Private Equity: Global-wide
THE FIRM Clifford Chance's far-reaching private equity practice has had another exceptional year. The firm's presence on the ground extends to 24 countries and clients benefit from expertise across all offices. Key names seeking the team's advice include private equity giants CVC Capital Partners, Montagu Private Equity, Abraaj Capital and KKR. Lawyers are frequently mandated to act on significant deals, including one of the highest-value French LBOs in recent years. Drawing personnel from the Paris, London and Luxembourg offices, the firm represented a consortium composed of Clayton Dubilier & Rice, AXA Private Equity and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec in the EUR2.1 billion acquisition of SPIE Group.
Sources say: "Clifford Chance is a top-tier firm. The private equity team is exceptionally strong and very much aware of best practices in the industry."
KEY INDIVIDUALS David Walker continues in his role as the firm's global head of private equity from his London base. In Asia, Andrew Whan takes responsibility for the Hong Kong and Tokyo operations. Oliver Felsenstein is another key contact, and operates out of the firm's Frankfurt office.
THE FIRM This firm's formidable reputation in private equity matters continues to generate considerable mandates for its teams across the globe. The group handles numerous complex cross-border transactions and its lawyers have been able to cultivate and maintain productive relationships with notable clients such as Apax Partners, CVC Partners and KKR. In one highlight, the firm acted on behalf of KKR during Walgreen's acquisition of a 45% stake in Alliance Boots, worth USD6.7 billion. The London team also advised Apax Partners on its CHF2 billion purchase of Orange Communications.
Sources say: "They are a well-rounded firm, have strong practitioners and make good judgements when it comes to the key issues. They know how to look after their clients.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Gary Horowitz and Wilson Neely in New York and Richard Capelouto in Palo Alto are key contacts for the private equity practice.
THE FIRM Acclaimed for its impressive global footprint, Weil, Gotshal & Manges maintains its commitment to an international private equity practice. Lateral hires in key jurisdictions have boosted the firm's capacity, and the group's strength is reflected by significant client wins. Lawyers in the UK and China co-ordinated to advise Lion Capital on its disposal of a majority stake in Weetabix Food to a Chinese-based food conglomerate. Advent International also engaged teams in the USA to handle its USD3 billion purchase of TransUnion in a prominent LBO transaction.
Sources say: "What makes us especially satisfied with Weil is the unparalleled reliability and the advice going beyond strictly legal matters." "Strong links with international offices and strong lawyers in multiple regions."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Senior partner Marco Compagnoni is a prominent figure in the London private equity group. Hong Kong-based Peter Feist heads up the practice for the Asia-Pacific region, and the highly esteemed Glenn West is based in Dallas.
THE FIRM This 28-office firm is able to marshal significant global resources in order to handle complex cross-border transactions. The private equity practice earns respect across the board, and sources note that the UK team has had a particularly stellar year. Highlights here include advising key client Cinven on its EUR2.47 billion disposition of Phadia, in a cross-border deal also involving Sweden and the USA. The firm also handles transactional matters for major players in the private equity world, such as Permira, Qatar Investment Authority and Apax Partners.
Sources say: "They have a broad base of very strong lawyers." "They really cover all aspects of a deal well, and have a good service mentality."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Global private equity head Ludwig Leyendecker is based in the firm's Cologne office. Christopher Bown is chair of the private equity practice in London, and Asia managing partner Robert Ashworth in Hong Kong is also a main point of contact.
THE FIRM Kirkland & Ellis continues to assert its dominance in the US and Asian markets, and its strength in private equity is evidenced by a high volume of transactional work. In one highlight, lawyers acted for 3G Capital Management and Burger King Worldwide Holdings in a highly publicised transaction which involved a partial sale of Burger King to Justice Holdings; the cash and stock merger was valued at USD1.4 billion. The firm's activity in Europe includes assisting H.I.G. European Capital Partners with its disposition of Kiwi Holdco Kayco.
Sources say: "The team understands that issues need to be resolved in a reasonable and commercial manner, and will provide us with advice on the legal issues and the potential commercial resolutions."
KEY INDIVIDUALS New York-based Kirk Radke is well recognised as a leading figure in private equity. In Europe, Graham White in London and Volker Kullmann in Munich are key contacts. David Patrick Eich is based in Hong Kong and acts as the firm's global private equity practice leader.
THE FIRM The private equity practice at Linklaters is widely respected across Europe and Asia, and this reputation has attracted significant new mandates from heavyweight clients such as Bridgepoint, Apollo and The Carlyle Group. In one highlight, lawyers from the London and Madrid offices represented Capio in its disposition of an 80% shareholding of its Spanish healthcare division Capio Sanidad to CVC. Sources cite the firm's solid interdisciplinary strength and presence on the ground in key jurisdictions as key attractive features of the practice.
Sources say: "Service was very strong and they were incredibly commercial in their approach to dealing with us and in considering the specifics of each transaction."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Highly experienced practitioners Ian Bagshaw and Richard Youle lead the firm's private equity practice from the London office. Alejandro Ortiz in Madrid and Betty Yap in Hong Kong are also key contacts.
THE FIRM This firm's private equity presence spans the USA, Europe and Asia, where teams of experienced lawyers serve the needs of an impressive client base. The group sustains an enduring relationship with TPG and also regularly handles transactions for clients such as Endurance International, a portfolio company of Warburg Pincus. The New York team advised TPG and Leonard Green & Partners on a USD1.7 billion transaction to recapitalise retail company Savers. London and Hong Kong teams also worked together to aid TPG in its purchase of Indian retailer Vishal Retail.
Sources say: "The service was exceptional. The team worked hard and the quality of advice was superior."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Michael Ryan in the firm's New York office is a key figure. In Moscow and Paris respectively, Scott Senecal and Jean-Marie Ambrosi are leading private equity practitioners, and Milan-based Roberto Casati is another key name.
THE FIRM Debevoise is consistently visible across key jurisdictions and continues to be a commanding presence in the USA and Asia. US lawyers acted for Access Industries on a USD7.15 billion private equity takeover of the oil and gas exploration and production assets of El Paso. International teams have been involved in numerous other significant transactions of late, including several matters in emerging markets such as Russia. Experts from the firm's tax, finance, employment and funds groups also assist when necessary.
Sources say: "I thought very highly of the experience, knowledge and attention to detail of the private equity team."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Franci Blassberg and Margaret Andrews Davenport are highly regarded practitioners in New York, where Kevin Schmidt is also a key figure. David Innes is the main point of contact in London, as is Drew Dutton in Hong Kong.
THE FIRM This firm has more than 200 private equity specialists globally, including teams in the USA, the UK, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. This allows it to handles complex, multi-jurisdictional mandates for clients from a variety of industries, including energy, telecoms and pharmaceuticals. In one standout mandate, lawyers from the Washington, DC office led a global team in representing private equity giants The Carlyle Group and Hellman & Friedman in the USD4 billion purchase of Pharmaceutical Products Development.
Sources say: "The service is good quality as they cover all the countries we need. We can speak with them for everything and they are always available in terms of time and engagement on the deal."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Daniel Lennon is global chair of the firm's corporate department and is based in the Washington, DC office. Jörg Kirchner is a key contact for the practice in Munich and Thomas Forschbach operates out of the firm's Paris office.
THE FIRM This practice acts on sophisticated transactions in the private equity world, serving the needs of clients such as Apax Partners, The Carlyle Group and Abraaj Capital. The firm's impressive global offering now includes Belfast, Jakarta and Casablanca among 42 offices worldwide. Private equity teams across the international network are praised for the cohesion of their approach. In one highlight, London and Frankfurt teams advised Pamplona Capital Management on the disposition of the TMD Friction group.
Sources say: "We think they are solution-driven as opposed to conflict-enhancing."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Global co-chair of the private equity practice, Derek Baird is a key contact in London. Netherlands-based Karine Kodde is also a leading practitioner in this area.
THE FIRM Ropes & Gray has expanded its private equity teams in the UK, the USA and Asia, and receives glowing endorsements from interviewees. Lawyers have been busy handling considerable private equity mandates for clients such as Bain Capital, The Blackstone Group and Thomas H. Lee Partners. Notably, teams in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Boston and New York guided Bain Capital through a series of acquisitions and dispositions, including the USD3 billion purchase of Skylark Co.
Sources say: "Universally, I have been extremely impressed with their availability, knowledge, counsel and advice, and their high-quality and prompt deliverables."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Boston-based Alfred Rose spearheads the private equity group. Will Rosen is a key contact in the London office and Scott Jalowayski practises out of Tokyo.
THE FIRM This firm offers global coverage of the private equity markets through its 23 worldwide offices. The practice attracts quality mandates, such as acting for Permira Funds on the USD500 million purchase of Intelligrated from Gryphon Investors. The group is well reputed for its representation of private equity sponsors in high-end and cutting-edge transactions. Norwest Equity Partners and RailAmerica also feature on the practice's client roster.
Sources say: "Exceptional levels of availability and client service and strong international reach. The firm is particularly strong in complicated transactional work."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Private equity practice leader Eileen Nugent operates from the firm's New York office. Allan Murray-Jones is a top practitioner based in London, and Dmitri Kovalenko in Moscow is another main point of contact.