Managing Partner: Michael W Blair
Number of partners: 141
Number of other lawyers: 463
USA New York, Washington
INTERNATIONAL OFFICES Hong Kong, Shanghai, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Moscow
THE FIRM: Debevoise has been active in Latin America for more than 50 years, and over the past decade has worked on hundreds of completed transactions, including some of the largest and most challenging projects across the region. Debevoise’s Latin American practice is based in New York and draws support from the firm’s European and Asian offices. The firm is a recognised leader among international law firms active in Latin America and has a large number of lawyers who spend a significant amount of time on Latin American matters and most of them speak Spanish and/or Portuguese. The firm invests heavily in its international intern program, employing some of the best-performing lawyers in the region. In 2013, Debevoise’s work in Latin America led it to win two first prizes in The American Lawyer’s Global Legal Awards program. The firm won for Global M&A Deal of the Year, Chile, for its representation of Mitsui & Co. Ltd. in its joint venture with Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile (Codelco), and for Global Dispute of the Year, Investment Arbitration, for its work in Occidental Petroleum v. Ecuador.
MAIN AREAS OF PRACTICE:
Mergers & Acquisitions:
■Mitsui in its agreement with GDF SUEZ Energy Latin America Participações Ltda., a subsidiary of the global energy group GDF SUEZ S.A., to participate in the Jirau run-of-the river hydropower project (a project with a value estimated at approximately BRL 16 billion, as of December 2012)
■The Principal Financial Group in its acquisition of AFP Cuprum S.A., a leading pension manager in Chile
■New York Life Insurance Company in the sale of its Mexico surety subsidiary, Fianzas Monterrey, S.A., to ACE Group, for about $285 million
Private Equity/Fund Formation:
■The firm’s private equity funds practice is one of the largest in the world and the firm has consolidated its role as the go-to-counsel to work on the highest-profile, and largest, funds raised in Brazil, and the rest of Latin America, in the recent past
■Clients include both large global firms, such as Carlyle, which most recently included raising a Peru Fund, and its parallel vehicles, extending the South America investment presence Carlyle established five years ago
■Other notable clients include The Capital Group, Tishman Speyer and Brookfield, as well as leading asset managers based in Latin America, such as Vinci Partners
■The Latin America capital markets practice at Debevoise continues to expand its presence in the region while fostering relationships with existing clients
■Globopar, Brazil’s largest media and communications conglomerate, in $500 combined offering of senior notes, senior secured exchangeable notes and step-up senior notes
■Itaú Unibanco in its international financing program, including takedowns under its MTN program and its SEC reporting and US securities law compliance matters
■Debevoise’s infrastructure and project finance group has extensive experience in the infrastructure sector in Latin America, including transactions taking the form of public-private partnerships (“P3s” or “PPPs”). Sectors in which the firm has acted include transportation, energy, mining and natural resources, power generation and communication.
■Award winning non-P3 projects on which the firm acted include the Refinaria Henrique Lage (REVAP) project in Brazil which was awarded the “Latin American Deal of the Year” by Project Finance International
■The firm has also played a leading role in the development of privatisation and P3 structures in Latin America, having been involved in most of the P3 projects in Chile and many others in Mexico and elsewhere in the region. Examples include the Ruta de la Araucania and Autopista del Maipo toll roads in Chile, each of which was awarded the “Transportation Deal of the Year, Latin America” by Project Finance Magazine, and Autopista de Nuevo Leon in Mexico which was awarded the “Infrastructure Deal of the Year in the Americas” by Project Finance International.
■In 2013, the firm’s project finance practice saw the addition of preeminent Canadian practitioner Doug Buchanan QC, who has joined the firm’s New York office as Counsel and Co-Head of the Global Infrastructure and Project Finance Group
■Occidental Petroleum Company and Occidental Exploration and Production Company (“Occidental”) in an ICSID arbitration, winning what is believed to be the largest ever BIT award, US $1.8 billion (US $2.3 billion including interest). The filing of the claim was made two days after Ecuador terminated all of Occidental’s exploration and production rights and seized all of its assets in the country. Global Arbitration Review (GAR) named the Occidental award “The Most Important Published Decision of 2012.”
■Perenco Ecuador Limited in its BIT and contract claims against the Republic of Ecuador. The firm won a groundbreaking, unanimous decision on provisional measures in favor of its client, ordering that Ecuador and Petroecuador refrain from instituting or further pursuing any action, including oil seizures, to collect disputed Law 42 amounts.
■Pueblo Viejo Dominicana Corporation, a joint venture between Barrick Gold and Goldcorp Inc., in a dispute with the Government of the Dominican Republic regarding the Pueblo Viejo gold, silver and copper mine, the largest foreign investment in the Dominican Republic.negotiations regarding a potential merger.