Private Equity: Russia
THE FIRM Sources note this firm's ability to understand and identify the commercial objectives behind transactions. The team continues to advise TPG in the aftermath of its acquisition of 35% of Lenta, representing it in its shareholder dispute with Svoboda. Working in close co-operation with its London office, the team has considerable experience advising international and domestic private equity funds on their investments.
Sources say: “This firm's standing is first rate.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS New York-qualified Scott Senecal is a dominant figure in the legal landscape, and his reputation extends far beyond Russia's borders. According to market sources: “He is extremely hard working and highly respected.”
THE FIRM This firm has a strong and growing team of Russian lawyers to complement its group of expatriate attorneys. It can draw on expertise from the vast Freshfields network, making it well placed to advise international and domestic clients on private equity transactions across a range of sectors.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Dmitry Surikov is the main point of contact for clients in this practice area.
THE FIRM This private equity practice remains buoyant despite turbulent market conditions. Much of the group's success is due to its close integration with its international network: the team often collaborates with lawyers in the London, New York and Hong Kong offices. With a substantial number of attorneys at its disposal, it combines corporate, finance, tax, funds and restructuring expertise to offer a comprehensive service to private equity firms, banks and investors.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Managing partner Matthew Keats is the main point of contact for clients.
THE FIRM This pioneering team is emerging as one of the market leaders in private equity. It has a long tradition in the field and represents many big-name fund managers. Clients are particularly impressed with the firm's sharp focus on the practice area, and praise its dedication and pragmatism. Recent highlights include advising Russia Partners on its investments in DataSpace Partners and its USD150 million OPIC financing to build new data centres in Moscow. United Capital Partners instructed the firm on its investment in Monarch Group, a footwear retailer in Russia and Ukraine. Other clients include Troika Dialog, Henderson and EBRD.
Sources say: “One of the leading private equity firms in the country.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Christopher Rose is a dedicated private equity practitioner who is valued by clients for his extensive expertise and proactive advice.
David Wack is commended for his understanding of both UK and Russian law, and his innovative approach to structuring deals.
THE FIRM The Moscow team of Akin Gump has expanded considerably in recent years, and its reputation and market position have risen in tandem. It recently handled a number of deals in the technology and media industries. For example, it advised DST Global on the raising of USD125 million for an investment in shares in Facebook. It also assisted UFG Private Equity with the acquisition of shares in WiMax operator Enforta. Sources note its strong relationships with prominent private equity clients and its high standards of service.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Vladimir Kouznetsov is a key contact for the practice.
THE FIRM With its vast international network, and lengthy history in the local market, this firm is ideally placed to advise both Russian and foreign clients on a wide range of matters, including private equity. The nine-lawyer team wins client praise for its practical approach and adaptability. It recently advised both VTB Capital and UFG Asset Management on separate transactions regarding their investments into Brunswick Rail.
Sources say: “One thing about Clifford Chance is that it has people who know how things are done.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Nicholas Rees has many years of experience handling private equity transactions in London, and is now a key contact for the Moscow office.
THE FIRM Private equity has long been a focus of the global practice of Debevoise, and the Moscow office continues this tradition admirably by advising some of the most prominent funds in Russia. With over 200 lawyers dedicated to this practice area worldwide, the group is well equipped to advise on complex cross-border transactions. Sources note the team's business acumen and hands-on service.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Alan Kartashkin is an excellent practitioner covering M&A, finance and securities transactions, in addition to private equity matters. Clients consider him a practical and well-rounded lawyer.
THE FIRM Building on its strong corporate and banking practices, this firm has developed considerable expertise in private equity. The team recently advised a private investor on a USD900 million acquisition of 50% shares in National Container Company from FESCO. Other clients include A1, Prometheus Capital Partners and Millhouse Capital. The office is popular with clients thanks to its 24-hour availability and its broad selection of services, including a leading dispute resolution practice.
Sources say: “Good lawyers who answer questions quickly, take initiative and leave a very positive impression.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Though perhaps better known for his capital markets expertise, Evgeny Zelensky is a well-respected figure in the market, and adept at handling private equity mandates.
Corporate partner Nick Moore is described as “a highly dedicated and very smart lawyer.” His expertise covers a number of sectors including private equity, energy, telecommunications, media, retail and financial services.
THE FIRM This firm's fantastic reputation in corporate and capital markets law means it also attracts its fair share of private equity instructions. In addition to the renowned expertise of the Moscow team, its wider network is one of the most extensive in the world, allowing the firm to handle both local and international matters with ease.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Christopher Allen, managing partner of the Moscow office, continues to attract high praise for his private equity work. He focuses on the mining and communications sectors.
THE FIRM In May 2012 the entire team from Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP in Moscow joined Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. All clients and work highlights mentioned in our editorial took place whilst the firm was operating as Dewey & LeBoeuf.
The Moscow team of Dewey & LeBoeuf includes US, UK and Russian-qualified lawyers able to assist companies working across multiple jurisdictions. In addition to the firm's remarkable reputation for corporate/M&A, private equity forms a substantial portion of its business, with clients including Renaissance Capital, Russia Partners, and Prominvest. It recently advised Eastern Property Holding on its leveraged buyout of the remaining 50% interest in Geneva House, an office and retail property in Moscow.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Brian Zimbler splits his time between London and Moscow, and is considered “one of the most experienced lawyers in the market.”
Dan Coppel is “a joy to work with,” according to sources. He has much experience of emerging markets.
Since publication, Dan Coppel has joined Jones Day
THE FIRM This sophisticated practice enjoys the seamless co-operation of its European colleagues, and is recognised for its quality and ability to lead on the most challenging of transactions. The firm is a recognised corporate and capital markets powerhouse, making it well equipped to handle private equity work. The team was recently instructed by Nafta Moskva on its multibillion-dollar acquisition of a sizeable stake in OJSC Uralkali, a global producer of potash.
Sources say: “An excellent and serious player.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Dmitri Kovalenko has cultivated an excellent reputation as a commercially savvy lawyer. His broad practice covers private equity in Russia and the CIS.
THE FIRM This firm wins great respect from competitors for its large and varied practice, and the firm's reputation for corporate work helps it attract noteworthy instructions in the field of private equity. The team further benefits from the support of its exceptional global network.
Sources say: “A fantastic one-stop shop.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Corporate/M&A practice head Eric Michailov offers many years of experience, and he regularly advises private equity funds with regard to Russian and non-Russian targets.
THE FIRM This firm's exceptional reputation in the finance and corporate spheres marks it out as an important player in the private equity market. The team offers clients in-depth industry knowledge and is particularly well versed in the pharmaceutical, energy, utilities, and real estate sectors. Its worldwide private equity group encompasses more than 50 partners across a multitude of jurisdictions, and is demonstrative of its global capabilities.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Managing partner Edwin Tham is the key contact.
THE FIRM Baker & McKenzie is well placed to advise Russian funds and potential targets on an array of transactions. As one of the few international firms with a full-service offering in Moscow, the practice combines a strong local presence with all the benefits of a global network.
Sources say: “Efficient co-operation between the Moscow and London offices regarding drafting of documentation, negotiations, and ensuring the correct input from several different jurisdictions.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Marat Mouradov is a contact for the private equity group.
THE FIRM Though perhaps better known for its energy expertise, private equity work continues to constitute a considerable part of this firm's portfolio. The compact and driven team offers exceptional service at attractive prices, say sources. It is particularly focused on matters in the IP and technology sectors. Its emphasis on partner involvement at all stages of a transaction makes it a favourite among key clients.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Maxim Levinson is the contact for private equity matters.
THE FIRM Private equity constitutes an important part of this firm's Russian operations. It retains a prominent position in the sector, having advised on some key transactions in a relatively stagnant market. The team recently acted for International Finance Corporation in connection with USD75 million of debt and equity investments in Orient Express Bank. Eurasian Development bank instructed the firm on the USD100 million establishment of the Macquarie Renaissance Infrastructure Fund, the first fund of its kind in the CIS.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Konstantin Konstantinov is a linchpin of the Moscow office, described by interviewees as a “strong and assertive negotiator.”
THE FIRM This regional practice has a long record of success in private equity deals. The firm's strong showing in the real estate, telecommunications, and insurance sectors enables it to cover transactions across a diverse range of industries. It can draw on support from its international network, with expertise including fund formation, investments, exits and portfolio management.
KEY INDIVIDUALS David Cranfield heads the corporate department in Moscow and specialises in advising US and European multinationals on a range of cross-border matters. He is the main contact for private equity work.
THE FIRM This firm's strong regional network makes it a popular choice among domestic clients, and private equity work is a main focus of the Moscow team. Recent highlights include acting for United Capital Partners on its acquisition of a heavy drilling rig manufacturing business from Integra Group. Svarog Capital Partners also instructed the group on its USD59 million investment in Sukharevka Group. Clients appreciate the team's quick turnaround time and straightforward advice.
Sources say: “Direct, to the point, and with a clear action plan.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS With 18 years of experience in Russia and the CIS, Timothy Stubbs is a key contact for banking and private equity matters.
THE FIRM This firm has a long history in private equity and remains an important player in the field, sources agree. Interviewees are equally positive about the group's prospects for the future, following the firm's momentous merger a few years ago, and highlight the team's tremendous technical ability.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Oxana Balayan is the managing partner of the Russian office, and offers a wealth of expertise advising clients in the retail, media, pharmaceutical, real estate and financial services industries.
Richard Cowie heads the private equity department in Moscow and his reputation continues to grow. In addition to private equity, he specialises in cross-border M&A, restructurings and joint ventures.
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