Clifford Chance LLP distinguishes itself in M&A and finance-related tax, as well as real estate and funds tax work. In addition to undertaking transactional work, the group has been advising clients on the tax implications of restructurings and reorganisations, both in the context of Brexit and also COVID-19. The global head of tax, pensions and employment is Chris Davies, who focuses on the tax aspects of corporate and finance transactions. Also noted for their specialism in the tax aspects of corporate deals are Nick Mace and David Harkness. David Saleh has notable expertise in indirect tax issues and is also is the name to note for real estate transactions. Dan Neidle is the head of the London tax department.
Corporate tax in London
‘Knowledgeable, experienced, and you get to deal with the partners directly.’
‘David Harkness is unassuming and courteous, but so very sound. I have every confidence in his advice.’
‘Dan Neidle complements the team sitting with and around him.’
Legal & General
Aberdeen Asset Managers
- Advised KIRKBI and its consortium on the £5.9bn takeover of the publicly listed Merlin Entertainments plc.
- Advised MasterCard on its €2.85bn acquisition of Nets’ account-to-account payments business.
- Advised international investors in UK assets, particularly utilities and infrastructure – including fund managers, sovereign wealth funds, financial investors and corporates – on the restructuring of over £30bn (in aggregate) of investments in a tax-efficient manner to mitigate the potential consequences of nationalisation under a Labour government.
Slaughter and May
The tax department at Slaughter and May is jointly led by M&A and private equity tax expert Gareth Miles and Mike Lane, whose practice covers international taxation and transactional issues. The group continues to advise multinational corporations and financial institutions on corporate, commercial and finance transactions, as well as providing tax consultancy and contentious tax advice. Another well-known name in the team is Steve Edge, who is regularly called upon to assist with tax issues arising from day-to-day business affairs and restructurings. William Watson is noted for his expertise in real estate and oil and gas tax matters. Dominic Robertson is also recommended. Former practice head Sara Luder retired in 2020.
‘High level of partnership involvement. Superb technical and commercial acumen.’
‘Although we faced challenges on some very important and difficult issues, they remained positive and pragmatic throughout, helping us to navigate complex technical subjects and difficult practical questions.’
‘Mike Lane combines technical experience with acute commercial sensitivity.’
‘Gareth Miles was exceptional in responding to queries at short notice, and in his practical suggestions on how best to resolve complex issues quickly.’
Ørsted Wind and Power
Royal Dutch Shell
- Advised Prudential on the demerger of its UK and Europe businesses (M&G) from Prudential, resulting in two separately-listed companies.
- Advised GSK on its agreement with Pfizer Inc. to combine their global consumer healthcare businesses into a new world-leading joint venture.
- Advised Ocado on its online grocery retail 50/50 joint venture with Marks and Spencer Group plc.
The tax team at Allen & Overy LLP has a first-rate reputation in financial tax matters, and it also has a strong capability in corporate and real estate tax work. Although transactional work comprises a large part of the practice, the team is also well-versed in standalone advisory matters. Vimal Tilakapala, who heads up the UK tax practice, is well-known for his strengths in domestic and international finance-related tax. Lydia Challen is 'a true genius in the tax world' and specialises in M&A, corporate reorganisations and private equity tax. Christopher Harrison, who is the head of the global tax practice, predominantly advises financial institutions on banking tax and tax-related financing transactions.
‘My experience with the A&O tax team has always been very positive, they are a very practical and pragmatic team to supplement excellent technical ability and I always enjoy working with the team there.’
‘Lydia Challen is a true genius in the world of tax and always someone you want on your side of the table and on your team.’
Royal Bank of Scotland
Coventry Building Society
Marks & Spencer
- Advised Quilter on its £425m sale of Old Mutual Life Assurance to ReAssure.
- Representing Investec Bank Plc. before the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) in relation to its appeal and HMRC’s cross-appeal of two decisions of Mr Justice Arnold and Judge Charles Hellier before the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber).
- Advised a major banking group on the ring-fencing of its UK retail banking operations, pursuant to the Financial Services (Banking Reform) Act 2013, with associated regulatory resolution advice, and setting up operational service companies to serve both the ring fenced bank and non-ring fenced banks together with related intra-group reorganisations/restructurings.
Baker McKenzie's group is set up to advise on large standalone tax planning and implementation mandates, as well as transfer pricing issues and transactional tax work. The department houses lawyers, tax advisers, accountants and economists, enabling it to provide a full service to domestic and international corporates, financial institutions and funds. VAT specialist Mark Delaney (who has a notable background in the technology sector) leads the team, which includes London managing partner Alex Chadwick. Kate Alexander is a qualified chartered accountant. Patrick O’Gara focuses on international M&A taxation, while associate Natalie Dunne has developed a niche specialism in global reorganisations. In July 2019, the group was bolstered by the arrival of dual-England and India-qualified partner Prabhu Narasimhan from White & Case LLP.
Other key lawyers:
‘Well rounded deep knowledge of all areas of tax law. The team constantly displayed an excellent understanding and appreciation of the commercial and practical aspects of many varied transactions. The advice provided is always of a high quality, clear and easy to understand and apply.’
‘Detailed technical analysis with practical underpinnings based on experience with tax controversy. Less theoretical and more practical than the Big 4 accounting firms.’
‘An ability to assemble a strong team across a range of both geographies and specialisms which proves invaluable when you need a fast response to complex situations.’
‘The team is very commercially minded, understands our business and needs and tries to find solutions to complicated issues (and normally succeeds in this).’
Gemini Office Services UK
Inter Pipeline Ltd
Stalex Investments Ltd.
- Acted as lead UK tax adviser to Hitachi on its $11 billion acquisition of ABB.
- Advised LVMH on its $3.2bn acquisition of Belmond.
- Advised Novator on the restructuring of its $2bn captive PE structure.
The group at Hogan Lovells International LLP advises multinational companies and financial institutions on their domestic and international tax issues. It has developed a specialism in employee benefits and executive compensation tax, an area in which Fiona Bantock takes the lead. Department head Elliot Weston is a transactional tax expert, who also has experience of reorganisations and finance transactions. Karen Hughes is active in M&A, restructurings and international tax planning matters. Elsewhere, the firm is noted for its ability to field an in-house transfer pricing team.
- Advised Asahi on the tax aspects of its acquisition of the entire premium beer business of Fuller, Smith & Turner’s for an enterprise value of £250m on a debt-free, cash-free basis.
- A cross-practice London team advised Israel-based Fattal Hotel Group on the tax elements of its acquisition of the operating business and a long-term lease of four high-end London Grange Hotels, from real estate investment firm Queensgate Investments. A cross-practice London team advised Israel-based Fattal Hotel Group on its acquisition of the operating business and a long-term lease of four high-end London Grange Hotels, from real estate investment firm Queensgate Investments
- Advised ITV on the tax aspects of the formation of BritBox, a new joint venture with the BBC in the UK to create a streaming service carrying “Best of British” television.
Kirkland & Ellis International LLP's practice is very much in growth mode, with the firm having recruited David Irvine and Mavnick Nerwal from Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP and Linklaters LLP respectively in 2019; the arrivals of both practitioners strengthened the private equity and funds-based tax practice. The group is regularly instructed in transatlantic deals, and it is also developing a strong domestic tax practice. The group is led by seasoned tax lawyer Jonathan Kandel, who regularly advises asset managers, sovereign funds and state-owned enterprises on their transactions in the UK. Timothy Lowe, who co-heads the team with Kandel, is a specialist in M&A tax, reorganisations, reconstructions and corporate finance. Frixos Hatjantonas takes the lead in real estate private equity tax work. Dulcie Daly is another name to note, with experience of international tax planning, debt finance and capital markets transactions.
TPG Real Estate Partners
Vista Equity Partners
- Advised the consortium consisting of Apax, Warburg Pincus, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Ontario Teachers Pension Plan on the tax structuring of the US $3.4 billion take-private of Inmarsat.
- Advised Blackstone on the tax aspects of the recommended cash offer for Merlin Entertainments plc, valuing Merlin at £4.77 billion.
- Advised Antin on the tax structuring for the formation of Antin Infrastructure Partners IV, one of the largest infrastructure funds currently in the market.
Linklaters LLP's team undertakes the entire spectrum of corporate tax work for clients, which includes advice on M&A and demergers, finance, private equity and funds deals. It also has expertise in the technology and fintech sectors, as well as transactions involving financial institutions. Following the departure of Yash Rupal in February 2020 to Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, the leadership of the department was taken over by transactional tax expert Lynne Walkington. James Morgan is another key name, who focuses on the taxation of financial institutions, debt funds and alternative credit funds. Mavnick Nerwal left to join Kirkland & Ellis International LLP in December 2019, from where Chris Smale (a fund taxation specialist) joined in the same month. Mark Kingstone and Dominic Winter retired in April 2020.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
- Advised Mondi, Investec and Unilever on several high-value, high profile transactions involving dual-listed companies structures (DLCs).
- Advised Cerberus on the tax structuring and implementation of a series of mortgage portfolio securitisation refinancings with a combined deal value of c.£6.8bn.
- Acted for Nestlé on the disposal of its Skin Health division to a consortium led by private equity firm EQT.
Macfarlanes LLP has a strong non-contentious and tax advisory practice, with capabilities in transaction structuring, fund formation, group tax advice and operational taxes. On the advisory side, the firm has developed a niche in work for listed companies and financial services companies. Practice head Damien Crossley focuses on private equity and investment management tax, and works with Ceinwen Rees to advise the firm's key fund clients. Ashley Greenbank, who works part-time as a tax tribunal and deputy high court judge, continues to advise on domestic and cross-border corporate finance and M&A transactions. Mark Baldwin is experienced in the structuring of collective investment vehicles.
Other key lawyers:
‘Joined up with other areas of the legal team.’
Hayfin Capital Management
Bridgepoint Advisers Limited
- Advised Hollyport Capital on the structuring and fundraising for its seventh secondaries fund.
- Advised Minova Insurance Holdings Limited (MIHL) on the UK tax, structuring and employee incentive aspects on the sale of its broking business.
- Provided UK tax and structuring advice to funds managed by The Blackstone Group Inc.
The group at Travers Smith LLP is 'approachable, knowledgeable and practical', according to one client. It is well-known for advising management teams on the tax aspects of private equity transactions. In addition, since consultant Cathryn Vanderspar joined from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP in October 2019, the group has been increasingly active in real estate tax matters. Since January 2020, the department has been led by Emily Clark, whose recent experience includes advising local authority pension funds on the establishment of credit strategies and real estate platforms. Former practice head Simon Skinner continues to offer tax structuring advice, including cross-border tax planning. Kathleen Russ is a big name in the private equity transactional tax world, while Jessica Kemp is recommended for M&A-related taxation for public and private companies.
Other key lawyers:
‘Approachable, knowledgeable and practical.’
‘Easy to get hold of, good working relationship, helpful.’
‘Deep expertise coupled with personal touch and not constantly deploying junior lawyers. Feels like a personal service all the time.’
‘Expertise, accessibility and dedication to the output.’
Premier Rugby Limited
Benson Elliot Capital Management
The Access Group
Shareholders of the EAT group
BMS Insurance Group
Caledonia Investments plc
Melrose Industries plc
The Carlyle Group
Micro Focus plc
Phoenix Equity Partners
Pret a Manger
- Advised Premier Rugby Limited, the top division of English Rugby Union, on the investment by and new partnership with CVC Capital Partners.
- Advised listed company TruFin plc on the capital reduction demerger of one of its divisions which became a separate listed group.
- Advised Benson Elliott Capital Management on the formation and fundraising of a new private equity style real estate fund which raised £800m+.
Ashurst's practice has a strong transactional tax capability, which is complemented by its tax structuring expertise. Other areas of focus include funds and fund structuring, as well as cross-border advisory work (often for Korean investors) and assistance with financial institutional products. The group is led by fund taxation expert Alexander Cox. Simon Swann and Tim Gummer are noted for their real estate tax expertise, with the latter also being knowledgeable about oil and gas tax, particularly in relation to licensing interests and decommissioning issues.
‘The team’s depth of expertise particularly with respect to real estate finance, and their unparalleled track record acting for Asian investors, notably Korean real estate funds. As a team they are also a pleasure to work with and are down to earth and humble.’
‘Tim Gummer is exceptional. He is very strong technically but is also excellent at distilling down issues to give clear, direct and commercial advice.’
‘Simon Swann is a stand out individual. He really cares about delivering a top class service and is excellent at articulating complex areas of tax legislation.’
Inflexion Private Equity
Korean Investment & Securities, IGIS and Knight Frank Asset Management
Samsung Securities, Kendall Square Asset Management and Roebuck Asset Management
Hana Financial, STIC Alternative and Roebuck Asset Management
Official Receiver for Thomas Cook – Alix Partners
Intermediate Capital Group PLC
Tritax Management LLP
JPI Media Limited
- Advising Alix Partners on the administration of Thomas Cook – tax planning in regards to the disposal of the group’s assets. Being entrusted with the tax advice on this high-profile liquidation, which attracted so much media coverage, proves Ashurst’s tax team’s credibility, their outstanding advice and reputation as a high-performing team. This is an important matter and the tax issues associated with this administration in terms of restructuring and insolvency are likely to serve as an example for future administration cases.
- Advising on the cross-border acquisition of an Amazon logistics warehouse in Prague by Korean investors from AEW. This complex cross-border corporate real estate matter was structured and run by the Ashurst London Tax Team in conjunction with the firm’s corporate and tax teams in both Luxembourg and London.
- Advised Inflexion Private Equity on the simultaneous closings of two new private equity funds. Inflexion Enterprise Fund V raised £400m and Supplemental Fund V raised £600m from Inflexion’s existing client base of institutional investors from across Europe, the US and Asia.
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP advises domestic and overseas corporates and funds on tax advisory and transactional tax issues relating to the real estate and technology sectors. Global tax head Elizabeth Bradley, who is also a chartered tax adviser, is a corporate tax generalist and often leads on multijurisdictional transactions. John Overs and Richard Harbot are also recommended.
‘BCLP’s tax team has first-rate knowledge of all of the key tax areas that touch our business and particularly the taxation of fund structures and real estate. We have found the BCLP tax team to be robust from a technical perspective but also to be adept at taking a practical and commercial approach when necessary in order to make transactions happen.’
‘The partners understand the intricacies of the business and provide commercial solutions.‘
‘Paul Shaw has a sharp focus that identifies issues early and helps the team see the wood for the trees.’
Tristan Capital Partners
Capital & Counties
Transport for London
- Advised Globalgrange, one of London’s largest privately-held hotel groups, on the tax structuring and tax aspects of the sale of its hotel portfolio (the Grange St Paul’s EC4, Grange Tower Bridge E1, Grange City EC3, and Grange Holborn WC1) for circa. £1 billion, to Queensgate Investments.
- Advised Edge Technologies on the tax structuring aspects of its purchase of Becket House near London Bridge. The property is currently occupied by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and the deal contains an element of planning conditionality. Gross Asset Value is estimated to be around £350m.
- Advised Capital and Counties Properties PLC on the sale of its interests in Earls Court to APG and Delancey for £425m.
CMS has 'an impressive international tax practice', which draws on the firm's impressive offering across the EU. The group in London focuses on transactional tax, where it supports other departments, as well as tax structuring and restructuring mandates. One of the co-heads of the department is Aaron Fairhurst, who primarily handles energy, infrastructure, corporate recovery and private equity-related matters. Another co-head is Stephen Hignett, who has a niche in tax issues connected with the television, music and gambling sectors. Mark Joscelyne, who 'inspires great confidence', is noted for both transactional and advisory work relating to the TMT sector. Lauren Alder is noted for real estate tax.
‘The CMS tax team collaborates very well with their commercial colleague to provide well-rounded technical advice that is risk-focused and relevant to client circumstances.’
‘CMS has an impressive international tax practice. The partners we work with are commercial and responsive, with a supporting cast of fantastic associates.’
‘Very strong on transactional side and increasingly we are shopping for corporate tax advice with CMS generally rather than using Big 4 accountants.‘
‘Graham Chase takes time to understand the context in order to effectively drill down to specific and key issues.’
‘Mark Joscelyne inspires great confidence – he has exceptionally wide and deep tax knowledge and such a nice guy too.’
Willis Towers Watson
Principal Real Estate
- Advised Galliford Try on the tax aspects of the circa £1.1bn demerger and sale of its Linden Homes and Galliford Try Partnerships & Regeneration businesses to Bovis Homes.
- Advised the group holding company of global mining and inorganic chemicals business Tronox on a series of transactions, including on re-domiciling the group to the United Kingdom from Australia; the repurchase of shares from Exxaro for approx. $200m; and the $100m share repurchase programme announced by Tronox Holdings plc.
- Advised on the structuring and closing of a fund launched by DTZ and The Collective to develop and hold co-living assets, a relatively new asset class and a sub-set of the private rental sector. The fund is targeting a gross asset value of £1bn to be achieved over the ten-year life of the fund.
The London team at Dentons, which is integrated into a global network of offices, is well-placed to advise multinational corporates, private equity funds and financial institutions on their cross-border transactions. The group has a strong advisory practice, where it often assists with structuring issues. It also has a niche in advising tax risk insurers. Alex Thomas, who is a co-chair of the global tax practice (and also heads up the London team), leads on the insurance-related work. James Meakin is experienced in corporate and real estate transactional tax, while Alex Tostevin focuses on private equity deals.
‘Most commercial tax teams are experts in their field, and sensitive to client needs. The Dentons team stands out because on top of all that, they are creative in their approach with innovative solutions to difficult complex problems. They go above and beyond.‘
‘The level of service provided by Dentons is outstanding where their professional approach towards delivering appropriate advice, industry exposure, capabilities of the team members and commitment on our requirements make them unique. The team members have always made sure that we experience the value addition in all our corporate and commercial-corporate tax practices. Their unmatched capability provides us with plenty of opportunities to accurately abide the tax regulations.’
‘The entire team is prepared to carefully listen to our queries, analyse them with their expertise and provide us with the perfect solutions throughout our relationship with Dentons. The key success comes from the exemplary leadership of the Partners who shows the right guidance for the team members where the outputs from them make our tasks very easy and timely.’
‘The individuals we work with have always provided us with the best quality service, and the amount of effort they make to fulfil our taxation and legal requirements is highly valued and appreciated.’
KPS Capital Partners
Her Majesty’s Government
- Advised Total on all aspects of its approx. $9bn back-to-back acquisition from Occidental of the African assets of Anadarko.
- Advised KPS on its acquisition of Glasgow-headquartered Howden from Colfax Corporation for an enterprise value of $1.8bn.
- Advised Atom Bank on its second securitisation of residential mortgages, valued at over £500m.
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
At Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, the team has a wealth of experience advising multinational companies and investment funds on UK and international tax issues relating to their operations and transactions, particularly in relation to US-UK deals. Sandy Bhogal who is 'respected by other professionals', is the star of the practice; he is a seasoned tax lawyer with experience of transactional tax, corporate tax planning and transfer pricing issues. Department head Jeff Trinklein has a specialism in advising foreign clients with investments in the US, as well as US clients with foreign operations. Following the retirement of Nick Aleksander in October 2019, Ben Fryer joined from Mayer Brown International LLP, bringing with him considerable domestic and cross-border transactional expertise and knowledge of tax planning and risk management.
‘Super high quality and responsiveness.’
‘The team is excellent because of their technical skills and excellent service and practical approach.’
‘Sandy Bhogal has great ability and experience. He communicates well, setting out complicated issues clearly. He is respected by other professionals, HMRC and HM Treasury.’
‘Sandy is one of the most well known and respected lawyers in the UK.’
Realty Income Corporation
Murphy Oil Corporation
Tishman Speyer Properties
Amryt Pharma plc
Marathon Oil Company
Five Arrows Principal Investments
Liberty Hall Capital Partners LP / Bromford Industries
Ark Capital Advisors
Brookfield Property Partners
- Advised Murphy Oil on the tax aspects of the $2bn plus divestment of its two primary Malaysian subsidiaries, Murphy Sabah Oil Co., Ltd. and Murphy Sarawak Oil Co., Ltd., to a subsidiary of PTT Exploration and Production Public Company Limited.
- Advised LSG Skychefs on the tax implications of the sale of its 50% interest in its UK catering joint venture, Alpha LSG, to Dnata.
- Advised Marriott International on the tax implications of its acquisition of London-listed Elegant Hotels Group plc, which owns and operates seven all-inclusive hotels with 588 rooms on the “Platinum Coast” in Barbados through a court sanctioned scheme of arrangement.
Norton Rose Fulbright's tax team is a powerhouse for corporate and financial transactions. It works closely with the firm's international office network, advising on cross-border M&A, refinancings and restructurings. Dominic Stuttaford, who leads the EMEA and Brazil tax group, specialises in M&A and corporate reorganisations. Matthew Hodkin stands out for his expertise in transport and renewable energy taxation. Property, funds and retail tax are particular areas of focus for Julia Lloyd and Michael Alliston (an arrival from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP in April 2019). Counsel Judy Harrison is also recommended.
Other key lawyers:
‘Clear and concise advice.’
‘Excellent energy industry knowledge and extensive M&A experience .’
‘I have used Dominic Stuttaford on many occasions for ad hoc tax advice. He is someone whose in depth understanding of tax law and wide experience of dealing with tax issues during his career means he is ideally suited to discussing tax issues in a practical way.’
Commerz Real Investmentgesellschaft mb
Schroder Real Estate Investment Management Limited
Civitas Social Housing PLC
Residential Secure Income REIT Group
Deutsche Finance International
London Gateway Port Limited
Royal Bank of Scotland PLC
Lloyds Banking Group
Barclays Bank Plc
Bibby Financial Services
Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners
the West End of London Property Unit Trust
Oxford Industries Inc
Trian Fund Management, L.P.
Roofoods Ltd (Deliveroo).
PGGM Vermogensbeheer B.V.
Greencoat UK Wind
- Advised NYSE and TSX-listed client Barrick Gold Corporation (Barrick) on its £951m take-private of London-listed Acacia Mining.
- Advised PGGM Infrastructure Fund (PGGM), a leading Dutch pension investor, on its acquisition of a 25% interest in Macquarie AirFinance (MAF).
- Advised Glennmont Partners on the sale of 37.5MW of UK wind assets to Foresight Group, a leading global infrastructure and private equity investment manager.
Pinsent Masons LLP
Pinsent Masons LLP has a full-service corporate tax team that assists multinationals, institutional investors and government bodies with their operations and transactions in the UK. Areas of expertise include private equity deals, reorganisations and asset-backed securitisations. The group is led by Eloise Walker, who has a strong transactional and international tax practice. Consultant Richard Croker leads on property taxation matters, while Christine Yuill is an expert in employee share incentive schemes. Peter Morley has broad corporate tax experience, with a notable reputation in private equity transactions. Jamie Robson is also recommended.
‘The key two things I value about Pinsent Masons corporate tax team is (a) they have a good culture in the business and are pleasant people to work with, and (b) they strike the right balance between making certain technical decisions on behalf of the client and escalating some of the key larger point to seek client’s input.’
‘Pinsent Masons are our go-to counsel for real estate taxation matters and VAT. The team are hard-working, diligent and great value for money.’
‘Available, approachable and knowledgeable – what more can you ask of an advisor?‘
‘We have been consistently impressed by Jamie Robson. Jamie is a talented corporate tax lawyer with an unparalleled eye for detail matched with a strong technical tax brain. His advice is thorough and practical.‘
Houlihan Lokey Inc
- Advised Ithaca Energy on its $2bn acquisition of Chevron’s North Sea business. This was a hugely significant deal for Ithaca (making it the second-largest independent operator in the UK continental shelf).
- Acted for Inflexion Private Equity Partners LLP on its purchase of Creative Car Park Holdings Limited, a leading provider of car park management solutions.
- Advised M Group Services Limited, the infrastructure services group, on the acquisition of the entire share capital of KH Engineering Services Limited, a company providing mechanical and electrical engineering solutions covering the design, management and delivery of services to the rail and wider transport sectors.
Simmons & Simmons
Simmons & Simmons' practice combines strengths in transactional and advisory matters with transfer pricing expertise, with it drawing on the expertise of in-house accountants and economists. Clients include financial institutions and asset managers. Darren Oswick heads up the London and international tax group, which includes M&A and equity capital markets specialist Nick Cronkshaw. Martin Shah, who leads the financial services tax practice, has experience of providing transactional, advisory and contentious tax support. Hatice Ismail focuses on financial services and asset management taxation.
‘I think Simmons and Simmons’ experience of capital markets tax issues is right up there with any firm in the city, including Magic Circle rivals. Mark Sheiham combines great depth of knowledge with a very client-friendly approach and is excellent at explaining things for busy and time-pressed clients. With Sheiham you also get a reassuring level of hands-on involvement with transactions which is in my view well ahead of peers at other firms‘
‘As discussed, Mark Sheiham, on a range of capital markets transactions. Reliably very good and always well supported by talented associates. We go back to them again and again because they deliver quality advice and client service at reasonable prices‘
Growthpoint Properties Ltd
BNP Paribas and Citi
Crake Asset Management
A leading international investment bank
- Advised BlackRock.on its $1.3bn acquisition of eFront (excluding settlement of eFront’s outstanding debt).
- Advising Growthpoint, South Africa’s largest REIT, on the acquisition of a 51.2% stake in Capital & Regional, a UK REIT listed on the London Stock Exchange and with a secondary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
- Advised Greensill on numerous supply chain financing transactions over the course of the year. These use complex financial engineering to enable businesses to obtain competitive financing based on trade receivables generated or in some cases expected to generate in the future.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP is a strong choice for cross-border tax advice in relation to private equity and corporate transactions. The department is led by private equity and finance taxation expert James Anderson, and includes Alex Jupp, who is a specialist in handling multijurisdictional M&A and advisory work for US corporates with operations in the UK. Associate Jisun Choi is building a practice revolving around cross-border and domestic corporate tax transactions and advice.
‘The team has strong specialist skills in finance tax and high complexity/value corporate tax issues, particularly those with a cross-border element. It is backed by a strong Skadden tax practice in the US and external network with leading European tax practices‘
‘Diligent and tireless in their commitment to getting the best result for their clients.’
‘James Anderson is a man of values. Rare these days. He sets out his vision and goes about making it a reality with ceaseless energy. Expert knowledge of tax law which he applies with wit and charm.’
‘Very, very responsive: day or night they will come back to you quickly. Very practical with a great knowledge of their clients’ businesses. Both James Anderson (more of a focus on private equity and finance) and Alex Jupp (particularly strong on M&A) are excellent.‘
The Coca-Cola Company
Phoenix Group Holdings
Perella Weinberg Partners
Arrow Global Group PLC
Sun Life Financial
Motion Picture Leasing Corporation
Tower Research Group
HPS (Highbridge Principal Strategies)
Willis Towers Watson
- Advised The Coca-Cola Company on the tax aspects of its £3.9 billion (US$5.1 billion) acquisition of Costa Coffee from Whitbread Plc.
- Advised Phoenix Group Holdings on the acquisition of ReAssure (UK insurance business) from Swiss Re and MSAD for a mixture of equity and cash.
- Advised Pfizer on the tax aspects of its joint venture with GlaxoSmithKline plc.
Addleshaw Goddard's team is adept at advising clients in the financial services sector on transactional and commercial tax matters. In addition, it is equally capable undertaking tax work connected with the real estate and private equity sectors. The department is led by tax structuring expert Justine Delroy, who is based in the Manchester office. Peter Sayer (who is dual-qualified as a solicitor and chartered tax adviser) focuses on real estate taxation, with particular expertise in development and funds work. Paul Concannon specialises in financial services corporate and commercial tax matters. In 2019, former practice co-head Elaine Gwilt left for KPMG.
Battersea Power Station
A&J Mucklow Group PLC
Synova Capital and the selling shareholders of Defaqto
- Acted on the sale of Battersea Power Station to a consortium of Malaysian investors for over £1.5bn via a corporate disposal. The transaction was the largest single asset real estate transaction in UK history, and showcased the combination of our experience in both complex international corporate transactions and UK real estate.
- Acted for Telereal Trillium on the Network Rail Arches acquisition, which was a large (£1bn+) high-profile and complex joint venture involving a number of stakeholders.
- Having previously acted for Synova when it acquired a majority interest in Defaqto from its founders and management, the firm advised all the sellers on the disposal of Synova Capital to SimplyBiz.
DLA Piper's UK tax team, which is a core part of a large global practice, is sought out for advice on domestic and international corporate, real estate and finance tax issues, including those arising from M&A and restructurings. The group also has strong capabilities in transfer pricing matters. The firm is particularly noted for its real estate sector work, which is an area where Richard Woolich takes the lead. Woolich co-heads the practice with Ben Brown, who focuses on corporate and finance transactions.
‘A responsive team with in-depth structuring knowledge.’
Bet365 Group Limited
Royal Bank of Scotland
Stanley Black & Decker
Waypoint Asset Management
- Advising one of the main mobile operators in Azerbaijan on the purchase of Vodafone Ukraine, and associated financing arrangements, for a cash consideration of $734m. The tax role involved providing UK, Ukrainian and other cross-border tax structuring advice, providing tax input on the transaction documentation, and coordinating local tax advice.
Investment funds taxation is a core area of strength at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP, with the team being particularly strong in issues concerning real estate funds. The group is also well-versed in cross-border M&A and real estate investment structuring, as well as tax risk insurance and financial tax. Team head Ben Jones specialises in cross-border M&A, investments and reorganisations. Camilla Spielman leads on funds tax matters, while Paul Beausang has an excellent real estate tax and structured finance practice. In 2019, Cathryn Vanderspar retired from the firm and joined Travers Smith LLP as a consultant.
‘The team’s experience and knowledge of all UK tax issues affecting UK asset management is exceptional.’
‘Over the last year I have been very impressed by Eversheds. We primarily engage Eversheds for UK domestic corporate tax risks, in particular relating to M&A or debt arrangements, and they are consistently excellent.’
‘Ben Jones is probably my favourite adviser globally. He is always available, works incredibly hard, understand the commercials of our business, and provides very clear, thoughtful tax advice. Ben tailors his advice to incorporate our goals and concerns in a way that demonstrates a deep understanding not only of the underlying tax issues but also of our business and what we are trying to achieve.’
‘Camilla Spielman is technically very strong and has gathered vast experience of the various UK tax issues affecting the asset management industry. She is extremely responsive and displays an excellent practical mindset when approaching complicated tax matters.‘
Legal & General
Urban Exposure PLC
- Acted for Goldman Sachs and others on the acquisition of the Croxley Park business precinct in Watford from Columbia Threadneedle for circa £380m, using the investment income as a base to create bonds for onward sale.
- Advised Derayah Financial Company on the series F round of financing into GO-JEK, the Indonesia-based ride-hailing company. GO-JEK is one of the first unicorn companies and the first decacorn company in Indonesia.
- Advised LPPI on the tax and fund structuring of the launch of the LPPI Real Estate Fund, an ACS sub-fund and the first pooled property fund to be launched by one of the LGPS pools, including complex advice on seeding the fund with properties without triggering immediate liabilities to SDLT.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Isaac Zailer leads the team at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, which is often involved in the tax aspects of cross-border M&A and structuring in highly regulated markets. Howard Murray is an expert in general corporate tax and tax planning, and has experience of advising financial institutions, utilities companies and corporates in the TMT sector. William Arrenberg advises on highly structured real estate transactions, property development and property finance arrangements. Aurell Taussig is noted for his expertise in the taxation of corporate transactions and restructurings. Michael Alliston moved to Norton Rose Fulbright in April 2019.
‘They have a deep technical understanding of tax law and are able to communicate that to mere mortals (such as myself)! Their key strengths have shone through across multiple M&A transactions where pragmatic solutions are required against formidable time-frames.’
‘Coupled with their clear tax abilities and affable approach, they still understand the value of a chargeable hour. I constantly question spend against ‘value’ – the team at HSF are the only firm I work with where that question recieves a positive response.’
Aernnova Aerospace Corporation S.A.
Ardonagh Group (formerly Towergate Insurance)
Associated British Foods
Boussard & Gavaudan Holding Ltd
British American Tobacco
DRI Healthcare Plc
Hipgnosis Songs Fund
London Underground Limited/TfL
Unibail Rodemco Westfield
Willis Tower Watson
The British Land Company
Meredith Time Inc.
Tullet Preabon iCAP
- Advised ARRIS International plc, a UK incorporated, NASDAQ listed provider of entertainment and communications solutions, on the $7.4 billion proposed acquisition by CommScope Holding Company, Inc., a provider of infrastructure solutions for communications networks and whose shares are also listed on NASDAQ.
- Assisted Unite Group with its 2019 acquisition of Liberty Living from CPPIB for £1.4bn.
- Advising on all aspects of British Land’s plans for the redevelopment of a 46-acre site in Rotherhithe, south east London, which will include flats, retail, leisure and offices.
Latham & Watkins' tax group advises on M&A, private equity and capital markets transactions, with a notable offering for cross-border work. The group is led by Sean Finn. Karl Mah takes the lead on tax issues arising from banking and capital markets transactions.
Other key lawyers:
‘Latham Watkins’ tax team offers pragmatic and user-friendly advice. They predominantly act for us in the corporate loans space and give sensible and considered advice, and are also good at helping intermediate if less mainstream jurisdictions are involved.’
‘Karl Mah combines a very sharp intellect with a pragmatic approach and very clear communications skills – he is very good at distilling all the challenging technical points into clear advice for his clients.’
Thomas Cook plc
The Carlyle Group
Public Sector Pension Investment Board
- Acting for the joint financial advisers, joint global coordinators, joint bookrunners and underwriters on the international elements of the initial public offering of Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest IPO in history by value.
- Advising Silver Lake on its US$500m strategic investment in City Football Group.
Mishcon de Reya LLP has 'a very good specialist real estate tax offering', and is widely recognised by clients for its expertise in the sector. In addition, it has developed a strong capability handling the tax aspects of private equity transactions. The practice is jointly led by real estate head Jonathan Legg and corporate tax lead John Skoulding, with the latter having expertise in UK and international M&A, fund formation, management buyouts, corporate restructurings and reorganisations. Another seasoned tax lawyer is Gary Richards, who specialises in corporate finance, real estate and financial services taxation.
‘Has a very good specialist real estate tax offering.’
‘Responsive and commercial. there is strength in depth in the Mishcon team.’
‘Practical. Pragmatic. Jargon free. Interactive. Available. Approachable. Enthusiastic. Inventive effective and rapid.’
‘Jonathan Legg has specialised in real estate tax for a long time now. Very capable and experienced and knows how to manage the tax aspects of a deal.‘
JPJ Group plc, now Gamesys Group plc
Capital & Counties Properties plc (Capco)
IWG plc, formerly Regus PLC
Brookfield’s ‘Student Roost’
Advanced Computer Software Group Limited
World First UK
- Advised JPJ Group plc (now Gamesys Group plc) on the pre-sale restructuring and deal documents in respect of the £490m acquisition of Reunited Target Newco Limited, the holding company of the Gamesys group.
- Advised Brookfield-owned Student Roost on the forward-funding of three new student accommodation schemes. The firm provided comprehensive UK tax advice relating to these acquisition structures.
- Advised Capital & Counties Properties Plc, on the sale of the Empress State Building (ESB) for £250m. This included dealing with the tax aspects of the sale.
The group at Proskauer Rose LLP is most noted for its funds tax work, where the team exhibits a strength in cross-border structures. Practice head Robert Gaut has vast experience of a range of matters, including corporate tax structuring, real estate tax and fund formation. Stephen Pevsner focuses on private fund formation and private equity tax, while London office managing partner Mary Kuusisto offers US tax advice for private investment funds with investments in the UK.
‘Leading in fund taxation work.’
‘The services and the advice of the corporate tax team are outstanding.’
‘Their knowledge, their soft and hard skills are absolutely exceptional. We do not imagine, nor did we experience with them any situation with a slight feeling or frustration. Our long collaboration allows us to assess that the advice received was always accurate and, not to mention it, fully tailor-made to our needs and risk appetite.’
‘The Proskauer Rose has a tremendous amount of experience in the areas of private equity/venture capital tax. The team is able to couple their technical knowledge with a strong business acumen and logic.’
Värde Partners Europe
Antin Infrastructure Partners
- Ongoing advice to Deliveroo, the leading UK-based on-line food delivery company on a wide range of legal issues, which included advising the client on the tax aspects of its $575m Series G funding.
- Advising Värde Partners Europe on its acquisition of the Equiom group from its management shareholders
- Advised ICG on tax matters relating to its acquisition of the Inenco Group.
The tax group at Stephenson Harwood is able to handle transactional, structuring and advisory work. It has niche expertise in share schemes, employee incentives and real estate tax, and also regularly handles tax-related M&A and finance work, as well as investment funds issues. Practice head Hugo Jenney is an expert in corporate and personal tax, and has a specialism in matters connected with transportation, real estate and asset finance. Maryanna Sharrock is noted for corporate transactions, reconstructions and structuring, and she also has significant contentious tax experience. Senior associate Kate Worthington is a name to note in the real estate tax space.
‘The team that I work with is cohesive, inclusive, attentive, professional and highly responsive. There appears to be good communication between members of the team with no pretensions of hierarchy. If needed the partners get their hands dirty if support or associates or solicitors have been taken to deal with other matters. All members know their stuff.‘
‘Maryanna Sharrock is an excellent team leader, understanding, empathetic and sympathetic and intelligent. Leads from the top as evidenced by her main two supporters that I have worked with.‘
Transport for London
HSBC/HSBC Pension Fund
Schroder Real Estate Investment Trust/Schroder Real Estate Fund
Covanta Holdings Limited
Arthur J Gallagher
- Advised NYSE listed Covanta Holding Corporation on its strategic 50:50 joint venture with the Green Investment Group Limited, a subsidiary of Macquarie Group, to develop, fund and own Energy-from-Waste (“EFW”) projects in Ireland and the UK. The joint venture created a platform to develop and invest in the combined project pipelines of the partners, as well as to pursue new opportunities for EfW project development or acquisitions.
- Advised Arthur J Gallagher on all aspects of the acquisition of Stackhouse Poland Limited, which included advising on tax issues and tax aspects of the sale documentation.
- Advised Martin Currie/Henderson/Establishment Investment Trust on the structuring of two tax-efficient liquidation rollover schemes for listed investment trusts involving (i) Martin Currie Asia Unconstrained Trust plc and Legg Mason ICVC and (ii) the Establishment Investment Trust plc and Henderson International Income Trust plc.
Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP's tax team plays a key role in private equity and corporate M&A transactions, private funds, insolvencies, group restructurings and structured finance. The department is jointly led by funds tax expert Oliver Walker and Jenny Doak, who was hired from Vinson & Elkins RLLP in November 2019. Doak has expertise in restructurings and transactional tax. Aron Joy, who recently made partner, has expertise in investment management and private funds tax.
Other key lawyers:
‘The Weil tax team has in depth knowledge and is excellent at all areas of corporate taxation.’
‘Oliver Walker is an outstanding tax lawyer who is a pleasure to deal with. He is a master of tax issues in M&A but truly understands the commercial dynamics.’
‘Team is well aligned with the corporate practice with experienced partners. Strong team.’
‘Jenny Doak is a technically excellent and commercially astute tax partner who delivers exceptional client service – she is approachable, accessible, and a consistent source of sound judgement and guidance on the largest transactions. Her work is conducted cost effectively and transparently.‘
Bain Capital Private Equity (Europe) LLP
Centerbridge/ syncreon Group B.V.
Advent International Corporation
Campbell Soup Company
KKR/ Blue Mountain
Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.
Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP)
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Ambac Assurance UK Limited
OPSEU Pension Plan
SouthEast Europe Equity
Knowlton Development Corporation, Inc.
- Advising Bain Capital on the spin out of the Kantar market research business, valued at $3.2bn, from WPP plc
- Advising on the landmark cross-border financial restructuring of syncreon, which saw perhaps the first-ever use of an English scheme to restructure debt issued by a U.S.-based global enterprise
- Advising Campbell Soup Company on its sale of the famous Kettle Chips business
At White & Case LLP, Peita Menon's team handles transactional and advisory tax issues for a wide range of clients, including funds and multinational corporates, as well as the tax aspects of corporate reorganisations.
Core elements of the practice at Akin Gump LLP are restructurings, investment funds, and standalone tax advisory work. Sophie Donnithorne-Tait is a tax restructuring expert, noted as 'great at quickly identifying key deal issues and developing practical and commercial solutions'. The team is led by Stuart Sinclair, who has a solid financial institutional client-base, and includes counsel Serena Lee, who has a developing practice involving funds and debt restructuring work.
‘Overall I find the team very robust in their technical approach, very focused the issues that really matter and provide advice that is practical to implement.’
‘They are technically strong, which they show in difficult and complex cases. They are quick and provide clear advise. On top of that, they are fun to work with.’
‘Stuart Sinclair is meticulous, forensic and appears to have memorized the yellow and orange handbooks.’
‘Sophie Donnithorne-Tait is a brilliant tax partner and one of the best I work with in the restructuring market. Sophie is great at quickly identifying key deal issues and developing practical and commercial solutions.’
Ad hoc committee of unsecured creditors to Noble Group Limited
Strategic Value Partners
Freetown City Council, Sierra Leone
BrightSphere Investment Group plc (previously known as OM Asset Management plc)
Sustainable Growth Fund
A group of private placement noteholders in the restructuring of Interserve plc and its subsidiaries.
The Photography Awards Limited
Ad hoc group of senior secured noteholders of Galapagos SA
Syndicated lenders to Endeavour International
- Represented the ad hoc committee of unsecured creditors in the award-winning financial restructuring of over US $3.5 billion of debt issued by Noble Group Limited, the SGX listed holding company of a worldwide commodities supply chain and trading business. The transaction involved, amongst other things, the transfer of substantially all of Noble’s assets to a new holding company listed on the SGX and the issue of new debt and equity to Noble’s existing creditors.
- Acted as independent international legal counsel (acting for Agrokor to represent the interests of the creditors) in relation to the award-winning restructuring of the Agrokor Group’s €6 billion of debt, the largest corporate group in the Balkans with over 60,000 staff.
- Akin Gump advised Strategic Value Partners as the primary creditor in respect of the restructuring of over US $600 million of debt issued by Dolphin Drilling ASA (formerly Fred Olsen Energy), a global offshore drilling business.
Bird & Bird LLP distinguishes itself providing tax advice to technology clients, in line with the firm's broader strengths in this sector. The group has expertise in international tax, centred on European and US inbound and outbound work, the taxation of intellectual property, as well as M&A-related tax. The practice is led by Zoe Feller.
Virgin Enterprises Limited
Gulf Islamic Investments LLC
O’Reilly Media, Inc
Fold 7 Limited
Metalor Technologies SA and Metalor Technologies (UK) Limited
- Assisted Gulf Islamic Investments LLC with structuring and implementing the acquisition of commercial property via the acquisition of a Jersey Property Unit Trust (JPUT). The firm also advised on utilising Shari’ah law compliant financing (ensuring that the cap on financing deductions did not apply) for a Middle Eastern fund, with insurance backed warranty & indemnity (W&I) cover.
- Acted for O’Reilly Media Inc on the acquisition of a UK business.
- Advising Fold 7 Limited on the taxation aspects of the sale of a majority stake of the company to The Miroma Group, including on the structuring of the transaction whereby “put and call” options were put in place over the remaining issued share capital, exercisable in two separate tranches in the years 2021-2022 and 2023-24.
At Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, the group specialises in tax structuring for complex corporate and financing transactions, mainly in the UK and US. It is noted as 'a standout team' for securitisations and collateralised loan obligations. Practice head Adam Blakemore is an expert in a variety of financing transactions, including securitisations, hybrid capital issuances, repackagings and credit-linked instruments. Catherine Richardson, who is an international tax expert, was promoted to special counsel in 2020.
‘Practical, timely and cost efficient advice. Exceptionally knowledgeable and user friendly. Takes time to explain tricky tax consequences.’
‘They seek to interrogate the documents and seek to improve all aspects of the tax focus. They are keen to understand the tax landscape, the risks and optimal commercial solutions do dealing with them. In the CLO and Structured Finance space, they are a standout team.’
‘Excellent responsiveness and knowledge of applicable UK and EU laws.’
‘Adam Blakemore has exceptional expertise – can work on complex esoteric transactions.’
HPS Investment Partners
East London Business Alliance (Pro-Bono)
Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation (Pro-Bono)
Catastrophe / Reinsurance Bonds
- Advised MUFG Securities on the first CLO to consider ESG (environmental, social and governance) factors across all its investments.
- Provided tax advice on over 61 collateralised loan obligations (CLO) transactions in 2019, advising a wide range of investment banks, as arrangers and sponsors, investment managers and investors on tax issues arising from this critical sector of the financial markets.
- Advised Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation on a wide range of UK charitable taxation questions in 2019.
The 'very commercial and technically strong' group at Clyde & Co LLP has significant expertise in insurance sector taxation, involving M&A, underwriting and insurance premium tax. Elsewhere, the firm demonstrates strong capabilities in relation to real estate and employment taxes. Department head Ray Smith advises on tax planning and transactional matters. David Blumenthal leads on share schemes and employee incentives.
‘The team is both very commercial and technically strong. They had identified a material technical issue and then identified a commercial solution that was technically robust.‘
‘They were extremely helpful and always responded quickly. They had all of the skills in-house which we required concerning a complicated international transaction.‘
‘They were all helpful, friendly and conscientious. Their advice was always clear and succinct. They responded in a timely manner.‘
‘I found Ray Smith very responsive and commercial and David Blumenthal technically clear and solution driven.’
Capsicum Re Managing Partners
Be Living Holdings Ltd (BE)
SIMEC UK Energy Holdings Limited (SIMEC)
Spelthorne Borough Council
Hotel San Francisco SA (part of the RIU international hotel group)
Grainger Residential Limited (part of Grainger Plc Group)
- Advising SIMEC on the sales of the entire issued share capital of SIMEC Uskmouth Power Limited, the owner of a cola fired power station in Newport, to Atlantis Resources Limited, quoted on the London AIM stock exchange in consideration for the issue of new Atlantis ordinary shares representing 49.99% of the diluted share capital of Atlantis.
- Advised BRF on the sale of its Thai and European operations to Tyson.
- Acting for the managing partners of Capsicum Re (the world’s 5th largest insurance broker) on their sale of Capsicum Re to the international insurance group Arthur J Gallagher.
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is able to provide English and New York law tax advice in relation to international M&A and financing transactions. Under the leadership of Jonathan Cooklin, the group focuses on transactions and corporate tax planning. Counsel Dominic Foulkes advises on corporate acquisitions and reorganisations, as well as intellectual property transactions.
A.P. Moller Maersk
Royal Bank of Scotland
The Brink’s Company
- Provided UK tax advice in connection with Nuvei Corporation’s $889m recommended cash offer to acquire the entire share capital of SafeCharge International Group Limited.
- Acting as special tax counsel to Pfizer Inc. on the combination of its off-patent branded and generic established medicines business, Upjohn, with Mylan N.V. Under the terms of the agreement, which is structured as an all-stock, Reverse Morris Trust transaction, each Mylan share would be converted into one share of the new company.
- Provided UK tax advice on Lazard’s role as joint financial adviser and sponsor and Numis Securities as joint financial adviser and sole bookrunner to Bovis Homes Group PLC on its proposed acquisition of the housing businesses of Galliford Try plc.
The group at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP draws heavily on the firm's US presence to advise US investors on the tax aspects of fund formation, M&A, finance and capital markets transactions in the UK. The group is led by co-managing partner of the London office Richard Ward, who is a transactional tax expert. Matthew Saronson takes the lead assisting sponsors and investors on the US and international aspects of UK private equity investments.
Goodwin's tax department focuses on private equity and real estate matters, as well as work arising from the tech and life sciences space. Team leader Laura Charkin has significant expertise in fund structuring, as well as fundraisings and equity transactions. Robert Young, who arrived from Taylor Wessing LLP in September 2019, specialises in advising start-ups and venture capital investors on tax structuring and investments. Katie Leah was promoted to partner in October 2019, having built experience in domestic and cross-border private equity and real estate transactions.
‘Responsive, thorough and easy to understand‘
‘The relationship aspect is very strong and I feel I can relate to them much more on a personal level. Laura Charkin, in particular‘
Medical Properties Trust
Informa Group Limited
G Square Healthcare
- Advised longstanding client MPT on its corporate acquisition of a portfolio of 30 hospitals with an aggregate transaction value of c.£1.5bn and related joint venture with operator Circle Health.
- Advised Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA) on the structuring and fundraising of its latest fund, Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 6 (MEIF6). MEIF6 closed at its hard cap of €6 billion – exceeding its target of €5 billion.
- Advised Investcorp on a restructure of five existing assets, plus a stapled primary commitment with the transaction valued at $1 billion
Graham Iversen leads the team at Greenberg Traurig, LLP, which has notable expertise in the tax aspects of corporate transactions, as well as investment funds and real estate deals. Ben Eaton is an expert in the tax aspects of real estate transactions and investment funds. Charles Case is a funds tax expert with additional expertise in complex joint ventures with carried interest arrangements.
‘Incredibly integrated and commercially-minded team allowing them to work efficiently on complex projects with other team in both Greenberg Traurig but also externally.’
‘Charles Case has deep technical knowledge combined with commercial insight allows him to give practical advice which is helpful to demystify complex/unclear areas of the law.’
‘Ben Eaton directs his boundless tenacity at all projects he undertakes and is excellent at driving projects forward and achieving the best possible result.‘
British Airways Pension Fund
Enchanting Travels AG
Lincoln Property Group
Valor Real Estate Partners
- Assisted Bracco Imaging with the tax planning of its $450m acquisition of Blue Earth Diagnostics Limited from Syncona Portfolio Limited, subject to a $25m closing adjustment.
- Advising UK-based Europa Capital on its sixth pan-European flagship value add fund, seeking to raise up to €1 billion. The firm is also advising on the structuring of several co-investment vehicles.
- Acted as the lead tax adviser to Stars REI, a Chile-headquartered property investor, on the tax planning for the formation of a joint venture with Trinova Real Estate and the acquisition of 33 Kingsway, WC2 from Aviva Investors for £62m.
McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP advises corporates, financial services organisations and high-net-worth individuals on the tax aspects of M&A, fund formation, banking and real estate transactions, as well as contentious tax issues. Practice head James Ross is experienced in commercial tax and restructuring issues, as well as transfer pricing and international tax. Associate Sarah Gabbai focuses on corporate tax and has a wealth of experience advising clients on a full range of UK and international tax matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘MWE teams are very knowledgeable. They are very responsive, one always knows that someone from the team is working on the issue. They are also quick in responding though they sometimes have to align internally and internationally first.‘
‘Because of McDermott’s focus on clients from the industry (main street business), they have the right approach to our clients. One of their major selling point is transfer pricing, international tax law (BEPS, DAC6), and intergroup agreements.’
‘James Ross is an expert in international tax with an excellent feeling of how to communicate complex issues and has the right sense for other jurisdictions to fit them into his view. James is very responsive and leads the way into the desired direction right from the start.‘
Multigate Medical Products Pty Ltd
ServiceMaster Global Holdings, Inc.
Oryx Real Estate
Tishman Speyer Limited
Atelier Capital Partners
- Advised Praxair on the €5bn sale of the majority of its businesses in Europe to Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corporation, a company listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and majority owned by Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation. The divestments are subject to regulatory approvals and are required for the consummation of the $80bn Praxair-Linde merger.
- Advising Panduit on a restructuring to preserve the benefits of its European Economic Interest Grouping structure following Brexit by transferring its registered seat out of the UK.
- Advice on tax structuring matters in connection with CBRE’s acquisition of Telford Homes Plc.
NGM Tax Law LLP
Boutique firm NGM Tax Law LLP advises on the tax aspects of UK and cross-border M&A, restructurings, private equity deals and capital markets transactions. It often takes on work from firms with conflicts or without suitable corporate tax capabilities. The team is jointly led by Mark Nichols, Keith Gregory, Simon Meredith and international private wealth expert Stephen Hoyle.
‘Depth and breadth of knowledge.’
‘Ability to dovetail into our own team as if one of our colleagues. There is always direct, easy means of contact with experienced lawyers.’
‘Very experienced team. Well resourced to handle questions across the tax spectrum. Highly responsive and user friendly advice.’
‘Both Mark Nichols and Keith Gregory have provided excellent service. They operate seamlessly and have commensurate experience and knowledge. Advice is always swift and digestible.‘
- Advising on a £350m cross-border transaction involving complex offshore and structuring issues.
- Advising several high profile clients on complex real estate transactions, including advice on purchases and sales conducted through corporates or unit trust wrappers.
Osborne Clarke LLP's department has expertise in transactional tax, in relation to corporate and real estate deals, as well as tax structuring in the funds and private equity space. The group also handles employee benefits work. Tracey Wright has extensive experience advising on matters arising from the real estate and infrastructure sector, while Erika Jupe is an international tax expert. Mathew Oliver, who is another international tax specialist, is also instructed in corporate restructurings and intellectual property tax. David Nisbet leads the private equity offering, and has 'excellent knowledge of the real estate industry'.
‘They think around the practical aspects of implementation of the solution to the problem. Advisers that try to put themselves in the client’s shoes, as opposed to just quoting legislation are rare.’
‘Good at translating a technical topic into layman’s terms.’
‘Calm, measured, commercial advice.’
‘David Nisbet has excellent knowledge of the real estate industry. Gives practical advice based on experience, as well as based on what the law says.’
Foresight Solar Fund Limited
John Lewis Partnership Pensions Trust
M&G RPF Ltd
Cording Real Estate Group Limited
Tenzing Private Equity LLP
Ultra Electronics Group
Fiera Real Estate (formerly Palmer Capital)
CLS Holdings Limited
- Advised Foresight Solar Fund Limited on tax aspects of a £245m multi-level debt refinancing.
- Advising on the tax structure of Barwood Capital’s £150 million new fund.
- Acting for Seaspan Corporation on establishing UK residence and UK tax disclosures for inclusion in registration statement F-4.
Paul Hastings LLP's tax group focuses on investment funds, private equity ad structured finance work, which often has a transatlantic flavour. The department is led by Arun Birla, who has 'strong analytical and negotiation skills'. Associate Jiten Tank focuses on the tax aspects of corporate M&A, funds and real estate transactions. Associate Hannah Gray is recommended for advice on the structuring of financial products.
‘One of the few teams in the market, that combines in depth tax know how with business acumen. I like in particular their strength in project management and their goal oriented collaboration with other advisors on international projects.’
‘Paul Hastings have a brilliant reputation in the corporate restructuring, tax and credit fund space, as a result of being able to foster strong personal relationships whilst maintaining excellent advisory quality. What makes them unique is their diversity, efficiency and above all else, their kindness when working with other advisors.’
‘Arun Birla has strong analytical and negotiation skills. He and his team, in particular Hannah Gray, deliver spot on advise, which enables their clients to digest the message and ultimately take an assessment or a decision.’
LaSalle Investment Management
Intermediate Capital Group
Kensington Mortgage Company
Abry Partners II, LLC
Monaco Telecom SAM
- Advising Kensington Mortgage Company (and others) on the tax aspects of multiple CLOs (which include new issues, refinancing and resets), real estate financings and securitisation matters over the previous 12 months, including advising Kensington Mortgage Company (owned by Blackstone and TPG) on their three new residential mortgage-backed securitisation of newly originated mortgage loans issued in 2019 plus several optional redemptions with a combined value of more than £1.7billion.
- Advising Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Mizuho, Morgan Stanley, Natwest, Nomura, and RBC as arrangers on tax aspects of a $3bn financing package for private investment firm Bain Capital’s acquisition of a majority stake in Kantar.
- Advising CVC Credit Partners and its Luxembourg securitisation vehicle on the establishment of a follow-on C share offering by CVC Credit Partners European Opportunities Limited with a matter value of up to £500m.
Reed Smith LLP
At Reed Smith LLP, the tax team handles tax issues relating to financial services, the entertainment and media sectors, real estate and shipping. The group regularly advises on transactions, fund formation and finance transactions for clients such as multinational companies, banks, private equity houses and management teams. Department head Caspar Fox is a corporate tax generalist. Gareth Amdor has expertise in matters such as employee benefits, private equity fund establishment and investments, and carried interest arrangements. Tax counsel Laura Gould focuses on transactional tax.
‘The team is technically excellent and provides solutions to the issues that come up on transactions – beyond merely providing advice. They are super responsive and calm and reassuring under pressure.’
‘The Reed Smith tax team really stands out when it comes to client service – They are always available including with very little notice and at all times of the day. The team is also very familiar with the UK market and provides great advice based on what they see in the market. finally, the team is obviously very strong technically as it relates to UK tax matters.’
‘Caspar Fox comes up with sound analysis and opinions quickly and is unfailingly calm and pleasant to deal with even when the client isn’t. When there have been urgent issues he’s consistently been available for calls promptly including at uncivilised hours.‘
Ropes & Gray LLP's team has core strengths in tax issues related to private equity, fund formation, real estate, banking and finance. It has experience of handling large cross-border transactions, drawing on the firm's presence globally. Brenda Coleman, who leads the European tax practice, has a specialism in international tax planning. Andrew Howard focuses on financing transactions and private equity deals.
‘Highly qualified team combining technical skills with commercial and transactional awareness. Nice group to work with.’
‘Very knowledgeable and experienced in fund taxation.’
‘Brenda Coleman is a leading figure, highly technical yet very pragmatic.’
‘Brenda Coleman is very pleasant to work with, smart, lots of experience and hands on practical advice. Andrew Howard is technically strong and easy to work with.’
Silverfleet Capital Partners
Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe
Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation
- Advised private equity firm Duke Street on the tax aspects of York-based Great Rail Journeys’ acquisition of Chicago-based Vacations By Rail, a U.S. provider of railway holidays.
- Advised Silverfleet Capital on the tax aspects of its investment in CARE Fertility Holdings Limited, a leading UK fertility group.
- Advised BidFair on all the tax elements of the financing of its $3.7bn acquisition of Sotheby’s, the auction house, including key advice on structuring, withholding tax and deductibility.
Taylor Wessing LLP advises private wealth clients on their UK and international investments. In addition, it is highly active in the real estate funds space, where it handles the structuring and listing of real estate investment trusts. The team notably excels in assisting international clients with the structuring and financing of investments into the UK and Europe. Peter Jackson is the head of the international tax group, which includes Graham Samuel-Gibbon. Liz Wilson joined from Squire Patton Boggs in November 2019.
Tritax Big Box REIT
Secure Income REIT plc
CalAmp UK Limited
Interactive Investor Limited
Management team of Moody’s Analytics Knowledge Services
Digital Staff Solutions Limited t/a Florence
Canada Life – NHS Student and Key Worker Accommodation
SEGA Europe Limited
- Advised Babylon Health, an international UK-based digital health subscription provider, on the largest ever fundraising in the European or US digital health sector.
- Advised Secure Income REIT plc on the sale of a portfolio of eight hospitals to Medical Properties Trust, which involved a simultaneous internal reorganisation of the selling group.
- Advised digital marketing agency Croud on its £30m minority investment from mid-market private equity house LDC.
Bristows LLP's group has expertise in tax issues arising from the structuring of corporate, commercial and real estate transactions. It is particularly active in the technology, life sciences, media and luxury brands sectors. Practice head Miranda Cass works with senior associate and real estate tax expert Julia Cockroft.
Other key lawyers:
‘Always responsive, professional, and the rates are good and reasonable.’
‘Miranda Cass is professional, responsive and keen to help.’
NuCana PLC (listed on Nasdaq)
Nio Nextev (UK) Limited
OMass Therapeutics Ltd
Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe
IP Group plc (listed on London Stock Exchange)
DDF Holdings Limited
Capgemini (listed on Euronext)
- Advised Diageo plc on the tax and share incentive aspects of its high profile acquisition of Seedlip Limited.
- Advised WPP plc on the complex tax and employee share aspects of the sale of its majority stake in its TV and post production firm (Britain’s largest) The Farm Group to LA based competitor Picture Shop (ultimately owned by leading US media focussed private equity firms Trive and Five Crowns).
- Advised pharmaceutical manufacturer STADA Arzneimittel AG on the acquisition of six leading consumer health brands from GlaxoSmithKline
The corporate tax team at Burges Salmon LLP splits its time between London and Bristol. It provides tax planning and transactional advice in relation to M&A and real estate deals, as well as corporate structurings and reorganisations. Group head Sarah Lane handles contentious and non-contentious matters, and has a specialism in alternative funds. Ian Carnochan is noted for his expertise in transactional tax and has experience of the private equity arena. John Barnett leads the tax, trusts and family team. He advises individuals and owner-managed-businesses on investments, remuneration and tax planning.
‘I like working with the Burges Salmon Corporate Tax team, because they take time to listen to what I need and they provide practical and innovative solutions.’
‘Sarah Lane is knowledgeable and able to explain complex issues to a non-lawyer. She is proactive, and she thinks innovatively. She always keeps me updated and never misses a deadline.’
Yeo Valley Group Limited
The Crown Estate
Local Pensions Partnership Investments
Causeway Capital Partners
Bridges Fund Management
- Advised Local Pensions Partnership Investments (LLPI) on setting up its first pooled Local Government Pension Scheme Real Estate Fund. The fund, which is structured as an authorised contractual scheme (ACS), is LPPI’s eighth pooled vehicle dedicated to a specific asset class and has launched with over £800 million of direct UK property investment assets and a further £460 million of property assets are due to transition to the Fund over the coming months. The Fund is expected to reach around £2 billion assets under management.
- Advised Dublin-headquartered private equity firm Causeway Capital on the tax aspects of its acquisition of U.K. café chain Patisserie Valerie, which went into administration in January 2019.
- Advised Cibus on the acquisition of a U.K. and Portugal based business. Cibus Fund invests in food chain companies that adopt technologies to enable the profitable and sustainable capture of high-growth market and produce opportunities. The firm successfully negotiated an international reorganisation of the business to facilitate the acquisition in a highly accelerated timeframe.
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton's team handles the tax aspects of domestic and cross-border transactions, including those involving M&A and capital markets, and often works closely with the firm's US offices. Clients include banks and other financial institutions, as well as multinational corporates, sovereign wealth funds and private funds. Richard Sultman and counsel Jennifer Maskell are recommended.
- Advised Pinterest on its IPO and dual-class recapitalisation.
- Advised HSBC Holdings plc on the tax aspects of a number of SEC-registered offerings, with the largest offering comprised of £3bn senior unsecured notes.
- Advised Thales on the divestment of its General Purpose Hardware Security Module business to Entrust Datacard.
The 'very approachable and practical' team at Cooley (UK) LLP has a wealth of knowledge of the life sciences and technology sectors, where it can draw on the firm's overarching expertise in private equity and capital markets transactions. The group is led by Natasha Kaye, who focuses on tax issues arising from private equity transactions. David Wilson is also recommended.
Other key lawyers:
‘Very approachable and practical.’
‘Natasha Kaye is very insightful on the deal issues and how to resolve them.’
Bavarian Nordic A/S
Carlyle Investment Management LLC
Realm Therapeutics plc
Roivant Sciences Ltd
Rockrose Energy plc
IRIS Capital Limited
Primary Capital Partners LLP
F-Star Technology Limited
Vertical Networks US LLC
Bottomline Technologies Limited
Charles River Laboratories
- Advising Bavarian Nordic A/S on its transformative acquisition of two established commercial vaccines (Rabipur/RabAvert for rabies and Encepur for TBE) from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for up to €955m.
- Advised on the sale of Vertical Networks International Limited, a mobile-first content studio focused on Snapchat shows, which was founded by Elisabeth Murdoch, to Whistle Sports, Inc., a digital sports and entertainment media company, for stock consideration.
- Advised We Got POP Ltd, a leading technology innovator for the film and TV industry, on its sale to Entertainment Partners.
Dechert LLP's team comprises of chartered tax advisers, and they all focus on UK and cross-border tax issues. The group's numerous areas of specialism include tax matters connected with hedge and credit funds, investment management, private equity and M&A. Seasoned tax lawyer Mark Stapleton, who is the head of the department, is noted for his funds-related work. Daniel Hawthorne has notable expertise in employment and incentivisation taxation.
Other key lawyers:
‘Mark Stapleton’s knowledge of the subject matter is second to none.’
AGC Equity Partners
Apollo Global Management
Barings Global Advisers
Beach Point Capital Management
Centaur Media plc
- Advised private equity firm AGC Equity Partners on the restructuring and sale of 25 Canada Square (Citi Tower) to its current major tenant, Citigroup. 25 Canada Square is currently the largest office building in the UK. AGC acquired the iconic London skyscraper in 2013. This transaction represented one of the largest real estate deals in the UK, in 2019.
- Advised Centaur Media plc (a London-based business information, events and marketing provider) as part of its strategic divestment program on the sale of four assets including (i) its financial services division to Metropolis Group; (ii) Centaur Human Resources Limited, to DVV Media International Ltd; (iii) Centaur Media Travel and Meetings Limited, to Northstar Travel Media UK Limited; and (iv) its engineering portfolio, including The Engineer and Subcon, to Mark Allen Group.
- Advised Phenna Group (an international testing, inspection, certification and compliance (TICC) company) on financing and tax matters relating to the management buyout of the Phenna Group from Academy Association Inc, supported by a debt placement by CVC Credit Partners.
Mayer Brown International LLP's team often provides a support role on transactions spanning areas such as M&A, capital markets, real estate and finance. In addition, it also advises on specific projects involving tax planning and structuring. The department is led by transactional tax expert James Hill. Chartered tax adviser Simon Rose specialises in advising UK, offshore and international funds in the real estate and private equity arenas. In 2019, Ben Fryer left for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, although the tax practice was bolstered by the arrival of structured finance and M&A focused practitioner Matthew Mortimer from Milbank. Kitty Swanson, who was promoted to counsel in 2020, is also recommended.
‘The corporate tax team are excellent at giving a commercial view and do so in a speedy manner. They respond quickly and work around the clock to meet our deadlines.’
‘Kitty Swanson is great from a tax perspective and happy to explain points or jump on calls with the client which is very helpful on complex deals.‘
Entertainment One Limited
BidFair USA, Inc.
Shearwater Group Plc
- Acted as structuring counsel to BidFair USA, Inc on the high-profile acquisition of Sotheby’s.
- Acted for AURELIUS Equity Opportunities on the acquisition of BT Fleet Solutions from BT Group Plc, advising on complex carve-out and outsourcing provisions.
- Acted for leading global financial institutions as arrangers on a $3bn cross-border securitisation of trade receivables originated by subsidiaries of a global technology group.
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP's London-based group is embedded into the firm's global tax practice, and it plays a key role in cross-border tax matters involving financial services and investment funds. Other areas of expertise include senior executive remuneration and incentives, as well as tax advisory work for corporates and investment funds. Practice head Kate Habershon has substantial experience of public and private M&A and international tax structuring. Associate Neil McKnight has a specialism in cross-border transactions in the TMT sector.
Other key lawyers:
Lincoln Peak Capital
Cyrus Capital Partners
- Advised Lincoln Peak Capital on the acquisition of a minority interest in RWC Partners.
- Advised Sandvik on tax aspects of the sale of Varel International Energy Services.
- Advised Cyrus Capital Partners on its rescue financing of the Flybe group.
Simon Letherman, who is the key tax partner at Shearman & Sterling LLP, works closely with the firm's other departments to assist clients with the tax aspects of corporate transactions, finance, capital markets transactions, financial products and insolvency restructurings.
‘Shearman & Sterling take the time to understand our needs and when providing advice do so in a clear, coherent and unambiguous manner. There is genuine personal commitment by the partners and associates to meeting your needs and providing high quality bespoke advice in timely manner.‘
‘Simon Letherman and his team are excellent. They are professional, responsive and really proactive in supporting transactions. In what are often challenging and time sensitive situations, they are courteous, attentive and work in an extremely efficient manner.’
Boston Scientific Corporation
Acacia Mining plc
Intercontinental Exchange Inc
Ardagh Group SA
PTT Exploration and Production
Macquarie Infrastructure Fund 6
Marlin Equity Partners
NatWest Market Securities Inc. and JP Morgan
Liberty Global plc
Deutsche Bank, J.P. Morgan and Halyk Finance as joint global coordinators and joint bookrunners and Renaissance Capital
- Advised IntercontinentalExchange, Inc. on its partnership with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and nine of the world’s largest energy traders on the launch of ICE Futures Abu Dhabi.
- Acted for PETRONAS on the project financing of approximately $15bn relating to the development and financing of its $28bn Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development joint venture project with Saudi Aramco in Malaysia.
- Advised PTT Exploration and Production on its purchase of a 100% shareholding in Partex, a global diversified upstream and midstream oil and gas business.
Andrew Callaghan heads up the tax group at Vinson & Elkins RLLP, which is active in international tax planning in relation to the natural resources, energy and telecoms sectors. In addition, it plays a key role in cross-border private equity transactions and restructurings. Jenny Doak left the firm for Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP in November 2019.
The tax offering at Watson Farley & Williams LLP is a core part of the wider corporate group services department, which is led by Chris Kilburn. The main areas of focus are transactions, tax consultancy and disputes, with the firm being noted for its strong presence in the energy, transport and real estate sectors. Partners to note include maritime tax expert Richard Stephens and Tom Jarvis, who specialises in energy and infrastructure deals.
‘The firm possesses a strong mix of niche experts, ranging from the tax to the state aid fields. Advice is provided in a manner tailored to your particular industry and with a commercial sensibility.’
‘They are a go-to for sound advice on complicated issues.’
‘Tom Jarvis possesses the perfect combination of tax technical astuteness, commercial sensibility and client responsiveness. His advice is laser-focused and he has an innate ability to discuss complex tax issues in an easy-to-understand manner.‘
‘WFW were excellent in assisting us on a referred matter. They worked as a great team together with their M&A colleagues, led by Jan Mellmann. They were extremely professional and highly responsive and measured when dealing with an aggressive adversary – I would most definitely highly recommend WFW’s tax team, in particular Tom Jarvis.’
‘Whatever the complications within a transaction, the team at Watson Farley & Williams will rapidly find a solution, communicate this clearly, identifying the benefits and any risks associated with their proposed solution and then efficiently and diligently execute the required steps of the said transaction.’
‘Their key strength is the depth of their talent pool; the same level of quality runs through all the members of the team that I have had the pleasure to work with and simply you can rely on them to do a great job. They feel like an extension to our in-house team and provide the additional independent resource and areas of experience where and when the need arises on commercial transactions. In comparison to other firms, the working relationship is one more of a partnership rather than client and adviser.’
‘Tom Jarvis is a superb tax lawyer who has a great way with the clients but also a calm but incisive way of getting his point across and negotiating for his side of the table. An excellent lawyer.’
‘Tom Jarvis is exceptional at very quickly assimilating the specific fact pattern and providing clear, concise and most importantly relevant technical advice. Tom’s knowledge and passion for his area of expertise shines through and it is always an interesting and engaging experience sharing time with him; one thing is for certain – when I leave a meeting with Tom I know a lot more than when I turned up!’
Orsted (formerly DONG Energy)
BP Pension Fund
Royal Caribbean Cruises
- Advised leading alternative asset manager HRL Morrison & Co. on structuring and implementing an investment platform for pan-European developments.
- Advised DNB Bank, Bank of Montreal, BNP Paribas and ING Bank as arrangers and a syndicate of 19 lenders on an upsized US$3bn reserve-based lending facility to Chrysaor for the acquisition, in conjunction with its existing cash resources, of ConocoPhillipsâ€™ portfolio of UK North Sea oil & gas assets.
- Advising Virgin Voyages on its entry into the cruise market and ordering and financing new cruise vessels.