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  1. US taxes: non-contentious
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Leading lawyers

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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is ‘among the top tax practices globally’, and is a ‘leading name’ for non-contentious tax matters. Its international practice commands respect for successfully combining technical knowledge with clients’ objectives. James Duncan led the team advising SABMiller on the tax matters related to its merger with AB InBev, while Diana Wollman assisted industrial gas producer and supplier Air Liquide with the tax aspects of its $13.4bn acquisition of Airgas. In another key mandate, a team led by William McRae advised the underwriters on the tax implications of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries’ debt offerings, which raised approximately $21bn to finance its acquisition of Allergan. Other notable clients include Citigroup, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. Leslie Samuels, Yaron Reich, Erika Nijenhuis and James Peaslee are also recommended. All lawyers mentioned are based in New York.

A top firm’, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP fields ‘a savvy team of lawyers’ that combines ‘knowledge of the finer points of law with pragmatic solutions’. The team, which has particular expertise in M&A, joint ventures, spin-offs, restructuring and securities, is providing tax advice to AB InBev on an asset swap with Ambev, which involves the transfer of SABMiller’s business in Panama to Ambev and Ambev’s transfer of its business in Colombia, Peru and Ecuador to AB Inbev. Stephen Gordon, Lauren Angelilli and Christopher Fargo led the team on that matter, while Leonard Teti is advising Avon on tax matters connected to its $605m strategic partnership with Cerberus Capital Management and Andrew Needham is assisting British American Tobacco with its $93bn proposed merger with Reynolds American. Other key clients include Amblin Partners, DreamWorks Animation, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson and Honeywell International.

Spread across its offices in New York, Menlo Park and Washington DC, the ‘spectacular’ tax practice at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is regularly called on to advise on the most prominent US and international transactions. Highlights included acting for Baker Hughes on its $32bn combination with GE’s oil and gas business, assisting Syngenta with a $43bn offer by ChemChina to acquire the company and advising Markit Group Holdings on its merger with HIS. Aetna, AstraZeneca, ExxonMobil, PepsiCo and Roche are also clients. Neil Barr in Washington DC and New York-based Avishai Shachar head the practice, which includes the ‘very knowledgeable’ David Schnabel, Michael Mollerus and Po Sit.

For many, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is the ‘go-to firm for complex deals locally and internationally’, thanks in part to its ‘proven track record in the tax arena and reliable global capabilities’. Working closely with the transactional department, 2016 proved to be yet another highly active year for the non-contentious tax practice, especially in the energy and oil and gas fields. In an illustration of the practice’s ability to leverage the firm’s market-leading restructuring capability, Todd Maynes, Gregory Gallagher and Sara Zablotney led advice to Energy Future Holdings and 70 of its affiliates on the tax aspects of their Chapter 11 applications, which have involved more than $40bn in debt. In another highlight, Dean Shulman and Mike Carew led the tax advice for Baxalta Incorporated during its $32bn merger with Shire, while Shulman, Carew and Benjamin Schreiner acted for Molson Coors Brewing on its purchase of a 58% stake in SABMiller from AB InBev. The firm also assisted the same client with its sale of a 58% stake in MillerCoors (SABMiller’s and Molson Coors’ joint venture in the US) to AB InBev for approximately $12bn.

Latham & Watkins LLP’s lawyers attract praise for ‘their appropriate advice and reliability’ and ability to provide ‘creative tax structuring for heavy deals including cross-border merger and acquisition transactions’. The tax practice, which is regularly involved in some of the most noteworthy M&A deals particularly in the technology, pharmaceutical and healthcare areas, advised FMC Technologies on the $13bn purchase of Technip, a complex cross-border transaction that spanned three jurisdictions. The firm also provided tax advice to Sirona Dental Systems on its merger with DENTSPLY International and assisted Leonard Green & Partners with multiple corporate acquisitions, which involved a range of partnership tax issues, tax-free sponsors and management rollover. Other clients include BC Partners, Rentech Nitrogen Partners, The Carlyle Group and Lane Industries. Kirt Switzer, Pardis Zomorodi, Samuel Weiner, David Raab, Diana Doyle and David Kahn are all key members of the practice.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP’s lawyers are ‘significant players in the development of innovative tax solutions’ and are known for ‘creating appropriate structures to maximize the achievement of responsible tax advantages for clients’. In an illustration of the firm’s ability to devise unique approaches to complex tax issues, Brad Okun and Richard Bronstein are leading the team advising Texas Competitive Electric on its Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which involves a tax-free G reorganization with embedded taxable transactions. Transactional tax highlights included Jeffrey Samuels’ advice to Time Warner Cable on the tax structuring aspects of the client’s $78.7bn merger with Charter Communications. Okun and Patrick Karsnitz were the leading names advising Apollo Global Management in tax matters connected to several associated fund corporations with a matter value well above $15bn. In a different mandate, the group acted for Cable & Wireless Communication in relation to its acquisition of Liberty Global in a $7.4bn operation. Other key clients include General Atlantic, Oaktree Capital, VICE Media and TowerBrook Capital. David Sicular and David Mayo are also recommended.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s tax practice has earned a name for advising on transactional tax mandates encompassing corporate finance, group planning, real estate, M&A and capital markets. Based in New York, ‘pragmatic and technical’ practice head John Hart acted for Hilton on the spin-off of its time share business and hotels into a corporation and REIT, respectively. In other key mandates, Palo Alto-based Katharine Moir led advice to KKR & Co on tax issues arising from its $345m SEC-registered Series A offering; Rob Holo in New York acted for China National Chemical Corporation on the tax aspects of its $43bn acquisition of Syngenta; and Nancy Mehlman (also based in New York) assisted Blackstone with its $8bn purchase of BioMed Realty Trust. Marcy Geller, Gary Mandel and Jonathan Goldstein (all based in New York) are also key members of the practice.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s 33-lawyer team brings years of experience in both the private and public sectors and a leading presence in cross-border, high-value transactional tax mandates. The group assisted Citigroup with tax issues arising from several high-profile transactions throughout 2016, including the sale of its pre-paid card services business to Wirecard. Other highlights included advising Darden Restaurants on the spin-off of real estate assets into a REIT and assisting Pfizer with its aborted $160bn merger with Allergan, which would have been the largest tax inversion deal on record. Stuart Finkelstein, Eric Sensenbrenner, David Rievman, Pamela Lawrence Endreny and David Polster are all highly recommended.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s tax practice is well known for providing sophisticated, client-oriented advice on complex, cross-border transactions. New York-based Ronald Creamer led advice to Advance/Newhouse Partnership on the merger of its subsidiary Bright House Networks with Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable, creating a company with an equity value in excess of $80bn. Creamer also acted alongside Eric Wang for AB InBev on the tax aspects of its £71bn acquisition of SABMiller. Other clients include ACE Limited, Bayer AG, SIFMA and Enbridge. David Hariton, Andrew Mason and Jeff Hochberg are all noted.

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz’s practice regularly handles the tax aspects of corporate reorganizations, acquisitions, spin-offs, financings, restructurings and joint ventures. Jodi Schwartz assisted Century Link with its $34bn acquisition of Level 3 Communications, which included the assumption of pre-existing debt, and advised Monsanto on its $66bn acquisition by Bayer. Other highlights included Deborah Paul’s advice to Supervalu on its $1.4bn sale of Save-A-Lot to Onex Partners and Harman International Industries on its $8.8bn acquisition by Samsung Electronics; Eiko Stange’s advice to Regency Centers on its $15.6bn merger with Equity One; and Joshua Holmes’s advice to TD Ameritrade on its $4bn acquisition of Scottrade.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP’s leading tax practice attracts praise for its ‘top levels of expertise’ and ‘exceptional service; partners demonstrate knowledge of how to apply the law and its implications on business operations’. Kenneth Heitner and Chayim Neubort (who is noted for his ‘exceptionally deep expertise’) advised The Dow Chemical Company on all tax aspects of its $130bn merger with DuPont, while the ‘technical and knowledgeableStuart Goldring assisted Oracle Corporation with the tax aspects of its $9.3bn acquisition of NetSuite and Mark Schwed acted for HNA Group on its $6.5bn acquisition of a 25% stake in Hilton Worldwide Holdings. Other clients include Brookfield Asset Management, Sanofi and Verizon.

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP’s ‘premier tax practice’ attracts praise for its innovative approach to tax-efficient structures, as well as for its transactional tax advice. Linda Swartz acted as tax counsel for Procter & Gamble during the $11.4bn merger of its specialty beauty business with Coty, and worked alongside Edward Wei for The Medicines Company during the $792m sale of three of its cardiovascular products to Italian corporation Chiesi Farmaceutici. The firm has also represented global manufacturer The Dover Corporation on the reorganization and sale of Texas Hydraulics to Chicago-based private equity firm Wynnchurch Capital. Other clients include Ashford Hospitality Prime and J.P. Morgan.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s ‘excellent’ tax team, which is jointly headed by the ‘outstanding, proactive and thoughtfulPeter Schuur and Peter Furci, is commended for its ‘responsiveness, commitment and creative approach to clients’ objectives’ and for its ‘capacity to explain complicated issues in plain English’. Furci led a team advising Verizon Communications on its acquisitions of Telogis and the fibre-optic business of XO Communications. Other highlights for the group included acting for the majority shareholders of Cablevision during its sale to Altice and assisting Envision Healthcare with the tax issues arising from its $15bn merger with Amsurg Corp. Gary Friedman, Robert Staffaroni, Michael Bolotin and Burt Rosen are also recommended.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP’s tax team is ‘excellent; its response time is rapid and its orderly approach means answers are well thought out’. The 11-partner team is headed by Robert Cassanos in New York and Washington DC-based Alan Kaden, and is highly active in tax matters connected to M&A, fund formation, real estate, private equity and restructuring. Highlights included acting for Genesys on its $1.4bn acquisition of Interactive Intelligence Group, and assisting the same client with a $900m investment into the company by affiliates of Hellman & Friedman. Cassanos led advice to Coach on the sale of its interests in the Hudson Yard development. Michael Alter, Henry Lebowitz, David Shapiro and associate Reid Thompson are also recommended. Other clients include Ascential, Goldman Sachs, Terex Corporation and Permira Advisers.

Mayer Brown’s tax group advises on an array of tax-related issues including corporate, partnership and individual taxation with special emphasis on cross-border matters. Highlights included advising Prologis on its $5.9bn acquisition of the real estate assets and operating platform of KTR Capital Partners and its affiliates, and assisting Altice with its acquisition of NYSE-listed Cablevision. Chicago-based partners Lee Morlock and Steve Garden led advice to Yum! Brands on the tax implications of a spin-off to create two independent corporations. Canadian Imperial Bank, TransCanada Corporation and Prologis are also among the firm’s clients. Chicago-based James Barry and Jason Bazar in New York are both respected practitioners.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP fields a large team of dedicated tax lawyers that attracts praise for its ‘high-quality tax advice’. The firm has a track record of advising multinationals and banks on complex tax arrangements governing M&A transactions, financings, joint ventures and restructurings. Key clients include Johnson & Johnson, which the firm advises on tax planning matters related to its global operations, and Exelon, which it advises on tax issues connected to numerous power-related matters including the development of large-scale renewable energy projects, acquisitions, divestitures and others. S&P Global, athenahealth and PGA Tour are also among its clients. Located in Chicago, Lowell Yoder leads the federal and international tax practice, while Jane Wells May heads the state and local tax department. Damon Lyon is also noted. In April 2017, Mark Martin and Robert Clary took up roles at KPMG.

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP’s highly experienced tax team is particularly noted for its energy sector expertise for clients including Texas Municipal Gas Corporation, which it advised on a program to provide its clients with gas supplies for the purposes of energy production. In another energy-related highlight, it assisted a consortium led by Axium Infrastructure with acquiring a minority stake in a 1,029MW wind portfolio from EDP Renewables North America, which involved devising a tax-efficient structure. On the infrastructure side, a team led by David Gillespie acted for Plenary Group and its affiliates on tax issues related to the development and financing of a PPP project with the City of Long Beach and the Board of Harbour Commissioners. The US tax practice is led by Robert Phillpott in Houston and includes Andrius Kontrimas who heads the tax practice globally. Stephen Kuntz, Michael Flamenbaum and William Caudill are also key figures. In June 2017, following publication, the firm combined with Chadbourne & Parke LLP, adding additional tax expertise. The incoming group regularly acts for major public corporations, investment fund managers and financial institutions. Headline mandates included advising NextEra Energy on its purchase of Energy Future Holdings, which is currently involved in the largest bankruptcy proceedings to date, and advising Nomad Holdings on tax issues arising from its $2.8bn reverse acquisition of Iglo Group. William Cavanagh and Keith Martin are key members of the team. Erez Tucner joined Holland & Knight LLP in March 2017.

Paul Hastings LLP’s practice is particularly active on cross-border matters spanning Asia, Latin America and Europe. Recent mandates include advising Takeda Pharmaceutical and healthcare investment firms Bay City Capital and Deerfield Management on the tax aspects of the launch of drug discovery company Bridge Medicines; Andrew Short advised on that matter and leads the team, which includes Alexander Lee, who played a key tax advisory role for Dick Clark Productions during its $1bn sale to Dalian Wanda Group. Other highlights included advising Elanco US and its subsidiary Eli Lilly and Company on the tax aspects of its $885m acquisition of Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica’s US feline, canine and rabies vaccines portfolio.

Shearman & Sterling LLP’s multi-disciplinary tax group is reputed for its ability to develop tax-efficient structures for acquisitions, disposals, joint ventures and financings. Ethan Harris led advice to General Electric (GE) on the merger of GE’s oil and gas business with Baker Hughes to create a leading oilfield technology provider with $32bn in combined revenue. In another highlight Laurence Bambino, who jointly leads the practice with Michael Shulman from the firm’s New York office, advised B/E Aerospace on its $6.4bn acquisition by Rockwell Collins. Clients also include American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings, Legg Mason and Francisco Partners. Larry Crouch is also noted.

Sidley Austin LLP has established a reputation for ‘sound, pragmatic and commercial advice’, which the practice provides to multinational corporations on cross-border M&A and securities offerings. Highlights included providing tax advice to Range Resources on its $4.4bn acquisition of gas producer Memorial Resource Development and assisting Stonepeak Infrastructure with the tax aspects of its investments in Targa Resources Corp, Sanchez Energy and Plain All American Pipeline, with an aggregate value in excess of $850m. Other clients include Athene Holding, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and GE Capital. Laura Barzilai, Robert Kreitman, Edwin Norris, Sharp Sorensen, Christian Brause and Monique Gallego are all recommended.

White & Case LLP’s tax practice attracts praise for its ‘solid experience’ and ‘appropriate and sensible solutions’, which it provides to clients in the energy, media communications and private equity sectors. In a notable mandate William Dantzler, who heads the tax practice for the Americas, led a team advising Anthem on tax issues related to its $54.2bn acquisition of Cigna Corporation. The team also assisted Qingdao Haier with its $5.4bn acquisition of General Electric’s appliance business, GE Appliances, which was the third-largest acquisition of a US company by a Chinese investor at the time of publication. Other notable clients include Fortis, Saudi Refining, Zimmer Biomet and Element Financial. Washington-based Kim Boylan has been appointed global head of the tax practice, which includes David Dreier, Ray Simon, Sang Ji, Brian Gleicher and James Hayden.

Baker McKenzie LLP is well known for its ability to advise multinational corporations on local and international tax matters, including state and local tax (SALT) and e-business taxation, as well as tax matters arising from public transactions, major internal restructurings and post-acquisition integrations. Highlights included advising Abbott Laboratories on tax matters related to its $25bn acquisition of St Jude Medical, assisting Cardtronics with tax issues connected to its re-domiciliation to the UK and advising Expedia on tax planning, M&A and transfer pricing matters. Mary Bennett, Jonathan Martin and Thomas May are all noted.

At Clifford Chance, practice head Richard Catalano led the advice to Apollo Global Management on tax issues arising from the mergers of Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance and Apollo Residential Mortgage. Other highlights for Catalano included acting as lead counsel for Colony American Homes on its $7.7bn merger with Starwood Waypoint Residential Trust, creating a REIT with over 30,000 homes on its portfolio, while David Moldenhauer and Philip Wagman acted for the shareholders of AB InBev on the tax aspects of the company’s acquisition of SABMiller.

Fenwick & West LLP’s Silicon Valley-based tax practice regularly acts for corporates in the TMT sector and attracts praise for ‘the tremendous insight it brings to dealing with the IRS’. In an illustration of the firm’s excellent M&A pipeline, in 2016 the tax team advised longstanding client Symantec on its $7.4bn sale of Veritas to the Carlyle Group and GIC, and assisted Activision Blizzard with its $5.9bn acquisition of King Digital Entertainment. Key figures include James Fuller and the ‘very knowledgeable’ David Forst, who is ‘an excellent person to partner with’.

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s tax group, which regularly acts for local and international clientele on structuring and implementing taxable and tax-free acquisitions and disposals, is rated for its ‘solid expertise in developing and implementing comprehensive and innovative solutions’. Bernie Pistillo led the advice to Boyd Gaming on the $900m sale of a 50% interest in Marina District Development Holding Company. Pistillo is also advising VMware on Dell’s $67bn acquisition of the client’s parent company EMC Corporation, and acted alongside David Strong and Joy MacIntyre for SoftBank on tax issues related to its internal restructuring as well as on various cross-border sales and purchases. Strong jointly heads the practice with Craig Fields and Thomas Humphreys. Remmelt Reigersman is also noted.

International corporations, financial institutions and private equity funds regularly instruct O’Melveny & Myers LLP on an array of transactions, from corporate formations to complex M&A, particularly where those transactions are considered tax-sensitive or involve emerging tax issues. Highlights included advising LaGuardia Gateway Partnership on the complex tax structure connected to its successful bid to reconstruct La Guardia airport in New York and assisting Alaska Air Group with its $4bn acquisition of Virgin America. California-based partners Robert Blashek, Robert Fisher and Luc Moritz are recommended, as is Arthur Hazlitt in New York.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP’s client roster includes financial institutions Morgan Stanley, Barclays, BlackRock, Citibank and J.P. Morgan. The practice has established a reputation for advising on fund formation, capital markets and M&A related tax matters; on the capital market front, it advised Credit Suisse on tax issues related to its structured note program. In another highlight, the firm advised Purdue Research Foundation on the tax treatment of income sharing agreements through the client’s new program aimed at providing finance to students’ higher education. Chas Cardall leads the team.

Proskauer Rose LLP’s experienced tax group advises on all areas of corporate and financial tax and specializes in matters related to REITs and fund formation. Recent work includes acting for Pacific Exploration & Production on its acquisition of The Catalyst Group (its former creditor) as part of a cross-border restructuring that included a capital infusion of $240m, a new financing line of $240m and a $115m letter of credit facility. In another notable mandate, the firm advised American Realty Capital, Retail Centers of America and American Finance Trust on their $1.4bn merger. Other clients include Icahn Enterprises, National Hockey League and Lexington Partners. David Miller, Amanda Nussbaum, Ira Bogner, Jamiel Poindexter and Ali Fawaz are all key members of the practice, as is Anne Kim, who receives praise for her ‘patience, knowledge, insightfulness and responsiveness’.

Steptoe & Johnson LLP’s ‘very helpful’ tax lawyers attract praise for their ‘sophisticated’ approach to complex tax issues and are frequently involved in some of the most challenging cases. In an illustration of the firm’s track record in cross-border tax matters, the firm is providing ongoing advice to a US corporation on transfer pricing agreements and tax issues connected to a China business trust. The practice is also advising several clients on tax policy issues before congress and the Treasury, including advice on the impact of legislative and regulatory developments. Robert Rizzi and Lisa Zarlenga lead the team.

Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP’s practice is known for its expertise in tax-related matters in the oil and gas field and its lawyers are commended for their ‘solution-focused approach and pragmatic advice’. The firm is advising oil and gas exploration and production company Warren Resources on tax matters related to its proposed capital restructuring and advised FourPoint Energy on its acquisition of Chesapeake Energy’s remaining Western Anadarko Basin oil and gas assets. Other key clients include Archer Well Company, Sunoco LP and Six Flags. The practice is led by Houston-based Thomas Ford and includes Robert McNamara, Thomas Popplewell, Allison Mantor and Angela Richards.

DLA Piper LLP (US)’s tax practice works very closely with the firm’s corporate and real estate departments to handle the tax aspects of M&A, private equity and real estate transactions for clients including Qualcomm Incorporated, Windpoint Partners, Juniper Networks and Kadmon Holdings. Sang King, Gerald Rokoff and Stacy Paz lead the ‘very reliable group’, which advised e-commerce giant Groupon on tax issues related to its $782m sale of a controlling stake in LS Korea and Ticket Monster. In another highlight, it provided tax advice to NuVasive on its $410m acquisition of Ellipse Technologies.

Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP, which was formed in 2017 from the merger of Eversheds LLP and Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, has an active tax practice that acts on domestic and cross-border mandates and attracts praise for its ‘combination of expertise in an array of regulated sectors with global standard tax counsel’. The team, which is led from Washington DC by of counsel practice chair Jerome Libin and practice head Mark Smith, is advising a global corporation on the structuring of its investments in the energy sector and advised Coca-Cola Enterprises on its merger with Coca-Cola European Partners.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s tax team advised St Jude Medical on its sale to Abbott Laboratories and acted for CVC Capital Partners and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board on their joint acquisition of Petco Animal Supplies for approximately $4.6bn. Arthur Pasternak and Jeffrey Trinklein lead the practice, which includes Romina Weiss, Scott Knutson and Paul Issler.

Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP fields a tax group that ‘punches above its weight’, and acts for a range of clients including chemical corporations, airliners, leasing companies and investment funds. A team led by Alexander Anderson advised Republic Airways on tax issues connected to its Chapter 11 restructuring, while Andrew Braiterman led advice to Cenveo on the $105m sale of its folded carton and litho-laminated display packaging business to WestRock Company. Chiltern, Smithfield, Epic Pharma and Cipla are also clients.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP’s ‘knowledgeable and responsive’ tax department works closely with the firm’s other practices to handle the tax aspects of asset finance, project finance, M&A and restructuring and insolvency transactions. Highlights included advising Sprint Corporation on the $20bn securitization of FCC spectrum licenses and assisting Zuffa LLC with the $4bn sale of the Ultimate Fighting Championships. Russell Kestembaum led the team advising Revlon on its acquisition of outstanding shares of Elizabeth Arden. Andrew Walker, Leah Karlov, Manan Shah, Joel Krasnow and Michael Duff are also recommended.

George Hani heads the team at Miller & Chevalier Chartered, which advises on a broad array of tax matters including transfer pricing. The firm acted for leading insurance company Assured Guaranty on its $450m acquisition of CIFG Holding. David Zimmerman is also a key member.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP has a ‘sophisticated, responsive and commercial’ tax practice, with its lawyers attracting praise for their ‘excellent legal minds’. It acts for a diverse range of clients on public and private M&A, joint ventures and capital markets transactions with particular emphasis on the energy and life science arenas. Recent work includes advising Energy Transfer Partners on the tax implications of its aborted merger with Williams Companies and acting for NextEra Energy on the tax planning aspects of its issuance of common shares. In another mandate, the team is advising Aramark on tax planning issues arising from its $140m acquisition of National Parking Corp. The practice is led by Barton Bassett in Silicon Valley and Joshua Brady in Washington DC.

Jointly led by Alan Waldenberg and Shlomo Twerski, Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP’s tax practice attracts praise for its ‘quick responses to clients’ queries and its deep knowledge of the hedge fund industry’. In a high-profile matter, Waldenberg and Noah Beck led the advice to Albertsons and Cerberus Capital Management on the $9.2bn merger of Safeway. Another highlight saw Waldenberg, Twerski and Philippe Benedict lead the team acting for Marathon Asset Management when Blackstone Strategic Capital Holdings acquired a minority interest in Marathon.

Sullivan & Worcester LLP’s ‘efficient tax group’ is recognized for its work on REIT structuring for clients including data company Equinix, Iron Mountain and American Tower Corporation. It acted as special REIT adviser to the principal investors of Ovation Acquisition on its planned purchase of a utility transmission and distribution business from Energy Future Holdings. David Nagle jointly heads the practice with Ameek Ashok Ponda, who is praised for his technical knowledge.

Thompson & Knight LLPprovides outstanding tax services; the team is particularly adept at tax issues affecting the oil and gas industry’. Attracting praise for its ‘technical knowledge and ability to understand clients’ needs’, the group advised American Midstream Partners on its $302m merger with JP Energy Partners and assisted Yates Petroleum Corporation with tax issues related to its $2.4bn merger with EOG Resources. EnCap Investments and Nexen Petroleum are also clients. John Cohn leads the practice, which includes Todd Lowther, Roger Aksamit and Joe Rudberg.

Winston & Strawn LLP’s 30-lawyer tax practice handles all aspects of tax law and its lawyers have vast expertise acting for large public and private corporations. Practice head Louis Weber led the team advising Heritage Food Service on the $260m acquisition of Canadian corporation Choquette CKS and its subsidiary Gestion PSL. Other key figures include Charles Moll in San Francisco, who heads the state and local tax practice and is a ‘great strategist and courtroom lawyer’. Andrew Ratts in Chicago and New York-based partners Edmund Cohen and Mitch Moetell are also recommended. Amit Kalra joined Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP in April 2017.

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP, which was formed from the merger of Arnold & Porter LLP and Kaye Scholer LLP in 2016, fields a team that is well versed in the formation of REITs and non-profit and charitable organizations. Joseph Howe led the team acting as REIT counsel for Welltower on the $1.15bn acquisition of a portfolio of properties from Vintage Senior Living. The firm also provides day-to-day tax advice to The Oakland Raiders and acts as longstanding external tax counsel to the United Nations Foundation. James Joseph, Stuart Lipton, Thomas Richardson, Benjamin Berk and Bridget Weiss are all key members of the team.

Baker Botts L.L.P.’s tax group is ‘very responsive to clients’ initial enquiries and provides timely analysis and feedback based on a great understanding of tax law and the client’s business’. Its tax expertise spans a variety of sectors with particular emphasis on the technology and energy areas. 2016 highlights included advising Schlumberger on tax issues emerging from its $14.8bn merger with Cameron International Corporation and acting for Halliburton on the tax aspects of its aborted merger with Baker Hughes. Derek Green and Don Lonczak lead the practice. Liberty Media Corporation, Starz and AT&T Corp are also clients.

Covington & Burling LLP’s tax practice acts for multinational corporations and private equity funds in tax issues arising from M&A activity, joint ventures, capital markets transactions and internal restructurings. Dan Luchsinger led the US tax advice to Weyerhaeuser REIT on its merger with Plum Creek REIT, which involved the application of of rules concerning REITs and taxable REIT subsidiaries. It also acted for Allergan on the US income tax aspects of the $40bn sale of its generics business to TEVA Pharmaceutical Industries. Sam Maruca, Robert Culbertson, Michael Caballero and Susan Leahy are also recommended.

Dechert LLP’s tax practice is led by New York-based Daniel Dunn, who advised GIC on jointly acquiring (together with Silver Lake Partners) a substantial equity stake in Ancestry for $2.6bn. In another key mandate, Michael Rufkahr led the team advising Bank of America and others in relation to the securitization of a commercial mortgage loan secured by the related borrower’s fee and leasehold interest in a Class A office tower in Boston.

Hogan Lovells US LLP’s tax team is commended for its expertise in real estate and REITs, M&A, capital markets and investment funds. Highlights included acting for Dell on the $3bn sale of its information technology services business to NTT Data Corp and assisting American Homes 4 Rent with its merger with American Residential Properties. Washington DC-based partners Scott Lilienthal and Howard Silver led advice to Vanderbilt University on the spinoff of its medical center business into a new separate entity.

Jones Day attracts praise for its ‘high-quality tax advice, very reasonable fees’ and ‘ability to anticipate the Treasury’s and IRS’s view on specific tax cases’; ‘all in all the team is professional, extremely knowledgeable and a pleasure to work with’. The firm has acted as tax counsel for Abbott Laboratories on numerous acquisitions and disposals, including its purchase of St Jude Medical, and advises Celgene Corporation on tax issues arising from its acquisitions and post-acquisition integration. Joseph Goldman and Edward Kennedy lead the practice.

Highlights for Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP’s tax practice included acting for the first-lien noteholders during Caesars Entertainment Operating’s bankruptcy, which involved negotiating tax-free distributions to creditors. In another matter, the firm advised an online provider of regulatory compliance and third-party management services on the sale of an interest in the corporation to a private equity company. The practice is also known for advising high-profile entertainment and sporting figures on tax structuring issues. The eight-lawyer team is headed by Howard Rothman and includes the ‘responsive’ María Jones and Barry Herzog.

The ‘respected’ tax group at Linklaters LLP advises on complex, cross-border transactions, regularly handling US and international tax issues arising from M&A, private equity, investment fund, capital markets and real estate transactions. Andrew Morris and Margot Schonholtz are leading the advice to Wells Fargo Bank (the administrative agent) on a $700m credit line to Atlas Resources Partners. The practice advised the same client on the tax implications of the bankruptcy proceedings of Sabine Oil & Gas. Key figures also include team head Gordon Warnke, Jasper Howard and David Brockway.

Ropes & Gray LLP advises local and international clients on the full range of domestic and international tax issues, including tax planning, structuring cross-border transactions, and tax-exempt transactions. David Saltzman led the team advising Shire Plc on its $32bn agreement to incorporate global pharmaceutical corporation Baxalta. Other highlights included advising Par Pharmaceutical Holdings on tax issues related to its agreement to be absorbed by Ireland-based Endo International. Kaisa Group, TPG Capital and Hutchison China MediTech are also clients. Elaine Murphy and Rom Watson are other names to note.

Working hand-in-hand with the firm’s corporate department, Seyfarth Shaw LLP’s tax lawyers have considerable experience advising real estate developers, investors, investment funds, REITs and joint ventures on tax matters related to their business activities. In a notable mandate, the firm acted for Workspace Property Trust on its $1bn acquisition of 108 office properties located in four states, which involved a tax-efficient structure. The practice is also advising Acadia Realty Trust on all tax matters related to its REIT activities. Steven Meier in Chicago and John Napoli are the key names.

Vinson & Elkins LLP’s Houston-based tax group handles complex transactions for local and international clients, including handling SALT tax planning and employee benefits. In keeping with the firm’s energy-sector expertise, highlights included advising Devon Energy on the tax aspects of its $1.9bn acquisition of land in the Anadarko Basin area from Felix Energy, as well as the acquisition of 253,000 net acres in the Powder River Basin for $600m. In a related transaction, it advised the same client on the tax implications of EnLink Midstream’s $1.55bn acquisition of Tall Oak Midstream. Other clients include Antero Midstream, Apollo Global, Big Star Oil & Gas and Occidental Petroleum Company. George Gerachis and John Lynch lead the practice.

Baker & Hostetler LLP’s standalone tax team can draw on its lawyers’ experience in public posts, to provide comprehensive tax advice on local and state tax issues governing private wealth, non-profit organizations, executive compensations and transactions. In a key matter, it advised a longstanding multinational client on tax issues related to the purchase of a corporation. Paul Schmidt leads the group and is ably supported by John Bates and Jay Nanavati.

Bracewell LLP’s tax lawyers regularly act on high-end transactions for public and private corporations and have particular expertise in the energy industry. In a notable mandate, Elizabeth McGinley and Michele Alexander led the advice to Great Plains on its $12.2bn acquisition of Westar Energy. In another highlight, the firm acted for Venoco and its affiliates on Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, which involved restructuring their debt obligations and capital structure. Gregory Bopp and Lance Behnke are also noted. Abraham Reshtick and Robert Jacobson have joined Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, respectively.

Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney’s team handles tax matters at the state, local and federal level for a variety of non-profits, in addition to handling cross-border tax issues. Past work has included acting for TV One, a joint venture between Radio One and Comcast, on employee benefits, partnership tax and securities matters. Michael Horowitz and Bruce Booken are key members of the practice.

Choate, Hall & Stewart has a small but ‘efficient’ tax group that ‘gets deals done smoothly’, with special focus on the private equity sector. In a recent highlight, Christian Atwood led the advice to Windjammer Capital Investors on the $750m sale of Protective Industries. The firm also acted for Spectrum Equity on the tax aspects of its acquisition of a healthcare information and market research company. Practice head Louis Marett is also noted.

Cooley LLP has established a firm reputation for providing tax advice to clients in the biopharmaceutical, technology, energy, telecoms and real estate sectors, covering a range of issues, from SALT matters to tax structuring and investment. Highlights included advising Digital Companies on its $246m sale to Alpha Media and assisting Battery Ventures with the $329m sale of Industrial Safety Technologies to Tyco International. Palo Alto-based Mark Winfeld-Hansen jointly chairs the practice with Kathleen Pakenham in New York. Jeremy Naylor is another name to note.

Dentons services a wide variety of clients, from Fortune 500 multinationals through to start-ups, individuals, partnerships and trusts. Highlights included assisting Spire Capital with its sale of Rainbow Early Education to a private equity fund, which involved a pre-transaction structuring and non-taxable rollover. It also advised Innocoll on several transactions, including equity offerings and its redomiciliation into Ireland by way of a merger. Kansas-based Bruce Davidson and Thomas Stephens in Chicago lead the practice.

Under the leadership of Neil Sandford and working in close cooperation the firm’s corporate, private equity, real estate, capital markets and financial services practices, Goodwin’s tax practice attracts praise for its ‘exceptional knowledge of tax planning and transactional structuring’. Howard Cubell led the advice to TA Associates on a variety of local and international operations, including its $1.2bn acquisition of Frank Russell Company’s asset management business from the London Stock Exchange, while Edward Glazer was pivotal in advising The Macerich Company on the tax structuring of its joint ventures with GIC and Heitman to invest in eight malls across the US.

Irell & Manella LLP has a longstanding reputation in the tax arena, where it handles federal, state, local and international tax matters. A team led by of counsel Elliot Freier worked for Dalian Wanda Group on its $3.5bn purchase of Legendary Entertainment, which was one of the largest Chinese cross-border acquisitions to date. The firm also advised Acano on its $700m purchase by Cisco. Other clients include Brookfield Asset Management, Genstar Capital and ConstructConnect.

Ivins, Phillips & Barker is known for its advice on estate planning, corporate tax and employee benefits. Washington DC-based managing partner Eric Fox leads the practice and has extensive expertise in corporate and international tax issues. Rosina Barker left the practice to join Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.

Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP’s ‘pragmatic tax practice’ is noted for its strength in tax structuring M&A, private equity, venture capital and REITs transactions. Practice head Saul Rudo played a key role advising Sterling Partners on its $925m acquisition of GSI Commerce as part of a consortium of investors, which involved acting as primary counsel on the capital raise for the purchase and negotiating management agreements with the management team of eBay Enterprise. Other clients include Aspen Capital and Meritas. Chicago-based Valentina Famparska and Anna-Liza Harris are also recommended.

Loeb & Loeb LLP’s practice, which is jointly headed by Leah Bishop in Los Angeles and Bruce Wexler in New York, has developed a strong reputation among non-profit and tax-exempt organizations, charities, estates and high-net-worth individuals. Bishop specializes in charitable giving and tax-exempt organizations and Wexler is an expert in trusts and estates.

Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP’s practice covers all aspects of tax, with particular expertise in business tax issues and planning for technology companies and other emerging and growth businesses; tax issues governing REITs; and executive compensation matters. Highlights included advising Carl Gregory Enterprises on the sale of 13 auto dealerships to AutoNation and advising Bridge2Solutions (B2S) on tax issues and capital structure implications relating to a $35m investment by Updata Partners. The team is headed by Charles Beaudrot and Timothy Pollock.

Munger, Tolles & Olson is rated for its M&A, real estate, private equity and restructuring expertise. Past highlights have included advising Berkshire Hathaway on its acquisition of Precision Castpart and acting for Air Lease Corporation on a $2.8bn capital raise and $928m IPO. Other clients have included MGM Resorts International and DreamWorks Animation SKG. Robert Dell Angelo, Samuel Greenberg and David Goldman, all based in Los Angeles, are key members of the practice.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP’s tax group advises a range of clients, including those in the energy, pharmaceuticals, transportation and media spaces, on a variety of local, international and state tax matters. The firm is acting for a large government-owned Swiss bank and its private banking subsidiary on the Department of Justice’s Program for Non-Prosecution Agreements (Non-Target Letters for Swiss Banks) aimed at resolving potential criminal liabilities by these institutions in the US. It also acted for NTT DATA International (TSE) on tax matters connected to its purchase of Dell’s IT division. James Chudy leads the practice, which includes Julie Divola, who counts Amazon among her clients. Jeff Vesely and William Bonano are also key figures.

New York-based boutique Roberts & Holland advises on a wide range of tax issues such as SALT, employee benefits, executive compensation and restructuring for a range of clients including local and foreign publicly traded corporations, investment banks, insurance companies and pension funds. Corporate tax specialist Stuart Gross and Lary Wolf are the key figures.

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP’s tax department is well versed in handling transactional tax matters covering M&A, private equity, bankruptcy and restructuring, and REITs. Head of department Jeffrey Uffner led a team advising J.P. Morgan Asset Management on structuring a tax-driven investment SPV to allow local and an international investors to acquire a 98% interest in a REIT. In another highlight, Mayer Greenberg assisted Carr Properties with a $525m syndicated construction loan to redevelop the former Washington Post site. Other notable names include Micah Bloomfield and Jonathan Kusko. All lawyers mentioned are based in New York.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP’s multi-disciplinary tax team works closely with the firm’s other departments to provide tax structuring and risk allocation advice to local and international clients. In a notable mandate, the practice advised banking and payments technology solutions provider FIS on its $9.1bn acquisition of financial software company SunGard and assisted Assurant with tax issues arising from the $940m sale of its employee benefits business to Sun Life Assurance. The firm also acted for Schroders Investment Management North America on tax structuring and regulatory issues concerning the formation of an insurance-linked securities fund enabling US and Canadian investors to access collateralized reinsurance and other forms of insurance risk. James Brown and Christopher Peters lead the practice.

WilmerHale’s lawyers are recognized for their expertise in tax aspects related to M&A, financings, investments, joint ventures and restructurings. Under the leadership of Kimberly Wethly and ably supported by Richard Andersen, Robert Burke, William Caporizzo and Julie Hogan Rodgers, the practice has established a strong reputation advising life sciences companies and tax-exempt organizations; highlights included assisting Akamai Technologies with the tax aspects of its acquisition of Soha Systems and advising Corvia Medical on a warrant agreement with a life sciences corporation giving the corporation the option to acquire Corvia in the future. Other clients include Analog Devices, Bank of New York Mellon Corporation, Dean Foods Company and Staples.

Ashurst LLP’s tax team attracts praise for its ‘excellent response times and industry knowledge’. David Nirenberg, who leads the practice, specializes in taxation connected to municipal finance, structured bonds and other forms of structured finance products and cross-border/cross-state structuring. Steven Kropp ‘is personable and responsive to clients’ needs’. Clients include GSO Capital Partners, Deutsche Bank, Wells Fargo, J.P. Morgan, Royal Bank of Scotland and BNP Paribas.

Brown Rudnick LLP’s New York-based tax team provides a range of tax planning services, including tax-efficient restructurings and bankruptcy-related reorganizations. Highlights included advising international pharmaceuticals company Midatech Pharma on tax structuring issues related to its acquisition of NASDAQ-listed DARA BioScience, and assisting Lupin, a multinational pharmaceutical corporation headquartered in Mumbai, on its $880m acquisition of GAVIS Pharmaceuticals. Vincent Guglielmotti leads the practice.

Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP houses ‘an excellent international tax practice’ under the leadership of Alan Berlin. Marco Blanco ‘tackles the most complex jurisdictional problems calmly and with both technical expertise and creativity’. The firm regularly acts for US-based and foreign clients on complex transactional and international tax matters, including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which it advises on a day-to-day basis and with any new initiatives relating to restructuring new products and their tax implications.

Gardere Wynne Sewell has extensive experience advising international and local corporations on tax structuring and planning and is regularly involved in complex cross-border matters. The tax group assisted Drill-Quip on tax issues arising from its acquisition of TIW Corporation for $143m. James Howard leads the practice.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP provides comprehensive tax-efficient advice on domestic and cross-border acquisitions as well as on the establishment of US entities and the structuring of joint ventures. The firm also provides assistance to local and international sponsors and managers of domestic and foreign investment funds. Based in New York, the ‘very experiencedMary Voce chairs the practice and is ably supported by Seth Entin and federal income tax expert Ozzie Schindler. Robert Simon and Kenneth Zuckerbrot are also key members of the group.

Jenner & Block LLP’s tax practice attracts praise for its ‘high levels of sophisticated advice’ and ‘heavy partner involvement in all mandates’. The firm has particular strength in the food sector; working closely with the corporate department, the tax practice assisted Snyder’s-Lance with its $1.27bn acquisition of Diamond Foods and advised US Foods on tax issues arising from its $1.02bn IPO. Other clients includes Kraft Foods Group, Archer Daniels Midland and Merge Healthcare Incorporated. ‘Strategic thinker’ Geoffrey Davis and Christian Kimball lead the practice.

Jones Walker LLP advises international and local clients on transactional tax, estate planning, state and local tax, employee benefits, ERISA and executive compensation, tax credit programs, and tax policy and regulation. William Backstrom leads the practice and brings more than 30 years of experience in tax issues. Highlights included advising LLOG Exploration Company on tax issues related to an equity investment in oil and gas properties and a negotiated joint development agreement for the operation of those properties with an overall value of $700m. Rudolph Ramelli, Jesse Adams, John Fletcher and Andre Burvant are all key members of the practice.

Located in Chicago, Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP has a recognized tax practice that provides ‘the qualities of a large firm with the creativity and responsiveness of a mid-size one’. Domestic and international tax and business planning are strengths of the practice, which also advises on state and local taxation and unclaimed property compliance. Its lawyers are well versed with related case evaluations, risk assessments and case developments. Scott Bakal and John Biek jointly lead the practice and are considered ‘experts in the tax arena’; Bakal is noted for his expertise in structuring tax-efficient vehicles for international investors in hedge funds. The team is advising an investment real estate group on US tax implications of investments made by its foreign investors.

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  • EU and Malta Securitisation Market

    Following the US subprime crisis that began in 2007, the notion of securitisation has suffered from bad press that tainted its reputation. However, securitisation is still considered as an essential component to continued economic recovery and for well-functioning financial markets.
  • PATENTABILITY OF SOFTWARE IN SINGAPORE

     leading_lines_newsletter_dec_2017
  • DOJ Makes the Pilot Program Permanent and Announces FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy

    The US Department of Justice ("DOJ") had announced a pilot program [1] ("Pilot Program") on April 5, 2016, which created new mitigation opportunities for companies that (i) voluntarily self-disclosed, (ii) cooperated fully, and (iii) took timely and appropriate remedial actions in FCPA matters that fell within the Fraud Section's mandate. The Pilot Program was to remain in effect for 1 year, starting from the day of its announcement. On March 10, 2017, the Acting Assistant Attorney General, Kenneth A. Blanco, announced in a speech that the Pilot Program would continue in full force until the DOJ reached a final decision on whether to extend it, and what revisions, if any, should be made to it. [2] The evaluation period of the Pilot Program ended on November 29, 2017, when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the new FCPA Enforcement Policy ("Policy"), which effectively makes the Pilot Program permanent with some revisions. According to Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, the FCPA Unit received 30 voluntary disclosures during the time period that the Pilot Program was in force, as opposed to 18 voluntary disclosures that were received during the previous 18-month period. The Policy has been incorporated into the United States Attorneys' Manual in order to "be readily understood and easily applied by busy prosecutors" as opposed to being promulgated in memorandum format. [3]
  • Effects of State of Emergency Law in Turkey On Prison Sentences Under Criminal Execution Laws

    With the Statutory Decree No.671 dated August 17, 2016, and the recent changes with Regulations No.29987 and No.29824 on Regulation Regarding an Amendment on Placement to Open Punishment Execution Facilities effecting execution of the Law No.5275 on Punishment Execution Law has introduced significant changes.
  • [SOUTH KOREA] Supreme Court Affirms Lower Decision, Finding Invalid the Regulations on Foreign ...

    Supreme Court Affirms Lower Court Decision, Finding Invalid the Regulations on Foreign Exchange Report on Incorporation of Offshore Subsidiary by an Offshore Company
  • Disputes on Health-Related Commercial Advertisements under Consumer Law

    Introduction
  • [SOUTH KOREA] New Administration’s Key Environmental Policies

    To step forward as an environment-friendly government, the Moon Jae-in Administration has announced its key environmental policies, including improving safety in chemical substances and household chemical products, and reinforcing implementation measures of the Paris Agreement.  Under the “sustainable development” paradigm, the new administration will continually promote new regulations to protect the environment and strengthen its enforcement of environmental regulations.
  • [SOUTH KOREA] Lower Court Issues Favorable Decision for 27,000 KIA Motors Employees in an ...

    Lower Court Issues Favorable Decision for 27,000 KIA Motors Employees in an Ordinary Wage Case 
  • SyCipLaw TMT Bulletin: “More Philippine Data Privacy Act: Are you Ready for Phase II?”

    Controllers and processors who have completed Phase I registration with the National Privacy Commission (NPC) will now have to gear up for Phase II. Phase II involves providing the NPC certain information on the organization’s compliance with the Data Privacy Act (DPA).
  • Crowdfunding - The Path towards a regulatory Framework

      The importance and feasibility of crowdfunding platforms is increasing in stature and importance for current and future the entrepreneurs. Malta has recently acceded to the rising trend by creating its first crowdfunding platform, ZAAR, a reward-based crowdfunding platform who has recently been awarded with the first prize in its section at the National Enterprise Support Awards 2016 also as well as being one of the local projects that have represented Malta at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2016, held in Slovakia. Nonetheless start-ups based in Malta with global aspirations often rely on international platforms. An increase in interest has emerged amongst the art and culture community as well in social entrepreneurship projects. Crowdfunding in Malta is still at the early stages of development. Despite this, there are endless opportunities for local entrepreneurs and the local business community. Research has shown that through international crowdfunding platforms, monies have been raised for projects in the field of gaming consoles, apps and software as well as for artistic projects.  Testimony to this is a new game design studio in Malta, that launched its first game, Politicks, raised financing through the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo.

Press Releases worldwide

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