Private equity: transactions – mid-tier – up to £250m in London
Addleshaw Goddard's private equity (PE) practice offers 'excellent service' to its clients and has won a number of new buyout houses to its roster, including Palantine Private Equity, Primary Capital and Terra Firma. The team acts for more than 40 investor entities across the full range of mid-market transactions and also possesses a robust management practice on the high-cap side. Highlights include Marc Field and Mike Hinchcliffe advising ECI on the management buyout (MBO) of M3 Corporate Consulting. Elsewhere, Leeds-based Gary Elliott acted for LDC on its acquisition of shares in National Building Specification from the Royal Institute of British Architects. Hinchcliffe heads up the practice together with Yunus Seedat. Rising star associate Gemma Phillips is hailed as 'the best lawyer period' by one enthusiastic client and already boasts experience handling mandates from the likes of Inflexion Private Equity and Pheonix Equity Partners.
Yunus Seedat; Mike Hinchliffe
‘A very strong team. They are quick to understand what is important to us and and the advice was tailored to us accordingly‘.
‘A lot of lawyers we use are very focused on the minutiae of detail and are unable to see big picture. To this contrary, this team is very strong in understanding both the detail and how all the parts fit together together. Gemma Phillips in particular is exceptional‘.
Bridges Fund Management
Equistone Partners Europe
Inflexion Private Equity
Palatine Private Equity
Panoramic Growth Equity
Phoenix Equity Partners
Piper Private Equity
- Advising Terra Firma on the disposal of its investment in Wyevale Garden Centres.
- Advised Inflexion on a significant minority investment in the Quartz group.
- Advised (i) the selling shareholders on the sale of CloserStill Media to US PE house Providence Equity Partners and (ii) management on the terms of their new management equity package with the buyer.
- Advising LDC on the acquisition of Right Choice Insurance.
- Advised ECI on the MBO of M3 Corporate Consulting, a leading global IT and financial markets technology consultancy with worldwide operations including in the UK, America, Canada, South Africa, Hong Kong and France.
The private equity practice at Ashurst, which handles a broad range of multijurisdictional deals, works closely with the firm's broader finance and investment fund practices to enhance its offering. Key partners include Nick Rainsford and corporate head Jason Radford. David Carter leads the practice in London; he recently advised private equity investor EmergeVest on the acqusition of CM Downton, one of the UK's leading logistics groups. Newly promoted partner Braeden Donnelly is also strongly recommended.
‘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 private equity investor EmergeVest on the £75m acqusition of logistics group CM Downton.
- Advised private equity firm Agilitas on the management buyout of Hydro International Limited, a global provider of products, services and technology for the treatment of wastewater.
- Advised the shareholders of MPS Capital on their disposal of a majority stake in the business to private equity fund Cabot Square Capital.
- Advised Greensill, a global provider of working capital finance for companies, in relation to a $250m investment from General Atlantic, a global growth equity firm.
- Advised Sprints Capital, a management buyout and growth investment fund based in London, on its investment in Revolut as part of a $250m Series C funding round.
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
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‘.
'Clear and commercially-minded', the private equity practice at Pinsent Masons LLP is led by Edward Stead. Stead concentrates on transactions involving companies operating in the technology, business services and professional services industries. The firm prides itself on assisting clients through the entirety of the PE life cycle, from initial investments through to secondary transactions and eventual sales. Highlights include a team led by Andrew Masraf advising senior management of Ammeraal Beltech on its sale by Advent International to Partners Group in a deal worth $1.2bn. Masraf often acts for management on upper-mid-market transactions of this kind. Elsewhere, Manchester-based practitioners Gregg Davison and Amie Norris represented the shareholders of Key Travel on its MBO, which was backed by Elysian Capital Partners. PE tax adviser Peter Morley joined the group from Squire Patton Boggs in September 2018.
‘Practical advice given at all times‘.
‘Amie Norris takes a no-nonsense approach and always keeps her word‘.
Equistone Partners Europe Limited
Sovereign Capital Partners
MML Capital Partners
M Group Services
Textile Recycling International Limited
- Pinsent Masons advised the senior management team of Ammeraal Beltech, a global leader in lightweight process and conveyor belting, on its sale by Advent International to Partners Group.
- Advised management of M Group Services, a service provider to the regulated infrastructure markets in the UK and Ireland, in relation to the secondary management buyout and associated private equity investment by PAI Partners.
- Advised shareholders of Manzana Holdings on the sale of the private equity backed (Equistone) Apogee (Europe’s largest independent provider of print, outsourced services, and document and process technology), to HP Inc.
- Advised management of CALA Group on the sale of shares in the CALA Group by Patron Capital and Management to Legal & General.
- Sole adviser to Equistone Partners Europe and the management team on the private equity sale and secondary management buyout of Travel Counsellors, a bespoke travel bookings company based in Manchester, to Vitruvian Partners.
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
'Strength across the entire bench, as opposed to just its senior members' is a hallmark of the corporate practice at CMS , according to some clients. . The firm focuses on servicing players in the upper-mid PE market and boasts especially strong sector-specific knowledge in technology, media and telecommunications (TMT), healthcare, financial services, consumer, leisure and energy. A strong international presence means the team can handle cross-jurisdictional PE mandates; this is especially true of deals involving countries in the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region, where the firm is an established leader. Recent highlights include James Grimwood advising Cinven on its acquisition of Hungary's Partner in Pet Food from Pamplona Capital Management. Grimwood heads up the practice, alongside Iain Newman and Charles Currier. Also recommended is Narinder Jugpal.
James Grimwood; Iain Newman; Charles Currier
Other key lawyers:
‘Commercial, hard-working and knowledgeable; they always think through every scenario‘.
‘Narinder Jugpal knows his sector and know swhat an investor is looking for in the way of commercial results‘.
‘Narinder Jugpal is always available, highly commercial and only raises the issues we care about.’
Mayfair Equity Partners
Inflexion Private Equity Partners
- Advised major private equity house Cinven on its acquisition of Partner in Pet Food, a leading European pet food manufacturer, from Pamplona Capital Management.
- Advised Antin Infrastructure Partners on the acquisition of the Hesley Group.
- Advised on the acquisition of a minority stake in GCI Group by Mayfair Equity Partners.
- Advised shareholders of UKFast.net Limited, on the minority stake acquired by Inflexion’s dedicated minority investment fund, Partnership Capital.
At Dentons, 'Nicholas Plant and the team are extremely knowledgeable and versatile'. Plant frequently acts for key clients Apax and Blackstone; advising the latter in its auction sale of the international operations of RGIS, an inventory business.. The team is most often instructed by buyout funds, venture capitalists and secondary funds, as well as entrepreneurs and institutional investors. Energy, industry and infrastructure are key areas of sector specialism for the firm. In a major consumer goods highlight, Stephen Levy and Joseph Altendorff advised KKR on its €6.83bn acquisition of Unilever’s global spreads business. The deal involved the acquisition of business operations in over 100 countries. David Collins is head of the team.
‘I have worked with other top tier firms but I am extremely impressed with Dentons and Nicholas Plant in particular‘.
‘Nicholas Plant’s unique approach to matters and the level of detail and dedication he puts into a transaction certainly makes a difference. During negotiations we always felt like we were ahead of the game because of him. He is extremely sharp and his knowledge of the practice and industry is outstanding. I would not hesitate to recommend him‘.
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co Partners LLP (KKR)
CK Holdings Co., Ltd, the holding company of Calsonic Kansei
Scottish Equity Partners
Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners
Martin Moller (founder of Nordic Aviation Capital)
Target Hero Limited
Leapfrog Investments limited
Waterland Private Equity
- Advised global investment firm KKR on the €6.83bn acquisition of Unilever’s spreads business.
- Advised KKR backed CK Holdings Co., Ltd, the holding company of Calsonic Kansei, on the agreement to acquire Magneti Marelli S.p.A
- Advised Apax on a vendor legal due diligence report on its sale of the chemicals business Azelis to EQT.
- Acted as lead counsel to Blackstone on the auction sale of the international operations of inventory business RGIS.
- Acted for Stonepeak on its acquisition of euNetworks, which owns the largest network of fibre-optic cables in European cities.
At Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP, the 'focus on building strong client relationships is simply exemplary'. The firm's practice regularly advises national and international PE houses, in addition to management teams and providers of debt finance, and now counts more than 20 different buyout houses on its client list, with many providing repeat instructions. Besides MBOs and management buy-ins, the group is also instructed on public-to-private transactions, leveraged buyouts and 'debt for equity' restructurings. The corporate offering further boasts integrated sector expertise in areas such as financial services, energy, industrial engineering, TMT, aerospace and defence and healthcare. Andy Case, who acts as global head of company secretarial services, is a key contact.
‘The senior professionals provide a personal touch and take a commercial and pragmatic approach; they are always there when you need them. They work to understand the situation properly and then apply strong expertise in the relevant areas‘.
‘The team demonstrates a real passion for fostering a close and effective relationship with their clients; they act as true advisers and ambassadorial intermediaries in tricky situations‘
Intermediate Capital Group
Inflexion Private Equity Partners
Equistone Partners Europe Limited
CBPE Capital Partners
H2 Equity Partners
Baird Capital Partners Europe
Bridgepoint Development Capital
Bridges Fund Management
Phoenix Private Equity
- Advised Mountain Warehouse and its management and shareholders on the minority investment into Mountain Warehouse by Inflexion (through Inflexion’s specialist minority fund, Partnership Capital).
- Advised H2 Equity Partners on complex parallel investments in Healthcare 21 and Aquilant, with the aim of creating a new market-leading group in healthcare and scientific sales and distribution – partnering with the shareholders of Healthcare 21.
- Advised Perwyn on the secondary buyout of the Lowe Rental group from MML Capital. This was one of the largest ever private equity transactions in Northern Ireland and was important for Perwyn as it was its first investment into the Irish market.
- Acted for Lloyds Development Capital (Holdings) Limited (LDC) on the sale of the NEC Group by LDC and management to Blackstone.
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
'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)
Jones Day's PE client roster boasts well-known buyout houses, such as new clients Carlyle and CVC Capital Partners, as well as a larger group of mid-market names such as Investcorp and Baird Capital. Recent highlights include Raymond McKeeve and Liam Bonamy advising CVC on its $703m acquisition of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries’ international women's health assets. On the recruitment side, the team has been strengthened by additions in related practices such as acquisition finance, where partner Ewen Scott joined from Ashurst, as well as associate recruitment within the PE practice itself. Global PE practice co-chair Patrick Stafford is a key contact.
Motion Equity Partners
J F Lehman
The Riverside Company
Blue Wolf Capital
The Carlyle Group
CVC Capital Partners
CBRE Global Investment Partners
Greystar Real Estate Partners
With practitioners reputed for their 'brilliant market knowledge and commercial and pragmatic approach to advice-giving', the PE practice group at Norton Rose Fulbright represents investors, portfolio companies and management teams on buyouts, co-investments, bolt-on acquisitions, refinancings and exits. While the group can handle transactions across a range of different sectors, it boasts high levels of integrated expertise in the fields of financial services and technology specifically. One widely-reported highlight involving fifteen jurisdictions saw Jon Perry, along with partners in the firm's Amsterdam and Brussels offices, advise Louis Dreyfus Company on the sale of its African fertilizers and inputs operations and global metals business. In the technology space, practice head David Marshall represented Commify on a series of bolt-on acquisitions. Richard Bull departed for Proskauer Rose LLP in February 2018.
Other key lawyers:
AfricInvest Capital Partners
Carlyle Sub-Saharan Africa Fund
Control Circle Limited
Denham Capital Management LP
Scottish Equity Partners
XPV Water Partners
Aquiline Capital Partners LLC
- Advised CHAMP Private Equity on sale of Accolade Wines to Carlyle Group.
- Advised Nomad Foods on the agreement to acquire Aunt Bessie’s Limited from William Jackson & Son Limited.
- Advised Aquiline Capital Partners on the sale of its interest in Beach & Associates to Acrisure LLC.
- Advised Louis Dreyfus Company on the sale of its African based fertilizers and inputs operations and its global metals business.
- Advised Commify on a series of bolt-on acquisitions.
Osborne Clarke LLP
Osborne Clarke LLP is highlighted by one client for 'its focus on mid-market deals, with a well-developed specialism in advising managements teams on buyouts'. Such mandates often see the firm acting opposite major blue-chip PE houses, as when Mark Spinner represented NEC group on its £815m acquisition by Blackstone. The practice also boasts a robust buy-side client roster including institutional investors such as Caledonia Investments, Tenzing Private Equity and Synova Capital. Practice head Alisdair Livingstone advised the latter on its MBO of Mintec Global, a provider of global pricing data and intelligence for non-traded food ingredients. This highlight is a key example of the firm's sector expertise in the technology, media and entertainment sectors. Tim Hewens is another name to note.
‘Most firms in the PE mid-market space will have one or two experts focused on this practice, but OC has a broad team. This means the firm is much more responsive and capable of working on multiple deals without overstretching itself‘.
‘Mark Spinner and Tim Hewens are very pragmatic and balance commercialism with excellent legal knowledge. A particular strength is being very attentive and responsive at all hours of day or night, with partners remaining available and not just delegating tasks to more junior team members‘.
‘The exceptional level of client service and balanced approach are the main reasons we continue to work with OC. Despite the partner led approach, the associates and other team members are also very good and are genuinely empowered to deliver advice on projects‘.
NVM Private Equity
Growth Capital Partners
Caledonia Investments Plc
Alcuin Capital Partners
Mobeus Equity Partners LLP
Tenzing Private Equity
Primary Capital Partners LLP
- Advised senior management of the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) Group, the UK’s leading live events venue operator, on its acquisition by private equity house Blackstone.
- Advising shareholders and management on the MBO of international orthopaedic firm Corin backed by Permira.
- Advising the senior management team of ByBox Holdings on the £221m tertiary buyout of ByBox Holdings, funded by Francisco Partners.
- Advised the Lovehoney Group and its co-founders and senior management team on an investment from European private equity investor Telemos Capital.
- Advised the management team of Dennis Publishing on its acquisition by Exponent.
The London private equity team at Squire Patton Boggs operates as part of an integrated national practice in conjunction with the firm's other UK offices in Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham, with 'hardworking' UK practice head Paul Mann dividing his time between Leeds and the capital. The practice has a dedicated focus on mid-market transactions, holding longstanding relationships with a wide range of houses including ECI Partners, Inflexion Private Equity and LDC. Mann leads on much of the team's biggest deals, as does fellow Leeds partner Jonathan Jones. Manchester corporate head Giles Chesher is another key member of the team, while Tim Stead and James McKay are names to note in London.
‘A good team, personable and always willing to help.’
‘Paul Mann is hardworking and always happy to help.’
Growth Capital Partners
Tenzing Private Equity
Inflexion Private Equity
H2 Equity Partners
- Advised the management team of Deep Sea Electronics on the acquisition by Caledonia Investments of 98.9% of the company.
- Advised ECI Partners on the acquisition of TDKP Limited (Moneypenny) and its subsidiaries.
- Acting for management on the £142m tertiary buy-out by Phoenix of the entire issued share capital of Axis Topco Limited.
- Advised the shareholders of Power Topco Limited on the sale of the entire issued share capital of the company.
- Advised management on the sale and subsequent rollover of equity in Ultium Business Outsourcing Group to an entity backed by Bain Capital.
Jonathan Pittal heads up the eight partner strong PE department at Stephenson Harwood. Highlights included Gabriel Boghossian, Warren Allen and others advising BlueGem Capital on its €106m sale of 100% of its holdings across numerous portfolio companies (including Entronia Wine Group and The Private Clinic Group) to a new fund established by the client and backed by Glendower Capital. Major PE secondaries transactions of this kind are an area of especial expertise for highly recommended partner Boghossian. The corporate offering is strongly supported by the firm's broader banking, tax and regulatory practice groups, ensuring it can provide a multi-disciplinary service when necessary. A client of over 14 years comments that 'the consistency and quality of advice over that period has never varied and remains just excellent'.
‘Ben Mercer is an exceptional partner. His breadth of knowledge is impressive and his attention to detail equally so. This combination has proved highly successful over many deals. He has added real value to the bottom line and thinks outside the box for innovative solutions‘.
‘Gabriel Boghossian is very efficient and knows his topics extremely well, from primary investments to complex PE secondary transactions and PE fund formation‘.
‘Gabriel Boghossian is a excellent negotiator and comes up with incredibly innovative ideas on structuring‘.
Bowmark Capital LLP
Five Arrows Principal Investments
Inspired Education Holdings Limited
Access Capital Partners
Core Capital Partners LLP
Five Arrows Secondary Investments
- Advised a buyer backed by funds from Bowmark Capital on the acquisition of Lawyers on Demand (LOD) from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner.
- Advised a buyer backed by funds from Bowmark Capital on the acquisition of The Instant Group, a global provider of independent flexible workspace.
- Acted for shareholders of Law Business Research (LBR), on the sale of LBR, a leading provider of research, news, data and insight on international business law and legal markets, to Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm.
- Advised shareholders on the sale of Nexus Vehicle Rental to Phoenix Equity Partners.
- Acted for BlueGem Capital, a mid-market buyout firm, on the sale of 100% of its holdings in a number of portfolio of companies to a new fund established by BlueGem backed by Glendower Capital , a spin-out of Deutsche Bank’s secondaries private equity business.
Private equity work makes up a significant part of Taylor Wessing LLP's corporate practice. Leveraged-buyouts across a range of different sectors are handled by the team, which, given the firm's sector focus, has significant experience of technology sector-related transactions. Venture capital is another key area of activity. In a widely-reported recent highlight, Emma Danks led in advising investor Rutland Partners on its sale of Pizza Hut restaurants to the company's existing management team; the deal was made complex by the involvement of multiple key stakeholders, all of whom had to be negotiated with. Danks regularly represents both PE firms and management teams and comes highly recommended by her peers and competitors. Also of note is James Goold, who acts as relationship partner to many of the firm's long-standing PE clients.
Other key lawyers:
James Goold; Edward Waldron
‘Ed Waldron is commercial, calm, thoughtful and looks at the big picture.’
‘Jonny Bethell is creative and intellectual and offers attention to detail.’
Caledonia Investments plc
Rutland Partners LLP
Accel KKR and one.com
Management team of Access Group
Bridgepoint Growth Fund
Five Arrows Principal Investments (the private equity division of NM Rothschild)
Management team of Cadogan Tate
Alcuin Capital Partners
Management team of Allocate Software
Apotex International Inc
- Assisted Caledonia Investments plc on the acquisition of its majority stake in Deep Sea Electronics Limited.
- Advised Rutland Partners LLP on the sale of Pizza Hut Restaurants UK.
- Advised Bridgepoint Growth on its growth capital investment in Roadworks Information Limited.
- Advised the management team of Access Group on their reinvestment into the Access Group alongside TA Associates.
- Advised the management team of Cadogan Tate on the reinvestment of their proceeds from the sale of the company to H2 Equity Partners.
Willkie Farr & Gallagher (UK) LLP's London PE practice was greatly strengthened by the arrival of key practitioners Gavin Gordon and David Arnold from Kirkland & Ellis International LLP in May 2019. The paid add weight to a team that already included highly regarded partner Claire McDaid. The 'highly commercial' team has won new clients including Opengate Capital Management, JC Flowers and Oak Hill Capital Partners. Key partners in the practice in addition to Gordon and Arnold include François Feuillat. New-York based partners Jeffrey Poss and Neil Townsend are joint heads of the global offering.
Jeffrey Poss; Neil Townsend
‘The team is never righteous and always helps the client find a solution. It doesn’t gold-plate its services unless the client asks it to, so the value for money is excellent as well.’
IK Investment Partners
Opengate Capital Management
Blue Water Energy LLP
Insight Venture Partners
Bregal Freshstream LLP
Genstar Capital Partners
Oak Hill Capital Partners
- Acted for a consortium of private equity sponsors in connection with their investment in Hafnia Tankers and its merger with BW Group to create one of the world’s largest product tanker carriers.
- Represented PAI Partners on its acquisition of World Freight International from Greenbriar Private Equity alongside its consortium partner Baring Private Equity Asia
- Advised Genstar Capital and its portfolio company Apex Fund Services on the acquisition of IPES from Silverfleet Capital.
- Advised Genstar Capital and its portfolio company Apex Fund Services on the carve-out and acquisition of the corporate and private clients business of Link Asset Services, a division of the Australian listed Link Group.
- Advising Aquiline and its portfolio company, OSG Billing, on the recommended public takeover of Communisis PLC, a company listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange, by way of a scheme of arrangement.
Backed by robust firm-wide expertise in energy and natural resources, Akin Gump LLP's City private equity team has made inroads into deals involving energy target companies. The TMT sector is another strategic focus area, with the group further boasting a strong track record of representing Russian clients and handling work originating from this jurisdiction. Sebastian Rice heads up the practice; David Sewell is also of note.
Other key lawyers:
UFG Private Equity
Ahren Innovation Capital
The Carlyle Group/Carlyle International Energy Partners
PlayAGS (portfolio company of Apollo Global Management)
The Blackstone Group No
Lansdowne Partners (UK) LLP
- Advised CIEP and Discover Exploration in relation to corporate matters regarding the acquisition of 100% of the share capital of Hansa Hydrocarbons Limited by Discover Exploration Limited, a Carlyle portfolio company.
- Advising Mail.ru Group on a strategic partnership and joint venture with Alibaba Group, PJSC “MegaFon” and the Russian Direct Investment Fund to integrate Russia’s key consumer internet and e-commerce platforms and launch a leading social commerce joint venture in Russia and the CIS.
- Advised Discover (a Carlyle portfolio company) on its acquisition of 100% of the share capital of Bahari Resources Limited, its joint venture partner (with a 40% interest) on Blocks 35, 36 and 37 Comoros, East Africa.
- Advised UFG Asset Management, a private asset management group, on the acquisition by a fund of an interest in an infrastructure holding company from multiple pan-European sellers.
- Advised Ahren Innovation Capital, a new investment fund focused on investing in deep tech and deep science, on its first investment – a $10 million equity investment in Cambridge Epigenetix Limited.
Charles Russell Speechlys LLP works with a roster of buyout house clients such as Elysian Capital, which Malcolm MacDougall and senior associate Chris Manning advised on its acquisition of Key Travel. In addition to investment houses, the firm also acts for management teams, investee companies and high net-worth family offices. Venture capital and growth capital PE are some other key areas of activity. Adam Crossley, who advised the management team on the £1.2bn sale of MRH to Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, is another name to note. McDougall heads up the practice together with Adrian Mayer.
Malcolm MacDougall; Adrian Mayer
‘Excellent client focus with fast turnaround and twenty four hour support when needed‘.
‘Adam Crossley has outstanding commercial understanding and excellent client support skills. He was with us 24v hours a day when necessary‘.
‘Malcolm MacDougall makes CRS unique. He is an exceptional leader and an engaged partner. Besides a highly legal brain, he is very commercial and has great customer relationship skills while being fun to work with‘.
Business Growth Fund
Civica Group (investee company of Partners Group)
Duet Private Equity
- Advised longstanding client Elysian Capital on the acquisition of Key Travel.
- Advised the MRH management team in relation to the sale of MRH to Clayton, Dubilier & Rice-backed Motor Fuel Group.
- Advised new client Apposite Capital, the private equity firm with an exclusive focus on healthcare, on the acquisition of OrthoD Group from The Riverside Company.
- Advised institutional and management shareholders (including FPE Capital and MMC Ventures) of Small World Financial Services Group Limited, a leading multi-channel cross-border payment service provider, on the sale of Small World to European private equity firm, Equistone
- Advised longstanding clients FPE Capital and Bestport Capital on the sale of Creditcall to US trade buyer NMI, which is backed by Francisco Partners and Great Hill Partners.
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
'Excellent service' is combined with 'the hunger, ambition and hustle that magic circle firms or larger global firms often lack' at Mayer Brown International LLP , according to one client. The group regularly acts for players in the mid-market PE space on both the buy and sell side and is supported by a strong leveraged finance practice, which offers valuable input on debt-financed transactions. While the firm boasts expertise across numerous sectors, practitioners have a keen focus on technology and often assist on deals involving tech-enabled businesses. Highlights included group head Perry Yam leading on the £221m acquisition of ByBox by Francisco Partners. ByBox provides innovative smart locker technology and field service solutions to improve the efficiency of supply chains across numerous sectors. Other key mandates involve the travel, retail and consumer sectors. James West is strongly recommended for mid-market buyouts, venture capital work and advising both investors and management teams on buy-and-build strategies. Also noteworthy are Tim Nosworthy and new partner Neil Evans; Evans arrived from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP in February 2018.
‘Perry Yam Is an action-oriented senior partner with a ruthless focus on getting to an actionable piece of advice and applying decades of experience to demystify and resolve complex topics. He sets extremely high standards‘.
‘James West is trusted and pragmatic; he is a low-ego, high-energy individual‘.
‘The team is very strong in mid-market deals, with a strong commercial focus‘.
‘James West is a fantastic lawyer to work with. He is very responsive and able to address issues in a commercial way. Perry Yam leads the team and provides clear direction as to what is important‘.
‘What makes this firm different is its offering of partner-led advice supported by a strong junior team and international presence through its own offices, rather than through relationships with other firms‘.
‘Perry Yam is an experienced PE lawyer who is commercial and gets involved in key decisions. Neil Evans is very dedicated and always available to speak‘.
Stirling Square Capital Partners
Star Capital Partners
C5 Capital Partners
Volpi NHIG Europe
- Advised Vitruvian Partners on the acquisition – through a secondary buyout -of UK-based travel agents network Travel Counsellors from private equity house Equistone Partners.
- Advised Francisco Partners on the acquisition of ByBox, the international software and supply chain management company, for a purchase price of approximately £221m.
- Advised The Halifax Group and Management on the sale of Pirtek Europe, the leading on-site provider of hydraulic hose replacement and associated services across Europe, to PNC Riverarch Capital, a US-based private equity firm.
- Advised MetaPack Ltd, the UK-based e-commerce delivery platform, on its £175m sale to Stamps.com, a leading provider of postage online and shipping software solutions.
- Advised WP Lavori in Corso on the sale of its majority stake in Woolrich, Inc., a manufacturer and seller of outdoor clothing and furniture, to L-GAM Advisers LLP.
McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP's PE department is lauded by clients for 'coming up with increasingly creative solutions to problems'. The team's broad client base includes not only PE firms but their portfolio companies, ultra-high net worth family offices, clients acquiring businesses from PE funds and the management teams of target companies. Additional expertise in the healthcare and life sciences sector renders the group particularly well-placed to assist on deals involving the acquisition and disposal of pharmaceutical companies. Nick Azis is team head; Piero Carbone, Eleanor West and Linda Zeman are all strongly recommended.
‘The team is incredibly responsive and commercial; it is particularly good at disseminating complex issues into a few sentences and liaising with the deal team directly‘.
‘I was very impressed by Piero Carbone; he is our partner of preference for every UK deal. He is very responsive, knows the law inside out and is very great at coming up with creative and unique solutions to problems quickly‘.
Baird Capital Partners
Great Point Partners
Metric Capital Partners LLP
Tana Africa Capital
- Representing Intersnack Group GmbH & Co KG (and subsidiary, KP Snacks Limited) in respect of the acquisition by KP Snacks Limited of Popchips Limited, which owns and operates the Popchips brand in Europe.
- Representing Intersnack Group GmbH & Co KG (and subsidiary, KP Snacks Limited) in respect of the acquisition by KP Snacks Limited of THUNDERBALL LUXCO 2 S.À R.L., which owns the Tyrrells chips business.
- Representing Mountain Warehouse Group Holdings Limited in connection with its corporate refinancing.
- Representing Iconic London Group and its shareholder BlueGem Capital Partners in the financing of the acquisition of the Iconic London Group by BlueGem Capital Partners.
Mishcon de Reya LLP's 'standard approach to executing legal due diligence and M&A transactions is affordable but still high-quality and incredibly professional', in the words of one client. Highlights include Andrew Rimmington and managing associate Lucinda Brendon advising the management team of automotive company Autovista Group on a €325m secondary buyout. The client provides pricing and specification intelligence for Europe’s automotive decision-makers. Management representation of this kind forms a large portion of the firm's PE practice, which is strongly supported by broader employment and tax teams. Kevin McCarthy, who leads the team, is a key contact.
‘The team is committed, capable and gets to the heart of the matter expeditiously‘.
‘Very pragmatic and commercial approach, no grandstanding. They focus on getting the job done while making sure important points are covered. Their deep experience means they know what the market norms are and can explain why‘.
‘Andrew Rimmington is very experienced, exceptionally client-focused and really on your side. Associate Lucinda Brendon is extremely responsive, cool and unflappable; she is the perfect combination‘.
Parking Eye Limited
UK Power Reserve
Chess Technologies Limited
Plurimi Wealth LLP
Stork Self Storage Limited
Sunshine Capital Limited
Management of On the Go Tours
- Advised the management team of ParkingEye on their investment alongside Macquarie and MML Capital Partners into a new structure which will include both ParkingEye and Glyde.
- Advised the management team of UK Power Reserve on sale – alongside Inflexion Private Equity and Equistone Partners – to Sembcorp Industries.
- Acted for the management team on a secondary buyout of the Autovista Group for €325m.
- Instructed by management to advise on their equity terms in the context of a secondary buy-out backed by US marketing investment group, Stagwell Group.
- Acted for the sellers (composed of institutional investors including funds managed by Beringea LLP) and management seller of Chess Technologies Limited.
Paul Hastings LLP is rapidly building up a strong private equity offering in London, driven by the recent eye-catching hires of highly rated DLA Piper partner Anu Balasubramanian - who is now vice chair of the firm's global private equity practice - former Hogan Lovells International LLP London private equity head Ed Harris and ex-Linklaters LLP corporate heavyweight Roger Barron. The team focuses on advising clients in sectors including real estate, utilities, energy, fintech and payments, software, industrial engineering, biotech, life sciences and telecoms. Other key partners in the team include Garrett Hayes.
Link Mobility Group AS
North Technology Group
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
- Represented Abry Partners on its €357m cash offer to acquire all shares in Norwegian public company LINK Mobility Group.
- Advised Saba Software, a portfolio company of Vector Capital, in its acquisition of talent management solutions provider Lumesse.
- Represented Goldman Sachs and Citigroup as arrangers in respect of the financing for the recommended £1bn public-to-private acquisition by Advent International of Laird.
- Representing Abry Partners on its €350m disposal of Basefarm Holding to the Orange Group.
Reed Smith LLP
At Reed Smith LLP, Phillip Taylor and Mark Sanders lead the London private equity practice group.The team prides itself on assisting clients throughout the entire PE life cycle including secondaries market matters. PE fund formation, secondary transactions, new investments and acquisition financings are some major areas of work in addition to buyouts. The practice can also call upon extensive firm-wide industry groups for sector-specific expertise when necessary; these cover areas including financial services, entertainment and media, transport, energy and natural resources and life sciences and healthcare. Real estate PE work has been an area of particular growth.
Phillip Taylor; Mark Sanders
Watson Farley & Williams LLP
The PE team at Watson Farley & Williams LLP is supported by 13 offices outside the UK and an extensive network of local counsel, ensuring it can execute multi-jurisdictional mandates. It is most often instructed on PE work relating to the firm's sector specialisms, which lie in energy and infrastructure, maritime, transport, natural resources and real estate. A particularly strong expertise in tax structuring is another strength of the offering, with Tom Jarvis having previously held the post of director at Deloitte's in-house M&A and Funds Tax Group. Also noteworthy is practice head and key contact Chris Kilburn.
‘WFW provides a consistently high quality and responsive service.’
‘Chris Kilburn takes a pragmatic and highly commercial approach to giving advice and always sees the bigger picture issues. He is nevertheless very precise and has a strong command of issues at play in the sector‘.
Helios Energy Investment
Statkraft UK Ltd
Cerberus Capital Management
African Infrastructure Managers
- Advising on mining investments by Atami Capital in Airsorted Limited – an Air BnB service provider – and Digital Risks Limited -a provider of insurance for digital businesses.
- Assisting renewable energy infrastructure investors Aurium Capital Markets, Equitix and Helios Energy Investments to form a new dedicated business to invest in renewable energy plants using anaerobic digestion technology.
- Advising Norwegian state-owned Statkraft, the largest generator of renewable power in Europe, on its divestment of stakes in two offshore wind farms for a combined value of £1.11bn.
- Advising Canadian Solar, one of the world’s leading solar energy companies, on the £191.2m sale of its 142 MW UK solar photovoltaic (“PV”) portfolio to Greencoat Solar Assets II Ltd (“Greencoat”) a fund managed by Greencoat Capital LLP.
- Providing tax and structuring advice to residential healthcare operator Salutem on its acquisition of the care home and educational assets of the charity Scope.