8bn joint venture with CK Hutchison Holdings, to create Italy’s largest mobile operator. Asahi is a major client of the practice in the consumer goods space: Richard Hough advised it on the €2.6bn purchase of the Peroni and Grolsch businesses in Italy and the Netherlands, and on its €7.3bn acquisition of SABMiller’s former businesses in various Eastern European countries from AB InBev. The department’s other clients include Aviva, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, Visa Europe and Thomson Reuters. ‘Pragmatic’ practice head Dominic Morris is singled out for his ‘wide range of expertise’. Also recommended are the ‘very personable, efficient’ Daniel Fletcher, who has ‘strong technical knowledge’, Gillian Holgate and Annabelle Croker.

Clifford Chance’s practice, which frequently handles complex, multi-jurisdictional public M&A, provides ‘a top-rate service in all respects’. Headed by Mark Poulton, the practice counts financial services, TMT, healthcare, life sciences, consumer goods and retail as key sector strengths, in addition to expertise in insurance, where clients include Legal & General; Hilary Evenett has ‘strong insurance M&A expertise’. Babcock, Johnson Matthey, GKN and Cambian are all clients of the practice. The ‘extremely knowledgeable, approachable’ Joel Ziff is ‘very responsive, and provides practical, high-level advice’. Spencer Baylin, Tim Lewis, David Pearson and global corporate head Guy Norman continue to be industry leaders; Norman and Katherine Moir acted for AB InBev on its £71bn purchase of SABMiller, and Moir, acting alongside Steven Fox, advised Informa on its £1.18bn purchase of Penton Information Services. Pearson and Lee Coney acted for Patron Capital on its £1.8bn acquisition of Punch Taverns, while Ziff and Gareth Camp advised SkyePharma on its £441m merger with Vectura Group, with the merged group valued at £1bn. Robert Crothers is also recommended. Moir and private equity expert Christopher Sullivan made partner in May 2016, and public M&A expert James Bole was made up to partner in May 2017. Patrick Sarch left in December 2016 to join White & Case LLP.

The ‘very responsive, relationship-driven’ team at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is a ‘go-to firm for corporate advice’; it blends ‘best-in-class legal advice, pragmatic commercial judgement, the utmost professional integrity and a clear understanding of clients' objectives and motives’. TMT, energy and, increasingly, pharmaceuticals (where clients include originators and generics) are key sector strengths of the department, which handles a high volume of public and private M&A. It also has impressive regulatory expertise: James Palmer and the ‘responsive, hands-on, knowledgeable’ Malcolm Lombers advised the Panel on Takeovers and Mergers on SoftBank Group’s undertakings following the latter’s £24.3bn purchase of ARM. Public M&A specialist Mark Bardell, who has years of experience working at the Panel, is ‘technically and commercially skilful’; he, Lombers and Stephen Wilkinson assisted Sky with its £18.5bn acquisition by 21st Century Fox. The ‘reliable’ Alex Kay is ‘great to deal with’; he, Palmer and Charles Howarth acted for British American Tobacco on its $49.4bn acquisition of Reynolds American. In the energy space, Anna Howell and Steven Dalton advised E.ON on the $1.72bn sale of its North Sea oil and gas business to Premier Oil; Howell also assisted BP with its first significant investments in Mauritania and Senegal, via the acquisition of $1bn-worth of interests in Kosmos Energy’s offshore gas exploration blocks. The department’s other clients include Reliance Communications, Bharti Airtel, Claris Lifesciences and Wesfarmers. Mike Flockhart and Gavin Davies are also recommended. Private equity specialist James Macarthur joined Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP in May 2016, and Gillian Fairfield retired in May 2017.

Ashurst’s ‘technically creative, very commercial, solution-focused’ department ‘navigates tricky situations very well’. It frequently assists financial institutions, blue-chip corporates and natural resources and infrastructure clients with public and private M&A, and has been increasingly busy with reverse takeovers: Nick Williamson advised the publicly listed Shanks Group on its €482m purchase of Van Gansewinkel Group. The ‘very experienced, commercial, friendly’ James Wood is ‘top-drawer’, a ‘pleasure to deal with’, and ‘finds creative solutions to difficult issues’. He acted for M&G Investment on its acquisition of equity and debt interests in Alliance Medical, and on its subsequent disposal of the company to Life Healthcare. In the projects and infrastructure space – a key area of expertise for the firm – global corporate head Robert Ogilvy Watson acted for China General Nuclear Power on its investment in the £18bn Hinkley Point nuclear project, while Tom Mercer and the Madrid-based María José Menéndez advised Abertis Infrastructure on its €948m purchase of a 50% stake in Chile’s Autopista Central toll road, making Abertis the road’s sole owner. Karen Davies and ‘senior statesmen’ Adrian Clark and Simon Beddow are recommended. TMT experts Nick Elverston and Amanda Hale joined from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP in April 2016. Richard Gubbins retired in 2017.

Having undergone significant expansion following its merger with Nabarro LLP and Olswang LLP, CMS saw its M&A capabilities bolstered by the arrival of 20 M&A partners from the legacy firms. Real estate-related corporate work is one area that has grown stronger for the department post-merger, particularly in the hotels space: the ‘experienced, approachable yet toughLouise Wallace assisted LSREF3 Atlas Holdings with its sale of the entirety of Atlas Hotels Group’s business and portfolio to London & Regional Properties for over £500m. Energy is an area in which the practice consistently performs impressively: Charles Currier and Sandra Rafferty acted for Quad Gas Group on its purchase of a 61% stake in National Grid’s £13.8bn UK gas distribution business. In another key energy deal, Doug Land acted for longstanding client SSE on its £621m sale of a 16.7% stake in Scotia Gas Networks to Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, and on its £355m sale of a 49.9% stake in 350MW Clyde wind farm to Greencoat UK Wind and GLIL. Other energy clients include BP and RWE. The ‘excellent, experiencedGary Green is ‘a great person to have on your team’. From Nabarro’s legacy practice, Iain Newman, healthcare specialist Warren Taylor and start-ups expert John Finnemore are recommended, while key figures from Olswang include Mark Bertram, Katie Nagy de Nagybaczon and Paul Guite. Heineken International, Redefine International and Care UK are all legacy Nabarro clients; Time Warner, BBC Worldwide, Sony and Dentsu Aegis were brought over by Olswang, which was well known for its strength in TMT. Other sector strengths include financial services, healthcare and life sciences, infrastructure and consumer products.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s ‘extremely diligent, commercial and highly skilled’ department is praised for its strength in depth and ‘incredible mix of talent and expertise’. ‘Getting the job done on time and with the right results’, the practice is also commended for its value for money. Tihir Sarkar, who is noted for his ‘leadership, experience and depth of knowledge’, acted for Dhabi Group on the merger of its subsidiary Warid Telecom (Private) with Pakistan Mobile Telecommunications to create a $500m entity that serves more than 50 million customers in Pakistan. Simon Jay and Sam Bagot acted for The Coca-Cola Company on the merger of Coca-Cola Enterprises, Coca-Cola Iberian Partners and Coca-Cola Erfrischungsgetränke to create the €28bn Coca-Cola European Partners. Bagot and Michael McDonald acted for Barclays on its $790m sale of Barclays Risk Analytics and Index Solutions to Bloomberg. The practice also assists financial advisers to corporate parties involved in complex, high-profile M&A: Jay advised The Raine Group on SoftBank Group’s successful £24.3bn bid to acquire ARM. On the energy side, McDonald and Sarkar acted for Qatar Investment Authority, as member of a consortium of investors, on the consortium’s acquisition of a 61% stake in National Grid’s £13.8bn UK gas distribution business. Other clients of the department include Loxam and Amundi. Michael Preston is also recommended.

Counting energy, technology, financial services, real estate and insurance as key sector strengths, Hogan Lovells International LLP’s ‘superb’ practice is commended for its ‘high level of service and attention to detail’, as well as for its ‘responsiveness, business acumen, pragmatism and value for money’. Steven Bryan – who is praised for his ‘strong energy industry knowledge’, as well as for his ‘transactional expertise and communication skills’ – advised Brookfield Business Partners on its purchase of an 85% stake in Greenergy, and Brookfield Infrastructure Partners on the sale of its gas distribution network business in Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man to Ancala Infrastructure. Clients also single out Andrew Pearson as ‘very commercial, extremely bright and committed’, as well as being ‘friendly and confident even when times get tough’. He acted alongside Maegan Morrison for SABMiller on its £71bn sale to AB InBev, and assisted both companies with various divestments, including SABMiller’s €2.6bn sale of its Peroni, Grolsch and Meantime businesses to Asahi. Morrison and John Connell are praised for their ‘quality advice, significant commitment and commercial approach’. They are recommended alongside Georgy Kalashnikov, who relocated from the firm’s Moscow office, and ‘bright, engaged, committed and completely client-focused’ senior associate Fergus Gallagher, who is ‘great with people, a pleasure to work with, and clearly has a bright future’. Guy Potel left for White & Case LLP in May 2016, and Amit Nayyar joined Shoosmiths LLP three months later.

The ‘very responsive, pragmatic and extremely creative’ team at Macfarlanes LLP handles public and private M&A across a wide range of sectors, including TMT, retail, hotels and leisure, energy and financial services. The ‘outstandingGraham Gibb, who ‘always provides thorough, commercial and well-reasoned advice’, ‘grasps complex situations quickly’; he and Nicholas Barclay acted for Visa on its €21.2bn purchase of Visa Europe. In the TMT space, Luke Powell acted for L3 Communications on its £252m acquisition of MacDonald Humfrey (Automation), while Matthew Blows advised e2v Technologies on its £620m purchase by Teledyne Technologies. Verizon Communications is another TMT client. On the retail side, Justin Hope assisted Intu Properties with its acquisition of the remaining 50% stake in Merry Hill shopping centre from QIC. Practice head Ian Martin acted for certain members of Formula One’s senior management on the $4.4bn sale of the company to Liberty Global. Howard Corney, who heads the department’s Africa practice, is ‘very reassuring, experienced and available’. Senior partner Charles Martin is ‘impressive’; senior associate Richard Burrows is an ‘excellent co-ordinator’. Charles Meek is also recommended. Financial services and media expert James Dawson left in August 2016 to go in-house at Roseland Services.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s practice, which is headed by Raj Karia, is very strong in the energy, natural resources, infrastructure, insurance financial services sectors. The ‘calm, experiencedStephen Rigby acted for Hermes GPE on its acquisition of a 17% stake in Southern Water, while oil and gas expert Geoff Peters advised BP on the merger of its Norwegian subsidiary BP Norge with Det Norkse Oljeselskap to create Aker BP. In an illustration of its work for financial advisers involved in big-ticket M&A, Paul Whitelock advised HSBC and Citi Global Markets on Conforama Investissement’s £660m offer for Darty. Barclays is another bank client; Alan Bainbridge and Kevin Cron advised it on the proposed sell-down of Barclays Group’s 62% stake in Barclays Africa Group, which is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. On the corporate real estate side, Mark Lloyd Willams acted for TH Real Estate on its €250m sale of three shopping centre portfolio companies in Italy and Spain to a joint venture between TPG Capital and Partners Group. Corporate finance expert Jon Perry relocated from the firm’s Hong Kong office in September 2016; the following month, private equity expert David Marshall joined the London office from RPC, while Charez Golvala and of counsel Alexandra Neovius joined the practice in June 2017 as a result of Chadbourne & Parke (London) LLP’s absorption by Norton Rose Fulbright. Senior associate Keith Law is commended for his ‘attention to detail’ and his ‘commitment to clients’.

The team at Shearman & Sterling LLP frequently handles multi-jurisdictional, high-value M&A. It is well known for its excellent grasp of UK and US corporate law: Frank Miller, who acted for Sompo Holdings on its $6.3bn purchase of Endurance Specialty Holdings, is dual qualified, as is George Karafotias, who splits his time between London and New York. Karafotias assisted Ardagh with its $3.4bn acquisition of various manufacturing assets and support locations in Europe, Brazil and the US from Ball; he also acted for ArcelorMittal on a joint venture with one of Votorantim’s subsidiaries to create a Brazilian steel producer with an annual crude steel capacity of 5.6m tonnes. Laurence Levy heads the practice and acted alongside Jeremy Kutner for Liberty Global on its €8.2bn acquisition of Cable & Wireless Communications. Energy and infrastructure are strengths of the firm: Levy and the Abu Dhabi-based Matthew Powell advised Engie and International Power on the $1.5bn sale of a stake in Indonesia’s Paiton power plant to Nebras Power and Mitsui & Co, while Karafotias assisted State Grid International Development with its purchase of a 24% stake in Independent Power Transmission Operator from Greece’s largest power producer, Public Power Corporation. The department’s other clients include GE Aviation Systems and Société Générale. Paul Strecker re-joined the London team from the Hong Kong office in September 2016.

Frequently acting for high-profile clients on large public and private M&A, Baker McKenzie’s department is strong in a variety of sectors, including infrastructure, manufacturing, consumer goods, healthcare and life sciences. Having worked at the Takeover Panel on a two-year secondment, Helen Bradley is well placed to handle public M&A: she assisted Cardtronics with the redomiciliation of its parent company from Delaware to the UK via a merger, as well as advising Cardtronics on its listing on NASDAQ. She also acted for Walgreens Boots Alliance on the sale of its local wholesale pharmaceutical business, Alliance Healthcare Russia OOO, to listed Russian cosmetics retailer 36.6. In another healthcare mandate, practice head and private M&A expert Jane Hobson acted for ICU Medical on its $900m purchase of Hospira Infusion Systems, Pfizer’s global infusion therapy business. Energy and construction were fertile areas of work in 2016: Peter Strivens and Jannan Crozier advised Emerson Electric on three separate billion-dollar-plus transactions, including the $4bn carve-out and sale of its Network Power business to Platinum Equity, while Tim Gee and David Scott assisted LafargeHolcim with numerous disposals in various jurisdictions, including the CHF564m sale of its 65% stake in Lafarge Vietnam to Siam City Cement. Scott made partner in July 2016. The practice was bolstered by several lateral hires in 2017: Melanie Howard, TMT expert Will Holder and energy, mining and infrastructure specialist David Duncan joined from Clifford Chance, King & Wood Mallesons and Allen & Overy LLP, respectively.

The ‘proactive, exemplary’ department at DLA Piper has ‘great bench strength’ and offers ‘valuable advice’. It is well known for its TMT expertise, though it also acts for high-profile clients in sectors including energy, financial services and transport. The ‘incredibly responsive, thoughtful’ and ‘very experiencedRobert Bishop is ‘pragmatic, commercially savvy’ and ‘a brilliant negotiator’; he heads the practice with Jon Kenworthy, who advised GetTaxi on a $300m investment into the client by Volkswagen Group. Managing director Charles Severs, who ‘always ensures that services are delivered as promised’, assisted ARM Holdings with its $350m purchase of Apical, while Mark Chivers advised NTT Data on its $3.1bn purchase of Dell Services. In the energy sector, Jon Hayes acted for General Electric on its €1.5bn acquisition of LM Wind Power. The ‘first-classAnu Balasubramanian is ‘very knowledgeable on representations, warranties and standard market practice’, and ‘gets complicated transactions done on time’. Robert Salter, who is strong in public M&A, is also recommended.

Latham & Watkins’ practice is rated for its strength in depth, which enables it to consistently handle large-scale public and private M&A, frequently for US-headquartered multinationals. In the energy and infrastructure space, department head Nick Cline acted for Emerson Electric on its acquisition of Permasense, and assisted Brundage-Bone Concrete Pumping with its purchase of Camfaud Concrete Pumps, Premier Concrete Pumping and South Coast Concrete Pumping. He also advised ACCO Brands on its €296m acquisition of Esselte Group. Robbie McLaren’s highlights in the pharmaceuticals space included advising Amphenol on its $1.3bn acquisition of FCI Asia, and assisting Baxter International with its $625m purchase of Claris Injectables. He also acted for Momondo Group on its $550m acquisition by Priceline. Richard Butterwick has been very active in UK public M&A: he advised RPC Group on its £261m purchase of British Polythene Industries, and assisted Adecco Group with its takeover of Penna Consulting. Simon Tysoe is also recommended, especially for energy and infrastructure matters: he acted for Hancock Prospecting Pty and Buckeye Partners on large-scale M&A. Edward Barnett arrived from Allen & Overy LLP in January 2017.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s practice had a particularly active 2016 in the manufacturing and retail sectors. Adam Signy and Clare Gaskell acted for Melrose Industries on its $2.8bn purchase of Nortek, and Signy assisted Groupe Fnac with its £914m acquisition of Darty. Derek Baird advised Office Depot on the sale of its European business to Aurelius Group. In the energy space, Alvaro Membrillera acted for Gestamp on the sale of its solar energy business, which is valued at $1bn, to funds managed by KKR. Membrillera is also active on the buy-side for private equity clients including KKR, which he advised on various acquisitions in the TMT, leisure and energy sectors. In January 2017, Wim de Vlieger made counsel, and ‘heavyweight’ public and private M&A expert Ben Spiers, who has particular experience in the TMT sector, joined from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP. Michael Wolfson relocated to the New York office in October 2016.

Travers Smith LLP’s ‘very strong’ practice ‘covers all the key areas of due diligence and transactional work, including commercial, IP, competition, employment and real estate aspects’; it is also commended for ‘successfully managing legal advisers across multiple jurisdictions’. TMT and infrastructure are particular sector strengths: Jon Reddington and practice head Spencer Summerfield – who are ‘solution-oriented, seek commercial outcomes and don’t get too caught up in legal technicalities’ – acted for Micro Focus International on its $8.8bn merger with HPE Software, and assisted Breedon Group with its £336m purchase of Hope Construction Limited. In the retail space, Andrew Gillen and Philip Cheveley acted for Steinhoff International on its £1.2bn takeover bid for Home Retail Group and on its subsidiary Conforama Investissement’s £660m takeover bid for Darty. The department’s other clients include Pinewood Group, UK Mail Group, Wireless Group and McColl’s Retail Group. Anthony Foster (‘a safe pair of hands’) is also recommended.

The team at Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP acts on a range of cross-border M&A, spin-offs and joint ventures for public and private companies. Mike Francies acted for General Electric on its $30bn sale of GE Capital’s Commercial Distribution Finance, North American Vendor Finance and Corporate Finance platforms to Wells Fargo. Francies also provided assistance with several large US-led matters for clients including Nortek and Ceridian. Peter King assisted Singapore Exchange with its £78m takeover of Baltic Exchange. On the private equity side, Jonathan Wood acted for Advent International on its £222m public takeover offer for Brammer. The firm’s other M&A clients include HNA Group, Elementis, Iron Mountain and Orange. James MacArthur, who is particularly experienced in the real estate and infrastructure sectors, joined in January 2017 from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP.

White & Case LLP’s ‘excellent, very responsive’ department, counts financial services, energy and technology as key sector strengths. Patrick Sarch, who arrived in January 2017 from Clifford Chance and who has particular experience acting for financial institutions, heads the practice jointly with Ian Bagshaw. Bagshaw and Caroline Sherrell assisted Avast Software with its $1.3bn purchase of AVG Technologies. The department is increasingly active in the healthcare space: Bagshaw and John Cunningham acted for Bupa on its £835m acquisition of Oasis Healthcare from Bridgepoint. The practice also acts for financial advisers in high-profile transactions: Philip Broke and Jacqueline Evans assisted Mizuho Securities, financial adviser to SoftBank Group, with the latter’s £24.3bn acquisition of ARM. Other clients of the team include Hikma Pharmaceuticals, HSBC, Deutsche Bank and Brammer. Guy Potel, who has significant experience in public M&A and fintech transactions, is also recommended. Richard Youle left to join Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP in May 2017.

Dentons fields an ‘incredibly responsive’ team that frequently handles high-value, multi-jurisdictional M&A; it is ‘hugely impressive’ in its ‘speedy provision of accurate, commercially sound advice’. Clients also praise the team for its ‘high-quality, very professional service’ and its ‘high-end industry exposure’, especially in the energy and manufacturing sectors. Nigel Webber acted for PT Pertamina on its $13.8bn joint venture with Rosneft to develop a refining and petrochemical complex in East Java, while Martin Kitchen advised ONGC Videsh on its $2.2bn purchase of shares in Vankorneft. Other energy clients include Statoil, Tenaga Nasional Berhad and World Fuel Services. David Collins heads the group, which welcomed private equity expert Stephen Levy from Pinsent Masons LLP and corporate real estate specialists Jayne Schnider and Jonathan Cantor from Irwin Mitchell and Nabarro LLP, respectively. Darren Acres is ‘incredibly commercial, pragmatic and responsive’.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is noted for its combination of ‘strong M&A capabilities’ with ‘very strong financing skills’. Jonathan Earle, who is especially strong in public M&A, acted for William Hill on its proposed £4.6bn merger with Amaya, and on its $385m investment in NYX Gaming. Nigel Stacey assisted Avnet with its £691m offer for Premier Farnell, and advised UPS on its €525m acquisition of Marken. The ‘pragmatic, thoughtful and responsiveNick Tomlinsonpulls everything together quickly and cost-effectively’; he acted for Investcorp on its $271m purchase of 3i’s debt management business. Also recommended are Charlie Geffen who heads the practice, and Mark Sperotto.

Providing ‘very good service throughout very difficult and complex negotiations’, Greenberg Traurig, LLP’s ‘highly commercial, responsive’ practice is ‘good value for money’. Pharmaceuticals, chemicals, industrials and telecoms are key sector strengths of the team, whose client base largely comprises public companies. The ‘outstandingPaul Maher, who heads the practice with Fiona Adams, ‘manages charm and brutality with equal dexterity’; he and Adams acted for Rentokil Initial on its joint venture with Franz Haniel & Cie to create a leading European workwear and hygiene services provider with an annual revenue of €1.1bn. Maher also advised AstraZeneca on the $975m sale of its small-molecule antibiotics business to Pfizer. The ‘very hardworking’ Kate Eades ‘balances legal risks with commercial concerns’; Henrietta Walker and Gary Cooper are also recommended. Michael Goldberg and David Fitzgerald, who handle public and private M&A and are especially strong in real estate-related corporate work, arrived from King & Wood Mallesons in January 2017.

Jones Day’s ‘excellent’ practice counts real estate, life sciences, industrials, defence and aerospace as key sector strengths, in addition to having a strong track record in financial services; in an illustration of its track record in the financial services arena, Giles Elliott advised Altium on its merger with GCA Savvian to form GCA. Department head Leon Ferera, who is noted for his experience in public M&A, assisted General Electric with its purchase of Rapidscan Pharma Solutions, and advised the Euronext Paris-listed Essilor International on its acquisition of MyOptique Group. On the real estate side, Anna Cartwright and Alex Millar acted for DV4 on its formation of a £1.4bn joint venture with APG Asset Management and Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment to create a London home rental business. Elliott advised Goldman Sachs International on the merger of its student housing platform with The Wellcome Trust’s £560m iQ student housing portfolio to create Vero Group, a £2bn student housing business. TMT is also an area of activity for the practice; Vica Irani acted for Guardian Digital Communications on its $1.2bn purchase of Airwave Solutions.

The seven-partner practice at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is frequently involved in multi-jurisdictional mergers and private equity transactions, with an emphasis on acting for financial institutions. Ben Perry, Nikolaos Andronikos and practice head Tim Emmerson acted for Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division on its sale of 197 million shares in Hastings Group Holding to Rand Merchant Investment Holdings; on its acquisition of control of Northgate Information Solutions from KKR; and on its acquisition of a minority interest in LeasePlan. Managing partner Richard Pollack advised Rhône Capital on its $1.2bn purchase of Zodiac Pool Holding from a Carlyle Group-affiliated fund. Other clients of the department include Alcatel-Lucent, Stryker and AB InBev. John Horsfield-Bradbury made partner in January 2017; he has experience in high-profile M&A, debt and equity capital markets and corporate finance. European counsels Oderisio de Vito Piscicelli and Joram Lietaert Peerbolte are also recommended.

Traditionally strong in the financial services, real estate, retail and consumer goods sectors, Addleshaw Goddard’s department has been increasingly active in the energy space, especially oil and gas. Angus Rollo acted for BP on the sale of its Belfast fuel terminal to Puma Energy; he also advised PA Resources on the sale of its North Sea oil and gas interests to Petrogas, and on the sale of its Tunisian offshore and onshore oil and gas interests to ETAP. On the financial services side, Nick Pearey assisted Lloyds Banking Group with its £1.9bn acquisition of MBNA from Bank of America. Yunus Seedat and Andrew Rosling head the practice, which was joined by Elvan Hussein and Anna Nerush in 2016 from Allen & Overy LLP and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP, respectively.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s ‘responsive, solution-oriented’ department, which is especially strong in energy and TMT, has ‘great business acumen’ and an ‘impressive ability to formulate simple solutions to complex issues’. It frequently handles ‘complex transactions in emerging markets’ and transactions involving Russia; Artem Faekov and the ‘attentive, detail-oriented’ David Sewell (who is ‘impressive in structuring complex transactions quickly and efficiently’) acted for USM Holdings on the $740m sale of its stake in Mail.ru Group to PJSC MegaFon. Sebastian Rice, who heads the practice with Daniel Walsh, acted for UFG Private Equity Fund III on its acquisition of a 25% stake in Animaccord Animation Studio. Harry Keegan, Vance Chapman and energy expert John LaMaster are recommended.

Primarily known for its strength in corporate real estate, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s practice is active in other sectors including TMT, manufacturing and utilities. Real estate expert Chris de Pury assisted China Life Investment Holding and Brookfield with their £346m purchase of the corporate structure that owned Aldgate Tower. Other real estate clients include Secure Income REIT and Go Native Holdings. Murdoch Currie acted for Playtech on its acquisition of Consolidated Financial Holdings for up to $120m, while Benjamin Lee, who heads the practice with Michael Anderson, advised BCA on its £105m purchase of Paragon Automotive. On the utilities side, John Bennett acted for Thames Water on the £99m sale of its retail business for non-household customers to Castle Water, and Nicholas Myatt assisted Ancala Partners with its £79m takeover offer for Dee Valley Group.

Philip Boeckman leads the team at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, which has a strong line in complex, multi-jurisdictional public and private M&A. He acted for Gala Coral Group on its £2.3bn merger with Ladbrokes, advised Punch Taverns on its £1.8bn sale to Vine Acquisitions, and assisted Braas Monier Building Group with its sale to Standard Industries. George Stephanakis advised Luxottica Group on its $49bn merger with Essilor International, assisted Zodiac Aerospace with its €8.5bn merger with Safran, and acted for Delhaize Group on its $29bn merger with Royal Ahold. Alyssa Caples advised British American Tobacco on its $49.5bn acquisition of the remaining 58% stake in Reynolds American, and David Mercado acted for Banco Santander on its purchase of Citigroup’s consumer credit card, consumer brokerage and retail banking businesses.

William Charnley is the key partner at King & Spalding LLP; he is supported by Ilan Kotkis, who made partner in November 2016, and corporate finance and capital markets expert Markus Bauman. The firm’s clients, which range from emerging companies to listed corporations to financial institutions, include Baxter Healthcare, Novelis, Oxford Industries and UPS.

Commended for its ‘all-round strength’ and for being ‘always focused on achieving the transaction objectivesMayer Brown International LLP’s practice frequently handles multi-jurisdictional M&A for high-profile clients. It is strong in the life sciences, financial institutions, TMT, energy and natural resources sectors: Kate Ball-Dodd and Richard Smith advised for Universal Coal on takeover offers by various parties, including Ichor Coal and Coal of Africa, while Richard Page assisted CITIC Telecom International CPC with its acquisition of the telecoms assets of Linx Telecommunications. Ball-Dodd heads the practice with Jeremy Kenley, who advised AEW Europe and Teacher Retirement System of Texas on their purchase of Festival Place shopping centre in Basingstoke. ‘Calm, excellent negotiatorRobert Hamill, who is ‘good at supervising teams of lawyers’, acted for Village Roadshow on its £30m purchase of Countrywide Property Investments (UK). Other clients of the department include Entertainment One, Moody’s, Unilever and Wells Fargo.

Paul Hastings LLP’s department counts financial services, hospitality, healthcare and life sciences as core sector strengths. It frequently acts on matters involving investment from US or Asian clients; practice heads Ronan O’Sullivan and Garrett Hayes acted for Filtration Group on its £220m acquisition of Essentra’s Porous Technologies, and Hayes advised China Cosco Holdings on its purchase of 51% of the shares in Piraeus Port Authority. On the technology side, O’Sullivan assisted Computer Sciences on its investment in eBecs, and acted for Dexcom on its purchase of Nintamed. Other clients of the department Aalto Invest Holding, City Football Group and Jacobs Engineering Group. Senior associate Matthew Poxon is also highly recommended.

Praised for its ‘terrific industry knowledgeProskauer Rose LLP’s practice is headed by Steven Davis, who ‘understands the market very well’. He acted for new client Crowe Horwath on its purchase of BaxterBruce and Instratus. Other clients of the team include Lion Capital and ghd. Eleanor Shanks, who is praised for her ‘professionalism, technical knowledge and ability to understand clients’ needs’, arrived from Dentons in September 2016; an expert in private equity, she ‘always gets the job done, and beyond all expectations’. The ‘pragmatic, knowledgeableAndrew Wingfield and the ‘tireless, personableRob Day (who ‘combines excellent commercial and legal skills’) joined in October 2016 from King & Wood Mallesons.

Simmons & Simmons’ ‘very strong’ practice, which is headed by Giles Dennison, counts financial services, TMT and life sciences as particular sector strengths. Its capabilities in the asset management space, particularly involving real estate, are also noted; Arthur Stewart acted for Intertrust on its €557m purchase of Elian Group, while Edward Baker advised Growthpoint Properties on its €186m purchase of a 27% stake in Globalworth Real Estate Investment. The ‘very goodColin Bole advised Sanne Group on its $127m acquisition of IFS, a Mauritius-based provider of fund and corporate administration services. Asset management and life sciences expert Jocelyn Ormond assisted Avery Dennison with its £18m investment in PragmatIC Printing. Mark Curtis, Jason Daniel, Charles Mayo and Isabella Roberts are also recommended. Senior partner David Parkes, who is strong in retail, energy and African markets, arrived from King & Wood Mallesons in February 2017, offsetting the departure of Julian Perlmutter, who left to go in-house at Kairos Communications in May 2016.

Covington & Burling LLP is also ranked.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP’s department is led by Will Pearce and corporate finance expert John Banes; clients have included Dialog Semiconductor, Verisk Analytics, Imperial Tobacco and Ball. As well as frequently acting for blue-chip corporates on large-scale M&A, the team acts for financial advisers in high-profile M&A. Highlights included acting for the financial advisers, sponsors and underwriters to Ladbrokes on its £2.3bn merger with Gala Coral, and to Just Retirement Group on its £1.7bn merger with Partnership Assurance Group.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s ‘commercial, client-focused and technically strong’ practice is headed by private equity expert David Innes; he acted alongside James Scoville for Canada Pension Plan Investment Board on its $1.1bn purchase of Ascot. ‘Very good negotiatorKatherine Ashton, who is dual qualified in the UK and the US, acted for HarbourVest Partners on its £807m purchase of SVG Capital’s entire investment portfolio. The group also has ‘considerable knowledge and skill in negotiating, drafting and supporting complex and challenging transactions in Africa’: Geoffrey Burgess, who is an ‘exceptional transactional lawyer with pragmatic business sense’, advised Helios Investment Partners on its purchase of a 60% stake in Telkom Kenya. Other clients include American International Group, AmTrust Financial Services and MBIA Insurance.

Commended for its ‘excellent level of service’, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP’s ‘proactive, client-oriented’ team counts energy, natural resources and technology as key sector strengths. The ‘very commercial, insightful and pragmatic’ Stuart Harray is a ‘constructive negotiator with wide commercial and legal knowledge’; he leads the department alongside the ‘outstanding’ Mark Stamp, who assisted Terra Firma on its sale of AWAS to Dubai Aerospace Enterprise. Harray advised EIG Global Energy Partners on its sale with Centrica of their joint venture company. Transport specialist James Cameron advised AWAS and its owners Terra Firma and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board on the $4bn sale of 90 aircraft to Macquarie Group. Special counsel Daniel Wayte ‘thinks through highly complex structure and documentation issues without losing sight of the commercial objectives’.

Graeme Sloan heads the ‘experienced, effective and trustworthy’ practice at Morrison & Foerster (UK) LLP; he advised ORI Healthcare Fund on its $100m investment in Kymab, and acted for SoftBank on its £24.3bn acquisition of ARM Holdings. The ‘professional, positive, quick’ Andrew Boyd ‘speedily assimilates difficult concepts and comes up with meaningful, deliverable action plans that fulfil the commercial objectives’. He and Gary Brown assisted Cherokee Global Brands with its $96m purchase of Hi-Tec Sports.

Sidley Austin LLP’s ‘outstanding’ practice is ‘always prompt, and provides wise, sound advice’. The ‘pragmatic, result-oriented, focused and knowledgeable’ team is noted for its experience in real estate and asset management, and has a strong track record in financial services, insurance, healthcare and life sciences. Practice head and ‘very tough negotiatorThomas Thesing, who gives ‘honest advice’, advised PRA Group on its purchase of DT Partners for PLN175m. The ‘very calm, down-to-earth and extremely commercialMark Thompson is a ‘brilliant negotiator’, and ‘understands the details and the big picture’; he assisted Mid Europa Partners with its sale of Alpha Medical to Unilabs. Other clients include eBay and HNA Group. Senior associate Lyndsey Laverack is widely recommended.

Though renowned for its strength in the energy sector, Vinson & Elkins RLLP’s department is also active in telecoms and corporate real estate. It frequently handles high-value multi-jurisdictional matters, often involving emerging markets; Alex Msimang advised Woodside Petroleum on its $350m acquisition of ConocoPhillips’ interests in Senegal, and assisted Statoil with its $2.5bn purchase from Petrobras of a 66% stake in Brazil’s Carcará oilfield. On the real estate side, Robert Dixon acted for Club Company (Group) on its purchase of Woodbury Park in Devon. Jeffrey Eldredge heads the team, which saw Shaun Lascelles and Simon Rootsey join in October 2016 from Ashurst and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP, respectively.


M&A: mid-market, £50m-£250m

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Dechert LLPfields a strong M&A team, and is very good value for money’; it has ‘good industry knowledge and a pragmatic attitude’, and is ‘always responsive’. The practice is active in a wide variety of sectors, including energy, telecoms, life sciences and insurance. On the energy front, the ‘firm, thorough and pragmaticJonathan Angell advised Chrysaor Holdings on its $3bn purchase of a package of oil and gas in the North Sea from Shell UK, while life sciences highlights included the ‘deeply knowledgeable, experiencedGraham Defries’s advice to Ziarco Group on its sale to Novartis. In an illustration of the firm’s cross-border capability, Simon Briggs assisted Orange with the sale of its 70% stake in Telkom Kenya to Helios Investment Partners, and on its acquisition of Airtel in Sierra Leone from Bharti Airtel. Also in the telecoms space, Ross Allardice, who joined in November 2016 from White & Case LLP, advised Magyar Telecom on the sale of its stake in Invitel Group to China CEE Investment Co-operation Fund. Retail is another area of activity for the practice: Angell acted for Wiggle Group on its purchase of Chain Reaction Cycles, while group head Douglas Getter assisted Adveo Group with the sale of its ink and toner distribution business and its electronic office supplies inventory in Spain, Italy and Germany to Westcoast. Acquisition finance specialist John Markland arrived in November 2016 from Kirkland & Ellis International LLP, while Shane de Beer left for Fieldfisher in January 2017.

Commended for its ‘excellent response times, industry knowledge and strength in depth’, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s ‘trustworthy’ department is headed by Richard Moulton. A TMT and healthcare expert, Moulton acted for Primary Capital Partners on its investment in MARU Group and its acquisition of eDigitalResearch. He also advised Inflexion on its purchase of Reed & Mackay from ECI Partners and Livingbridge. Robin Johnson acted for Chemtura on its €2.4bn takeover by Lanxess, and along with Stephen Nash advised Kuala Lumpur Kepong on its £415m offer for MP Evans. Nash is also active in the TMT space: he advised Daisy Intermediate Holdings on its £165m offer for Alternative Networks, and assisted Empire Cinemas with its £94m sale of five cinemas to Cineworld Group. The practice counts high-profile energy companies among its client roster: Robert Pitcher advised China National Nuclear on its investment in the Hinkley Point C project, while James Trevis, in co-operation with the firm’s Birmingham office and in tandem with Linklaters LLP, acted for National Grid on the divestment of a stake in NGGD, its £13.8bn UK gas distribution business, to a consortium of infrastructure investors. The practice’s other clients include Smith Group, DuPont, BAE Systems, Legal & General and the London Stock Exchange. Richard Lewis is ‘exceptionally able and responsive to clients’ needs’; Chris Halliday is also recommended. Sebastian Orton joined from Jones Day in March 2016.

McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP’s practice has significant experience in high-value cross-border M&A; it counts energy, healthcare, life sciences and asset management as sector strengths. Nick Azis acted for Irving Oil on its purchase of the Whitegate oil refinery in Ireland, while Lisa O’Neill advised Praxair on its £330m acquisition of Yara International’s European CO2 business. Practice head Mark Davis assisted Polymer Additives with its purchase of speciality chemicals company Akcros Holdings; he also advised on the $160m acquisition financing. In the asset management sector, Davis and Stuart Mathews advised Sanne Group on its $66m purchase of FLSV Fund Administration Services. In an illustration of the firm’s strong emerging markets credentials, Rupert Weber acted for Tana Africa Capital and Plexus Investments on the $530m sale of a 33% stake in Promasidor Holdings to Ajinomoto. On the real estate side, Weber and Eleanor West advised Prime Kapital on a joint venture with MAS Real Estate to create a €260m Central and Eastern European commercial property business, which will engage in mixed-use redevelopments in the region. Other clients of the department include Olam and Cygnet Healthcare; recent client wins include Hague and London Oil, Varian Medical Systems and Circle Health. In 2016, aviation, internet and e-commerce expert Michael Holter joined from WilmerHale, healthcare specialist arrived from Taylor Wessing LLP, and life sciences expert and senior counsel Gary Howes arrived from Fasken Martineau LLP.

Well known for its strength in the digital businesses and marketing sector, Osborne Clarke LLP’s practice also counts financial services, real estate, infrastructure and energy as core sector strengths. Simon Smith, who heads the department jointly with the Reading-based Greg Leyshon, acted for ByBox Holdings on the auction process that led to its management buyout, which was backed by LDC. In the technology space, Mark Spinner advised Group IMD on its £96m sale to Inflexion by Vitruvian Partners, while Leyshon acted for IDscan Biometrics on its sale to GB Group for up to £45m. Leyshon also assisted Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group on its £930m sale by Terra Firma to AMC Theatres. In other media-related highlights, Chris King advised Time Inc. (UK) on its purchase of Collective Europe from Collective, while Jonathan King and Conrad Davies acted for Progressive Digital Media Group on its £67m purchase of GlobalData. Janita Good advised Actavis UK and Actavis Ireland on their £603m sale to Intas Pharmaceuticals by Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries. The group saw a number of significant changes to the team in 2016: Edward Persse and corporate real estate expert Paul Smith arrived from Irwin Mitchell, corporate finance specialist Rebecca Gordon joined from Dentons, associate director Tom Try joined from Slaughter and May, and senior associate Alexander Underwood, who is an energy specialist, arrived from in-house at Tempus. Matthew Bodfield, a real estate, infrastructure and recruitment sector expert with significant experience in the digital business space, made partner in May 2016. Other recommended partners include Kate Johnson, Russell van Praagh and Mathias Loertscher.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s group, which is led by energy and infrastructure expert John Tyerman, frequently handles multi-jurisdictional M&A for public and private companies, and is consistently active across a wide range of sectors. Hannah Brader, who is very strong in M&A involving insurance and financial institutions, advised Legal & General Group on its £140m sale of Cofunds to Aegon UK. In the cross-border space, Joanne Ellis assisted the shareholders of GBK Restaurants with the company’s £120m sale to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed Famous Brands, while Tom Leman advised Target Group on its £112m sale to the India-listed Tech Mahindra. Leman also acted for AB InBev on its purchase of Camden Brewing Group. Rob Hutchings advised Kier Group on the £75m sale of its Mouchel Consulting business to WSP. Though mostly active in the mid-market space, the practice also handles some impressive premium M&A: Andrew Kerr acted for Nirma on its $1.4bn purchase of Lafarge India from LafargeHolcim, Leman advised AMC Theatres on its $1.2bn acquisition of Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group, and Robert Moir assisted Redefine Properties with its €1.2bn purchase of a 75% stake in Dutch property company Echo Prime Properties. Jon Harris and Nicole Livesey are also recommended. In 2016, Stephen Levy’s departure for Dentons was offset by the arrival of telecoms expert Andrew McMillan from Simmons & Simmons. Financial sector M&A expert Hammad Akhtar joined from Ashurst in April 2017.

Squire Patton Boggs counts energy, chemicals and industrials, financial services, media and sport as areas of M&A expertise. The ‘holistic, proactive and multi-jurisdictional’ practice often acts for shareholders on private equity investments and strategic M&A: the ‘tireless, admirable’ Mark Yeo and the ‘wise, pragmatic and highly commercialNicholas Allen acted for the shareholders of Stem Marketing on the sale of their shares in the company to UDG Healthcare, and advised them on related tax structuring issues in the US and Germany. Allen, Timothy Stead and ‘exceptionally attentive, technically knowledgeable’ practice head James McKay advised Reiss Holdings’ shareholders on the £230m sale of their majority stake in the company to Warburg Pincus. In the sport sector, Yeo and the ‘vastly experiencedDavid Hull advised Bridgemere UK on its £43m sale of Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club to Fosun International, and Yeo and McKay advised Randy Lerner and Brooklyn NY Holdings on their sale of Aston Villa Football Club to Recon Group and Tony Xia. On the acquisitions side, McKay and Carolyn Buller assisted Synthomer with its $226m purchase of Hexion’s performance adhesives and coatings business. Additionally in the manufacturing and chemicals space, Robert Bray and Antonio Cañadas advised Coats Group on its acquisition of Gotex. Though Matthew Doughty left in June 2016 to join DWF, Kashif Siddiqui, who is an expert in outbound investment from the Middle East, arrived from Trowers & Hamlins LLP three months later.

The team at Stephenson Harwood provides ‘excellent service, rapid document turnaround and real commitment to getting the deal done’; it is ‘very good value for money’, and handles public and private M&A in a wide variety of sectors. Andrew Edge advised Lavendon Group on takeover bids by Loxam and TVH Group, with Loxam eventually winning the bid by paying £459m for the acquisition; he also assisted Engie with its £330m purchase of Keepmoat from TDR and Sun Capital. Practice head Duncan Stiles advised FTSE-listed Meggitt on the sale of Meggitt Targets Systems to QinetiQ Group for £58m. Ben Mercer acted for Vistra Group on its purchase of Jordans and Jordans Trust Company from West of England Trust, and advised Fitness First’s management team on Oaktree Capital’s sale of the company’s UK fitness clubs to DW Fitness Clubs. Andrew McLean’s real estate highlights included advising Alaska Permanent Fund and its UK real estate investment managers, LaSalle Investment Managers, on the £275m purchase of the company that owns the Intu shopping centre in bromley from Aviva. On the sell side, Jonathan Pittal advised Bowmark Capital on its £340m sale of Autodata Publishing Group to Solera Holdings, while William Saunders acted for the board of Charlemagne Capital on its £41m takeover by Fiera Capital, by way of a Cayman scheme of arrangement but still complying with the UK Takeover Code. Other clients include BTG, Acadia Healthcare, AET and Motor Oil Hellas (Corinth Refineries).

TMT, energy, transport and logistics are sector strengths of Bird & Bird LLP’s practice, which has strong multi-jurisdictional capabilities. Group head and TMT expert Neil Blundell acted for Finnish telecoms company Elisa on its €151m purchase of Starman’s Estonian business, and advised BT on its acquisition of Pelipod. He also assisted AXIO Data Group with its sale of Vidal Group to Japanese-listed medical tech company M3, as well as advising it on its portfolio company TechInsights’ acquisition of Chipworks. Simon Allport has strong public and private M&A experience, particularly in the financial services, healthcare and life sciences sectors, though he is active in other sectors too: he advised Alternative Networks on its €165m takeover by Daisy Intermediate Holdings. Chris Barrett acted for Wilhelmsen Maritime Services on its merger with Survitec Group, the resulting company having an annual revenue of approximately £400m. Other clients of the group include Fosun Group, Just Eat, Tech Mahindra and Nokia Solutions and Networks. The practice is increasingly active in solar energy M&A; representative clients include Push Energy, TGC Renewables, Goldbeck Solar and Solar Power Developments. Technology M&A expert Struan Penwarden, energy specialist Matt Bonass, media, energy and utilities specialist Simon Fielder and healthcare and TMT expert Helen Gavin-Brown are also recommended.

Following its merger with Hill Hofstetter, Fieldfisher saw David Cranfield join its London office; a Russia expert, he has particular experience in the healthcare, automotive, real estate and financial services sectors. The group, which counts numerous publicly listed companies among its client roster, is well known for its expertise in TMT, energy and natural resources; on the media side, practice head Andrew Blankfield advised BBC Worldwide on its purchase of a 10% stake in Curtis Brown, while David Wilkinson acted in a notable tech-related mandate for Access Intelligence on its sale of Due North to Proactis Holdings. The team also advised Cognizant on the UK aspects of its $128m purchase of Frontica Business Solutions. In the mining space, Jonathan Brooks advised Fusion Capital on its partnership with Orion Mine Finance to establish Lynx Resources and acquire Macedonia’s SASA lead-zinc mine from Solway Investment Group. Life sciences and chemicals are areas of increasing activity for the practice: Brooks assisted Revolymer with its purchase of Itaconix. Real estate and hospitality highlights included Tom Ward’s advice to the management of Avenue Capital’s UK student accommodation portfolio on its £420m buyout by Brookfield Property Partners, while Wilkinson advised Bibendum PLB Group on its £60m sale to Conviviality.

Gowling WLG’s ‘very responsive’ department is ‘client-focused’ and ‘truly provides value for money’. Energy and real estate are sector strengths: energy expert Gareth Baker advised Primrose Solar Management on its sale of four UK solar farms to Bluefield Solar Income Fund for a total of £118m, while Stuart Young, who is also noted for his strength in the automotive space, acted for Opus Energy Group’s shareholders on the company’s proposed £340m sale to Drax Group. Cross-border highlights included John Reed and Michael Lacey’s advice to Dolphin Capital Investors on its €64m sale of the Playa Grande Golf and Resort in the Dominican Republic to a joint venture company. Equity capital markets specialist Hugh Maule advised Audley Court on its £170m purchase by Moorfield Audley Real Estate Fund. Technology and life sciences specialist Ian Piggin advised STAR Capital Partners on its £50m purchase of Synergy Health Management Services from Synergy Health (UK). The ‘extremely responsiveCharles Bond is strong in the natural resources space; his clients include Hummingbird Resources, GoldBridges Global, Stellar Diamonds and Trafigura. Sunil Kakkad leads the group.

Mishcon de Reya LLP’s ‘sensational, utterly trustworthy’ practice is active in domestic and cross-border M&A in a variety of sectors, and has ‘great commercial acumen’. TMT, entertainment and real estate are particular areas of expertise: Andrew Rimmington, who is noted for his experience in fintech, software, e-commerce and betting and gaming, advised new client Hydra Industries Acquisition on its $264m purchase of Inspired Gaming Group and its affiliates from funds managed by Vitruvian Partners among others. Corporate finance expert Ross Bryson acted for Chelsfield Partners on its £180m sale of two central London hotels to AXA Investment Management Real Assets. Saul Sender, another corporate finance specialist, advised new client Cineworld Group on its £94m acquisition of five cinemas from Empire Cinemas, and on its sale of Cineworld Haymarket to Empire Cinemas. Direct Ferries, the world’s largest ferry-ticket aggregator, is another recent client win; it instructed Nadim Meer on an investment in the company by Livingbridge. ‘Very knowledgeable, thorough’ practice head Nick Davis advised longstanding client Allen Lane on the sale of its interests in Allen Lane Consulting to Outsourcing UK. Simon Sale and corporate betting and gaming expert Susan Breen are also recommended.

The eight-partner department at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP provides ‘timely, efficient service’ and ‘good value for money’. Financial services, technology, life sciences and energy and natural resources are sector strengths: Timothy Corbett advised CTC Media on the sale of a 75% stake in its Russian television broadcasting business to comply with Russian media ownership regulations, while Iain Wright acted for UFG Asset Management on its purchase of a 31% stake in Trans-Siberian Gold from AngloGoldAshanti. SUN Gold is another natural resources client. The practice is noted for its experience in Russia and Asia; Amy Comer advised Trican Well Service on the English and Kazakh law aspects of its sale of Trican Well Service Kazakhstan to Petro Welt Technologies, and, alongside the Moscow-based Vasilisa Strizh, acted for Russia Partners on its sale of a majority stake in Westcall SPb to ER-Telecom. ‘Experienced, commercially astute’ practice head Tom Cartwright is recommended for private equity work; he assisted Alcuin Capital Partners with the management buyout of Koh Group. Additionally in the food space, Bruce Johnston advised Sumitomo on its €751m purchase of Fyffes. David Ramm and Stephen Walters are also recommended.

RPC’s ‘quick, well-equipped’ team is ‘very committed to meeting deadlines’. It is well known for its strength in the insurance sector: James Mee and David Wallis acted for ANV on its $219m sale by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan to AmTrust Financial Services, and insurance expert Matthew Griffith assisted Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group with its sale of Thistle Insurance Services to PIB Group. Private equity, technology, media and retail are other sector strengths. Karen Hendy advised Dialog Semiconductor on its share buyback programme, split into €38m and €75m tranches. Also in the technology space, Richard Haywood acted for Park Place Technologies on its purchase of Computer-Computer. Nigel Collins, who heads the practice’s Japan desk, made partner in May 2016; he advised Itochu Europe on its sale of Harro Foods to Nishimoto Trading, and acted for Zen-Noh International Europe on its purchase of Scotch Frost. Additionally in the food sector, Wallis acted for Paine & Partners on its investment in Meadow Foods. Anthony Shatz and senior associate Paul Jenkins are ‘quick thinkers’ with ‘very good people skills’. David Marshall left for Norton Rose Fulbright in October 2016.

Reed Smith LLP’s practice expanded significantly in 2016 and 2017, with Mark Sanders, Laura Brunnen, equity capital markets specialist Delphine Currie and senior counsel Martin Bowen arriving from King & Wood Mallesons. The practice has notable strength in depth across various sectors: Charles Jurd advised FXCM on its sale of DailyFX to IG Group, Samantha Roberts acted for APM Terminals on its purchase of Portobar Capital from Finpro Scr and QIC Diversified Infrastructure, and James Wilkinson assisted Heidrick & Struggles with its purchase of JCA Group. Technology is a sector strength of the team; department head Michael Young advised Microsoft on its purchase of TouchType, and, alongside Gregor Pryor, acted for Sony on its acquisition of the Ministry of Sound’s music catalogue, including numerous trade mark rights. Other clients of the practice include Bauer Media Group, Harris, Colas, Channel 4 and Global Brands Group. Oliver Harker, who has strong experience in public and private M&A, made partner in January 2017. Philip Taylor and Sakil Suleman are also recommended. Andrew Clark left to practise in Brisbane, Australia in April 2017.

Taylor Wessing LLP has ‘very good strength in depth’, and is active in a variety of sectors, though TMT is a particular area of expertise. Andrew Davis and corporate technology head Mike Turner acted for News Corporation on its £220m purchase of Wireless Group, and Edward Waldron advised Rutland Partners on its purchase of Let’s Print Holding. On the technology side, Adrian Rainey advised Magic Pony Technology on its acquisition by Twitter; in telecoms, Mark Barron assisted Mitel with its proposed £2bn purchase of Polycom. Cross-border highlights for Davis included advising Sky Ventures on its $45m investment in southeast Asian TV streaming service iflix. Life sciences is another strong area for the department; Davis acted for Phagenesis on its multi-stage acquisition by Nestlé Health Science. The firm’s other M&A clients include YPlan, Interactive Investor and onefinestay. The ‘practical, reliable’ David Mardle heads the practice with Dominic FitzPatrick. Robert Fenner and private equity expert James Goold are also recommended. Russell Holden heads the corporate finance practice. In 2016, corporate technology expert Angus Miln joined from Bird & Bird LLP and private equity specialist Duncan McDonald arrived from Olswang.

The ‘proactive, commercial’ team at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP provides a ‘very high level of service’, and ‘executes deals very well’; pharmaceuticals is a core sector strength. Jeremy Willcocks has ‘excellent mid-market M&A and equity capital markets experience’; he acted for Diversis Capital on its $18m public takeover of ServicePower Technologies and on its $50m purchase of most of Caligor RX’s assets. Additionally on the cross-border side, Willcocks advised TELUS International on its acquisition of the remaining shares in eastern European multilingual contact centre CallPoint. David Gerber assisted OSI Group with its purchase of Flagship Europe from Flagship Food Group. On the real estate side, Sean Scanlon acted for Omega Healthcare Investors on $136m-worth of acquisitions and leases of UK care homes. Other clients include McArthuerGlen, Auven Therapeutics, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, OneView Group and Recordati. Anna Buscall is also recommended.

Baker Botts (UK) LLP provides ‘very good, prompt service, excellent knowledge and holistic advice’ at ‘competitive rates’; its key sector strengths are TMT and energy. In the department’s most high-profile mandate of 2016, Derek Jones acted for Liberty Media on its $4.4bn purchase of Formula One from a consortium of investors including CVC Capital Partners. Paul Exley, who is praised for his ‘business acumen and strong M&A experience’, joined from Jones Day in March 2016; an expert in energy and financial services, he brought clients including Sovcombank, which instructed him on its purchase of all the voting shares in Metkombank. The ‘smart, highly competent’ Neil Foster ‘uses his sector expertise well’ and is ‘a hard act to follow in mid-market technology M&A’; he advised ABB Technology Ventures on its £20m co-investment in Cambridge Medical Robotics. Hammer Film Group and Haydale Graphene Industries are recent client wins; more longstanding clients include Halliburton, Recycling Technologies and Cambridge Cognition Holdings.

Clyde & Co LLP’s ‘pragmatic, responsive and well-regarded’ department has ‘good strength in depth’ and ‘expert knowledge of the insurance industry’; real estate, energy and natural resources are also sector strengths. Corporate real estate expert Simon Vere Nicoll, who heads the practice with insurance M&A specialist Andrew Holderness, advised Simec Group on its £330m acquisition of Alcan Aluminium UK from Rio Tinto. He also assisted Liberty House Group with its purchase from Tata Steel of the business and assets of a plate mill and rolling mill in Scotland, and on the multi-jurisdictional side acted for Marcol on its entry as majority investor into an £80m joint venture intended to acquire a portfolio of petrol stations in Spain. Energy specialist Philip Mace advised Schlumberger on its acquisition of Asset Development and Improvement. Seaco Global, Dynagas, Arden Partners and Next Generation Data are additional clients. Corporate finance expert Gary Thorpe is ‘sharp, business-focused and pragmatic’; Nick Purnell is also recommended.

Cooley (UK) LLP’s department is especially strong in technology and life sciences. Its work tends to be private M&A rather than public M&A, though the team has no shortage of listed clients; David Bresnick acted for Journey Group on its proposed takeover by Jaguar Holdings. 3Legs Resources is another listed client. In the technology space, Bresnick advised Swiftkey on the company’s $250m acquisition by Microsoft, and Stephen Rosen, who arrived from Olswang in May 2016, acted for Autodata on its £340m sale to Solera Holdings. Rosen’s other clients include Edif Group, Syncsort, Teneo Strategy and technology provider CSL. Justin Stock heads the group.

The team at HFW provides ‘excellent service’ and ‘thinks outside the box’; it has particular experience in energy, financial services and ports and terminals. Energy and mining M&A expert Nick Hutton heads the department; he acted for a client on its bid to acquire a Northern Irish fuel terminal and related infrastructure. He also regularly handles cross-border matters. The ‘detail-oriented’, ‘commercial’ Jayson Marks has ‘a great deal of experience’, especially in oil and gas and public M&A, and ‘knows how to get a deal completed’; his clients include Regal Petroleum. The ‘well-informed, resourceful, responsive and highly effective’ Alex Kyriakoulis is a ‘trusted pair of hands’, and ‘always excels’; AIK Banka and International Container Terminal Services are clients of his. ‘Tough but fair negotiator’ Giles Beale is ‘technically excellent’ and ‘sees the bigger picture’. Alistair Mackie is also recommended. Ports, terminals and logistics expert Matthew Gore made partner in May 2016.

Traditionally strong in energy, natural resources, infrastructure and advising US corporates, K&L Gates LLP’s practice is led by Paul Tetlow, who acted for Faroe Petroleum on its $70m purchase of interests in five Norwegian North Sea assets from Dong E&P. Additionally in the energy space, Keith Snedden advised Boralex on its €70m purchase of European Forest Resources Holdings. John Elgar advised NEP Group on its recommended £124m takeover of Avesco Group, and James Green acted for Amara Mining on its recommended £68m takeover by Perseus Mining. Tom Wallace advised Tax Systems on its £108m reverse takeover of Tax Computer Systems. Tom Sibert left to go in-house in September 2016; Jeremy Davis left to join McGuireWoods London LLP.

The ‘diligent, tenacious and very commercial’ team at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP is commended for its response times, value for money and ‘very high level of service’. Technology, energy, infrastructure and financial institutions are sector focuses of the department; Weyinmi Popo acted for VANSO Nigeria on its NGN8.3bn acquisition by Interswitch, and advised MSY Analytics Group on its purchase of Great Place To Work UK. Media and telecoms are also areas of activity for the team; clients include Telenor, Canal+ Group and StudioCanal. In the retail space, practice head Hilary Winter advised Intu Properties on the £178m sale of its stake in Intu Bromley to Alaska Permanent Fund. Technology expert Ylan Steiner joined from King & Wood Mallesons in January 2017, bringing with him clients such as Blippar and Currency Cloud. Jinal Shah, Shawn Atkinson, energy expert Matthew Williams and managing associate Alice Edwards are also recommended.

Real estate, hotels, leisure, social care and communications are areas for which Trowers & Hamlins LLP’s department is best known. The team is commended for its ‘good relationships with offshore firms, which facilitate the smooth execution of transactions’; Nick Harrisingh assisted Richard Caring and various Jersey-incorporated companies owned by him on the sale of the Limeyard and Jackson & Rye restaurant chains to Côte Restaurants. Ian Dobinson acted for CLS Care Services on its £25m sale of 18 care homes to Croftwood Care (Cheshire). Riccardo Abbate and Adrian Jones advised Lutea (UK) and Haysbury, shareholders in Thunderhead, on the latter’s sale of its smart communications division to Accel-KKR. Other clients of the department include Cambian Group, Outdoor Plus, Park Resorts, GI Partners and Apache Capital Partners. Private M&A expert Michael Pattinson, who has particular experience in real estate, hotels and leisure, heads the practice.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP’s practice counts energy and natural resources, real estate, maritime and transport as core sector strengths. John Conlin and Andy Savage advised OMV on the sale of OMV (UK) to Siccar Point Energy for up to $1bn, while Evan Stergoulis and Ravinder Sandhu acted for PKA on its purchase of a 50% stake in the Tees Renewable Energy Plant for approximately £450m. Stergoulis and Sandhu also acted for DONG Energy on its £660m sale of a 50% stake in the 258MW Burbo Bank Extension UK offshore wind farm project to PKA and KIRKBI. In the shipping sector, Christina Howard advised Sovcomflot, Russia’s largest shipping company, on the unwinding of its joint venture with Swire, and its purchase of two of Swire’s icebreaking platform supply vessels. On the technology front, group head Jan Mellmann advised Aurelius Group on its purchase of Colt Managed Cloud from Colt Group. Other clients of the practice include Westermost Rough and DVB Bank.

The ‘very strong, smooth and personable’ five-partner team at Bryan Cavereally adds value, and is good value for money’. It is particularly strong in private M&A, and is active in a wide range of sectors. The ‘smart, pragmatic, calm, methodical and funny’ Andrew Hart acted for Ethypharm on the €725m sale of its shares by Astorg Partners to PAI Partners; he also advised Terex on the sale of its equipment manufacturing business in Coventry to Groupe Mecalac, and assisted Esco Technologies with its acquisition of Plastique Group. Practice head Carol Osborne advised Concierge Holding on the sale of a controlling stake in the company to Accor. Dan Larkin, Sarah Atkinson and Robert Wieder are also recommended.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (London) LLP’s department is led by Dan Oates, who advised Wireless Logic on its purchase of Nucleus Networks, acted for Mayborn Group on its sale to Shanghai Jahwa, and assisted Clondalkin on its sale by Warburg Pincus to Egeria. Private equity is a strength of the practice: Oates advised AEA Investors and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan on their $3.3bn sale of Dematic to KION Group. Other clients include Francisco Partners, Thomson Reuters, Goldman Sachs and the publicly listed 3i Group.

Absolutely excellent on all counts’, Lewis Silkin LLP’s ‘knowledgeable, commercial’ practice ‘faultlessly delivers invaluable advice’, and is ‘timely and efficient’. ‘Calm, proactive and creative’ practice head Paul Rajput is ‘extremely skilled at leading commercially sensitive transactions’: on the cross-border side, he acted for Valeo on its 50% acquisition of CloudMade, and advised Publicis Groupe on its equity partnership with the communications arm of West Africa-based communications services provider Troyka Group. The ‘commercial, technically excellent’ and ‘always availableKarish Andrews is particularly experienced in sports M&A, though he also advised Four Communications Group on its acquisition of Rain Communications and Packer Forbes, and assisted The Brooklyn Brothers with its sale to Golin. Marie-Caroline Frochot is also recommended. Corporate finance and technology experts Timothy Leeson and David Willbe arrived from DWF in September 2016.

Winston & Strawn London LLP’s ‘strategic, responsive’ team provides ‘in-depth knowledge, tailored advice and efficient use of team members’. Practice head Zoë Ashcroft is ‘top of her field – a charismatic problem-solving negotiator with a great wealth of experience and real depth of knowledge’. ‘Great deal captainsNicholas Usher and Stewart Worthy have ‘technical expertise coupled with easy-going personalities’, and are ‘great to work with’; the ‘pragmatic, client-friendly’ Usher, who is praised for his ‘negotiating savvy’, advised Motorola Solutions on its £818m purchase of Airwave Solutions, while Worthy acted for Yioula Glassworks on the sale of its glass manufacturing business in Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. Paul Amiss is also recommended.

Food and beverages, leisure and energy are sector strengths of Burges Salmon LLP’s ‘proactive’ department, which provides ‘city firm knowledge at regional firm prices’. Private equity expert Richard Spink heads the practice; he acted for the shareholders of LVTG Holdings, which trades as Lifetime Trading, on its sale to Silverfleet Capital. The ‘extremely pragmatic, technically excellentChris Godfrey is ‘always available’ and an ‘excellent operator’; he advised Virgin Active on its sale of 35 gyms and health clubs to Nuffield Health. Alan Barr, hotels and transport expert Rupert Weston, private equity specialist Mark Shepherd and senior associate Tim Roberts are also recommended.

Dorsey & Whitney’s department is active in a variety of sectors, and largely handles private M&A. Alan Farkas assisted Akastor with the sale of its Frontica Advantage business to NES Global Talent, and Max Beazley advised Casewise Systems on its sale to ERwin Technologies. In an illustration of its cross-border capabilities, Beazley acted for Spanish start-up Boolino on its acquisition of Discovery Books’ Fiction Express business. Fabrizio Carpanini assisted Communications Test Design with its €96m purchase of Regenersis (Depot) Services. The ‘clever, commercial’ Mark Taylor heads the practice; he advised longstanding client Watchstone Group on its sale of Quintica Holdings, Carbon Reduction Company and BE Insulated. Other clients of the group include Atlantic Carbon Group and Gowan Company.

The team at Katten Muchin Rosenman UK LLP, which provides a ‘good level of service’, welcomed M&A-focused partner Paul Rosen from Clyde & Co LLP in January 2017. Practice head Philip Watkins and corporate real estate expert Terry Green acted for Manali Petrochemicals on its £14m purchase of Notedome, and advised Wyndham Hotel Group on $50m-worth of strategic acquisitions in India. Galileo Global Education, New West End Company, Design Museum and BridgeStreet Global Hospitality are other representative clients.


M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m

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Boodle Hatfield LLP’s ‘very strong’ practice is headed by Nigel Stone, who has experience in cross-border M&A. The team mostly handles private M&A, and is noted for its strength in acting for family offices, entrepreneurs, and hotels and leisure companies such as Marriott International, London Clubhouse and Berry Bros. & Rudd. Real estate is a sector strength; the practice’s clients include numerous real estate investors, including IGB, Fletcher King and Flemyn. Richard Beaven and Rahul Thakrar, who has experience in financing as well as M&A, are also recommended, as is associate Sophie Hawkins.

Commended for its ‘excellent service’ and ‘good value for money’, Bristows LLP’s department is strong in the TMT and life sciences sectors; it also has notable experience in the consumer goods space. Life sciences expert Mark Hawes, who heads the group, acted for Albireo on its NASDAQ listing and its $200m reverse merger with Biodel. The ‘highly responsive, commercialMarek Petecki is a ‘standout partner’ who ‘finds and communicates practicable solutions to issues, and tailors his work carefully’; he is noted for his strength in M&A involving IP and technology. Petecki’s highlights included advising AstraZeneca on the £135m sale of its pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Avonmouth to Avara, and assisted Diageo with its acquisition of a stake in a joint venture established by Piers Adam to develop a new whisky brand. The ‘very commercialIain Redford is an ‘excellent business strategist’; he advised WPP on its purchase of System Analytic and of Exchange Lab. Louise Eldridge acted for King.com on its investment in Midoki, while Matt Dennis assisted Blackboard with its purchase of Fronteer. Other clients of the practice include UCL Business, Freeview, Capgemini and Time Out. ‘Efficient, communicative’ associate Charles Willison is a ‘very good operator’.

Brown Rudnick LLP’s practice is ‘always available and approachable’, and provides ‘very good service’ in M&A across a wide range of sectors. Department head Mark Dorff advised LJ GP Partnership on its purchase of Guggenheim Investment Advisors from Guggenheim Partners. Lena Hodge advised Iwan Simonis and Saluc on their purchase of WSG Textiles from Vespa Capital. Other clients include RELX (UK), Midatech Pharma, Microgen, Science Group and Victoria plc. The ‘sensible, pragmaticSophie McGrath, who has particular experience in the life sciences and technology sectors, is ‘very easy to work with’; Tim Matthews is also recommended. Nicholas Vasquez made partner in February 2016.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’s ‘excellent’ department is led by Chris Putt and exhibits ‘professionalism, clarity of purpose and a personal approach’. Commended for handling ‘very complex situations including complicated companies and international deals’, the team is especially strong in TMT, healthcare, real estate and financial services. In the real estate space, Martin Wright advised Bellway Homes on the sale of its interest in Barking Riverside to L&Q New Homes, Michael Lingens acted for Country Court Care on its acquisition of a portfolio of seven assets, and Andrew Clarke assisted Ekistics Real Estate Partners I on its sale of the Mowbray Court Hotel to a Middle Eastern hospitality group. The ‘exceptionalMark Howard acted for Michael Cooke, founder and chairman of Currency Exchange Corporation, on the company’s sale to FEXCO. Financial services and asset management M&A expert David Hicks assisted Crown Agents with its sale of Crown Agents Bank and Crown Agents Investment Management to Helios Investment Partners. The practice’s other clients include Age UK, Advanced Energy Industries, TCC Global, ITV and Everton Football Club.

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s ‘excellent’, ‘very responsive’ team has ‘good knowledge’ and handles a high volume of matters, completing £500m-worth of M&A in 2016. It handles public as well as private M&A: group head Nick Gibbon advised Tower Gate Group on its recommended £4.5m takeover by MJH Group Holdings. Financial services (especially in the insurance space), technology and corporate real estate are sector strengths: Matthew Darling advised the shareholders of Tax Computer Systems on its £73m sale to Eco City Vehicles, and acted for Castle Street Investments (now CoreTX Holdings) on its £39m purchase of Selection Services Investments. He also assisted Pinnacle Technology Group with its acquisitions of Weston Communications, Ancar-B Technologies and Adept4, and its sale of the Pinnacle CDT business to Chess ICT. In the insurance space, Jonathan Deverill advised Arthur J. Gallagher on its purchase of Orb Financial Services. On the cross-border side, Gibbon acted for a Dutch subsidiary of ABEO Group on its purchase of a controlling stake in Sportsafe UK. Other clients include Crest Nicholson, Linden Homes, Castleton Technology and Keller Group. ‘Tenacious’ associate Jenny Goodrich is ‘committed to completing deals’; senior associate Holly Buckley is also recommended. Energy and infrastructure expert Nick Fothergill arrived in March 2017 from Watson Farley & Williams LLP.

The ‘very strong practice’ at Farrer & Co counts financial services, technology, media and sport as core sector strengths; it also performs strongly in education, healthcare and retail. Practice head Richard Lane advised the founders of iCheque Network on its sale to Pollen Street Capital, and on its merger with Cashflows Group, one of Pollen’s subsidiaries. He also acted for Alcuin Capital Partners on its investment in Dovetail Games, and assisted Sage Publications with its $4m purchase of a prominent journal from Hindawi Publishing. In the financial services space, Jonathan Haley advised the shareholders of Asset Value Investors on their sale of a stake in the company to a third-party investor, and Anthony Turner assisted Arbuthnot Latham & Co on its purchase of Renaissance Asset Finance. Ping Pong Group International, Serabi Gold and Bauer Digital Radio are longstanding clients. David Fletchercombines technical excellence with a realistic and commercial approach’, while Simon Ward, who is increasingly active in private equity, has ‘a very good eye for detail’, and ‘can be relied on in the most complex, difficult transactions’. Recently promoted partner Marie Bates and senior associate Tom Bruce are also recommended.

Fladgate LLP’s ‘very good’ department provides ‘first-rate service’. Practice head Grant Gordon advised the shareholders of Swansea City FC on their sale of a majority stake in the club to Swansea Football. Amy Collins is strong in corporate real estate: she acted for Aldgate Tower Investments on its £346m sale to a joint venture between China Life and Brookfield Property Partners, and assisted Sun Capital Assets with its joint venture with Scarborough Group International to purchase a 50% stake in the Sheffield Digital Campus development. Alex Kaufmann, who is fluent in French, German and Romanian as well as English, advised dbg on its sale to Merkle, and assisted Newson Gale with its sale to Hoerbiger. The ‘very smart, efficientGraham Spitz advised Privet Capital on its purchase of Cash Processing Solutions, while hotels and leisure expert Julian Lewis, who is ‘very knowledgeable, efficient and client-focused’, acted for Haché on its acquisition by Hush. The ‘strong, bright, very experiencedIan Brentfights his clients’ corner well’ and is ‘very knowledgeable’, particularly in the recruitment sector; energy and mining expert Nigel Gordon is ‘exceedingly diligent’. ‘Very knowledgeable, client-focused’ associate David Baverstock shows ‘good attention to detail’.

The team at Forsters LLP is particularly active in advising family offices, entrepreneurs, high-net-worth individuals and start-ups. Department head Craigie Pearson, who has extensive experience in the hotels and leisure, charity and art sectors, advised a client on its £60m purchase of two Luxembourg companies that held a Jersey property unit trust. Craig Thompson is noted for his experience in media and corporate real estate M&A, though he also acted for Greybull Capital on its purchase of the Longs Products steel business from Tata Steel UK. Christine Dubignon assisted The Related Companies with its acquisition of a 50% stake in Pocket Living. Other clients include Ardstone Capital, Savills Investment Management and British Airways Pension Trustees.

Fox Williams LLP’s ‘responsive, client-oriented’ team is ‘practical’ and ‘good value for money’. It also ‘works well with in-house teams’, and has a ‘hugely helpful understanding of early-stage businesses’. ‘Practical, responsive’ practice head Richie Clark has strong experience in the natural resources, financial services and technology sectors: he acted for Constellation Software on its takeover of Bond International, and assisted Volaris Software with its purchase of Results Group’s business and assets. He also advised MIP on its acquisition of Cromptons Healthcare. Andrew Woolf acted for Cymba Technologies on its sale to Factset Research Systems, Paul Osborne advised Start Ventures on its sale of a 75% stake in StartJG Hong Kong, and Peter Faber assisted Antithesis Consulting Group with its purchase of Sustain. Directa Plus and Stifel Financial are recent client wins; more longstanding clients include SuperGroup, IFG Group, Charles Taylor plc and Plexus Holdings. Nick Sayers’s departure for Payne Hicks Beach in June 2016 was offset by the arrival of Guy Morgan from Stephenson Harwood in March 2017; Morgan is strong in public takeovers and equity capital markets.

Technology and digital business are sector strengths for Kemp Little LLP’s ‘very responsive, pragmatic’ team. It is especially strong in private M&A, is commended for its ‘great service’, and ‘punches above its weight’. Practice head and ‘standout performer’ Charles Claisse is ‘technically and commercially great’, and ‘goes the extra mile for clients’; he acted for Arrow Mobile Communications on its acquisition by a company backed by Growth Capital Partners. Claisse and Andy Moseby advised Anthony Ganjou on the £25m sale of stakes in Curb Media, Visualise and Dooh.com to the Chime/CSM group. Moseby also acted for MSCI on the sale of its global corporate occupiers benchmarking business – a business providing performance analytics of commercial buildings – to JLL, and assisted Technicolor with its acquisition of numerous assets from Munky. Glafkos Tombolis, who is noted for his strength in TMT and healthcare, is ‘very knowledgeable and very down to earth’. Senior associate Deborah Angel has ‘an excellent eye for detail’ and is ‘focused on the right ideas’; associate Patrick Roux ‘makes large workloads and long hours seem easy, and is always there when clients need him’. Senior associate Adam Kuan is also recommended.

Marriott Harrison LLP’s ‘very reliable, practical and supportive’ department provides ‘very good service’. Department head Jon Sweet assisted Kaplan International Holdings with its purchase of MPW TopCo, and advised the shareholders of Pocket Living on their sale of a 50% stake in the company to The Related Companies. The ‘very straightforward, sensibleJonathan Leigh-Hunt is singled out for ‘guiding clients through the minefield of due diligence’; he assisted International Schools Partnership with its purchase of Marlborough Group, and advised Audiotonix on its £5m purchase of Group One. Ben Devons and Jonathan Pearce provide ‘very valuable advice’; Devons acted for Easypack on its sale to Pregis, while Pearce advised New Pictures on its sale to All3Media. The ‘diligent, thoughtful, extremely helpfulDaniel Jacob assisted MARC with its purchase of Dailyrare;