Private equity: transactions – high-value deals (£250m+) in London
The 'high-quality specialists and corporate leaders' in Clifford Chance LLP's private equity (PE) department offer joined up delivery across multiple jurisdictions, according to clients. In addition to a regular stream of buyout work for high profile houses, the group also handles secondaries, portfolio company acquisitions and growth capital and emerging market transactions. Its client list includes major international PE houses, such as Blackstone and KKR, as well as newer entrants to the PE sector and portfolio companies. One high-profile highlight saw real estate sector head Adrian Levy and Spencer Baylin advise Network Rail on its £1.5bn sale of a commercial real estate portfolio to Telereal Trillium and Blackstone Property Partners. Meanwhile, practice head Jonny Myers advised Cinven on its €1.2bn acquisition of AXA Life Europe from AXA as part of its buy-and-build programme. Christopher Sullivan is also highly recommended. Amy Mahon departed for Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP in November 2018 - the same year that infrastructure specialist Brendan Moylan left for Latham & Watkins.
‘A wide range of capabilities in a one-stop shop; just what you would expect from a magic circle firm‘.
‘A complete offering providing excellent and commercially sound advice. Our business has complete confidence in the advice provided, because of the team’s unparalleled experience‘.
‘Spencer Baylin is a standout; he works extremely hard, is very user-friendly, pragmatic and level-headed and has especially strong judgement. He is also a real pleasure to work with and opposite‘.
‘Simon Tinkler is head and shoulders above our other professional advisers for his sound judgement, experience and calm leadership. It’s a given that he know pretty much everybody in the PE industry‘.
CVC Capital Partners
- Advised global private markets investment manager, Partners Group on parallel acquisitions of (i) Megadyne Group (“MD”), a leading manufacturer of power transmission belts, from Astorg and (ii) Ammeraal Beltech (“AB”), a global leader in lightweight process and conveyor belting, from Advent International.
- Advised Cinven on the acquisition of AXA Life Europe from AXA.
- Advised CD&R on the proposed acquisition of MRH, the U.K.’s largest petrol station and convenience retail operator.
- Advised Cinven on the acquisition of JLA, a leading critical asset supply and services business for laundry, catering and heating in the UK from Hg Capital.
- Advised Permira, the global private equity firm, on its acquisition of the Service Provider Video Software Solutions (SPVSS) business (formerly known as NDS) from Cisco.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
With the support of a robust global, full-service offering Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP has a strong brand in international large-cap PE transactions. The firm regularly acts for private equity sponsors, financial institutions and corporate entities on deal structuring, deal execution and acquisition financing. Transaction related regulatory and tax advice is also provided when necessary. The firm has notably seen several high profile departures, with David Higgins and Adrian Maguire departing for Kirkland & Ellis International LLP, however it still maintains a strong bench of younger partners and clients have remained loyal. Victoria Sigeti is highly thought of by clients and rivals alike and advises financial sponsors on acquisitions, exits and co-investments. Co-head of the financial sponsors group Charles Hayes, who specialises in high-profile and complex acquisitions and carve-outs, is also well-regarded, as is James Scott.
At Kirkland & Ellis International LLP, the private equity team is 'very senior heavy with top-notch individuals able to oversee every aspect of a transaction', according to clients. With PE a central pillar of the firm's global focus, its client roster boasts host of top US and European buyout houses, sovereign wealth funds and pension funds. In the last year, the group has handled a broad variety of transactions including take-privates, acquisitions and minority deals on both the buy side and the sell side. Capitalising on the public-to-private trend, former Freshfields partner David Higgins, Stuart Boyd and Rory Mullarkey advised a consortium including Apax, Warburg Pincus, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan on the $3.4bn take-private of Inmarsat.. Although partner duo Gavin Gordon and David Arnold departed for Willkie Farr & Gallagher (UK) LLP in May 2019, the team, which is headed by Higgins and Matthew Elliott, gained a significant boost with the addition of the highly regarded Adrian Maguire from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP.
David Higgins; Matthew Elliott
‘Probably the best firm I have worked with in the past five years across Europe and US. They are extremely commercial and quick to find creative solutions to all types of problems. Very capable individuals across the board‘.
‘Kirkland & Ellis is very strong when it comes to complex PE transactions that involve multi-party negotiations and cross-border dialogues. They are very strong at getting to the bottom of diligence issues and help the client gauge the risk. They are also excellent at deal negotiation‘.
‘An extremely hard working team who are highly personable and skilled at personality management. They have a strong market awareness which gives the client comfort that their advice reflects the latest practices‘.
‘David Higgins and Stuart Boyd are excellent; I have worked with David on multiple transactions since 2014 and he really stands out from the rest of the industry in terms of breadth and depth of knowledge, quality of advice and calmness under pressure‘.
‘Stuart Boyd always focuses on what really matters and keeps the client’s best interests at heart‘.
‘Rory Mullarkey is very knowledgeable, detail-oriented and strong in communication. He always keeps his calm in the face of difficult negotiations‘.
‘Matt Elliott is resolute, driven, very commercial and definitely a force in pushing a transaction through to completion‘.
‘Rory Mullarkey is a skilled manager of difficult personalities who can subtly guide both clients and counterparties towards to the appropriate commercial outcome’
‘Matt Elliott is a strong and experienced partner who brings a lot of experience to transactions he advises on, as well as good commercial sense. He is not afraid to state opinions and give clear and decisive advice in order to better serve his clients‘.
Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan
- Advised BC Partners on the acquisition of a majority stake in United Group, the leading integrated media and communication services provider across South East Europe, from KKR.
- Advised Apax Partners on the acquisition of Genius Sports, a London-based global leader in sport data technology, distribution and commercialisation services.
- Advised Carlyle on the acquisition of EnerMech Group.
- Represented Bain Capital Private Equity on its acquisition of Bugaboo International.
- Advised Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan on the C$985m sale of its majority stake in Helly Hansen.
Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP's PE department is reputed for its 'speed of service, high levels of partner accessibility and excellent quality of work'. The firm boasts a constantly growing client roster with new names such as AMP Capital and Bain Capital instructing the group for the first time. A particularly strong record of work in real estate and infrastructure related PE is notable, with James McArthur and others advising NIBC Infrastructure Partners on the multi-million dollar sale of its social infrastructure and renewable assets to Equitix. On the buy side, star performer Marco Compagnoni led in assisting long-standing client Providence Equity on a number of recent transactions, including the acquisition of online educational services provider TES Global Group. The aggregate value of the deals completed for this client exceeds $1.5bn. Jonathon Wood is noted for his expertise in PE transactions involving technology companies. Compagnoni and Michael Francies are joint heads of team; Samantha McGonigle departed to co-found Fairview Equity Partners in February 2019.
Marco Compagnoni; Michael Francies
‘The team applies a practical and highly commercial approach, demonstrating a strong understanding of the client’s key objectives and desired outcomes, enabling us to execute our exit strategy and achieve an excellent result‘.
‘The uniqueness of this team lies in the fact that it combines top-class legal skills with amazing client focus. The team ethos is laser-focused on satisfying client needs, which places it head and shoulders above other firms‘.
‘An exceptional level of engagement is evident from all levels of the team’
‘Marco Compagnoni remains a pre-eminent lawyer in his field: he has boundless energy, an irrepressible spirit, great technical skills, amazing client-handling abilities and always ensures that the best talent is deployed. He is able to make the impossible happen and is also a fun person to work with‘.
‘James Harvey is a wonderfully commercial lawyer whose antennae are entirely attuned to the business imperative. Simon Lyell is a charming and cerebral lawyer with an unmatched dedication to his clients‘.
Generation Investment Management
Europa Capital Partners
Lee Equity Partners
NIBC Infrastructure Fund
Antin Infrastructure Partners
Montagu Private Equity
OMERS Private Equity
Providence Equity Partners
Public Sector Pension Investment Board
Ontario Teachers’ Pension
NoTechnology Crossover Ventures
Thomas H Lee
- Advised Bain Capital, as lead investor, in £1.2bn take-private offer for esure Group.
- Advised Advent and the other selling shareholders in the DKK 8 billion sale of KMD.
- Advising Antin Infrastructure Partners in its acquisition of Silver Holdings AS.
- Advising Antin Infrastructure Partners in its acquisition of FirstLight Fiber.
- Advised Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management and CDPQ on the acquisition of an approximately 66% stake in financial technology services provider FNZ.
Described as a 'very classy outfit' by one client, Latham & Watkins ' large City team advises on a wide range of transactions for a number of large buyout houses. Notably, the firm represented Hellman & Friedman and Blackstone on their failed €5.7 billion takeover offer for Scout24 AG - which would have been the biggest public-to-private deal in Germany to date. Global vice chair of corporate David Walker and global vice chair of private equity Kem Ihenacho are key figures in a London team which also includes recently made up partner Linzi Thomas who has a keen interest in Africa matters. Also recommended is Tom Evans, whose key clients include the likes of Permira and Platinum Equity. Working closely with experienced PE teams in Germany, France, Spain and Italy, the London group delivers a seamless pan-European service on cross-jurisdictional mandates. The practice further benefits from the firm's broader finance and capital markets offering, which ensures it can handle all forms of loan, bond and hybrid capital structures when it comes to transaction financing.
Kem Ihenacho; David Walker
‘Highly experienced senior lawyers with several decades of experience‘.
‘Latham has a great bench strength, in London and throughout Europe. We find them one of the best firms in terms of delivering cross-border PE transactions.‘
‘David Walker and Oliver Felsenstein (Germany) have deep private equity experience, take a well- balanced approach to contracts and are a safe pair of hands‘.
‘David Walker is a real leader; he is very strong technically, incredibly diligent and a wonderful resource for difficult judgement calls and risk decisions. Farah O’Brien is a real star performer’
‘Linzi Thomas is a young partner who has been advising me on my last three transactions. Her work is of the highest quality and I trust her fully. She is an excellent negotiator who seeks the right level of input on commercial points and raises the critical issues, which gives me huge leverage‘.
‘Kem Ihenacho leads the private equity practice for Latham in Europe. Kem has advised me on several transactions personally and he is one of the best lawyers I have worked with; he is calm but incredibly firm when necessary‘.
Canada Pension PlanInvestment Board
CVC Capital Partners
Global Infrastructure Partners
Hellman & Friedman
Helios Investment Partners
The Carlyle Group
Goldman Sachs PIA
- Represented The Carlyle Group on the €10.1bn acquisition by The Carlyle Group and GIC of AkzoNobel’s Specialty Chemicals Business.
- Represented Hellman & Friedman and Blackstone on their unsuccessful €5.7bn takeover offer for Scout24 AG, a leading operator of digital marketplaces.
- Advised Platinum Equity in connection with its $1.3bn acquisition of the European vacation rental business of Wyndham Worldwide, a provider of hospitality services and related products.
- Advised CDPQ in connection with its £1.65bn acquisition, along with Generation Investment Management, of General Atlantic and H.I.G. Capital’s investment in FNZ, a UK-based investment platform technology provider.
Linklaters LLP's private equity practice group 'knows the law, is exceptionally commercial without cutting corners and is also fun and pleasant to work with'. Blue-chip PE firm clients such as The Carlyle Group and Permira regularly instruct the firm. With the expertise of the firm's strong M&A, carve-out, IPO and finance practices, the team is able to advise sponsors on an incredibly broad range of entry and exit strategies. The practice also boasts strong regulatory experience, which gives clients a competitive edge during auction processes. For instance, Ben Rodham and Chris Boycott successfully represented Cerberus in the competitive auction for Worldwide Flight Services. Another major success saw Rodham and Christopher Kellett advise Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and TCV on the acquisition of a majority stake in Sportradar AG in the largest Switzerland-based buyout deal of 2018. Highly regarded by clients and rivals alike, Alex Woodward is practice head; partner Will Aitken-Davies and managing associate Emily Cuzner, who boasts prior in-house experience at Dhabi Holdings PJSC, are also recommended.
Other key lawyers:
‘A first-class team; they are hungry to master the detail and are always thinking ahead from the client’s perspective. They can spot the pitfalls and red flags for any deal and advise accordingly. The Linklaters team act as genuine advisers and added real value to our deals. They went well beyond legal execution‘.
‘The team has very good knowledge of what is happening in the market and industry, which is helpful when making commercial decisions. The team is also very pragmatic, know how to apply the law in a business context, and understand the client’s needs‘.
‘Alex Woodward is one of the best lawyers in the city; he provides extremely commercial tailored advice that consistently hits the right notes with his clients‘.
‘Alex Woodward, Ben Rodham and Chris Boycott are hungry young partners who are ready to roll their sleeves up and get deals done‘.
‘Ben Rodham offers a rare combination of deep experience and detail orientation. He is also simply a really good person. Emily Cuzner is highly knowledgeable and great to work with’.
‘ Emily Cuzner is a rising star with a skillset far beyond her years. She has great insight into incentive plans and their structuring. She was very reliable and trustworthy‘.
The Carlyle Group
Cerberus Capital Management
Apollo Global Management
Oaktree Capital Management
Centerbridge Partners, L.P.
- Advised PSP Investments on the €3bn acquisition by a consortium led by CVC of FIMEI S.p.A.
- Advised Jacobs Holding AG, a Switzerland-based investment firm, on the acquisition of Cognita, a UK-headquartered global schools group.
- Advised Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and TCV on the €2.1bn acquisition of a majority stake in Sportradar AG, a Swiss-headquartered company that collects and analyses sports data.
- Acted for Hg’s new Saturn fund which, alongside Intermediate Capital Group, acquired IRIS Software Group from HgCapital’s sixth fund.
- Advised Hg on the acquisition of IT Relation A/S from Adelis Equity Partners.
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
The enviable client base at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP includes major US and European PE firms such as The Blackstone Group, The Carlyle Group and KKR. The firm's strong PE focus means there is significant crossover with mainstream M&A. The team also works closely with colleagues in its market-leading private funds team, giving clients access to a wide range of expertise. Leveraged buyouts, public-to-private transactions, restructurings and contested transactions all feature prominently in the firm's list of mandates. The team advised on the largest UK take-private of 2018, with Ben Spiers and Clare Gaskell acting for Silver Lake on its £2.2bn offer for ZPG. Gaskell also assisted KKR with its transatlantic acquisition of Unilever's global spreads business for €6.8bn. The team received a boost with the hire of Amy Mahon from Clifford Chance LLP in January 2019. Mahon, who is well regarded by peers, represents financial sponsors in transactions spanning a broad range of industries, including infrastructure. Other key names include Derek Baird, Samuel Charlton, Wheatly MacNamara and Adam Signy.
At Allen & Overy LLP, the private equity team includes 'high-quality specialists and corporate leaders', according to clients. Significant new client wins include PE giant Blackstone and Ardian Buyout Fund. Karan Dinamani advised the latter on the multi-million pound acquisition of a majority stake in international education provider Study Group from Providence Equity Partners. Meanwhile, in one of the largest M&A transactions in Baltic history, Dinamani and Stephen Lloyd advised Blackstone on its acquisition of a 60% stake in Luminor Bank for €1bn, from Nordea and DNB. Lloyd heads the practice, which also includes Peter Banks and Gordon Milne , in addition to Dinamani.
‘A hard-working team of pragmatic advisers that delivers seamlessly across multiple jurisdictions‘.
‘The team is highly capable from senior partner to junior associate and is the most cohesive and well structured legal team I have ever worked with. Junior members of the team are on top of the details and understand their work streams impeccably; the senior partners are on top of all the key pieces of information and are proactive rather than reactive. I never at once felt that I didn’t receive 100% of a partner’s attention, time, care and dedication‘.
‘Stephen Lloyd and Karan Dinamani are both technically and practically strong; they deliver advice pragmatically‘.
‘Karan Dinamani’s raw intellect and ability to pick up new concepts or learn about new industries is mind-blowing. He is available 24/7 and he genuinely has the best interests of his client at heart.”
Ardian Buyout Fund
Exponent Private Equity
OMERS Private Equity
The Carlyle Group
Charterhouse Capital Partners
3i Group plc
- Advising Ardian’s €4bn buyout fund on its multi-million pound acquisition of a majority stake in Study Group from Providence Equity Partners.
- Advising private equity funds managed by Blackstone on the acquisition of a 60% stake in Luminor Bank for €1 billion, from Nordea and DNB.
- Advised Exponent Private Equity on its acquisition of Meadow Foods, the UK’s largest independently owned dairy group, from Paine Schwartz and members of management.
- Advised Exponent Private Equity on its acquisition of SHL – The CEB Talent Assessment Business – from Gartner Inc.
- Advised PAI Partners on the sale of the caprolactone business (Capa) of its portfolio company Perstorp to a U.S.-listed corporate, Ingevity Corporation (Ingevity) in a cash transaction valued at approximately €590m.
Acting for management teams forms a key part of the PE and financial sponsors department at Travers Smith LLP 's focus. One notable highlight saw the team advise Bridgepoint and the management team of Pret a Manger on the sale of Pret to JAB. Ian Shawyer and head of team Paul Dolman led on this high value and high profile transaction, which involved France, the US, China and Scotland. The team also advises on investment matters and exits. The 'very strong and partner-led' group boasts many reputable sponsor clients on its roster, including American PE firm Hellman & Friedman and London-headquartered Livingbridge. Adam Orr is strongly recommended for management representation and has particular expertise in equity incentivisation terms. Senior partner Chris Hale is also highly recommended.
‘An extremely committed and technically well-rounded practice with an excellent approach to doing business. The team is great to work with and highly client-centric; they balance tenacity with pragmatism‘.
‘Lucie Cawood is extremely competent technically, with a calm but tenacious approach that yields great results in negotiations‘.
‘A proactive and practical approach to navigating the inevitable legal challenges in any deal. A wealth of experience across the team which is able to create a range of potential solutions. They are hugely committed to protecting their clients’ interests‘.
‘Ian Shawyer brings many years of experience and is there to support the team when required whilst giving them the freedom to grow individually. He also has a great communication style with counterparties but is also pragmatic when he needs to be‘.
ECI Partners LLP
Silverfleet Capital Partners LLP
Phoenix Equity Partners
Bridgepoint Development Capital
Equistone Partners Europe Limited
Hellman & Friedman
- Advised Bridgepoint and management on the sale of Pret A Manger to JAB.
- Advised long-standing client TA Associates on its strategic reinvestment in The Access Group alongside new investor Hg.
- Advised TA Associates on its acquisition of the single strategy asset management business of Old Mutual Wealth, Merian Global Investors.
- Advised CALA Homes on the acquisition by Legal and General of a 52.1% interest in CALA Homes.
- Advised new client Inflexion on its minority investment in Huws Gray Limited, one of the largest independent builders merchants in the UK.
Ian Bagshaw heads up the private equity department at White & Case LLP in London. The firm boasts a broad client roster including alternative credit providers, sovereign wealth funds and family offices, in addition to more traditional private equity houses. Although the London offering focuses mainly on pan-European PE deals, US and Asian mandates are also common, as is emerging markets work. In what was the largest M&A transaction in the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) telecoms sector since 2011, Bagshaw, Ken Barry and others advised PPF Group on its €2.8bn acquisition of Telenor’s telecommunications assets in the region. Elsewhere, a group led by Bagshaw and John Cunningham advised Lightsource on the $200m investment by BP on the launch of the Lightsource BP solar power partnership. The arrival of Emmie Jones from Macfarlanes LLP (July 2018) and Mike Weir from Jones Day (March 2018) have bolstered the practice. Also strongly recommended is Emma Parr.
CVC Capital Partners
First State Investments
Goldman Sachs Private Capital Investment
Mid Europa Partners
Oaktree Capital Management
Arjun Infrastructure Partners
- Advised PPF Group on its acquisition of Telenor’s telecommunications assets in CEE.
- Advised Avast, a leading global cybersecurity provider, on its $816.6m IPO, the biggest ever software IPO on the London Stock Exchange.
- Advised new client Metric Capital LLP, as part of a consortium led by Terra Firma, on the acquisition of Parmaco Oy.
- Advised Lightsource and its founders on the $200m investment by BP and the launch of the “Lightsource BP” solar power partnership.
- Advised an investment consortium led by CVC Capital Partners, and including PSP Investments and StepStone, on the acquisition from the Recordati family of the holding company that owns a 51.8% stake in the Italian pharmaceutical group Recordati.
Ashurst's global private equity group, which is co-led out of London by David Carter, handles large and complex multijurisdictional transactions, with key sectors including infrastructure, banks and alternative investment funds. The team regularly works in tandem with lawyers in the firm's equity capital markets, banking and finance to provide a more rounded offering. Key partners in the team include Nick Rainsford and global corporate head Jason Radford, who have worked together on some of the practice's biggest recent deals - including advising a consortium led by Dalmore Capital on the £1.5bn acquisition of Cory Riverside Energy - and Karen Davies, who also sits on the firm's board.
‘The team gets on with what needs to be done without fuss but ensures that you know what is going on and comes to you for input when necessary; because of this approach, their client service is second to none‘.
‘Nick Rainsford’s calm, measured, yet firm approach, makes him a pleasure to deal with. He takes the time to understand the pressures at play internally and externally’.
Altor Equity Partners
- Advised a consortium led by UK-based fund manager Dalmore Capital on the £1.5bn acquisition of Cory Riverside Energy from Strategic Value Partners, EQT Credit, Commerzbank and other shareholders.
- Advising Macquarie Infrastructure Partners IV on the acquisition of Wheelabrator Technologies from Energy Capital Partners.
- Acted for financial adviser Lazard & Co on the £1.45bn cash offer for John Laing Infrastructure Fund by Jura Acquisition, a newly formed company owned by a consortium jointly led by funds managed by Dalmore Capital and funds managed by Equitix.
- Advised a prominent private equity fund on its final-round bid to acquire a €1.95bn portfolio of non-performing loans from a major Greek bank.
- Advised Apollo Global Management and its funds in relation to the EMEA and Asian aspects of its $800m debtor in possession financing to Westinghouse Electric Co following its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in New York.
Deal teams at Baker McKenzie are focused around the firm's key industry verticals such as life sciences, TMT, infrastructure, energy and resources, industrials and financial services. This sector focus means partners are able to provide full insight into specific business-critical issues relating to the relevant industry. Carve-outs constitute a significant source of work for the team, which counts Bluegem and Core Equity among new clients. In a key $2.1bn deal, Karen Guch advised long-standing client Platinum Equity on its acquisition of the diabetic devices business LifeScan from Johnson & Johnson. Head of team David Allen is recommended, as is CVC and KKR relationship partner Charles Whitefoord.
The Rohatyn Group (formerly called CVCI)
- Advising Platinum Equity on the sale of World Flight Services group by way of an auction process.
- Advising Platinum Equity in relation to its acquisition of the diabetic devices business (LifeScan) from Johnson & Johnson.
- Advised Platinum Equity in relation to the sale of the Terratest Group to Nazca Capital.
- Advising Core Equity in relation to its first UK acquisition – the LBO of the Portman Dental group from Livingbridge and management.
- Advising Platinum Equity in relation to its acquisition of the document messaging technologies business from Pitney Bowes.
Led by David Innes, the corporate team at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP handles both traditional leveraged buyouts and PE secondaries work (such as the restructuring and acquisition of PE funds). The practice is instructed on transactions involving a broad range of industry assets including retail, industrial, media, telecoms and natural resources. A specialisation in the insurance sector is a hallmark of the firm, as evidenced when Katherine Ashton assisted HarbourVest Partners in its joint £1.2bn acquisition (alongside Bain Capital) of one of the UK's largest online insurers, esure. Ashton is qualified to practice in both England and the US.
Other key lawyers:
Clayton Dubilier & Rice
Helios Investment Partners
Precision Medicine Group
- Advised Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) in its acquisition of Westbury Street Holdings (WSH).
- Assisted with the formation and negotiation of a group structure of a number of co-investment vehicles for the purposes of purchasing shares in TrueNoord Limited, a commercial aviation leasing company.
- Advised HarbourVest Partners on its role in the £1.2bn take-private acquisition of UK insurer esure.
- Advised OEConnection, a Providence Private Equity portfolio company, in its acquisition of Bluegrasscoms, a leading automotive business consultancy and service provider focused on the collision and aftersales market segments.
- Advised Motor Fuel Group (MFG), a portfolio company of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, in its acquisition of MRH.
'Stellar lawyers with excellent availability, sector-specific knowledge and smooth deal execution' are the hallmark of the corporate and securities practice group Dechert LLP, according to one satisfied client. Further Global Capital Management, One Equity Partners, Quilvest Private Equity and Trilantic Europe are just four of the new clients to have instructed the team for the first time. Long serving partner Douglas Getter, Christopher Field , who joined from Kirkland & Ellis in late 2017, and Ross Allardice , who joined from White & Case in 2016, are joint heads of team.
Douglas Getter; Christopher Field; Ross Allardice
‘The firm offers well-trained staff who are readily available, regardless of continent and time zones.‘.
‘The Dechert team continues to fulfil our needs across many complex legal areas and multiple business sectors with the highest degree of quality, commitment and responsiveness‘.
‘We have complete confidence in our lawyers, who uphold integrity and loyalty to clients in the highest possible manner. They are extremely knowledgeable and flexible and genuinely enjoyable to work with.’
AGC Equity Partners
Further Global Capital Management
HPS Investment Partners
Mid Europa Partners
One Equity Partners LLC
Quilvest Private Equity
SK hynix Inc
Sun Capital Partners, Inc.
Wyndham Worldwide, Inc.
- Advising longstanding client SK Hynix Inc. on its role, as part of a Bain Capital-led consortium, in the US$18 billion acquisition of Japan-based Toshiba Corporation’s NAND flash memory and solid-state drive business.
- Acting as lead global counsel on the sale of Albéa S.A., a Sun Capital portfolio company, to PAI Partners.
- Acting as co-lead counsel to Wyndham Worldwide on the carve-out and sale of its European Exchange & Rentals business to Platinum Equity.
- Acting as lead global counsel on Sun Capital Partners’ sale of its portfolio company Coveris’s European Rigid division.
- Advising Court Square Capital Partners and its portfolio company, Encompass Digital Media, on the acquisition of Babcock International Group’s Media Services business.
DLA Piper's corporate department often represents management on high-value buyouts or acquisitions by PE firms. The firm has handled major mandates of this kind in sectors including financial services, technology, media and retail. Practice head Tim Wright took the lead advising FNZ on its £1.65bn sale by investor H.I.G Capital to CDPQ and Generation Investment Management. Ed Griffiths and John Pryor are other names to note. within the team. Pryor was made up to the partnership in April 2019 and worked with Griffiths on the the sale of Tangerine Confectionery to Valeo Foods Group, representing management on the sale of the sweet manufacturer, which is known for products such as Dib Dab. Fruit Salad and Black Jack sweets.
‘I have worked with Tim Wright for over 20 years; he is experienced, commercial, passionate and engaged‘.
Beech Tree Private Equity
Duke Street Capital
H.I.G. European Capital Partners
Lloyds Development Capital
Oaktree Capital Partners
Sun European Partners
- Advising the management team of FNZ on the sale ( by investors H.I.G Capital) to CDPQ and Generation Investment Management LLP.
- Acted for the management team of CEB Talent Assessment on the MBO by Exponent Private Equity from sellers, Gartner, in a deal worth £400 million.
- Advised Helly Hansen’s management team on the sale of Helly Hansen Group AS by Teachers’ Private Capital, the Canada-based private equity investment arm of Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, to Canadian Tire Corporation.
- Acting for the management team of Combell Group, one of the leading providers of web-hosting services to SMEs in Benelux and the Nordics, on the buyout by Hg Capital from Waterland Private Equity.
- Acted for management of Exterion Media on its acquisition by media company, Global from private equity house, Platinum Equity.
Goodwin acts for more than 20 PE houses ranging in size from smaller UK-based firms to global buyout giants. The firm boasts strong sector-specific specialisms in technology and healthcare; the former is especially busy, with the firm advising on an increase in transactions involving tech-enabled or tech-disruptive businesses. Gemma Roberts led in advising GTT Communications on its $2.3bn acquisition of Interroute, a deal that originated in the UK but spanned five different jurisdictions. Financial services is another sector of deep expertise. Besides acquisitions and exits for PE houses, the team also works on PE fund secondary work and occasionally represents portfolio companies and management teams. Mark Soundy departed to establish his own management-focused practice in October 2018; the same month saw Michael Miranda made up to the partnership. Richard Lever heads the practice.
‘A very strong hands-on team with an intimate understanding of the PE market and what is required to effectively execute a deal‘.
‘Richard Lever’s performance is especially impressive; he is well supported by the high-quality team under him‘.’A highly responsive team whom I trust very much‘.
Ampersand Capital Partners
ECI Partners LLP
G Square Healthcare Private Equity LLP
Graphite Capital Management
Inflexion Private Equity Partners
Nordic Capital IX Limited
- Advised Investcorp, a leading global provider and manager of alternative investment products, on its $1bn secondary transaction with Coller Capital.
- Advised GTT Communications, the leading global cloud networking provider to multinational clients, in its acquisition of Interoute.
- Advised WisdomTree Investments, in its acquisition of the European exchange-traded commodity, currency, and short-and-leveraged business of ETF Securities Limited.
- Advised TA Associates on its sale and purchase agreement, under which TA Associates acquired Compusoft AS from the existing founder Jan Lindstad’s holding companies, Tritoria Holding AS, JL Invest AS and Oivind Linstad Invest AS, which held a combined shareholding of 38.2% in Compusoft.
- Advised DST Global in relation to its investments into Revolut and Simple Energy.
Macfarlanes LLP has a strong track record acting for management teams of target companies on high-value sales (some of which are worth billions), and also advises on a significant number of sponsor-side mandates. On the latter front, Alexander Green and Christopher Good advised Lexington Partners on its acquisition of interests in Photobox and Knight Square from Electra Private Equity. Meanwhile, in a £2bn transaction that spanned Brazil and Singapore, Ian Martin assisted the management team of Cognita Schools with the sale of Cognita Topco to Jacobs Holding AG. The company operates over 70 private schools, educating in excess of 40,000 children. Alex Edmondson is strongly recommended, as are joint heads of team Stephen Drewitt , Howard Corney and Luke Powell.
Stephen Drewitt; Howard Corney; Luke Powell
‘The technical expertise of the lawyers (particularly at the senior end) is a real differentiating feature. The group offers high-quality legal advice and has a tenacious desire to combine legal know-how with the achievement of the client’s commercial objectives’.
‘The depth and breadth of experience within the wider private equity practice ensures partners have deep market knowledge, and senior team members are prepared to form an opinion and state it (something which is not always the case with other service providers)‘.
‘Ian Martin is a true trusted adviser. He has market leading private equity experience and is always available and attentive to client needs. He is a brilliant and tough negotiator who really understands what clients care about and where the high-value commercial issues lie. I am always delighted to have Ian in my corner‘.
- Advising management of North Sea Midstream Partners on the sale of its business by ArcLight Capital Partners to Wren House Infrastructure Management and the syndication of 40% of the KIA’s stake to JPMorgan Asset Management.
- Advising Lexington Partners on its acquisition from Electra Private Equity of interests in non-control stakes in online photo printing company Photobox and property manager Knight Square.
- Advised management on the sale of Cognita Topco Limited to Jacobs Holding AG and their incentive arrangements. Cognita is an education provider.
- Advised management on the sale of Northgate Public Services to NEC Corporation and their incentive arrangements.
- Advised management on their incentive arrangements following Hellman & Friedman and GIC’s acquisition of All Funds Bank.
In addition to a steady stream of buyout work on both the buy and sell side, the private equity practice group at Ropes & Gray LLP in London also handles co-investment and minority investment transactions. The firm was instructed for the first time by new client Duke Street on its £100m acquisition of railway holiday company Great Rail Journeys from ECI, with practice head Philip Sanderson and John Newton taking the lead. Helen Croke, who focuses on representing PE houses across the full spectrum of mid-cap and high-value deals, is highly recommended. In a particularly high-profile mandate, Croke led the team advising Intermediate Capital Group on its £1.3bn joint partnership investment into IRIS. This was the largest ever UK PE software buyout. London co-managing partner Will Rosen is another name to note.
Intermediate Capital Group
Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe
Altamont Capital Partners
Kohlberg & Co LLC
Reed & Mackay
Baring Private Equity Asia
Avenue Capital Group
- Advised Intermediate Capital Group on its £1.3bn joint partnership investment – alongside HG Saturn Fund – into IRIS.
- Advised Ensono, a leading hybrid IT services provider based in the US and Europe, on its acquisition from Wipro Limited, one of the world’s leading IT consulting companies.
- Acted for management of Ocean Outdoor on its sale to Lloyds Development Capital.
- Advised Duke Street Capital on its acquisition of Great Rail Journeys.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP
'Exceptionally talented lawyer' Richard Youle 'runs the slick and efficient deal-doing machine' that is the PE department at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP. The group advises private equity sponsors, as well as their investment funds and portfolio companies, on much of the investment cycle covering bolt-on investments, corporate restructuring and exits (including IPOs). A particularly strong European sponsor-focused finance practice provides additional support on PE financing matters. In a £1.3bn highlight, Youle and others advised China-based Hg6 Fund and UK-based IRIS Software Group Limited on the sale of the latter to China-based Hg Saturn Fund and UK-based Intermediate Capital Fund. This was the UK's largest ever PE-led software buyout. Katja Butler and counsel Steven Hannah are both strongly recommended; Butler is especially noted for her work advising sponsor-held portfolio companies between buyout and exit.
‘Richard is one of the best in the business and is constantly one step ahead. He is our number one go-to adviser and we love working with him‘.
‘Extremely thorough and knowledgeable. The team is focused on getting deals done with a remarkable success rate‘
‘Counsel Steven Hannah is the finest deal attorney I have worked with. He is always available and extremely prudent with his advice‘.
‘The Skadden M&A team has really excellent technical skills and provides very high-quality advice. They are very practical and able to provide commercial solutions to complex problems‘.
Montagu Private Equity
Fortress Investment Group
DH Private Equity
- Advised Hg6 Fund and IRIS Software Group on IRIS Software’s sale to Hg Saturn Fund and Intermediate Capital Fund.
- Advised funds managed by Castik Capital S.a.r.l., as well as their co-investors and management, on the US$4 billion merger of IPAN GmbH and Delegate with CPA Global, structured as an all-paper deal with CPA Global as the buyer.
- Advised Montagu Private Equity LLP and the other shareholders of Equatex in its €354 million disposal to Computershare.
- Advised Hg on its sale of JLA (a U.K. sector leader for critical assets solutions in the commercial laundry, catering, heating and fire safety markets) to Cinven.
- Advised Wes Edens in connection with the injection of significant investment capital into Aston Villa Football Club by NSWE, a company that is jointly owned and controlled by businessman Nassef Sawiris’ group NNS and Wes Edens.
Slaughter and May advises on a broad range of matters including venture capital investments and IPO exits, as well as acquisitions. While the firm is better known for its leading public M&A practice it has a strong roster of buyout house clients and also takes on mandates from management and entrepreneurs. Recent highlights include Murray Cox advising Global Infrastructure Partners on its £2.9bn sale of a 50.01% shareholding in London Gatwick Airport to VINCI airports. Jeff Twentyman heads up the practice.
Other key lawyers:
Susannah Macknay; Murray Cox; Filippo de Falco
Blackstone Tactical Opportunities
Global Infrastructure Partners
Midlothian Capital Partners
Palamon Capital Partners
Apollo Capital Management
Pollen Street Capital
- Advised Right Choice Insurance Brokers Limited (RCIB) and Right Choice Holdings Limited on the sale of a minority stake in RCIB to Lloyds Development Capital, as well as: (i) the related leveraged financing and security package; and (ii) the related management investment.
- Advised Midlothian Capital Partners on the acquisition of HB Education, the holding company of educational and activity brands including PGL, from Cox & Kings.
- Advised Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), the leading independent infrastructure investor, on the sale – together with its co-investors – of a 50.01% shareholding in London Gatwick Airport to VINCI Airports.
- Advised Värde Partners, the global alternative investment firm, on its strategic £60 million equity investment in specialist bank Masthaven.
- Advised GI Partners in connection with a recommended offer by CareTech Holdings PLC for Cambian Group plc.
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton does not have a standalone private equity practice but a number of partners in London focus on the area. Michael Preston is a key contact for PE transactional work; he represented Warburg Pincus and other investors on a $1.25bn investment into African telecoms company Airtel Africa. Airtel. The firm also handles mandates such as stake acquisitions and works on a number of sell-side mandates on behalf of PE firms. It recently expanded its offering with the addition of new client Nordic Capital. Tihir Sarkar, Sam Bagot and Nallini Puri are also recommended.
Dickson Minto WS
Boasting decades of experience in PE transactions, corporate and commercial boutique Dickson Minto WS focuses on particularly large deals or those involving novel or complex issues. Matters are often multi-jurisdictional, with the firm having worked on matters involving over 70 jurisdictions in the past five years. Besides blue-chip PE firms, the team also advises mid-sized family owned businesses and start-ups. Ancillary expertise in regulation, pensions, tax and funds is also on offer. Name partner Alastair Dickson is head of team; another key contact is Jordan Simpson , who is relationship partner for a number of top-tier PE sponsors.
Other key lawyers:
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP’s London private acquisitions and private equity practice advises fund sponsors and investors on the full range of fund formation and investment-related activities, including leveraged buyouts, consortium bids, debt and equity investments, syndications and exit strategies. Key partners include Dan Oates, who recently advised CVC Capital Partners on its sale of smart connectivity platform provider Wireless Logic to Montagu Private Equity; Ian Lopez, who joined from Norton Rose Fulbright in December 2018; and newly promoted partner Simon Saitowitz.
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher's London private equity practice, which acts for PE funds, their portfolio companies and financial sponsors, has a particular specialism in the real estate sector, and also draws on the US firm's strong international platform to handle complex cross-border deals. The firm's combined UK and US law expertise in public M&A and equity capital markets also gives the firm an edge on more domestic-focused practices. The team is led by well-respected City veteran Charlie Geffen, who is now a senior of counsel; he works with partners Nigel Stacey, Nick Tomlinson, James Howe and Mark Sperotto.
Amlon Capital BV
Apollo Global Management
Blackstone (Tactical Opportunities Fund)
Bruin Sports Capital
Liberty Hall Capital Partners
Stirling Square Capital Partners
- Represented a Chinese consortium of CITIC Capital Partners and Caixin Global on the acquisition of Global Markets Intelligence Division, a financial information database operator, from Euromoney Institutional Investor.
- Advised Bruin Sports Capital, a private equity firm specialiSing in investments in the media, sports, marketing and branded lifestyle markets on the the cross-border acquisition of global tech business Massive Interactive.
- Advised private equity firm Liberty Hall Capital Partners on its acquisition of AeroCision.
- Advised Platinum Equity portfolio company, American Traffic Solutions, a tech-enabled smart transportation solutions provider, on its acquisition of Euro Parking Collection.
- Advised Canadian gaming and online gambling company The Stars Group on its £3.5bn acquisition of Sky Bet from CVC Capital Partners and Sky Plc.
Eight partners in Herbert Smith Freehills LLP's broader City corporate practice regularly work on PE mandates; with four of them handling primary buyouts, while two apiece are devoted to the ancillary practice areas of tax and financing. Real estate, infrastructure, energy, alternative financial services and TMT are sectors of specialist expertise for the firm, with the practice headed by John Taylor. PE fund formation and public-to-private transactions are some other core areas of work. The team acts for multinational blue-chip PE houses, such as The Blackstone Group and The Carlyle Group, as well as some sovereign wealth funds. Also recommended is Gavin Davies, who often advises financial investors and UK-listed companies.
Other key lawyers:
‘Two factors make this practice stand out from the crowd: (i) the partners are highly technically skilled with excellent market knowledge but are also pragmatic, commercially aware and very personable – which can itself be critical factor in an M&A transaction (ii) and the consistently very high quality of the corporate associates.’
‘HSF stands out from its peers in terms of selection and retention of first rate/stellar female corporate associates.’
‘The team is exceptionally hard working and very commercial in their approach. This level of commerciality and deal strategy is not always found in other firms.’
‘The team is superb, in particular marked by Malcolm Lombers and Martyn Jones. Responsive, knowledgeable, swift and capable.’
‘Barney Hinnegan is a standout corporate partner – highly technically skilled with excellent market knowledge but also pragmatic, commercially aware and very personable – which can itself be critical factor in the success of an M&A transaction when dealing with tense stakeholders and counterparties.’
‘Partner Caroline Rae is also worthy of note – you definitely want to make sure you have Caroline on your side of the table, not opposite you.’
‘Marsha Williamson and Charles Stewart are both stand out corporate associates.’
Antin Infrastructure Partners
Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners
Hannam & Partners
Hastings Funds Management
Metric Capital Partners
Three Hills Capital Partners
- Advised Antin Infrastructure Partners on the financing of its acquisition of Ufinet Spain, a fibre optic telecom operator, from Cinven.
- Advised KKCG AG in relation to the split of the assets in the SAZKA Group with its joint venture partner, EMMA Capital.
- Advised Allianz Real Estate on the creation of a market leading student accommodation real estate joint venture in London with Greystar Real Estate Partners, the global rental housing leader, and Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSPIB), one of Canada’s largest pension investment managers.
- Advised BTG Pactual E&P B.V. on the sale of African oil & gas joint venture company Petrobras Oil & Gas B.V.
- Advised Sir Peter Wood in relation to the sale of his 30.76 per cent interest in esure Group plc pursuant to the recommended cash offer for esure made by Bain Capital Partners.
'Excellent at dealing with complex issues and offering a robust full-service capability' according to clients, the PE department at Hogan Lovells International LLP has a strategic focus on transactions involving sectors such as financial services, insurance, TMT, life sciences, healthcare, energy, infrastructure, retail and real estate. The group handles both high-value and mid-cap deals in the aforementioned spaces. A firm-wide network of PE practitioners across the UK, Europe, US, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australia ensures the firm can handle cross-jurisdictional mandates. Highlights included new investor client Patron Capital instructing a team led by John Connell on the sale of its portfolio company Optimum Credit to Pepper Money. Counsel Leanne Moezi and former London practice head Ed Harris departed for Paul Hastings LLP in July 2019. Global head of private equity Tom Whelan is a key contact.
Other key lawyers:
‘A very high quality team. It is responsive, commercial and accurate and always thinks one step ahead when giving advice. They get the job done‘.
Brookfield Business Partners
Ventiga Capital Partners
Rothschild (Five Arrows Principal Investments)
- Advised Ares Management in relation to the acquisition of VetPartners, one of the UK’s largest veterinary practice operators.
- Advised property-focused pan-European institutional investor Patron Capital on the sale of its portfolio company Optimum Credit to Pepper Money.
- Advised CarVal Investors on its co-investment on an acquisition of Italian NPLs with a gross book value of €10.8bn.
- Advised 21 Investimenti on its proposed joint venture with Aberdeen Asset Management investment fund.
Proskauer Rose LLP's City buyout team is a new entrant to the ranking after winning a number of new clients including Corsair Capital, Aleph Capital Partners and Crestview Partners. Approximately 40% of the PE team's recent mandates have come from these new clients, highlighting the development of the practice, which focuses on mid-market work but also advises management on higher-value deals. Highlights include Andrew Wingfield advising Corsair on its acquisition of ZEDRA Group, a deal that involved managing foreign counsel in more than 16 different jurisdictions. New arrival Richard Bull joined from Norton Rose Fulbright in March 2018. Head of team Steven Davis is highly recommended .
Aleph Capital Partners & Crestview Partners
AnaCap Financial Partners
One Peak Partners
Azelis S.A (representing executive shareholders)
Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital
APG Real Estate
Toscafund Asset Management
- Advised new client, Corsair Capital, a global private equity firm focused on investing in the financial services sector, on its proposed acquisition of ZEDRA Group.
- Represented new sponsor clients Aleph Capital Partners LLP and Crestview Partners on their investment into DARAG, a European insurance business that specialises in taking inactive or discontinued businesses from direct insurers and reinsurers.
- Advised AnaCap on the sale of First Names Group to the SGG Group, a leading multi-jurisdictional provider of financial services, backed by Astorg Partners.
- Represented Lion Capital in the sale of HEMA, one of the Netherlands’ largest retail chains, to Ramphastos.
- Represented Investcorp Technology Fund on its proposed acquisition of SmartSpace from Ubisense Group plc.