Tag: kirkland & ellis

Paul Weiss and Kirkland break revenue records amid London lateral shakeout

Paul Weiss has broken through the $2bn global revenue mark, posting a 10.8% hike on last year, as the firm’s bold London recruitment drive continues to make headlines.

The firm’s 178 equity partners took home an average of $6.5m in 2023, with profit per equity partner (PEP) up 14.8% from $5.73m the previous year.

Overall profit came in at $1.17bn, while revenue per lawyer was up 5.3% to $1.98m from last year’s $1.88m.

In recent months, Paul Weiss has recruited some of the City’s biggest hitters, among a total of 17 partner hires. Most have joined from Kirkland & Ellis, following the defections of debt finance superstar Neel Sachdev and big-name corporate partner Roger Johnson in August. The duo joined to lead the US firm’s London office, initiating a wave of hires aimed at building up a substantial English law practice.

Sachdev brought with him a Kirkland team including debt finance partner Kanesh Balasubramaniam and capital markets partners Matthew Merkle and Deirdre Jones, while Johnson has assembled an M&A practice with ex-Kirkland partner Andreas Philipson, as well as a tax practice featuring former Kirkland partners Timothy Lowe and Cian O’Connor.

Other names joining from Kirkland have included debt finance partner Stefan Arnold-Soulby and technology and intellectual property transactions specialist John Patten.

Paul Weiss has also targeted the Magic Circle, starting with the hire of Linklaters M&A partner Will Aitken-Davies in September. Notably, Lowe, O’Connor and Patten also had stints at Linklaters.

In December, it came as no surprise when Paul Weiss hired from Linklaters again, bringing on Nicole Kar, the former head of the Magic Circle firm’s antitrust and foreign investment practice. Adding to the Linklaters alumni, the following month the firm hired public M&A partner Dan Schuster-Woldan.

Clifford Chance has also been a target, with high-profile private equity partner Christopher Sullivan and acquisition finance partner Taner Hassan coming over in December, and just last week (18 March), junior private equity partner Oliver Marcuse followed suit.

Outside of the Magic Circle, Paul Weiss has also hired former Ropes & Gray competition partner Annie Herdman, who also served at Kirkland earlier in her career.

The recruitment drive has seen a complete changing-of-the guard for Paul Weiss in London, which has had a modest City presence without English law capability since 2001. Last May deputy London head Ramy Wahbeh and corporate partner Kaisa Kuusk both left to join Sidley, followed by the departure of London managing partner Alvaro Membrillera to Kirkland in early August, a move which was one of a number of factors which sparked the flurry of moves in the opposite direction.

On the back of the new additions, the firm announced in October it was set to move into Twitter’s former UK headquarters in Soho.

Recent London deal highlights for Paul Weiss have included advising General Atlantic on its acquisition of a majority stake in coffee shop Joe & the Juice from Valedo Partners, with Johnson and Balasubramaniam working alongside partners in the US.

The seven billion dollar law firm

Despite the departures in London, Kirkland has consolidated its position as the largest law firm in the world, with global revenue increasing by 10% last year to $7.2bn, according to The American Lawyer.

The firm’s 539 equity partners took home an average of $8m as PEP increased 5.8%, with overall profit standing at $4.3bn. RPL also increased by 7.5% from $1.9m last year, to $2.05m.

As well as highly regarded private equity partner Membrillera, the firm has made a number of other significant recent additions to its team, including debt finance partners Ian Barratt and Sinead O’Shea, who joined from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, while Herbert Smith Freehills ESG head Rebecca Perlman also recently came on board in London.

O’Shea, alongside London debt finance colleague Jerome Hoyle, were recently part of a global team advising KKR on financing for its voluntary public takeover offer to all shareholders of Encavis, a leading German wind and solar park operator.

The firm’s restructuring team has also handled a number of significant mandates of late, such as advising global engineering and construction business McDermott International on the cross-border restructuring of around $2.6bn of the group’s secured debt facilities.

In 2023 Kirkland also opened a new office in Riyadh, recruiting corporate partner Noor Al-Fawzan and capital markets Manal Al-Musharaf from Latham & Watkins and White & Case respectively, to join the 20th global office of the Chicago giant.


This story first appeared on Legal Business.

Kirkland breaks own record again to make up 151 new partners and 19 in London

With the boldness the market has come to expect from the world’s highest-grossing law firm, Kirkland & Ellis has again broken its own partnership promotion record, making up 151 globally and 19 in London.

As with last year when the Chicago-bred giant outpaced itself with 145 global promotions and 16 in the City, the move continues an ascent that shows no signs of being thwarted by coronavirus concerns or any other.

In London, four new partners have been added in M&A/private equity: Henry Birch; Nick-Raj Birdi; James Hunn and Cillian Moynihan, while three have been promoted in debt finance – Stefan Arnold-Soulby; Kanesh Balasubramaniam and James Collins.

Restructuring has seen three partner promotions in Ian Clarke, Hannah Crawford and Kai Zeng and investment funds has two new partners – Agne Eriksson and Katerina Syomina.

Antitrust and competition has added two in the form of Philipp Gnatzy and Athina Van Melkebeke with financial services regulatory partner Zach Milloy also making the grade, along with technology and IP transactions lawyer John Patten, IP transactions lawyer Peter Pereira, tax lawyer Art Ward and capital markets attorney Samita T. Ali-Khan.

Perhaps the most pressing matter on the minds of law firm leaders is the thorny issue of talent retention in a post-pandemic market where careers are more fluid than ever.

However, the now 2,900-lawyer firm has an unusual model in that it makes up large ranks of salaried partners before considering promotions to its tightly-held equity. Operating a fast track, associates can make salaried partner six years after qualification – bucking the wider trend of pushing back promotions on a less clear career track.

The rest of Kirkland’s new partners have been made up in the firm’s global offices spanning Austin, the Bay Area, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Munich, New York, Paris and Washington DC.

The promotions coincided with Kirkland’s announcement that it has hired Linklaters partner Julia Dixon to its financial services regulatory practice in London.

In April, Kirkland said it had added $680m to its top line to beat Latham & Watkins yet again to remain the world’s highest-grossing law firm, as global turnover surged 16% to $4.83bn.

Profit per equity partner (PEP) hit $6.2m, up 19% on the $5.2m for 2019 even as Kirkland’s headcount grew 5% in 2020 to 2,725 lawyers. Revenue per lawyer increased 11% from $1.6m to around $1.8m.

The firm does not disclose regional breakdowns but London was believed to have substantially outpaced global growth at around 29%, growing revenue from $425m to roughly $550m.


This article first appeared on Legal Business.

Kirkland remains world’s highest-grossing law firm in becoming first to surpass $4bn

Kirkland & Ellis has added $390m to it top line to trounce Latham & Watkins once again as the world’s highest-grossing law firm, as global turnover surged to $4.15bn.

The Chicago-bred giant on 18 March revealed results for the 2019 financial year, revealing a 10% hike in revenue from $3.76bn last year. Profit per equity partner (PEP) reached $5.2m, up 3% on the $5.04m for 2018. Kirkland’s head count grew 13% in 2019 with revenue per lawyer dropping 2% to $1.6m from $1.63m the previous year.

The firm did not disclose regional breakdowns but London is believed to have slightly outpaced global growth at around 12%, growing revenue from around $380m to $425m.

The stellar year has been on the back of thrusting fund formation, restructuring and transactional private equity practices. Kirkland also last year unveiled its largest partner promotion round ever seen by a top legal practice, making up 141 partners, including 16 in the City. The move was an increase of 19 on the previous year’s eye-catching 122-strong round, with the hefty numbers of promotions a statement of intent that moving lawyers up the ranks internally remains a mainstay of the firm’s strategy.

Kirkland has an unusual model in that it makes up large ranks of salaried partners before considering promotions to its tightly-held equity. Operating a fast-track system, associates can make salaried partner six years after qualification – bucking the wider trend of pushing back promotions. Last year’s promotion round meant the firm had made up 531 partners in the last five years.

The Chicago-bred giant now has more than 350 lawyers in London and has forged something of a private equity powerhouse operating across Europe. It started 2019 on a high when it lured the much sought-after private equity partner Adrian Maguire from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. The high-profile hire paid dividends last month when Maguire acted for long-standing client Cinven for the first time since making the move, along with Advent International and the RAG foundation, on their €17.2bn acquisition of Thyssenkrupp’s elevator business.

Kirkland’s success also comes on the back of a number of bumper lead mandates including on the $63bn acquisition of Allergan by US biopharmaceutical company AbbVie and the acquisition underpinning the $90bn merger between Bristol-Myers Squibb and Celgene.

Observers have grown accustomed to the two-horse race between Kirkland and Latham to attain the status as the world’s highest grossing law firm. Last month, Latham reported its second consecutive year of double-digit growth as its revenue surged to $3.77bn in 2019 while profit per equity partner (PEP) hit $3.78m.


This article first appeared on Legal Business.

Dealwatch: Weil and Mayer Brown scoop leads on Nestlé’s $4bn US ice cream business sale

Weil Gotshal & Manges and Mayer Brown have advised on the sale of Nestlé’s US ice cream business to Froneri for $4bn.

Froneri is an ice cream focused joint venture by Nestlé and PAI Partners created in 2016. The deal means that brands such as Häagen-Dazs, Edy’s, Drumstick and Dreyer’s will join its portfolio which already includes Movenpick, Green & Blacks and Cadbury’s ice cream.

Weil advised Froneri with a team led by London managing partner Michael Francis and included London private equity partner Jonathan Wood, head of the technology and IP transactions practice Barry Fishley and banking partner Tom Richards.

Mayer Brown advised Nestle with a team led out of the US by partners David Carpenter, John Boelter and Michelle Gross.

Carpenter told Legal Business: ‘Nestlé has already contributed to the ice cream business in different parts of the world through this joint venture. The buyer is actually 50% owned by Nestlé and so it’s moving the ice cream business into a company that has a private equity partner. It will be focused on ice cream rather than being part of a big conglomerate.’

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020.

Meanwhile, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer advised private equity firm CVC Capital Partners on the acquisition of a stake in WebPros Group by CVC Fund VII from Oakley Capital Private Equity and other investors.

WebPros is a web hosting automation software provider for server management and includes web hosting platforms cPanel and Plesk and web hosting management and billing software WHMCS.

The Freshfields team was led by global co-head of financial sponsors Charles Hayes, co-head of European leveraged finance Alex Mitchell and corporate and M&A lawyer Vincent Bergin.

Kirkland & Ellis advised Oakley Capital on the sale led by London corporate partners Rory Mullarkey and Jacob Traff as well as Ben Leyendeckerin Munich.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020.

Elsewhere, White & Case advised on the $25.6bn IPO of Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco), making it the world’s largest IPO. The company began trading on the Saudi Arabian Tadawul Stock Exchange on Wednesday 11 December under TADAWUL: ARAMCO.

The offering included subscriptions from institutions and individuals, comprising of SAR 446bn ($119bn). The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia sold 3bn shares of Saudi Aramco which accounted for 1.5% Saudi Aramco’s share capital.

The White & Case team was led by Dubai partner Sami Al-Louzi and included London partners Inigo Esteve, capital markets partner Alexander Underwood, Ronan O’Reilly and employment compensation and benefits lawyer Jack Gardener. The Law Office of Megren Al-Shaalan also advised Aramco with a team led by Megren Al-Shaalan and Doug Peel and included London capital markets partner Ibrahim Soumrany.

The $1.7trn valuation makes Saudi Aramco the largest company by market capitalisation. Over 400 White & Case lawyers from around 20 offices advised Saudi Aramco on the transaction.

Latham & Watkins advised the underwriters of Saudi Aramco on non-Saudi law matters. The team was led by New York partners Marc Jaffe and Ian Schuman and included London partner Craig Nethercott. London partners James Inness and Jeremy Green offered advice on corporate matters, Chirag Sanghrajka advised on finance, Rob Moulton advised on regulatory matters while Karl Mah advised on tax.

Prior to the listing, the largest IPO spot was held by Alibaba Group Holding Limited which listed in September 2014 on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) for $21.8bn.

Finally, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton advised Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) on the $450m acquisition of a 25.1% stake in Adani Electricity Mumbai Limited (AEML) from Adani Transmission Limited as well as a shareholder subordinated debt investment by QIA in AEML.

AEML is part of Adani Group, an integrated business conglomerate based in India which includes six publicly traded companies, focusing on resources, logistics, energy and agriculture.

The Cleary team was led by London partners Tihir Sarkar and Nallini Puri.

Puri told Legal Business: ‘QIA is a very big investor to be partnering with. The Adani Group is a big group with lots of diversified interests and historically they’ve engaged in a lot of acquisitions, particularly within India. India’s done less with foreign investors. In some ways this is a very significant partnership for them because they’ve tied up with a very high profile investor.’

AEMl was advised by Indian firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas led by partners from the Mumbai office.

The deal is expected to close in early 2020 subject to customary conditions and regulatory approval.


This article first appeared on Legal Business.