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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > London > Finance > Acquisition finance > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Acquisition finance
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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With 31 leveraged finance partners based in London and also able to tap into its extensive international network, Allen & Overy LLP is well placed to advise banks, corporates, sponsors, and an increasing number of debt funds, on domestic and cross-border financing deals. The firm is also expanding its finance offering in the US; having made a series of significant hires over the past year, the firm is able to tap into the increasingly convergent UK and US financing markets. Co-head of global leveraged finance Jonathan Brownson recently advised the mandated lead arrangers, including Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs, on the €920m covenant-lite financing to support EQT’s acquisition of Bilfinger Group. Greg Brown, who handles acquisition finance deals as part of his wide-ranging finance expertise, recently advised the lenders, including Deutsche Bank and HSBC, on a $25bn acquisition finance facility to facilitate British American Tobacco’s $40.4bn acquisition of the remaining stake in Reynolds American. Robin Harvey has an excellent reputation among private equity sponsors and recently advised PAI Partners on the €337m senior term loan facility and €60m revolving facility in support of its acquisition of Ethypharm. David Campbell handles both leveraged finance and investment grade acquisition finance matters for both lenders and borrowers; he recently advised the lenders on the €600m financing to support Shanks Group’s acquisition of Van Gansewinkel Groep. Other recommended partners include the ‘very impressive’ Nicholas Clark, Philip Bowden, Matt Moore and Timothy Polglase. Stephen Kensell joined Latham & Watkins in September 2016. RBS, Advent International and Providence Equity Partners are additional clients of the team.

Clifford Chance LLP has the critical mass and level of expertise among its practitioners to provide a ‘proactive and cost-effective’ service on behalf of banks, sponsors and corporates including Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, CVC Capital and J Sainsbury. The firm has been active on a number of covenant-lite Term Loan B financings in several large-cap deals; Taner Hassan recently advised EQT on the €1.2bn financing (involving Term Loan B and revolving credit facilities, as well as a bonding line of credit) to facilitate its acquisition of Bilfinger’s real estate services division. The team is also well versed in handling transactions incorporating both bond and bank financings as exemplified by Charles Cochrane and Fabio Diminich’s recent work for the arrangers and underwriters in relation to the €380m high yield bond and €100m super senior revolving credit facility in support of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and WM Holding’s acquisition of BUT, the largest furniture retailer in France. The firm has also been active advising on infrastructure-related acquisition finance mandates, including the London and Paris offices recent work for lenders on the senior and junior financing of First State Investment’s acquisition of Coriance SAS, the French district heating business. The ‘technically strong’ Emma Folds ‘is focused on representing lenders and is a very safe pair of hands’ for both banks and credit funds. Folds recently advised Commerzbank, as agent for a syndicate of lenders, on the $750m multi-currency term loan facilities provided to RPC Group on its acquisition of Letica and for the repayment of existing indebtedness. Jim MacHale and the ‘calm and experienced’ Michael Bates are also recommended.

Praised for its ‘responsive, knowledgeable and highly technical’ approach, Latham & Watkins’s ‘strong and well-resourced’ 11-partner team has the strength-in-depth, on both the bank and bond-side, to service a broad mix of banks, sponsors and alternative lenders. The team also benefits from an impressive global presence, including offices in Europe, Middle East, Asia Pacific and US, to handle a range of complex domestic and cross-border mandates. Team head Sam Hamilton has deeply entrenched ties with leading European private equity sponsor Nordic Capital, recently advising it on the financing, including a €3.4bn bridge and €1bn revolving credit facility, to facilitate Lindorff’s combination with Intrum Justitia. The ‘excellentDominic Newcomb is also particularly strong on the sponsor side; he recently advised EQT Partners on the €773m financing in connection with its acquisition of Kuoni Travel. Alongside Jayanthi Sadanandan, Newcomb also advised Onex Corporation on the first lien/second lien acquisition financing of Parkdean Resorts; notably this was the largest leveraged buyout of a UK target since the Brexit referendum. Adrian Chiodo is well versed in leveraged buyouts across the capital structure including deals with an international complexion; Chiodo recently worked alongside the firm’s Paris office to provide advice to the lenders, including BNP Paribas and JP Morgan, on the €410m financing to facilitate TowerBrook Capital Partner’s acquisition of Infopro Digital. Other recommended partners include the ‘very impressive’ and ‘highly technicalChristopher Kandel; the ‘very strongRoss Pooley, who as part of his broad-ranging practice is handling an increasing amount of work for pension funds as lenders; Ross Anderson, who benefits from a ‘refreshingly no-nonsense approach’; and bank-side expert Stephen Kensell, who joined the team in September 2016 from Allen & Overy LLP. Clients include JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Ares Management and Permira Advisers.

Leveraging the firm’s extensive international network, the ‘very hardworking and approachable’ team at Linklaters LLP has an ‘excellent perspective of the overall market’ and is well-versed in both bank and bond financing, as well as Term Loan B financing. Recent highlights include advising BC Partners on the €695m European covenant-loose Term Loan B and €150m payment in kind (PIK) facility in connection with its acquisition of Israel-based Keter Plastics. With assistance from the firm’s Milan office, Adam Freeman recently advised the lenders, including UniCredit and BNP Paribas, on the financing to facilitate CVC’s acquisition of Doc Generici from Charterhouse. Incorporating a €325m Term Loan B facility and a €50m revolving credit facility, the transaction was one of the first covenant-lite loan only deals in Italy. The ‘very strong’ team also includes Edward Aldred, who is ‘excellent on Term Loan B deals’; the ‘smart and practicalOliver Edwards; the ‘excellentNick Syson; and Annette Kurdian, who is appreciated by clients for her ‘up to date knowledge of market evolution’. Other clients include HSBC, UBS, Carlyle Group and Alcentra.

Although it is largely absent from deals in the market that contain a US nexus and a high yield element, Ashurst’s ‘very responsive’ team has stayed ‘really up to date on the prevailing market conditions’ impacting UK and European leveraged finance deals, in particular, and is recognised as a ‘market leader on unitranche deals’ as a result of close ties with leading non-bank lenders including Haymarket Financial and BlueBay Asset Management, amongst others. Helen Burton (‘excellent at handling leveraged finance transactions’) has developed a particularly strong reputation in the credit fund and unitranche space; her recent work includes advising CVC Credit Partners on a unitranche facility to Bregal Freshstream for the acquisition of Verwater from Infestos. Ross Ollerhead provides ‘technically strong and commercial advice’ to direct lending clients including Crescent Capital, which he advised on the subordinated debt facilities it provided to support HgCapital’s acquisition of The Foundry. The team also has a strong reputation among banking and private equity clients, for which it handles deals in the mid to upper-mid market, where RBS, HSBC and Charterhouse Capital Partners are core clients. Paul Stewart recently advised Charterhouse Capital Partners on the covenant-lite financing implemented to facilitate its acquisition of Coopération Pharmaceutique Française SAS and subsequent bolt-on acquisition of the Vemedia Group. Nigel Ward and the ‘unflappable and impressive’ Jane Fissenden are both increasingly active for banks and sponsors in relation to the financing of infrastructure assets. Other recommended partners include Mark Vickers, Martyn Rogers, Tim Rennie and Paul Stewart.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s integrated finance practice has the bandwidth to provide a ‘commercial and flexible service’ to a predominantly borrower focused client base across the spectrum of debt products including European and US Term Loan B and high yield bonds. The firm continues to generate a substantial flow of work from leading private equity sponsors including CVC Capital Partners, which Alex Mitchell and New York-qualified Denise Ryan acted for on the €620m Term Loan B and €25m revolving credit facility in connection with its acquisition of a majority stake in Tipico Group, Germany’s market-leading sports betting provider. Christopher Davis has an excellent reputation in the leveraged finance market and has acted for Cinven on the financing of numerous acquisitions across Europe including on its recent acquisition (alongside Canada Pension Plan Investment Board) of Hotelbeds from TUI. Davis also advised global growth private equity firm, General Atlantic, on the financing for its acquisition of Argus Media. As well as advising private equity sponsors, Sean Pierce also regularly handles financing work for the firm’s vast roster of corporate clients including on their event driven financings. Ward McKimm is also recommended.

The ‘tenacious and diligent’ team at Kirkland & Ellis International LLP provides an ‘exceptional service’ to a first-rate roster of private equity sponsor clients, including Lion Capital, Bain Capital and KKR. It has an extensive track record of handling sophisticated deals across the spectrum of financial products including senior, unitranche and high-yield debt financing. Praised for its ‘value-add in tactics when it comes to negotiating’, the team is also supported by a pre-eminent commercial lending offering in the US and is thereby well-placed to handle matters implementing US finance products including Term Loan B, as well as being at the forefront of the export of these US terms to the European market. ‘Tenacious and diligent’ team head Stephen Lucas (who is an ‘intellectual powerhouse’) recently advised new client Charterhouse Capital Partners on the financing aspects of its acquisition of Optima, an Italian ice cream ingredients manufacturer, from Nocciola. Neel Sachdev is regarded as ‘one of the best in the field’ and is praised for his ‘excellent read of the market’. Sachdev recently acted for Lone Star on the financing of its secondary market acquisition of the Xella Group, and worked alongside the ‘experienced and creativeChristopher Shield on the financing aspects of Bain Capital’s sale of Brakes to Sysco. Michael Steele is also recommended.

One of the more flexible in the field’, Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP’s ‘user-friendly’ team has a ‘great grasp on market trends’, both from a sponsor and lender perspective. Benefiting from two high-profile US-qualified partners in London, who advise on the New York law governed high yield element of deals, as well as from a large indigenous US team, the practice has excellent credibility among US sponsors and investment banks. The ‘excellent’ Reena Gogna is well regarded by sponsors and lenders, and as result is regularly involved in complex leveraged finance transactions for high-profile clients including JP Morgan and Bain Capital. Gogna has also provided the financing input to corporates on their acquisitions, including her work, alongside the New York office, for AMC Entertainment on its $595m and £250m senior subordinated notes offerings to part finance its £921m acquisition of Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group Limited (UK). The firm is also at the forefront of the increased migration of US-style documentation to European deals, as well as handling unitranche mandates for direct lenders. The ‘commercially aware and user-friendlyTom Richards handles a considerable amount of work for Advent International including recently advising it on the financing pursuant to its acquisition of Allnex, as well as on various bids including for Logoplaste and Priory Healthcare. ‘Excellent’ team head Mark Donald is well respected by both sponsors and lenders; he recently advised the lenders on the Term Loan B financing in support of CVC’s acquisition of Tipico Group from private owners. Chris McLaughlin and James Hogben are also recommended. Inrastructure specialist Paul Hibbert joined from Baker McKenzie.

Benefiting from an ‘impressive platform’, which includes offices in the US, Europe, Africa and Asia Pacific, White & Case LLP provides a ‘commercial and cost-effective service’ to banks, private equity sponsors and alternative capital providers engaged in acquisition finance mandates, including matters with a US nexus – where it benefits from a ‘very good bank and bond offering and solid US and UK law offering’ – as well as emerging markets mandates and European-based deals. Justin Wagstaff, Martin Forbes and Colin Harley are among the core members of the leveraged finance teams focusing on private equity deals; Harley recently acted for HgCapital, and one of its portfolio companies Cogital Group, on the senior facilities arranged by DNB and SEB to facilitate several acquisitions including Cogital Group’s acquisition of Baldwins and Blick Rothenberg. The ‘excellentGareth Eagles regularly handles work for non-bank lenders including GSO Capital Partners and is a key member of the team that also includes the ‘affable and professionalJeremy Duffy (who provides ‘technical and commercial’ advice to a range of lenders and borrowers), and team head Lee Cullinane. Other clients include Deutsche Bank, Barclays, CVC and Meridian Capital.

Primarily focused on lender side mandates for clients including Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP’s ‘small but very focused’ London-based team excels in big-ticket and complex cross-border financings. Working alongside practitioners from the firm’s New York office, ‘excellent’ London-based team head Suhrud Mehta advised numerous lenders including Barclays, Credit Suisse and HSBC on bank/bond financing to facilitate Carlyle Group’s $3.2bn acquisition of Atotech. Neil Caddy recently worked alongside lawyers from the firm’s Beijing office for the arrangers, including ICBC, on the $910m financing of HNA Group’s $2.8bn acquisition of Swissport. US-qualified Timothy Peterson is recommended, in particular for his high yield capability.

With numerous US-law qualified practitioners based in London and also able to tap into the expertise and relationships garnered from a strong team in situ in New York, Shearman & Sterling LLP is very well-positioned to capitalise on the continued willingness of borrowers to raise finance in the US capital markets and through Term Loan B structures. Dual US and UK-qualified partner Peter Hayes is able to provide ‘flexible solutions’ to sponsors and banks on leveraged finance deals; he recently acted for Investcorp on the financing of its acquisition of Secure Link Group, and represented EMT 2 Holdings (a Bridgepoint portfolio company) on the $535m financing to facilitate the $1bn acquisition of Herculean, the holding company of the Element Materials Group, from an entity controlled by private equity sponsor 3i. ‘Excellent’ New York-qualified partner Ronan Wicks relocated from the firm’s New York office to head the London leveraged finance practice; he brings an extensive track record of US finance structures. Other key members of the team include Korey Fevzi, who specialises in cross-border transactions; the ‘very personableIain Goalen, who is ‘very good on bank debt acquisition finance’; Mei Lian; and Caroline Leeds Ruby.

Praised for its ability to ‘innovate’ and to ‘aggressively seek the best terms’ for its sponsor-focused client base, (which includes heavy hitters KKR, Blackstone and Apax Partners) Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP has been at the forefront of the market in London for covenant-lite structures. Ian Barratt is regularly involved in the highest-profile mandates handled by the London team; he acted alongside newly promoted partner Shahpur Kabraji for KKR on the financing to facilitate its €1.1bn acquisition of Airbus Group’s defence electronics business. Barratt also regularly handles deals for Apax Partners, including advising it on the financing for its acquisition of Invent Farma. Working alongside the firm’s New York office, Antti Pesonen assisted Blackstone with the financing to enable its acquisition of Acetow from Solvay. Stephen Short and dual UK and New York law qualified partner Sinead O’Shea are also key practitioners on the bank debt side, while New York law qualified partners Gil Strauss and Nicholas Shaw, provide the necessary input on the high yield front.

Led by Nick Tostivin, Baker McKenzie’s ‘responsive, pragmatic and commercial’ seven-partner banking team is regularly engaged in acquisition finance transactions for borrowers and lenders on matters encompassing structures across the capital spectrum including senior and mezzanine debt, as well as high yield bonds. Able to leverage a broad ranging international network of offices, the firm’s sweet-spot lies in advising clients on substantial cross-border transactions as exemplified by Bernard Sharp’s work alongside the firm’s Tokyo office for Mizuho Bank on its bridge loan facility to finance part of SoftBank’s £24.3bn acquisition of ARM Holdings. Ian Jack and Lynn Rosell Rowley are also recommended. Paul Hibbert joined Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s five-partner banking and finance practice provides a ‘top-notch level of service’ to major corporates such as Continental Foods and Arcelor Mittal, as well as private equity sponsors including Lone Star. Known for its generalist approach to finance, the ‘very nimble’ team are regularly called on to advise on matters which require sophisticated and highly strategic cross-border expertise. For example, UK and Russian-qualified partner Polina Lyadnova – who has a particular strength in emerging markets work – recently advised Qatar Investment Authority on the financing (which included a €5.2bn non-recourse margin loan provided by Intesa Sanpaolo) of its acquisition, alongside Glencore, of a minority stake in Russian oil producer Rosneft. The deal was particularly noteworthy as it was executed against the backdrop of US and EU sanctions against Rosneft. The ‘excellent’ Andrew Shutter recently advised Oaktree Capital Management and Northwestern Mutual as lenders providing second-lien financing to a portfolio company of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice to fund the acquisition of German manufacturer Kalle. David Billington is also recommended.

The departures in August 2016 of Philip Butler and David Miles to Dechert LLP notwithstanding, DLA Piper remains a significant presence, most notably in the domestic space as a result of its strong ties with UK clearing banks and its ability to leverage the expertise of practitioners not only based in London but also in the UK regions. Andy Kolacki acts for both lenders and borrowers in deals utilising both senior and subordinated capital structures; his recent highlights include advising HSBC, Investec and Bank of Ireland on the provision of an all-senior debt financing package to Levine Leichtman Capital Partners to support its MBO of GL Education. The ‘incredibly hardworking and pragmatic’ Mark Dwyer regularly acts for corporate borrowers on acquisition finance transactions, including advising VimpelCom on its $250m financing to facilitate its acquisition of Warid Telecom in Pakistan and the £340m Takeover Code cash confirmed financing of Heineken's public takeover of Punch Taverns. The ‘commercial’ Julie Romer is also recommended, as is the ‘vastly experienced’ Maurice Allen, who joined the firm in a consultancy role in March 2017 from Ropes & Gray LLP.

Leveraging its strong roster of FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 corporate clients, and its growing array of private equity sponsors including Carlyle, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP provides an ‘excellent service’, with a particular strength in the infrastructure and energy sectors. Led by ‘sharp shooter and quick thinker’ Ian Yeo and aided by ‘down-to-earth and detail-oriented’ Ilze Vigo, the firm advised Marel Group on a secured facilities agreement, used amongst other things, to fund the acquisition of MPS meat processing systems for €383m on a debt and cash free basis. As well as handling numerous borrower-side mandates, including for British American Tobacco (BAT) on its $25bn acquisition finance facilities to fund part of the $49.4 billion acquisition of the remaining stake BAT does not already own in Reynolds American, ‘knowledgeable and attentive’ team head Will Nevin has also successfully nurtured growing lender relationships, as underscored by his advice to Crédit Agricole and Unicredit on the £452m bridge term loan for the financing of Steinhoff International's public bid for Poundland Group. Ewen Fergusson and the ‘responsive and highly technical’ Kristen Roberts are also recommended.

The ‘commercial’ and ‘proactive’ team at Hogan Lovells International LLP has significant visibility in the market on behalf traditional lenders, including Barclays and Lloyds, as well as in the rapidly maturing non-bank lending sector for clients including Ares Management and ICG. Matthew Cottis recently advised a banking syndicate on the financing to Phoenix Group to fund its £935m acquisition of the Abbey Life insurance business from Deutsche Bank. Paul Mullen and Jo Robinson are well regarded in the market, in particular within the alternative lending space; Mullen recently advised Hayfin Capital, Lloyds and Bank of Ireland on the senior term and revolving facilities used to facilitate Exponent Private Equity’s acquisition of The Racing Post. The ‘very effective and commercialPenny Angell is also recommended.

Macfarlanes LLP’s four partner team provides a ‘responsive and client-oriented service’ to private equity sponsors engaged in mid-market leveraged finance deals. Kirstie Hutchinson is ‘very good on black letter law and also excellent at taking into account commercial considerations’; she recently advised Silverfleet Capital Partners on the acquisition financing of Lifetime Training Group, one of the UK’s leading training providers, from Sovereign Capital. ‘Excellent’ team head Christopher Lawrence has deeply entrenched relationships with private equity sponsors including Alchemy Partners, Inflexion and Exponent Private Equity; he recently advised Exponent on a unitranche financing provided by Ares to fund its acquisition of the Leisure Pass Group. Andrew Perkins has built up a strong reputation amongst alternative capital providers including Hayfin and BlueBay.

Benefiting from UK and US-qualified practitioners on the ground in London and also able to tap into the expertise of a significant pool of leveraged finance lawyers in the US, Ropes & Gray LLP has the expertise to provide ‘commercial advice’ to private equity sponsors and alternative capital providers, and has notable expertise in the US high yield market, as well as knowledge of the increased convergence between US and European market terms. Matthew Cox recently advised 3i Group on the financing to fund its £159m acquisition of a majority stake in Audley Travel from Equistone Partners Europe. US-qualified partner Jane Rogers is particularly accomplished at handling the high yield elements of financing work for private equity sponsors and corporates including Liberty Global, which she recently advised on the bank and bond financing to facilitate its $5.3bn acquisition of Cable & Wireless. Other key figures include US-qualified partner Mike Goetz and Malcolm Hitching, who joined the firm in February 2017 from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP. Maurice Allen recently joined DLA Piper as a consultant, while Fergus Wheeler joined King & Spalding LLP in June 2017. Benoit Lavigne joined Morrison & Foerster LLP in 2018.

Often working closely with colleagues in the US, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP’s three-partner team has significant credibility in the market, particularly on behalf of major multinational corporates. In a deal which involved input from the firm’s Chicago office, Clive Wells advised Ball Corporation on the financing to facilitate its successful takeover of Rexam Plc – the matter included a $3.3bn multi-currency revolving credit facility and a £3.3bn bridge term loan facility and subsequently a $4.1bn loan to refinance the original revolving credit facility and the portion of the bridge facility not refinanced with bonds. Pete Coulton is well versed across the spectrum of financing techniques and recently advised Reichhold on its €625m unitranche facility for the financing of its merger with Polynt Group. Mark Darley rounds out the team and having recently acted for Jacobs Douwe Egberts on its €5.8bn secured, cross-border refinancing, is now acting for it on the financing of its acquisition of Singapore-based Super Group.

Complementing its market-leading M&A practice, which acts for a sizeable number of FTSE 100 corporates from a range of industries, Slaughter and May’s banking team is regularly involved in public acquisition financings at the highest end of the market. Ian Johnson advised Ladbrokes on the £1.35bn combined term loan and revolving credit facilities pursuant to its merger with Gala Coral Group. Ed Fife handles acquisition finance work as part of his broad-ranging finance capability; he recently advised Swiss-based Datwyler Holding on the English law financing aspects associated with its recommended cash offer for Premier Farnell. Robert Byk acted for Lonza on debt and equity financing provisions to facilitate its $5.5bn acquisition of Capsugel from KKR. Team head Philip Snell and Matthew Tobin are also recommended.

The ‘responsive, knowledgeable and cost-effective’ six-partner team at Travers Smith LLP has tremendous visibility and traction in the mid-market arena, particularly on behalf of private equity sponsors (including clients Bridgepoint, Phoenix Equity Partners and ECI Partners). Donald Lowe recently advised Exponent Private Equity on the debt facilities supporting the acquisition of the Racing Post. ‘Highly technical, proactive and thoughtful’ team head Matthew Ayre recently advised Exponent Private Equity on the £53m debt facilities – which included a unitranche term loan and a revolving credit term – to fund its acquisition of Inspiring Learning. Praised for his ‘commerciality’, Ayre has also been central to building out the firm’s banking client base, which single out his ability to ‘attain the best position for lenders while also balancing the maintenance of a strong, ongoing relationship with the borrower/sponsor’. Other recommended partners include Charles Bischoff and Danny Peel for lender-side work, and Barry Newman and Andrew Gregson for private equity sponsors.

A growing presence in the mid-market for a balanced portfolio of clients including banks, debt funds, corporates and private equity sponsors, Addleshaw Goddard is able to provide a ‘strong and commercial service’ out of London and is also aided by numerous practitioners from key regional offices including Manchester. Recently promoted partner Laurie Keel has been at the forefront of many of the team’s most significant mandates, including advising GVC on the debt financing for its £1.12bn acquisition of digital entertainment. Keel has also been central to building up the firm’s capability on the direct lending front; she recently advised Alcentra Debt Funds as unitranche lender in relation to the debt and equity recapitalisation of Alcumus Group following its acquisition by Inflexion Private Equity. Alex Dumphy is national head of the firm’s leveraged finance practice and benefits from strong ties with private equity sponsors including ECI Partners and Inflexion Private Equity. Angus Gill and Amanda Gray are also recommended.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s ‘lean and dynamic’ four-partner team provides ‘concise, relevant and timely advice’ to a balanced mix of clearing banks and corporates. Praised for its ‘tremendous work ethic and unstuffy approach’, the team has an excellent perspective from both sides of the table and is thereby well-placed to get the deal done in a ‘very commercial’ manner ‘without unnecessary point-scoring’. Derek Hrydziuszko recently advised BCA Marketplace on consents, amendments and accessions required under its £375m syndicated financing relating to its £135m acquisition of the Paragon Automotive Group. ‘A delight to work with’, Emma Howdle-Fuller is an ‘experienced and strong negotiator’ and is overall banking team head. The ‘commercialDaisy Reeves also handles acquisition finance mandates as part of her broad-ranging finance offering. Clients include HSBC, Lloyds, Tesco and Playtech.

Enhanced by the firm’s recent combination with Olswang and Nabarro, CMS provides ‘commercial, pragmatic and responsive’ advice to lenders and private equity sponsors on leveraged finance deals within the mid-market. Alex Patience, Patrick Donegan and Mark Moseling are all recommended. Peter Crichton joined McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP in May 2017.

Well positioned to advise on cross-border deals involving both bank and bond debt by dint of its US offices, as well as US and UK practitioners based in London, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has a focus on borrower mandates, in particular for some core firm-wide private equity sponsors including Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. In a deal which involved a €380m high yield element as well as a €100m super senior revolving credit facility, Pierre Maugüé and Thomas Smith recently advised the aforementioned sponsor on the financing associated with its acquisition of BUT. Alan Davies recently advised Canada Pension Plan Investment Board on the $400m financing aspects of its $1.1bn acquisition of Ascot Underwriting Holdings. Other clients include Reynolds Group, Providence Equity Partners and MV Credit.

The arrival in November 2016 of John Markland from Kirkland & Ellis International LLP and ‘leading mid-market leveraged finance practitioners’ David Miles and Philip Butler from DLA Piper, has marked a step change in the capabilities of Dechert LLP’s leveraged finance offering in London. Focused squarely on the sponsor side, the ‘knowledgeable and responsive’ Markland has maintained his strong relationship with Mid Europa Partners, recently advising it on the financing of its acquisition of Profi Rom Food from Enterprise Investors – Romania’s largest-ever leveraged buyout. Praised for their ability to ‘balance detail and understanding of complexity with commerciality’, Butler and Miles have ‘seen the development of the alternative lending market in Europe and are at the cutting edge of financial innovation that debt funds have brought to the market’. ‘Proactive, knowledgeable and commercial’ senior associate Smridhi Gulati is also well regarded in the alternative lending space. Other clients include Ares Management, Hayfin, Alcentra and CVC Credit Partners.

Led by the ‘experienced, pragmatic and commercialCatherine Astruc, Dentons’ two-partner team provides an ‘excellent service’ to a varied mix of corporates, banks, alternative capital providers and private sponsors. Astruc recently advised a UK clearing bank on the facilities to be provided to an Irish investment fund in relation to its acquisition of shares in a Colombian airline. Praised for his ‘clear and concise communication skills’ and his ‘ability to explain complicated matters in plain English’, Lee Federman has handled numerous financings for NYX Gaming Group, including its £125m unitranche facilities with Ares Capital to facilitate its acquisition of Openbet. Federman also recently advised Cathay Investments on its €29m senior financing with HSBC for its acquisitions of Lantor, PNC Global Logistics and The Original Poster Company. Other clients include KSL Capital Partners, Oak North Bank and Fortress Credit.

Leveraging its strong US brand, in particular for advising major corporates and private equity sponsors on their financing needs, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s London finance team represents US funds with operations in the UK, where it is able to offer expertise across the spectrum of funding products at their disposal. As well as picking up work with a US nexus, the London team has also handled matters for blue-chip FTSE 100 corporates including William Hill, which the ‘excellentStephen Gillespie advised on its investment and related financing in NYX Gaming, a digital gaming supplier, as part of a consortium to acquire OpenBet. In a deal which involved significant input from the firm’s New York office, Gillespie also advised satellite services company, SES, on the $730m financing to secure the remaining shares in the O3b Networks. The ‘very dedicated and experiencedThomas Budd handles acquisition finance mandates as part of his broad-ranging finance practice. Other clients include Sankaty Advisors, Anchorage Capital Group and Highbridge Capital Management.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s strong clearing bank relationships sees the firm take a role on the senior lending part of many domestic mid-market transactions. In addition to handling corporate lending transactions, Vanessa Heap also regularly handles mid-market acquisition financing deals and recently advised RBS and Lloyds, on the £80m term and revolving credit facilities provided to F M Conway, which were used to finance the £57.8m acquisition of United Construction Materials and to refinance the £15.7m acquisition of Berkshire Macadams. Liam Terry handles a significant amount of work for HSBC, recently advising it on a £50m term and revolving facilities agreement to Vectura Group to part finance its £441m acquisition of Skyepharma. Martin Bishop is also recommended.

Simmons & Simmons’s banking and finance group regularly undertakes corporate-related acquisition finance deals and sponsor-driven mandates for both lender and borrower clients. The firm has a particularly strong brand for its Nordic financing work as underscored by Simon Middleton’s representation of Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken and Nordea Bank, as lead arrangers, on the financing for Konecranes on its €1.1bn acquisition of Terex Group. Alistair Hill regularly represents a broad cross-section of stakeholders including corporates, private equity sponsors, alternative credit providers and banks on leveraged finance deals; he recently acted for Future plc on all debt, equity and corporate aspects relating to its acquisition of Imagine Publishing. Other clients include HSBC, Citigroup and British Land.

Leveraging strong ties with the UK clearing banks including HSBC and RBS, as well as picking up engagements for the firm’s roster of corporates including Next and Dairy Crest, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP is particularly visible in UK mid-market deals. Team head Nick Swiss has a strong reputation for new money deals and refinancings. Leveraging the firm’s expertise in relation to renewables energy-related matters, the team is also regularly engaged in energy and infrastructure-related acquisition finance mandates, where the ‘excellentIndraj Mangat is singled out for praise. The firm is also able to leverage strong regional finance teams to provide a cost-effective offering to clients.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (London) LLP provides an ‘excellent, friendly and high-quality service’ to sponsors, direct lenders and banks engaged in leveraged finance mandates. Stuart Brinkworth has a ‘fantastic reputation’ in the direct lending space and recently advised Permira Credit Solutions as lender in the financing of Sovereign Capital Partners’ acquisition of the Eaton House group of schools in London. Praised for his ‘smart business advice, responsiveness and exceptional industry knowledge’, Jons Lehmann is also regularly engaged in acquisition finance transactions as part of his broad-ranging banking offering. With assistance from the firm’s New York office, Lehmann recently advised Credit Suisse, as arranger, on a $1.55bn term loan and $175m revolving loan facility to finance Onex Corporation and Baring Private Equity’s acquisition of Thomson Reuter’s intellectual property and science business. Other clients include Goldman Sachs, ICG, BlueBay Asset Management and CVC.

With a broad and balanced international footprint that includes offices in US, Asia and Europe, Mayer Brown International LLP’s London finance team has a focus on advising both borrowers and lenders on multi-jurisdictional mandates. Recently promoted partner Andrew Crotty is particularly active in the leveraged finance space and recently advised Vitruvian Partners on the unitranche financing of its acquisition of OAG. The firm also benefits from a market-leading asset based lending practice, which is frequently called upon to provide advice on cross-border European leveraged deals. Dominic Griffiths parlays his structured and asset based lending expertise to good effect on leveraged finance deals and is a key practitioner of the team which also includes Trevor Wood. Clients include HSBC, Citibank, Wells Fargo and Nomura.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s ‘user-friendly’ team in London excels in acquisition finance mandates in multi-jurisdictional scenarios where it can call upon the assistance of lawyers from across its broad ranging international network. Team head Michael Ings is known for his work within the emerging markets (particularly in Africa); as well as handling general corporate lending mandates, he often handles acquisition finance related work for banks including The Standard Bank of South Africa. Michael Black has a niche specialism in asset based lending work and is praised for his ‘excellent understanding of the market and knowledge of the detailed lending and collateral requirements of various European jurisdictions’. Black has deeply entrenched ties with Wells Fargo and frequently applies asset based lending techniques to acquisition finance mandates; he recently advised the aforementioned bank in relation to its asset based lending/acquisition facilities to Brundage-Bone Concrete Pumping, in order to make strategic UK acquisitions of Camfaud Concrete Pumps, as well as Premier Concrete Pumping and South Coast Concrete Pumping. James Dunnett is also recommended.

Supported by strong and well-established offerings out of Bristol and Reading, Osborne Clarke LLP’s six-partner banking team in London is seen as a credible option by banks and borrowers on mid-market deals, particularly in relation to deals within sectors which the firm has a focus on. Technology accounts for a significant amount of acquisition finance work handled by the team; Dominic Ross advised RBS on the financing (which included a £36m term loan facility) to Maintel Holdings to facilitate its acquisition of Azzurri Communications. Ben Truman is also recommended. Other clients include HSBC, Santander and Silicon Valley Bank.

Substantially enhanced following the arrival of the ‘excellent’ Alexander Griffith from DLA Piper in October 2015, and Ben Davis from Reed Smith LLP in August 2016, Proskauer Rose LLP’s three-partner team provides ‘very commercial’ advice to an array of alternative capital providers including Alcentra, Ares Management and BlueBay Asset Management. Faisal Ramzan is also recommended.

Taylor Wessing LLP acts for a varied mix of clients including senior and mezzanine lenders, private equity sponsors and corporates, predominantly on acquisition finance mandates within the mid-market. Team head Martin Yells is frequently at the forefront of the most significant matters handled by the team, including on the debt financing relating to News Corp’s acquisition of talkSPORT owner, Wireless Group. Yell also advised Arlington Capital Partners on the debt financing to facilitate its acquisition of Molecular Products. Other clients include Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Rutland Partners and Santander.

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