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Capital markets: high-yield debt offerings in United States

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP's presence in the areas of energy and restructuring provides it with a solid platform to fuel its high-yield debt practice. The firm also stands out in the private equity and asset management space, giving it another avenue into the high-yield segment of the capital markets. Much of its activity is acquisition finance-driven with Dallas partner Seth Maloy taking the lead on these matters; he is especially active in the energy sector.

Practice head(s):

John Goodgame; Rosa Testani

Other key lawyers:

Seth Maloy

Key clients

Alliance Data Systems [NYSE: ADS]

Construction Partners, Inc. [NYSE: ROAD]

CEVA Logistics AG [SIX Swiss Exchange: CEVA]

Diamondback Energy [NASDAQ: FANG]

Famous Dave’s of America, Inc. [NASDAQ: DAVE]

FirstEnergy Corp. [NYSE: FE]

Genesis Energy, L.P. [NYSE: GEL]

Laredo Petroleum [NYSE: LPI]

Mammoth Energy Services, Inc. [NASDAQ: TUSK]

Noble Energy, Inc. [NYSE: NBL]

NBL Midstream, LLC

Viper Energy Partners LP [NASDAQ: VNOM]

Warrior Met Coal, Inc. [NYSE: HCC]

Wells Fargo Securities [NYSE: WFC]

MAK Capital One, LLC.

Vista Credit Partners

LifePoint Health

Rattler Midstream, LP [NASDAQ: RTLR]

An Ad Hoc Group of Bondholders of CSI Compressco LP (the “CSI Compressco Ad Hoc Group”) [Nasdaq: CCLP]

U.S. Concrete, Inc. [Nasdaq: USCR]

Cinemark USA, Inc. [NYSE: CNK]

Martin Midstream Partners L.P. [Nasdaq: MMLP]

Work highlights

  • Advised Laredo Petroleum in a series of securities transactions, in aggregate value of $1.8bn.
  • Advised Genesis Energy, a diversified midstream MLP, on a public offering of $750m senior unsecured notes.
  • Represented LifePoint Health in a $600m private offering of senior secured notes.

Baker Botts L.L.P.

Baker Botts L.L.P.'s high-yield debt practice is largely centered in Houston where it primarily focuses on energy-industry transactions. The firm has an evenly balanced practice with a solid flow of both issuer and underwriter engagements; Bank of America Securities and Credit Suisse Securities are examples of its representative clients. Much of its practice in 2020 continued to be in the oil and gas sector, a forte for the Houston-headquartered firm. This has led to a number of high-yield deal engagements linked to the Covid-19 crisis and the associated liquidity constraints. Houston partner Joshua Davidson leads the capital markets group and has an especially strong record in offerings by master limited partnerships (MLPs).

Practice head(s):

Joshua Davidson

Other key lawyers:

AJ Ericksen; Justin Hoffman

Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP

Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP dominates the high-yield debt market for underwriters, outstripping its competitors by quite some distance. The firm is noted for its deal flow, but it also wins many of the biggest deals in the market, including those linked to headline acquisitions; it is a leading player in commercial lending for banks, with all team members recognized for their expertise in bank debt and capital markets fund raisings. Of late, the team advised JP Morgan Securities, as the initial purchasers, on a series of senior note offerings for Eldorado Resorts as part of the financing of its acquisition of Caesars Resort Collection. In addition to consistently attracting mandates involving first-time issuers, the firm is also routinely engaged to act as underwriters' counsel in deals involving seasoned, repeat-issuers. James ClarkJonathan Schaffzin and William Hartnett (chairman of the executive committee) are the senior statesmen of the practice, while Douglas HorowitzWilliam Miller and Corey Wright have gained considerable prominence in recent years and frequently lead the teams on many of the highest profile deals. Marc Lashbrook and Joshua Zelig are names to note on the more junior end of the partnership.

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Schaffzin; James Clark; William Hartnett; Douglas Horowitz; William Miller; Corey Wright; Marc Lashbrook; Joshua Zelig

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton had an impressive 2020 in both issuer and underwriter engagements. The firm's exceptional client base, including debut issuers and a range of dominant underwriters, ensures a steady pipeline of headline engagements, and indeed, it has maintained active throughout 2020. Along with a range of US deals, the team is also active in global issuances, including those originating from Latin America; it has arguably the market leading Latin America practice among international firms and recently advised the underwriters on two $1bn high-yield debt offerings by CEMEX, the Mexican building materials business. David Lopez is a seasoned capital markets specialist with an outstanding record in high-yield debt. Jeffrey Karpf has a wide-ranging capital markets practice, including high-yield, and Duane McLaughlin is another key figure in the group.

Other key lawyers:

David Lopez; Jeffrey Karpf; Duane McLaughlin; Craig Brod; Jorge Juantorena; Adam Brenneman

Key clients

Alcoa

Arconic Rolled Products

Bank of America

BNP Paribas

Citigroup

Morgan Stanley

Sabre

Santander

Unifin Financiera S.A.B de C.V.

Work highlights

  • Represented Cushman & Wakefield in a $650m Rule 144A/ Reg S offering of high-yield senior secured notes.
  • Represented Alcoa in a $750m Rule 144A/Reg S offering of high-yield notes.
  • Served as underwriters’ counsel in two $1bn high-yield global debt offerings by CEMEX.

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance is gaining recognition for transactions in the ESG and green bond segment, along with restructuring-related deals and Latin America work. Based in New York, the team's strength in ESG and green bonds is underpinned in part by the firm's activities in Europe. Specialty finance is another forte for the team, which acts for a variety of alternative lenders, business development companies and private equity firms. The group also works closely with the firm's structured finance and project finance teams. Gary Brooks is an experienced high-yield debt specialist and is particularly noted for his underwriter connections. Hugo Triaca has an extensive record in high-yield debt and hybrid financings in Latin America. Jonathan Zonis leads the Americas capital markets practice.

Practice head(s):

Gary Brooks; Jonathan Zonis

Other key lawyers:

Hugo Triaca

Key clients

Goldman Sachs

Sealed Air Corporation

The Government of the Republic of Costa Rica

Compañía Latinoamericana de Infraestructura y Servicios S.A

BofA Securities, Inc.

Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital Inc.

UBS

EG Group

Centrais Elétricas Brasileiras S.A. – Eletrobras

Work highlights

  • Advised Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital on its $350m Rule 144A offering of senior notes, which was its inaugural debt offering and its $400m Rule 144A offering of senior notes.
  • Advised CLISA on its offer to exchange any and all of its $300m senior notes due 2023 for senior secured notes due 2023.
  • Represented JP Morgan and Scotiabank as initial purchasers in a $186m notes reopening transaction by TermoCandelaria Power.

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP is very active in the corporate issuer market, as opposed to the private equity-backed segment, though it has historically been recognized for its underwriter-side work, where it acts for Bank of America, Citi, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan. The firm decided not a high-volume shop, and tends to focus on high-value and often complex engagements. In this regard, Craig Arcella has an outstanding record and led the team that represented the initial purchasers and dealer managers on the $3.5bn high-yield debt offering by Kraft Heinz Foods. William Fogg is another senior name with a strong focus on high-yield debt. Joseph Zavaglia and Johnny Skumpija are emerging talents. Skumpija in particular led the team that advised the initial purchasers and underwriters on the $7bn high-yield debt offering by Centene Corporation.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Burns; William Fogg; Craig Arcella; Andrew Pitts

Other key lawyers:

Joseph Zavaglia; Johnny Skumpija 

Key clients

Bank of America

Citi

Credit Suisse

Goldman Sachs

JPMorgan

Cable One

Occidental

Olin

Minerals Technologies

US Foods

Work highlights

  • Represented the initial purchasers in the $7bn 144A/Reg S high-yield senior notes offering by Centene to finance the acquisition of WellCare Health Plans.
  • Represented Occidental Petroleum Corporation in its $3bn registered high-yield senior notes offering.
  • Represented the initial purchasers in the $600m 144A/Reg S high-yield senior secured second-lien notes offering by Arconic Rolled Products.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is a dominant force in high-yield debt across the globe. The firm's New York headquarters drives its impressive performance in headline deals, and its close connections to major investment banks means it is routinely at the forefront of underwriter engagements. It is also a major player on the issuer side, where the team recently advised issuers including Bausch Health Companies and Delta Air Lines on high-value high-yield debt offerings. The dynamic practice is closely aligned with the firm's outstanding presence in domestic and international leveraged buyouts. In this space, a team led by Shane Tintle advised the initial purchasers on the $725m senior secured notes offering by Cleveland-Cliff to partially finance its acquisition of AK Steel Holding Corporation. Other key figures include Richard TruesdellJohn Crowley and Michael Kaplan, a recognized leader in high-yield debt offerings. Marcel FaustenDerek Dostal and Shane Tintle are also emerging talents.

Other key lawyers:

Michael Kaplan; Richard Truesdell; John Crowley; Marcel Fausten; Derek Dostal; Alan Denenberg; Shane Tintle

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP operates a principally issuer-side practice, tapping into the firm's broad corporate client base, along with a range of private equity houses and their portfolio companies; in 2020, it represented anchor private equity client Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and a portfolio company in a string of high-yield offerings relating to acquisitions. Further, a group led by Eric Juergens represented PowerTeam Services (a Clayton, Dubilier & Rice portfolio company) in its $587m offering of senior secured first priority notes relating to its $850m acquisition of Miller Pipeline and Minnesota. The core team is active in both US and global offerings, where it has noted strength in Latin America originating transactions. Peter Loughran, and capital markets group co-heads Steven Slutzky and Matthew Kaplan, are the most senior and active partners in the high-yield space. Paul Rodel is another key figure.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Kaplan; Steven Slutzky

Other key lawyers:

Peter Loughran; Eric Juergens; Paul Rodel

Testimonials

‘Extremely strong technical understanding of the debt capital raise process including keen awareness of market terms and ability to exceed those terms on our behalf.’

‘Very approachable and willing to talk through complexities inherent in the debt docs. Also do a good job representing us with counterparties and striking the appropriate ‘tough but fair’ approach.’

Key clients

Clayton, Dubilier & Rice

Gogo Inc.

Stone Point Capital

Radio Systems Holdings, Inc.

Booz Allen Hamilton

Warner Music Group Corp.

The Carlyle Group

Core & Main LP

Spirit Airlines

Sirius Computer Solutions, Inc.

Brighthouse Financial, Inc.

American Greetings Holding LP

PowerTeam Services LLC

Atkore International Group Inc.

D.E. Shaw

AIA Group Limited

Antares Holdings, LP

Brand Energy & Infrastructure Services, Inc.

Alliant Insurance

JetBlue Airways

Work highlights

  • Represented PowerTeam Services in its $587m offering of senior secured first priority notes in connection with its purchase of Miller Pipeline and Minnesota.
  • Represented CD&R Smokey Buyer and Radio Systems Holdings in the offer and sale of $625m senior secured notes in connection with CD&R’s acquisition of Radio Systems Holdings.
  • Represented Warner Music Group in a series of debt capital market transactions with an aggregate value of $1.6bn and €670m.

Dechert LLP

Dechert LLP's well-rounded corporate finance and capital markets practice brings in a steady flow of high-yield debt engagements, notably from its loyal repeat issuer client base. The team maintains a diversified client base, but is especially active for life sciences issuers and permanent capital vehicles (including business development companies). Global offerings, particularly those originating from Latin America, are another forte for the team. New York partner Jay Alicandri is a key player in the private debt space and is a prominent figure in permanent capital sector offerings. Boston's Thomas Friedmann co-chairs the global corporate finance and capital markets practice and also acts as co-head of the permanent capital group. Howard Kleinman has a extensive experience of Latin America debt offerings.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Friedmann; David Rosenthal

Other key lawyers:

Jay Alicandri; Howard Kleinman

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP had a strong 2020 in the high-yield debt space, advising on a string of headline deals on both the issuer and underwriter sides. The firm represents some of the biggest private equity sponsors in the market, along with their portfolio companies, and also has tight connections to a range of corporate issuers and key investment banks. The core capital markets team has excellent pedigree in big-ticket equity and debt transactions, including a series of high-yield debt offerings in excess of $500m; it recently advised Citigroup Global Markets, as the representative of the initial purchasers, on a $1bn senior notes offering by Allison Transmission. Daniel Bursky leads the capital markets group and is the go-to name for a range of regular corporate issuers and private equity sponsors; he leads many of the team's headline engagements. Andrew Barkan and Mark Hayek are also key members of the team, and Joshua Coleman is developing a strong reputation.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Bursky

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Barkan; Mark Hayek; Joshua Coleman

Testimonials

Top-flight knowledge of the market, well-grounded business-oriented advice, state-of-the-art documentation, thorough knowledge of the rules and accepted practices.

Daniel Bursky and Joshua Coleman – thorough, prepared, diligent, friendly, efficient, effective, excellent legal and business counsel.

‘The team seems and does many deals and acts for many large PE firms and corporate issuers and has lot of experience / exposure to the market.’

‘Daniel Bursky is outstanding.’

Key clients

Issuers

Aerie Pharmaceuticals

At Home

Catalent

Emerald

Evoqua Water Technologies

Extended Stay

GMS

Goldman Sachs BDC

Harsco

Humana

Lithia Motors

LivePerson

Merck

The Navios Group (and related entities)

Perrigo

RedBall Acquisition Corp.

Tapestry (f/k/a Coach)

T-Mobile

Tradeweb Markets

Under Armour

Private Equity Sponsors

AEA Investors

Cranemere

Goldman Sachs

OMERS

Onex

Permira

Investment Banks

Barclays

BofA Securities

Citi

Credit Suisse

Deutsche Bank

HSBC

Jefferies

JP Morgan

KeyBank

Morgan Stanley

Royal Bank of Canada

Wells Fargo

Underwriters’ Counsel Clients

Allison Transmission

Athene

Carrier Global

Clarivate

Estée Lauder

Ladder Capital

OneWater Marine

Procter & Gamble

Quest Diagnostics

USAA Capital Corporation

Warrior Met Coal

W.R. Grace

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP's US capital markets team is largely located across its New York, California and Houston offices. The capital markets group has a high degree of expertise and experience in high-yield debt offerings, and has an excellent record in the energy, technology, retail, construction, and healthcare sectors. Much of the practice has historically focused on issuer clients, but it has a  growing reputation for underwriter representation. Co-chair of the capital markets group Andrew Fabens is a prolific advisor on equity and debt offerings, including high-yield debt, as is Houston-based co-chair Hillary HolmesDoug Rayburn, who divides time between Dallas and Houston, is noted for energy-sector transactions, including offerings by MLPs.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Fabens; Hillary Holmes

Other key lawyers:

Stewart McDowell; Peter Wardle; Doug Rayburn

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP has a well-developed high-yield debt practice, driven by offices across the country, operating in range of industry sectors, including real estate, power and utilities, energy, and retail and consumer products. The firm is especially strong in underwriter engagements with Citigroup Global Markets, Credit Suisse Securities and JP Morgan Securities listed among the team's key clients. Houston partners Michael O’Leary and Henry Havre have extensive experience in energy sector deals. New York's Steven Friend is noted for offerings in the energy and utilities space.

Practice head(s):

Courtney Cochran Butler; Susan Failla; Pete O’Brien; David Wright

Other key lawyers:

Michael O’Leary; Steven Friend; Henry Havre 

Key clients

PG&E Corporation

Duke Energy Corporation

Philip Morris International Inc.

Citigroup Global Markets Inc.

Raymond James & Associates, Inc.

BMO Capital Markets

DTE Energy Company

Consolidated Edison Company

Mizuho Securities USA LLC

NextEra Energy, Inc.

Wells Fargo Securities, LLC

Barclays Capital Inc.

U.S. Bancorp Investments, Inc.

Credit Suisse Securities (USA)

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC

Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC

Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC

B. Riley FBR, Inc.

PRA Group, Inc.

Ahold Delhaize NV

Work highlights

  • Represented Pacific Gas & Electric Company in the $2bn public offering of senior notes.
  • Represented the underwriters in Genesis Energy’s $750m registered offering of senior notes and the dealer manager in the concurrent $750m cash tender offer for Genesis Energy’s senior notes.
  • Represented the initial purchasers in NextEra Energy Operating Partners’ $700m 144A/Reg S private placement of senior notes.

Jones Day

Jones Day's broad corporate client base generates a significant amount of capital markets work, including high-yield debt. The team is highly rated for US corporate and global offerings. Although more recognized for its issuer engagements, the firm also lands regular underwriter mandates. Cleveland partner Michael Solecki is the firm's most active high-yield debt specialist and is a prolific advisor to the team's issuer clients. Rory Hood is another key figure in New York, where he is gaining a reputation in underwriter advisory roles. Chicago-based Edward Winslow is an experienced practitioner in debt offerings, both investment grade and high-yield, and represents a range of issuers from multiple industries.

Practice head(s):

Brett Barragate; Jayant Tambe; Alban Caillemer du Ferrage

Other key lawyers:

Michael Solecki; Rory Hood; Edward Winslow 

Testimonials

‘Highly qualified and experienced team. Immediately responsive throughout the process. Efficiently productive. Easy to do business with.’

Key clients

Wabtec Corporation

Roper Technologies, Inc.

SunPower Corporation

PolyOne Corporation

Newell Brands Inc.

TransDigm Group Incorporated

Marathon Petroleum Corporation

Macy’s Inc.

Lam Research Corporation

Asbury Automotive Group, Inc

Work highlights

  • Advised Diebold Nixdorf on a $700m Rule 144A/Reg S notes issuance; and a Rule 144A/Reg S €350m notes issuance by its wholly-owned Dutch subsidiary.
  • Advised CITGO Petroleum Corporation on a $1.12bn Rule 144A offering of senior secured notes.
  • Advised Cleveland-Cliffs on a $725m senior secured notes offering and the exchange offers of AK Steel Corporation notes for the same aggregate principal amount of new notes issued by Cleveland-Cliffs, conducted in connection with the acquisition of AK Steel Holding Corporation.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP is at the forefront of issuer-side engagements in high-yield debt offerings. The firm's outstanding presence in private equity and restructurings, provides a tremendous platform for its work in the high-yield space. It advises a number of prominent private equity houses and their portfolio companies, along with a range of corporate issuers. The firm has worked on a series of headline financial restructurings, involving the use of bank debt and multiple capital markets offerings. The core capital markets team is spread across multiple offices, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Houston. Joshua Korff has an outstanding record in capital markets offerings, including high-yield debt. Los Angeles partners Philippa Bond and Monica Shilling are also big names, the latter for private equity clients. Sophia Hudson and Christian Nagler are also recommended, as is Matthew Pacey in the Houston office. Richard Aftanas left for Hogan Lovells US LLP. Named individuals are based in New York unless stated otherwise.

Other key lawyers:

Joshua Korff; Philippa Bond; Sophia Hudson; Christian Nagler; Monica Shilling; Matthew Pacey

Latham & Watkins LLP

Latham & Watkins LLP is one of the leading firms across issuer and underwriter engagements, enjoying a top-of-the-table spot in issuer representations and maintaining a strong second in underwriter-side mandates. In addition to a solid and consistent flow of transactions, it is noted for major event-driven deals, especially leveraged buyouts, and large-scale restructurings and refinancings. Of recent note, the team advised American Airlines on its $2.5bn senior notes offering at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. Global chair of the capital markets practice Ian Schuman and Marc Jaffe, global chair of the corporate department, are giants in the capital markets space, including in the high-yield segment. Washington DC's Rachel Sheridan is another pivotal figure, while Stelios Saffos is a fast emerging talent. All named individuals are based in New York unless stated otherwise.

Practice head(s):

Ian Schuman; Ryan Maierso; Rüdiger Malaun; Cathy Yeung

Other key lawyers:

Marc Jaffe; Rachel Sheridan; Stelios Saffos; Keith Halverstam; Senet Bischoff

Key clients

Bank of America

Barclays

Credit Suisse

J.P. Morgan

Jefferies

Morgan Stanley

One Rock Capital Partners

Scientific Games

Shift4 Payments, Inc.

The Carlyle Group

Work highlights

  • Advised American Airlines on its $2.5bn senior notes offering.
  • Advised JP Morgan as initial purchasers on WillScot Corporation’s upsized $650m senior secured notes offering.
  • Advised Cars.com on its debut private offering of $400m senior notes and concurrent refinancing of its corporate credit facility.

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown has successfully diversified its capital markets practice, from one that was best known for its excellence in investment grade debt, to now regularly appearing in high-yield debt matters on both the issuer and underwriter sides; this includes domestic and global issuances. Offerings by financial institutions (including insurance companies) are a particular forte, while consumer products and REITS are also key areas of activity. Like many of its peers, the firm saw an uptick in deals in 2020 thanks to an upsurge in refinancings linked to the Covid-19 crisis. The core high-yield debt focused team is split between New York, Chicago and Houston. In New York, John Berkery is a recognized expert in investment grade and high-yield debt; he led the team that advised YUM! Brands on a $1.1bn offering of senior notes. Department co-heads Edward Best in Chicago and Anna Pinedo in NewYork are also active in the high-yield space.

Practice head(s):

Eddie Best; Anna Pinedo

Other key lawyers:

John Berkery; Douglas Doetsch

Key clients

BofA Securities

Citigroup

Concho Resources

Craig-Hallum

Finansbank A.S.

Garanti Bank

Global Bank Corporation

Goldman Sachs & Co.

Great Ajax Corp.

Halcón Resources Corporation

HSBC

J.P. Morgan

KBR, Inc.

Morgan Stanley

Tenneco [CONFIDENTIAL]

Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Ziraat Bankasi A.S.

Turkiye Sise ve Cam Fabrikalari A.S.

Turkiye Vakiflar Bankasi T.A.O

UBS Securities

United Natural Foods, Inc.

Yum! Brands

Milbank

Milbank's institutional relationships with major investment banks, such as Citigroup, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs, provide it with a steady flow of major high-yield debt mandates, including many that are linked to international acquisition financings. The firm and the central capital markets team have an extensive record in the energy, infrastructure, gaming and aerospace industries. Marcelo Mottesi leads the global capital markets practice and has a principal focus on Latin America deals. Rod Miller leads the US securities group.

Practice head(s):

Marcelo Mottesi; Rod Miller

Key clients

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Barclays Capital

Citigroup

MUFG Securities

Credit Suisse

Deutsche Bank

Goldman Sachs

JPMorgan Securities LLC

MGM Resorts International/MGP

Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC

Paul Hastings LLP

Paul Hastings LLP's growing team has landed a number of important relationships with investment banks, private equity sponsors and repeat corporate issuers. The core team works closely with the firm's highly regarded leveraged finance group. It is also at the forefront of Latin America and Caribbean offerings, particularly those from Mexico, thanks in part to the experience of Michael Fitzgerald and Cathleen McLaughlin. New York-based Frank Lopez is co-head of the capital markets group and a partner in the leveraged finance team; since joining the firm in 2019, he has advised on a series of headline high-yield offerings for underwriters and issuers. Also recommended in New York is John Cobb, who has extensive experience of leveraged finance and high-yield debt.

Practice head(s):

Frank Lopez; Teri O’Brien

Other key lawyers:

Michael Fitzgerald; Cathleen McLaughlin; John Cobb; Doug Getten; Jonathan Ko

Testimonials

‘The team has enormous and incredible experience in the Mexican and Latin American markets and legal environment. The leaders have knowledge and sensitivity to the clients needs, and they are accompanied by young enthusiasts and well formed young professionals. The clients appreciate their communication skills that permit the client a full understanding of the details of the transaction and often a necessary education on foreign jurisdictions laws and markets regulations. Other firms are far away of that level of comprehension of the law and understanding of the legal and human dynamics of an international deal.’

‘Mike Fitzgerald is simply legendary in the market. His knowledge, devotion to the client and fine touch are unique. He is truly a well educated but more than, he is a wise man, who leads nicely through very complicated situations. Arturo Carrillo is a formidable Texan guy whose knowledge on “Mexican Spanish” is awesome and has relevant knowledge of the Mexican legal framework. Joy Gallup is an incredible lawyer, from a Hindi background. That background makes her extraordinary in understanding the minds and necessities of both clients and regulators. I do not know any other peer team with such strengths.’

Key clients

J.P. Morgan Securities

Bank of America

Goldman Sachs

Morgan Stanley

Credit Suisse

RBC

Barclays

BBVA

BMO Capital Markets

Jefferies

Crédito Real

Flexential

Ashton Woods

GI Partners

Braskem Idesa

Line One Peru Metro Expansion Company Limited

KeyBanc Capital Markets

Deutsche Bank Securities

Truist Securities

Regions Securities

Work highlights

  • Advised the joint bookrunning managers on the debut $700m high-yield offering by Prime Healthcare Services.
  • Represented the lead joint book-running managers, in the debut $500m high-yield offering by The Providence Service Corporation.
  • Advised the initial purchaser RBC Capital Markets on its purchase of $300m senior notes issued by Allen Media.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP has ‘very strong team on sponsor side’, frequently representing private equity sponsors and their portfolio companies on acquisition financings involving high-yield debt offerings; private equity giant Apollo Global Management is an anchor client. The firm has a wider public company-driven practice that was especially active in pandemic-related high-yield debt offerings in 2020, notably in the travel, leisure, fashion and apparel, and entertainment industries. Gregory Ezring  is global head of the finance and capital markets group, and has a solid record of representing private equity houses and their portfolio companies in high-yield offerings. John Kennedy   is co-global head of the capital markets team and impressed in 2020 with a series of Covid-19 crisis-related deals, including representing Carnival Corporation, the cruise line operator, on a string of high-yield debt offerings linked to the temporary cessation of its operations.

Other key lawyers:

Gregory Ezring; John Kennedy; Brian Janson; Tracey Zaccone

Testimonials

‘A very strong team on sponsor side.’

‘Greg Ezring is one of the best. Brian Jansen and Mark Wlazlo are both excellent.’

Ropes & Gray LLP

Ropes & Gray LLP's high-yield debt practice is driven, in part, by the firm's outstanding private equity client base, which includes anchor clients Bain Capital and TPG Capital. The firm is also a growing force in underwriter representation with a series of major engagements in 2020. Among its recent highlights, a team led by Paul Tropp represented the underwriters in several debt offerings worth some $900m for Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital, a mortgage REIT. Healthcare, life sciences and financial services are also key sectors for the practice with the firm's New York and Boston offices having extensive experience in domestic and international offerings, including deals originating from Asia. New York's Stefanie Birkmann and Boston-based Byung Choi jointly head the global finance group.

Practice head(s):

Stefanie Birkmann; Byung Choi; Michael Kazakevich

Other key lawyers:

Alexander Zeltser; Jay Kim; Paul Tropp

Key clients

American Industrial Partners

Bain Capital

Genstar Capital

CCMP Capital

IQVIA

Madison Dearborn Partners

NFP Corp.

Samsonite International S.A.

TPG Capital

Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe

Work highlights

  • Represented Michaels Stores in connection with its $375m senior secured notes offering and $1.67bn term loan financing to recapitalize its debt structure.
  • Represented the underwriters on several debt offerings worth an aggregate $900m for Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital.
  • Represented Tronox Holdings in connection with its affiliate’s $500m bond offering of senior secured notes.

Shearman & Sterling LLP

Shearman & Sterling LLP leverages its outstanding investment bank relationships to earn a major market share of big-ticket underwriter and manager engagements; Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan are regular clients. The firm has maintained a steady pipeline of high-yield debt deals, including those linked to financial distress caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. It also advised the underwriters on Ford Motor Company's landmark $8bn senior notes offering in 2020, the largest unsecured high-yield bond deal of its kind; the firm has worked on every securities offering by Ford since its IPO in 1956. Jason Lehner splits his time between New York and Toronto, and has a solid record in high-yield debt offerings, particularly for underwriters. Merritt Johnson is another prolific capital markets specialist, as are Jonathan DeSantis and Harald Halbhuber.

Practice head(s):

Ilir Mujalovic

Other key lawyers:

Jason Lehner; Merritt Johnson; Jonathan DeSantis; Harald Halbhuber

Key clients

American Axle & Manufacturing

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Citigroup

Credit Suisse

Goldman Sachs

Jefferies Finance

J.P. Morgan

Mattamy Group Corporation

Morgan Stanley

Valvoline Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised the underwriters on Ford Motor Company’s $8bn senior notes offering.
  • Advised the initial purchasers on a $3.32bn  senior notes offering by Royal Caribbean Cruises.
  • Advised Valvoline on its $600m senior notes offering.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP continues to win a sizeable market share of issuer and underwriter engagements in high-yield debt offerings. Indeed, the firm sits comfortably in the top five by deal count and value in the various deal league tables. It has a tightly concentrated capital markets team that has an excellent record with first-time issuers, making good use of its strong connections to investment banks, private equity sponsors and their portfolio companies, and a range of other corporates. Arthur Robinson is global head of the capital markets group and has a rich history in the high-yield debt space. John Ericson is another prolific advisor on high-yield debt transactions; he led the team that advised the initial purchasers, led by JP Morgan Securities, on the debut $830m Rule 144A/Reg S offering of senior secured notes by Smyrna Ready Mix Concrete.

Practice head(s):

Arthur Robinson

Other key lawyers:

John Ericson; Richard Fenyes; David Azarkh; Ryan Bekkerus; Marisa Stavenas

Key clients

Acelity

American Tire Distributors

APX Group Holdings, Inc. (a/k/a Vivint Smart Home)

Aramark

AssuredPartners, Inc.

Avantor, Inc.

Axis Specialty Finance LLC

BofA Merrill Lynch

BC Partners

Blackstone Mortgage Trust, Inc.

BMC Software, Inc. (an indirect subsidiary of Boxer Parent Company Inc.)

BMO Capital Markets

The Carlyle Group

Cedar Fair, L.P.

CHS/Community Health Systems, Inc.

CNO Financial Group, Inc.

Cooper-Standard Automotive Inc.

Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC

Dell Inc.

Deutsche Bank Securities

First Data Corporation

First Reserve

Garda World Security Corporation

Gates Industrial Corporation

GFL Environmental Inc.

Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC

HCA Inc.

Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc.

Hub International Limited

Ingersoll Rand Inc. (f/k/a Gardner Denver Holdings, Inc.)

J.P. Morgan Securities

Jefferies

K. Hovnanian Enterprises, Inc.

KKR Financial Holdings

KKR Real Estate Finance Trust Inc.

Masonite International Corporation

Morgan Stanley

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP has one of the leading high-yield debt practices globally, with notable strength across its offices in the Americas, Europe and Asia. In the US, the team has notable strengths on both coasts. Though it is better known for its representation of issuers it is also a recognized force on the underwriter side. It represents issuers from all major industry sectors and US-based partners also have a healthy level of experience in advising foreign issuers, especially those in Latin America. Of recent note, Gregory Fernicola advised Mexico's CEMEX on two consecutive $1bn high-yield debt offerings in 2019 and 2020. Michael Zeidel and David Goldschmidt are giants of the capital markets space, including in high-yield debt, with the former leading the Americas capital markets group and the latter heading the global team. Ryan Dzierniejko and Andrea Nicolás are also key names, while Gregg Noel is an important figure in Palo Alto. All named individuals are based in New York unless stated otherwise.

Practice head(s):

Michael Zeidel; David Goldschmidt 

Other key lawyers:

Gregory Fernicola; Ryan Dzierniejko; Andrea Nicolás; Gregg Noel 

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP's DCM practice is best known for its work in the investment grade space, though it has plenty of experience and expertise in high-yield debt as well. A contact in this space is Robert Downes, who co-heads the capital markets group.

Other key lawyers:

Robert Downes

Vinson & Elkins LLP

Vinson & Elkins LLP is a clear leader the high-yield debt market for energy sector offerings, where it is equally prominent in issuer and underwriter engagements. With a mix of private and public issuances, the firm's relationships with big-name investment banks such as Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs, are indicative of its status in the market. It is also a growing force in private equity-related offerings. Houston partner David Stone is an experienced capital markets specialist with a key focus on the oil and gas sector, and had an active pipeline of high-yield debt transactions in 2020; he led the team that advised Endeavor Energy Resources on its $500m Rule 144A offering of unsecured high-yield senior notes and its $600m tack-on offering. Noel Hughes, who splits his time between New York and London, is another high-yield debt and leveraged finance specialist, who has helped build even tighter connections to underwriters and other issuers, including those outside the energy sector. New York's David Wicklund works with a number of private equity houses and their portfolio companies on high-yield debt offerings.

Practice head(s):

David Oelman; David Stone

Other key lawyers:

Noel Hughes; David Wicklund; Dan Spelkin

Key clients

Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC

Goldman Sachs & Company

RBC Capital Markets, LLC

Parsley Energy, Inc.

Holly Energy Partners, L.P.

Enviva Partners, LP

Targa Resources Partners LP and Targa Resources Corp.

Calumet Specialty Products Partners, L.P.

Endeavor Energy Resources

Range Resources Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised Endeavor Energy Resources on its $500m Rule 144A offering of unsecured high-yield senior notes and its tack-on $600m Rule 144A offering of unsecured high-yield senior notes.
  • Advised Credit Suisse Securities as lead underwriter on the $430m Rule 144A offering of high-yield senior notes by Tallgrass Energy.
  • Advised Parsley Energy on its $400m Rule 144A offering of high-yield unsecured senior notes.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP recorded a strong performance in 2020, thanks in part to the surge in acquisition financing activities among its private equity clients. The firm maintains an outstanding corporate issuer client base that regularly accesses the high-yield debt markets. Given the nature of the firm's prestigious client base, it is active in both domestic and international offerings. Though it is better known for issuer engagements, the team is gaining ground on the underwriter side, an areas where emerging talent Michael HickeyCorey Chivers is an experienced capital markets specialist with an impressive record in high-yield debt deals. Heather Emmel is also making an impression in the high-yield space. Alexander Lynch leads the wider capital markets group.

Practice head(s):

Alexander Lynch

Other key lawyers:

Michael Hickey; Corey Chivers; Heather Emmel

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP has continued its impressive progress in developing market share in both underwriter and issuer engagements. The firm also stands out for its international perspectives on high-yield covenants, bringing in team members from around the globe, including Europe and Latin America. It continues to service a range of financial institutions in this space, but has also successfully targeted a number of the firm's corporate clients for issuer mandates, making the most of the benign climate for high-yield debt issuances. The experienced Daniel Nam and fast-emerging talent Jonathan Michels are key figures in the team. Also recommended are Andrew Weisberg and Rafael Roberti, who was promoted to partner in January 2021. David Thatch heads up the wider capital markets group for the Americas.

Practice head(s):

David Thatch

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Nam; Jonathan Michels; Andrew Weisberg; Rafael Roberti 

Testimonials

‘They make sure to bring solutions to the table. An impressive track record of deals have them bring a ton of experience to each deal they advise’

‘Technical knowledge, structuring capabilities, innovation, attitude of always delivering results for client.’

‘Extremely responsive. Thought on complex/difficult deals. In fact, they’re the go to on difficult and complex deals. Commercial mindset on getting deals done. Great team work, strong communication. User friendly.’

‘Jon Michels is extremely responsive, thoughtful, great communication.’

Key clients

Alliant Holdings Intermediate, LLC

Buckeye Partners, L.P.

Calpine Corporation

Constellation Oil Services Holdings S.A.

Inspire Brands, Inc.

JBS S.A.

Jefferies LLC

Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC

Stone Point Capital LLC

Talen Energy Supply, LLC

Transocean Ltd.

UBS Investment Bank