United Kingdom

Reviews

Practice area

IFLR1000 Reviews

Overview

Solicitors governing body: The Law Society of England & WalesThe Law Society of Northern IrelandThe Law Society of Scotland

Competition authority: Competition & Markets Authority (CMA)

Financial regulator: Financial Conduct AuthorityPrudential Regulation Authority

IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction: 

Bank lendingFinancial restructuring, Project finance, Capital markets : Debt, Capital markets : High yield, Capital markets : Derivatives, Capital markets : Equity, Capital markets : Structured finance and securitisation, Investment funds, Financial services regulatory, M&A, Private equity, Project DevelopmentRestructuring and insolvency

Jurisdiction overview

The United Kingdom is a combination of three legal systems: England & Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. The systems in England & Wales and Northern Ireland are common law systems, while in Scotland the system is a civil law one with common law elements.

In England & Wales lawyers are split between solicitors and barristers. Solicitors qualify by registering with the Law Society of England and Wales as a student member before undertaking a Legal Practice Course (LPC). Barristers join one of the four Inns of Court and then complete the one-year Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC).

In Northern Ireland solicitors undertake a Certificate of Professional Studies while barristers take a Bar Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Legal Studies.

In Scotland lawyers are split between solicitors and advocates. Solicitors can practise in the lower courts of Scotland, while advocates can appear in the superior High Court of Justiciary and Court of Session.

Once qualified, solicitors in England & Wales or Northern Ireland can apply to practice in the region they are not qualified in without the need to take further exams but Scottish solicitors must undertake additional qualifications.

Foreign lawyers can be registered with the Law Society of England and Wales via the Qualified Transfer Scheme (QLTS).

The UK legal market is one of the most sophisticated in the world and English law is often used to govern financing contracts around the globe.

The market is largely made up of UK or US law firms with the latter group expanding their practices aggressively since the turn of the millenium, with many hiring English law qualified lawyers to work alongside existing US teams often made up of New York qualified or dual qualified lawyers. Many other law firms from all around the world also have offices in London though their lawyers often only practice the law for their home country, with the offices acting as a client hub in the important financial centre.

Financial and corporate
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld is known for its work in Russia and the CIS and in the oil and gas sector, as evidenced by its client list which includes the likes of PJSC Lukoil and VTB Bank.

In banking the firm focuses on borrower side mandates and financial restructuring. The team, led by Robert Aulsebrook added Tom O’Connor from Morgan Lewis to its banking offering in October 2018.

In debt capital markets the team led by Barry Russell has a clear focus on private placements and its capabilities in this space were enhanced through the addition of O’Connor, mentioned above. The firm points to an increase in work from ‘atypical issuers’ including educational institutions and family trusts.

In the equity capital markets the stand out deal of the period was work by Harry Keegan and his team on the CEVA Logistics IPO on the SIX and the firm’s Russian links were in evidence through advice on LUKOIL’s buyback offers.

In the financial services regulatory space, the firm has a strong contentious team led by Helen Marshall and points to its pure focus on the financial services sector, it has been active on a range of FCA investigations during the research period. The firm has also enhanced its non-contentious practice through the promotion of Ezra Zahabi.

In the M&A space the firm has picked up work in its core areas of oil and gas and Russia linked work but has also acted on a number of financial investments by funds in the tech and life sciences space.

The restructuring team led by Russell and James Roome is closely aligned to the finance practice and has a specialism advising creditors including bond and note holders. As in other areas oil and gas is a sector strength and the firm also points to the Nordic region as a geographical specialism, backed up by its work in the past on Icelandic bank restructurings.

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Agrokor restructuring

• Alibaba/Mail.Ru/Megafon/Russian Direct Investment Fund joint venture

• CEVA Logistics SIC Swiss Exchange IPO

• CIEP/Discover Exploration acquisition of Hansa Hydrocarbons

• DEA Deutsche Erdoel acquisition of Sierra Oil & Gas

• Noble Group $3.5 billion restructuring

• PJSC LUKOIL $660 million financing of gas processing complex in Uzbekistan

• PJSC LUKOIL $3 billion share buyback programme

Allen & Overy

Allen & Overy is a financial and corporate powerhouse that has strong rankings across almost all our practice areas. Traditionally lender focused, A&O remains a go-to firm for banks in all manner of transactions. A member of the UK ‘magic circle’ the firm has turned its attention in recent years to building up US law capability in London to complement its large English law departments. 

In the debt capital markets the team led by Jonathan Melton acts for both issuers and underwriters with its strong banking client base a feature of the latter category. The firm has acted on sovereign bonds for the Saudi government, a hybrid issue by Vodafone and various corporate issues during the last year. The firm’s growing maturity in the high yield space is also on display spearheaded by the likes of Kevin Muzilla and Jeanette Cruz. 

The equity capital markets team has had an impressive run of issuer side mandates during the research period including a substantial tech IPO (Network international), the first LSE law firm IPO (DWF) and the largest Icelandic IPO (Arion Bank). David Broadley and James Roe are two notable names with both taking the lead on a number of the firm’s key matters. 

One of the London’s historically strong names in derivatives the firm features notable names such as Parya Badie and Emma Dwyer. The firm launched Margin Xchange in 2019 which will allow clients to handle and analyse initial margin requirements. 

In structured finance and securitisation, notable name include the likes of Franz Ranero and Salim Nathoo and the firm points to a strong track record in securitisations, CLOs, direct lending, synthetic risk transfer transactions and equity linked transactions. 

In the regulatory space the firm has a large team with separate groups dedicated to areas such as insurance and consulting, with the latter led by Sally Dewar. Damian Carolan leads the team which welcomed back a big name in Bob Penn during the research period. The firm has advised on MiFID II and provided Brexit advice to the likes of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Group, Lloyds Bank and Standard Chartered. 

The private equity team led by Stephen Lloyd has a clear focus on Europe and ranks highly in buyout statistics tables for the region. Clients include the likes of Ardian, Blackstone and Exponent. 

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Blackstone €1 billion acquisition of 60% stake in Luminor Bank

• Cerberus €1 billion acquisition of HSH Nordbank

• Eurasian Resources Group acquisition of Eurasian Natural Resources

• Global Infrastructure Partners £7 billion acquisition of Hornsea One (lenders)

• Guinea Alumina Corporation Guinea greenfield bauxite mine financing

• Kingdom of Saudi Arabia $11 billion sovereign bond issue

• Network International LSE IPO

• Oak Hill Advisors and Värde Partners acquisition of $1 billion shipping loan portfolio

• Santander global covered bond programme

 

Client feedback

"Firm's work was exceptional in the face of a challenging timeline and high volume of lender comments and queries. No weaknesses were evident." - Banking

"Excellent, very strong organizational powers, proactive analysis and access to experts on all topics, especially regulatory." - Capital markets : Debt

"They are extremely capable at realising the commercial goals of our business whilst helping us manage legal risk. Tight timelines are not a problem and despite the complexity of the product you feel they have a strong grasp of what is required." - Capital markets : Debt

"Very good personal relationship backed by solid hard work." - Capital markets : Debt

"We are VERY satisfied with the law firm's work. The firm surpasses all of the other firms we have used in terms of client service, responsiveness, commerciality, and absolutely top value for money! The lawyers (including senior associates and partner) are quick at responding and very pragmatic. They are technically on top of the practice -- definitely top tier. Cannot think of anything they can improve." - Capital markets : Debt

"Very deep understanding of the derivatives documentation and market. Practical and commercial. Unparalleled combination of derivatives and regulatory understanding." - Capital markets : Derivatives

"Excellent service with sound, commercial and timely advice." - Capital markets : Equity

"Outstanding. This was a difficult transaction executed over a short time frame. A&O distinguished themselves with expert technical advice that was provided in real time." - Capital markets : Equity

"Excellent." - Capital markets : Structured finance and securitisation

"Technically strong." - Financial services regulatory

"Very thorough, they are truly expert in their field. They are practical and pragmatic but do not try and be overly so which I respect them for (as it shouldn't be the role of private practice firms to make risk based decisions)." - Financial services regulatory

"Strong commercial knowledge, attention to detail and understanding of the key legal levers." - Private equity

Arnold & Porter

In the UK Arnold & Porter developed out of the former Kaye Scholer practice. The US firm is best known for its sovereign debt work and structured finance and securitisation work.

Debt capital markets work is one of the firm’s strengths in London and Jeremy Willcocks’ team is known for its work on sovereign financings in particular, acting on issues by a range of countries in the emerging markets from Colombia to Jordan to Nigeria. Most recently the team acted on Turkey’s latest sovereign sukuk.

In structured finance and securitisation the firm, led by Stuart Axford, advises on a range of asset classes but has been particularly active on CLO issues during the research period acting for the likes of Amherst Pierpoint and Jefferies.

In the M&A space the firm points to industry specialities in areas such as pharmaceuticals and life sciences and healthcare, with one example being work for Omega Healthcare on its acquisition of two healthcare centres. In the private equity area the team led by Andrew Harris is active in the mid-market for key clients such as Bregal Capital.

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Republic of Turkey $2 billion sukuk issue

• Williams Lea Tag acquisition of Taylor James

• Gi Group acquisition of Marks Sattin

• ECP CLO 2015-7 $471 million CLO

• Omega Healthcare Investors acquisition of Haughgate House and The Old Vicarage

Ashurst

Ashurst has a large financial and corporate team in its home market and covers work in all the key practice areas. The firm has an impressive offering in banking and projects work, with specialities in energy and infrastructure in the latter area. It has also rebuilt its M&A and private equity practices in recent years picking up notable mandates. 

In the banking area key highlights include advising the lenders on the refinancing of Octopus Energy and acting for the UK Government on British Steel’s £120 million short term bridge financing. 

The firm’s equity capital markets work is split between issuer and underwriter mandates with Nicholas Holmes leading on some of the firm’s most notable work including the Gran Tierra IPO and DCC share placing. 

Piers Warburton leads the funds practice which is closely linked to its private equity offering. The firm has acted on a number of fund raisings for the likes of ICG, Altor and Inflexion. The firm added partner Nicola Hopkins to the team during the research period from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner. 

In the M&A space the firm’s projects expertise is reflected in its industry sector expertise where it picks up work in the energy, oil and gas and mining sectors, most notably on Volcan Investments’ acquisition of Vedanta Resources. Karen Davies and Tom Mercer are key figures in the team in addition to Simon Beddow on the private equity side. 

The firm is one of the City’s leading projects practices with wide sector coverage. Infrastructure is somewhere where the firm really excels as evidenced by its work on some of the UK’s key projects including the proposed new Heathrow rail link. On the energy side the firm has taken advantage of the growing renewable energy market acting on the Moray and Triton Knoll wind farm projects. 

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Ascendas REIT £257.5 million acquisition of Griffen Group property portfolio

• Duqm Refinery development

• Gran Tierra Energy LSE IPO

• ICG Europe Fund VII

• Liberty House €740 million acquisition of ArcelorMittal European steel assets

• Moray offshore wind farm £2.6 billion financing

• Western Rail Link to Heathrow project

 

Client feedback

"Very knowledgeable about the sector (oil and gas), well resourced in terms of quality and quantity of lawyers and respected by their counterparts in other firms." - Banking

"Clear, concise and pragmatic advice on relevant matters." - Capital markets : Equity

"Nicholas Holmes and Simon Bullock are strong partners with excellent technical knowledge. Ashurst also always provide excellent value for money to their clients." - Capital markets : Equity

"Thorough and pragmatic - a well balanced approach to the task at hand, focusing on the key commercial matters and not wasting time getting "lost in rabbit holes" on matters that weren't of great value. Overall, excellent." - Capital markets : Equity

"Excellent capital markets team that are very responsive. Great technical ability and knowledge across the team offering very good legal and practical advice." - Capital markets : Equity

"Very pleased with the Ashurst offering. Strengths - 'go to' individual partner; cutting edge market knowledge; strength in depth with US practice and regulatory." - Capital markets : Equity

"Fund establishment and tax have very strong senior team members. Absolutely technical expertise combined with commercial approach to problem solving and negotiations." - Investment funds

"Overall I rate the Ashurst team highly and believe that they take a commercial approach to a transaction and advice which is useful in progressing the transaction in a timely manner. They are also quite proactive in identifying opportunities and issues." - M&A

"The firm was exceptional throughout. The only area for improvement identified would be anticipation of staff absences and earlier communications (internal and external) when backup personnel are needed so they are fully up-to-speed on pending issues." - M&A

"The firm has done excellent job in preventing dispute and used strong legal arguments to strengthen our position." - M&A

"Their abundant knowledge and experiences, especially at similar types of projects very recently, were quite helpful to understand current market practice and its standard." - M&A

"Tom Mercer and his team are great. Commercial and easy to deal with. Good value for money." - M&A

"Very professional." - M&A

"Commercial lawyers in M&A team - strong performance; solution orientated. Exceptional debt team." - M&A

"A high-calibre firm in the field of private equity funds. They are efficient, knowledgeable, client friendly and very easy to work with." - Private equity

"The firm provided excellent expertise, drive and service delivery in reviewing the project and financing agreements and advising the lenders. I found working with them was very pleasant as they are very flexible and get up to speed very quickly and understand everything because of their sector experience (extensive experience in power and water sector. In addition the team is practical and pragmatic: they don't complicate things and have a good understanding of commercial matters and the key driving factors behind them which underpins their solid guidance and high quality advice to lenders." - Project development

"Excellent across the board; technically expert, excellent quality from partners down to trainees, able to mobilise numbers as and when required, add value on a project with their market knowledge, strategic input and understanding of risk, always personable and work well in a team; understand our business and the market sectors they work in." - Project development

"Excellent all round service offering. Pro-active and responsive. Produce innovative solutions. Excellent partner availability." - Project development

"Excellent industry-leading advice in relation to rail sector, high quality advice and great depth in the team to manage the very substantial project. Support for tax, pensions and procurement specialisms used of high quality and well integrated." - Project development

"Great sectoral knowledge and a responsive and effective team." - Project development

"Depth of knowledge of the subject matter. Provided significant IP reducing timeline to closure and whilst user friendly were highly efficient." - Project finance

"Overall, the quality of the work was excellent. Particular strengths were deep understanding of the market, ability to manage large banking groups and a sensible approach." - Project finance

"They have provided consistently excellent and timely advice and support through complicated and protracted negotiations." - Project finance

"Very good, very responsive to our needs and credible." - Project finance

"Very responsive to client’s queries and requirements. Good analysis of the issues and sound advice, and very reliable counsels who are always ready to accommodate requests for last minute calls to discuss pressing issues on and off work days." - Real estate

"Excellent pragmatic and commercial advice." - Restructuring and insolvency

"Very commercial." - Restructuring and insolvency

Burges Salmon

Burges Salmon is known as a strong regional player in the West of England and has a large number of staff based in Bristol. Nevertheless it is a significant firm on the national level frequently picking up mandates from the government. The firm’s sector strengths include transport, energy, hotels and food and beverage.

In the banking area the firm picked up work on a notable first during the research period advising National Express on the first bilateral SONIA loan in the UK.

Within the investment funds area the firm led by Tom Dunn specialises in advising on authorised funds and pension fund investments. The team acts on fund structuring, transfers, investments and provides regulatory advice for the likes of FundRock and St James’s Place.

In the corporate and M&A space the firm generally acts for UK based corporates such as national Express and Virgin and mid-market private equity houses. A clear highlight from the research period saw the firm act for the UK Government on a large asset transfer related to research and development. The firm also demonstrated its strengths in sectors such as food and beverage and renewable energy and also acted on a number of private equity matters.

In the restructuring and insolvency space the firm acts for debtors, creditors, administrators and trustees and has particular experience dealing with pension issues. Andrew Eaton is a key figure.

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Arla Foods acquisition of Yeo Valley Dairies

• Audley Group £125 million revolving credit facility

• East Coast Trains procurement of AT300 train fleet

• Greencoat UK Wind £163 million acquisition of Brockaghboy Wind Farm

• Local Government Pension Scheme ACS

• Supplier Assessment Services (Constructionline) buy-out

• United Kingdom Research and Innovation asset transfer

• Zinc Group administration

 

Client feedback

“Burges Salmon has been exceptional in supporting me and our firm's investment funds offering throughout 2018, both in on-going day-to-day funds management matters and more complex investment fund launches. In particular, Tom Dunn (Partner) and Anna Davis' (Associate) attention to detail and rare ability to jump into my shoes and grasp what I really need to know as in-house counsel from a legal and commercial risk perspective - especially with me dealing directly with the firm's senior executives has led to those individuals very quickly becoming valuable and trusted advisers.” - Financial services regulatory

“Excellent advice and negotiation to provide indemnities and capped liabilities.” - Investment funds

“The work was done within the timescales they laid out. They also provide an initial review to give you accurate costs and timescales. The reports received were very structured and a representative of the firm was happy to sit in on any follow up calls we had with the managers to clarify/negotiate any issues that had arisen.” - Investment funds

“Very good. All staff involved are friendly, knowledgeable and supportive. SLA deadlines are always met and flexibility is shown where a sub-SLA deadline is requested.” - Investment funds

“Burges Salmon are a competent and well informed regional law firm. They service a wide range of fund managers and are very experienced in dealing with application for new UK authorised funds and changes to existing funds.” - Investment funds

“Excellent work 10-10 they worked tirelessly on the deal advising in a clear and professional manner at all times.” - M&A

“I was impressed with the work completed. Both Tim Roberts and Richard Spink were contactable at all points in the process and worked around the clock to ensure that all aspect of the deal were prepared. Our shareholders were always fully briefed on the process and given this was the first process of this kind we felt in very safe hands, with all legal terms explained throughout.” - M&A

“Excellent, highly professional and sound advice.” - M&A

“Generally very good. Practical, responsive, resource appropriate team.” - M&A

“A high quality partner led practice that brings a commercial edge to negotiations which helps to deliver projects on time and budget.” - Private equity

“Excellent advice and service from UK team and got a good result for management. Great at communication and keeping calm under pressure. Possibly the link with the US was a bit clunky but it worked effectively.” - Private equity

“I think the Burges Salmon team are all high calibre across the board (both in terms of level and practise area). We've consistently been impressed with the commercial advice, client first approach and helpfully the genuine approachability of the various teams we've worked with.” - Private equity

“We are extremely happy with the firm's work.” - Restructuring and insolvency

Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft

In the London market Cadwalader’s reputation lies within the structured finance and securitisation space where names such as David Quirolo, Stephen Day and Nick Shiren spearhead the practice.

The firm has strengths across asset classes including asset-backed securitisations, where the team has picked up a number of firsts including advising on the first public securitisation of P2P loans and the first public rated securitisation of market consumer loans in Europe, among others.

CLOs is another clear specialism and the team has innovated in this space too, specifically in the 2.0 market, acting on the first European issue deal in this space and the first CRR compliant CLO 2.0 managed by a US collateral manager.

The firm has also been developing its leveraged and warehouse lending and its work in insurance-linked securities.

In the banking space Leading Lawyer Samantha Hutchinson and a team of lawyers joined from Dentons during the research period and will enhance the firm’s fund finance capacity. Direct lending involving funds is one of the firm’s key strengths and the team primarily acts for lenders.

In the corporate and M&A space the firms has brought in Joanna Valentine as a special counsel from Davis Polk to run the London operation. Outside of financing deals the firm also points to work related to shareholder activism and corporate governance advice.

The firm’s restructuring team is bouncing back from the loss of a team to Milbank in early 2018. The firm primarily acts for noteholders, bondholders and lenders in financial restructurings.

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• AMAG Leasing SFr275 million and SFr250 million auto-lease securitisations

• AXA/IFC $500 million emerging market infrastructure loan co-investment program

• MBIA – Zohar Funds restructuring

• Seadrill Chapter 11

• State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan $215 million acquisition of Ucell

• Swisscord AECS SFr200 million credit card receivables securitisation

 

Client feedback

"Excellent. I could not recommend Samantha Hutchinson highly enough for her speed of responsiveness, commercial attitude and quality of advice to our lenders." - Banking

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton is strong across banking, capital markets and corporate and M&A and the firm’s multi-disciplinary approach means that it’s key partners, including the likes of Raj Panasar, Andrew Shutter, David Billington, Polina Lyadnova and David Gottlieb often work several or all of these areas to differing degrees. 

In the banking space the firm, has a strong borrowing side practice and has acted on a range of significant bank-bond or capital markets linked deals during the research period, including several for African sovereigns including acting for the Republic of Senegal on a bridge to bond loan and Republic of Côte d’Ivoire on several hedging transactions. 

The firm moves up in our debt capital markets ranking this year off of the strength of its mandates and the balance inherent in its workflow, the practice has a balance of issuer and underwriter mandates and acts for an impressive range of clients including banks, corporates and sovereigns. Key clients include the likes of bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, UC Rusal, GlaxoSmithKline and The Hellenic Republic. In the high yield space Pierre-Marie Boury has acted for a range of both issuers and initial purchasers. 

In the equity capital markets the firm has acted on a variety of share buybacks, book building offers as well as the IPO of the Port of Tallinn. 

In M&A the firm’s geographical strengths are in the emerging markets particularly in Africa, and the Middle East. The firm has been acting for key clients like AB InBev, ArcelorMittal and Warburg Pincus, while TPG is one of the most active clients of the firm’s on the private equity side. 

In the restructuring and insolvency space the firm has acted on a number of significant debt restructurings for the likes of Eurasian Resources Group and a range of sovereigns including the Republic of Benin and the Republic of Chad. 

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• ArcelorMittal $7 billion syndicated bridge loan

• Cushman & Wakefield NYSE IPO

• GlaxoSmithKline Capital $4 billion notes issue

• ION Investment Group £1.5 billion acquisition of Fidessa group

• PJSC Nizhnekamskneftekhim €807 million export credit facility

• Republic of Côte d'Ivoire €1.7 billion sovereign notes issue

• Sainsbury's/Asda proposed merger

• Teva Pharmaceutical Industries $4.5 billion senior notes issues

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance is a powerhouse across the financial and corporate sphere with highly rated partners and a deep bench in almost all areas. 

In the banking space the firm acts for lenders and borrowers on acquisition and leveraged finance along with special situations and distressed financing. The firm has also acted on a number of bank/bond deals in tandem with its high yield team. Charles Cochrane and Emma Folds lead the team with David Robson particularly active during the research period. 

The debt capital markets team advises on the whole range of bond instruments, pointing to work in regulatory capital, green bonds and sovereign issues during the research period, along with several EMTN issues. Clients include the likes of Informa, Maxima Grupe, Global Infrastructure Partners and a variety of banks. Simon Sinclair, John Connolly and Paul Deakins had particularly active years. On the high yield side the team led by Michael Dakin has acted on a number of bank/bond deals during the research period and also points to an increase in cross-over deals. 

On the equity side the team is spearheaded by the Simon Thomas, Adrian Cartwright and Iain Hunter who have acted on listings by the likes of Vivo Energy, JPJ Group and Nova Ljubljanska banka. 

In the structured finance and securitisation area the firm led by Kevin Ingram has picked up work in a number of asset classes, including securitisations of credit card and mortgage receivables, but points in particular to work arising from the fintech sector. The firm has acted for the likes of Permanent TSB, Santander and Barclays, but the clear highlight was its work for Al Rayan Bank and Standard Chartered on the former’s Tolkien sukuk, the first such instrument backed by UK mortgages. 

The financial services regulatory team has focused on providing clients with advice on issues such as Brexit and EMIR. The team has acted for the likes of The Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME) and Confederation of British Industry (CBI). 

Nigel Hatfield heads up the private funds group, which has acted for the likes of 3i, Bridgepoint and Allianz. The focus during the research period has been on private equity funds, infrastructure funds and real estate funds. 

In M&A the firm has been active in sectors including insurance, consumer goods, oil and gas and pharmaceuticals and acted on a number of multi-billion deals. The firm has a large team with a number of notable partners, during the research period the likes of Steven Fox, Katherine Moir and Gareth Camp were particularly active. In private equity the likes of Jonny Myers and Spencer Baylin have acted for clients including Cinven, Carlyle and Clayton Dubilier & Rice. 

In the projects area, within its broader team the firm has specific construction and environment groups. The firm has acted on a number of renewable energy projects in the UK including wind farms and energy from waste plants, advising on development, finance and acquisitions. In addition the team has acted on solar plants in Jordan a Southern Europe natural gas pipeline and two UK transport PPPs. 

In restructuring and insolvency Philip Hertz leads the team that has acted on matters such as the House of Fraser administration, British Steel’s insolvency and the Noble and Edcon restructurings. The firm has a large lender side practice and often acts for the banks on such matters. 

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Al Rayan Bank £250 million Tolkien Sukuk RMBS

• Cinven €1.2 billion acquisition of AXA Life Europe

• Glencore $500 million non-dilutive cash settled convertible bond

• Global Infrastructure Partners £4.46 billion acquisition of 50% stake in Hornsea offshore wind project

• House of Fraser administration

• MMC Treasury Holdings £4.3 billion acquisition of Jardine Lloyd Thomas Group

• OCI $2.2 billion bank/bond refinancing

• TDC take private

• Vivo Energy LSE/JSE IPO

 

Client feedback

"Excellent - highly professional, very capable. Commercial approach enabled a very tight closing timetable to be met." - Banking

"Excellent on the banking and finance side, very knowledgeable about the issues we deal with and good understanding of our needs. Competition advice also excellent and commercially aware." - Banking

"Excellent performance by Clifford Chance as Lenders' legal counsel. Talent from lead partner down to associate was at the highest level and more than in line with expectation for a Tier 1 law firm. Strengths lie in depth and ability of resource, ability to manage competing lender group interests (commercial banks, DFIs, ECAs) and manage a complex financing and propose innovative and constructive documentation solutions which were acceptable to a wide range of sponsors sitting on the other side of the table." - Banking

"Performs consistently to a high standard on transactions. A solid team that is responsive, proactive and delivers sound advice and work of a high quality." - Banking

"Outstanding! There are extremely knowledgeable about all out dealings in this are, dedicated, always available and extremely adept at helping us negotiate with counterparties whose lawyers are aggressive." - Capital markets : Debt

"Strength: Active and dedicated during the implementation phase." - Capital markets : Debt

"Strong team with excellent technical and execution skills. Partners involved as necessary but high quality associates doing the required work." - Capital markets : Debt

"Strong team with technical expertise and capable lawyers. Good coverage of both industry sectors and geographies." - Capital markets : Debt

"Clifford Chance has provided long-standing full service coverage in relation to all of Barclays main issuance activities. The coverage is seamless and well integrated with Barclays internal legal function. The work is proactively led by Simon Sinclair with a team of strong associates which can cope with constant preparation for issuance activities across a multitude of platforms and offerings in different jurisdictions. The advice is pragmatic, commercial and timely in respect of regulatory capital, securities law and tax issues and demonstrates deep and expert understanding of the financial services industry, with additional expert regulatory advice provided by Simon Gleeson." - Capital markets : Debt

"In terms of strength, Clifford Chance has experienced, competent and qualified lawyers to provide legal and documentation advice. The  responsiveness, effectiveness and close collaboration amongst them are their strength." - Capital markets : Derivatives

"An exceptional result they delivered an outstanding service in the transaction. I'm not a high yield specialist and we've been working on very complicated transactions. We had two teams on the CC side, (Michael Dakin, Kate Vyvyan) and they worked perfectly together. They are very sensitive to client concerns. They were very good at managing the counterparty. The issuer was providing a very poor service and they were very good at ensuring that the transaction didn't derail because of that. Extremely commercial, very good at understanding client needs and being tactical. At this level what makes a difference is commercial ability. Both partners were very available, they make themselves available at all times. Definitely staffed adequately, it was a relatively small team." - Capital markets : High yield

"Clifford Chance has always provided exemplary work, analysing and resolving issues in an innovative proactive and highly effective manner." - Capital markets : High yield

"Main strengths:  - Commercial and high calibre partners - Flexible team, able to focus on important projects and deliver high quality work on tight timetables -  Easy to work with: available, both able to listen and provide suitable / creative advice, straightforward." - Capital markets : High yield

"Excellent." - Financial services regulatory

"Very strong practice with highly commercially oriented lawyers who are responsive and pleasant but assertive negotiators." - Project finance

"Approachable commercial and pragmatic advice. Down to earth partners who are respected by peers in terms of capability and conduct." - Restructuring and insolvency

"Excellent. pragmatic, pro-active approach to finding solutions - always available and a personable and committed deal team." - Restructuring and insolvency

"Superb. Technical but understandable - which requires a command of the situation which only hard work can produce." - Restructuring and insolvency

"The restructuring practice is very professional and experienced, and its ability to call on the expertise of their lawyers in different jurisdictions around the world is a big advantage to their client base." - Restructuring and insolvency

Cravath Swaine & Moore

Cravath Swine & Moore is one of the premier New York firms operating in London and in-line with that its strengths lie primarily in New York governed capital markets issues, both debt and equity, and some M&A work. High yield, perhaps unsurprisingly given the firm’s NY law bench strength, is a particular strength. 

In the debt capital markets Phil Boeckman, Alyssa Caples and George Stephanakis are the firm’s leading lights. The team acts for initial purchasers and issuers such as the European Investment Bank, British American Tobacco and RELX Capital. 

On the equity side the firm has picked up work for issuers including KNORR-BREMSE and HDFC Bank. As well as acting on IPOs and European issues the firm also advises on the issues of American depositary receipts. 

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• BAT Capital Corporation $17.25 billion notes exchange offer

• European Investment Bank (EIB) $28 billion (aggregate) notes issues

• HDFC Bank $1.82 billion ADR issue

• Knorr-Bremse €3.87 billion FSE IPO

• Lowell €130 million and Skr1.28 billion senior secured notes issues

 

Client feedback

"I find CSM very competent and service minded. Their advice is legally sound, balanced and practical, always bearing in mind the fact pattern and overall actual situation. The team is very good at the small things clients appreciate - they are responsive, prompt, keep you informed, ensure comments and changes are dealt with promptly and correctly. The overall standard of the associates is very high, even though there is the occasional weak link. The firm’s advice and approach are highly appreciated by the non-lawyers they interact with, which I see as the best sign of their ability to advise and convey relevant messages." - Capital markets : Debt

"Very experienced and good on execution." - Capital markets : Debt

"The firm is highly sophisticated, user friendly and pragmatic. They are amongst the best US securities lawyers available." - Capital markets : Equity

Crefovi

French/UK firm Crefovi focuses on work in sectors such as fashion, art, media, entertainment and luxury goods. The firm does a mix of corporate and restructuring work and outside of financial and corporate some IP work as well.

During the research period the firm acted on a restructuring matter and the negotiation of a shareholders agreement.

Davis Polk & Wardwell

In the London market Davis Polk & Wardwell has a compact but nimble team that manages to pick up a range of impressive deals in the capital markets and corporate space. The firm generates much of its work direct from the UK and European markets but also benefits from work coming from its home base in the US. In Europe the firm has seen a number of mandates emerge from the Nordic and Scandinavia regions during the research period. 

Much of the team work across various practice areas, particularly within capital markets where the team moves between debt and equity mandates. 

As one of the premier New York firms it is perhaps unsurprising that Davis Polk has a strong debt practice. The firm acts on both English and US law governed deals and has a particular specialism in US dollar-denominated deals. The firm primarily advises issuers and has acted for the likes of Syngenta Finance, AstraZeneca and BBA Aviation. Reuven Young and Leo Borchardt have been particularly active. 

In the equity space the firm has primarily acted for the banks and underwriters but also picked up some issuer side mandates. The team has acted on share placings, bookbuilds and some IPOs including that of Endava and Netcompany.  

In the M&A space Will Pearce is a key figure and he and the team punch above their size in securing a number of sizeable mandates, with Comcast’s bid for Sky just one example. The firm has also acted for the likes of British American Tobacco, AP Møller-Mærsk and Technip. Banking and financial services, technology and energy have been key sectors. 

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• AstraZeneca $3 billion notes issue

• Comcast £30.6 billion acquisition of Sky

• Evergood 5 $5.3 billion acquisition of Nets

• Netcompany Group Dkr3.1 billion Nasdaq Copenhagen IPO

• Nordic Capital/Sampo $760 million bid for Nordax Group

• Syngenta Finance $4.75 billion notes issue

• Temenos Group £1.4 billion bid for Fidessa

• Tencent Holdings $9.8 billion secondary share offer

Debevoise & Plimpton

Debevoise & Plimpton has a strong investment management practice that includes investment work and private equity acquisitions and financings. In all these areas it tends to act for PE houses and funds including the likes of Clayton Dubilier & Rice and EQT Partners. The firm can also point to a strong list of Russian clients.

In banking the firm acts for borrowers and sponsors acting on leveraged and acquisition financings and fund finance, with the firm pointing to the latter as a key area of growth in the past 12 months. Thomas Smith and Alan Davies have been particularly active during the research period.

Private funds is one of the pillars of the firm’s practice and in 2018 the firm claims a combined $43.2 billion raised from fundraisings it worked on. Key clients include the likes of Park Square and Exponent and Geoff Kittredge remains one of the practice’s leading lights. The team expanded during the research period with the addition of international counsels Matthew Dickman and John Young from Kirkland and Ropes & Gray respectively.

In private equity the firm handles a range of work for its clients in addition to acquisitions and claims a particular specialism in secondaries work. Katherine Ashton, E Raman Bet Mansour and David Innes have all been active during the research period, with HarbourVest Partners a particularly active client.

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Clayton Dubilier & Rice £780 million acquisition of Westbury Street Holdings

• Glendower Capital Secondary Opportunities Fund IV

• HarbourVest Partners £1.2 billion take private of esure

• Motor Fuel Group £1.761 billion acquisition of MRH

• Resolution Life A$3.3 billion acquisition of AMP Life

• Tishman Speyer European Real Estate Venture VIII

 

Client feedback

“Very good, very knowledgeable of the market and the market players and very practical about re-using technology and getting things done.” - Banking

“Excellent work all-around. Skilled, thoughtful, responsive, proactive. Don't overstaff matters. Very little attorney turnover--stable team.” - Investment funds

“Excellent, strength - responsive and proactive.” - Investment funds

“Good knowledge of funds industry and practice and able to cover UK/US aspects, pragmatic/commercial, good value.” - Investment funds

“The JV was global and Debevoise & Plimpton was able to provide guidance across the board in all countries. If they did not have people, they had companies that they work with regularly. They were able to handle all the situations we ran into and managed the entire process quite competently. There were no areas that I thought they needed to improve. Their communication and execution was excellent.” - M&A

“Excellent execution and strong advice on critical path items - senior lawyer well briefed and always present at key moments.” - Private equity

“Great full service - drafting, negotiation, ad hoc queries. Thorough and diligent preparation of all documentation delivered promptly and always with a smile!” - Private equity

“The Debevoise funds team led by Geoff Kittridge was excellent. They are technically very strong and ran the matter efficiently and pro-actively.” - Private equity

Dechert

Dechert is perhaps best known in the UK for its debt capital markets and funds work, particularly work relating to sovereign debt issues. The firm has made a number of hires to enhance its finance and private equity practices. The firm has strengths in emerging markets such as the CIS region and North Africa.

In banking the firm acts on leveraged finance and acquisition finance and often acts for private equity houses as borrowers counsel. Hires from Kirkland & Ellis (John Markland) and DLA Piper (Philip Butler, David Miles) in recent years have given the firm a strong foundation and Markland in particular was busy during the research period.

In the debt capital markets the firm also experienced growth hiring Robert Darwin from Hogan Lovells. The firm has a clear specialism in sovereign bond work, in part down to the reputation of of counsel Camille Abousleiman, - having acted on issues by Albania, Bahrain. Egypt and Tunisia among others - but also picked up a number of firsts during the research period, with several relating to green bonds including the first issue in accordance with ICMA’s 2017 green bond principles.

In the equity capital markets the firm led by Sean Geraghty has acted on a handful of AIM and Euronext IPOs during the research period acting for the likes of Medincell and Safestay.

In structured finance and securitisation the firm has acted on a number of CLOs during the research period acting for the likes of Sound Point Capital Management, Five Arrows Managers and Anchorage Capital Group. In addition the firm has picked up work relating to RMBS deals and warehouse facilities. Jim Waddington and Charles Malpass were particularly active.

The financial services regulatory team has been advising clients on matters such as Brexit and fund regulatory matters, advising the likes of Amun and The Investment Association. The team also provides corporate support acting on the regulatory aspects of M&A matters. Monica Gogna is particularly active.

The investment funds team at the firm was boosted by the hire of Marianna Tothova during the research period. The team is part of the wider investment management group. Gus Black and Abigail Bell have been particularly active in the research period ad while most of the firm’s work is confidential it can be said that the firm advised clients such as Soloda Investment Advisors

The firm has built its M&A and private equity capacity in recent years with notable hires like Ross Allardice and on the financing side John Markland. This is reflected in its mandates with work for SK Hynix on its acquisition of certain Toshiba assets particularly notable. During the research period the firm also acted for the likes of Sun Capital Partners, Crown Holdings and Wyndham Worldwide.

In restructuring and insolvency Dechert’s three key partners of Paul Fleming, Giles Belsey and Adam Silver have picked up several mandates acting for noteholders. In addition one of the firm’s most notable matters was acting on the insolvency of the Abraaj Group.

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Abraaj Group insolvency

• Arab Republic of Egypt €2 billion and $4 billion sovereign bond issues

• Crown $3.91 billion acquisition of Signode Industrial Group Holdings

• Jepson Residential 2019-1 RMBS

• KazMunayGas $3.25 billion Eurobond issue

• MIDOR $1.2 billion SACE-insured financing

• PAI Partners acquisition of Albéa

• SK Hynix $18 billion acquisition of Toshiba's NAND flash memory and SSD business

• Sound Point Euro CLO I

Dentons

Dentons has undergone a transformation in recent years pursuing a policy of expansion across the globe. The firm is now the world’s largest having opened further bases in 2019 including Central America, Chile, Zimbabwe and Dusseldorf. In the firm’s home market in the UK it has a broad practice that is perhaps best known for banking, M&A and projects work.

In the banking space the firm has a strong lender side practice and has picked up several mandates connected with Turkish borrowers in the last 12 months and also acted on several deals in emerging markets like Africa.

In the debt capital markets the firm has been largely acting on EMTN programmes and notes issues for issuers. Clients include the likes of JSC Silknet, CPI Property Group, Housing Development Finance Corporation and Faurecia. Nick Hayday and David Cohen were the most active members of the team.

In structured finance and securitisation the firm acts on RMBS, CLOs, consumer loan securitisations and trade receivables. Peter Voisey has been particularly active during the research period. The derivatives team has been enhanced with the addition of Yusuf Battiwala from Allen & Overy. The firm acted on a number of Middle East related deals including sharia-compliant mandates.

In the financial services regulatory space the firm has acted for the likes of Cofunds, M&G Real Estate and Mobius Life. The team picks up the regulatory elements of various transactions from the broader corporate team.

Projects is one of the firm’s strengths and its connections in Africa mean that the continent has proved a good hunting ground, with the firm picking up deals in Mozambique, Nigeria and Rwanda. A standout out matter saw Dominic Spacie and Mark Macaulay act on Kenya’s first coal power plant. The busiest sector for the firm was power but the firm also acted on oil and gas and transport projects including an airport in Rwanda in the latter category.

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Bugesera International Airport

• CRI Group debt restructuring

• Faurecia €300 million green bond issue

• Gulf Energy coal power plant in Kenya

• Housing Development Finance Corporation Re10 billion masala bond issue

• Türk Eximbank $770 million financing

• Volkswagen Financial Services (UK) Driver UK Master securitisation programme

 

Client feedback

“Speedy, knowledgeable.” - Banking

“Helpful, commercial, practical approach to a complex deal.” - Banking

“Very good support.” - Capital markets : High yield

“Excellent work done in short time considering the new securitisation rules covering reporting that has been introduced.” - Capital markets : Structured finance and securitisation

“A strong and experienced practice with a nice balance of strong leadership and  dedicated associates.” - Capital markets : Structured finance and securitisation

“Fantastic knowledge and understanding of both practical implications and the regulatory matters and their interaction with law, there are a few sticky points of crossover and Dentons are well versed in navigating the subject.” - Financial services regulatory

“Good standard.” - Financial services regulatory

“Understood and grasped the needs of the borrower and the timescales that were set out.” - Real estate

“I enjoy working with Dentons. I find the team easy to work with, always available and I have absolute confidence that my interests are protected by their focus on issues. I welcome the challenge to some of my proposed actions levied by the individuals I work with and I see my engagement with them as "one team" rather than a lawyer/client relationship.” - Restructuring and insolvency

Fieldfisher

Fieldfisher has strengths in areas such as derivatives, financial regulation and some funds work.

In the banking area Philip Abbott’s team has advised a mix of borrowers and lenders on corporate finance matters with a client list including the likes of JPMorgan, Silicon Valley Bank, RCB Bank and Bank Leumi. The firm points to particular strengths in the alternative finance space and acting for challenger banks. It also cites sector strengths in energy, technology and real estate.

Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson

Fried Frank has clear strengths in finance work along with private equity and investment funds work and this is reflected in the status of the cross practice asset management division. Recent years has seen expansion of the team across these areas along with the capital markets, corporate and restructuring practices.

In the broader banking and finance space the firm has a focus on leveraged finance due to its private equity and investment management strengths. In addition the firm can point to specialisms in fund finance, real estate finance and bank/bond transactions. This has been enhanced through the hire of two new partners in the form of Neil Caddy from Milbank and Kathryn Cecil from Linklaters.

In the equity capital markets the team is focused on advising banks and sponsors. The additions of Ashar Qureshi from Freshfields and Taylor Souter from Simmons & Simmons will enhance the offering with both having strong track records at their previous firms.

In financial regulation much of the firm’s work is generated by its fund practice and the team has been kept busy advising on AIFMD and EMIR. Its client list includes the likes of Duke Street, Mid Europa, Triton, Blackrock and Goldman Sachs.

In the investment funds space, the team, which is part of the wider asset management group works across a range of fund types. The firm has acted for the likes of Brookfield Investment Management, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Goldman Sachs. David Selden is the key partner for hedge fund matters, while in private funds key figures are Mark Mifsud and Kate Downey.

In the M&A and private equity space the firm acts for the likes of Ascential, Brookfield and Goldman Sachs. Dan Oates is a key name and the team expanded in 2019 with the addition of Ian Lopez.

In the restructuring and insolvency space the team led by Ashley Katz has acted on matters including insolvencies and financial restructurings. A clear highlight saw the firm advise on the high profile Seadrill Chapter 11, advising Centerbridge Partners as one of the anchor investors.

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• BlueBay Direct Leading Fund III

• Francisco Partners acquisition of Avecto

• Novelis $2.6 billion acquisition of Aleris Corporation

• RoundShield Fund III

• Seadrill restructuring

• SIG Combibloc Group €1.90 billion refinancing

• Viavi Solutions $455 million acquisition of Cobham's Test and management business

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher is a strong US corporate firm so its strengths lie in M&A, borrower side finance mandates and in equity capital markets work.

In the banking space, the firm’s focus is on advising borrowers and sponsors on acquisition financings. The firm has acted for the likes of Stars Group, WeWork and Bruin Sports Capital and has also seen a number of financing mandates arising from the real estate sector. The newly promoted Amy Kennedy has been particularly active during the research period.

The firm’s capital markets team is spearheaded by two former HSF lawyers Steve Thierbach and Chris Haynes. The team focuses on equity side mandates and has picked up notable roles on deals such as Network International’s LSE IPO. The firm points to a specialism in the technology sector.

The firm’s broader London corporate practice was enhanced during the research period with the hires of the oil and gas focused Anna Howell from HSF and real estate specialist Jeremy Kenley from Mayer Brown. The team has built momentum well in the market and increasingly picks up impressive mandates. The firm points to strengths in public M&A and the gaming sector specifically citing clients such as The Stars Group, Kindred Group and William Hill. Nigel Stacey has been particularly active during the research period. On the private equity side Nick Tomlinson has been particularly active and the team’s clients include the likes of CITIC Capital, Liberty Hall Capital Partners and Platinum Equity.

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• CITIC Capital Partners/Caixin Global $180.5 million acquisition of Euromoney's Global Market's Intelligence Investor

• MGM Resorts/GVC Holdings joint venture

• Network International LSE IPO

• Stars Group £3.5 billion acquisition of Sky Betting

• Weir Group £363 million share issue

• WeWork £580 million acquisition of Devonshire Square

Greenberg Traurig

In London Greenberg Traurig focuses on banking, capital markets and M&A work. Globally the firm is known for its strength in real estate and this is evident in the UK as well alongside sectors including pharmaceuticals and life sciences and industrials.

In the banking space the firm acts on acquisition and general corporate finance primarily acting for borrowers, though the firm also picks up some lender side mandates advising the likes of JPMorgan Chase. Emma Menzies has been particularly active during the research period.

The firm’s capital markets practice is balanced between debt and equity work with the firm picking up share issues, high yield and green bond issues during the research period. The firm acts for both issuers and underwriters with Dorothee Fischer-Appelt particularly active in the debt space and Andrew Caunt and James Mountain acting on a number of equity mandates. The firm has also seen an increase in work from Korean clients.

In the M&A space the firm is particularly active in the core sectors mentioned above including real estate, pharmaceuticals and life sciences and industrials acting for the likes of TNSC, AstraZeneca and the InterContinental Hotels Group. Fiona Adams, Sara Moyles and Paul Maher have all been active during the research period.

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Cheplapharm Arzneimittel $236 million acquisition of Atacand

• Grünenthal $922 million acquisition of Nexium (Europe) and Vimovo

• LG Display $300 million 3.875% senior unsecured green notes issue

• Nomad Foods $240 million acquisition of Aunt Bessie's

• Sanlam $490 million share issue

• Stars Group £3.5 billion acquisition of Sky Betting

• Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corporation €5 billion bid for Linde Praxair's European industrial gas business

• Urban Exposure AIM IPO

 

Client feedback

"The firm is outstanding. Very commercial and pragmatic, very customer focused and easy to work with." – M&A

"Excellent advice. Timely, concise and backed up with full documentation." – M&A

Herbert Smith Freehills

Herbert Smith Freehills is one of the larger UK corporate firms in the market and has deep bench strength in most areas of financial and corporate. The firm is recognised for its energy and oil and gas work, in all its forms from financing to acquisitions to projects. The firm has a broad client base but is particularly strong at representing UK corporates. 

The firm’s broader finance practice was enhanced during the research period with the addition of two notable asset finance partners in the forms of Rex Rosales and Jahnavi Ramachandran from Watson Farley & Williams. Alongside corporate finance for borrowers and lenders the firm also specialises in project and infrastructure finance and reserve-based lending. The firm is also targeting fund financing. 

In the debt capital markets the firm has US and English law experience and has acted on investment grade and high yields issues for issuers and banks. Clients include the likes of Caixabank, G4S, Citigroup and Growthpoint. The firm points to innovative work acting on debt issues linked to debt held by utilities. Head of DCM Amy Geddes was particularly active during the research period. 

In the equity capital markets the team is led by Charles Howarth and Tom O’Neill for English and US law aspects respectively. The firm has acted on IPOs and rights issues for both issuers and underwriters. The firm also picked up a few notable mandates in Turkey. 

In structured finance and securitisation the firm has acted on securitisation warehouse transactions and asset backed securitisation. In derivatives the firm acts on rates and FX, equities, commodities and credit derivatives. The firm’s clients include Morgan Stanley, Société Générale, Fidelity and Deutsche Bank. Michael Poulton and Joy Amis have been particularly active. 

Regulatory work is one of the firm’s strengths. On the non-contentious side the firm points to asset management and capital markets regulatory advice as areas of expertise alongside banking and has been providing more advice related to payments and trading. Key partner Clive Cunningham has been advising both CityUK and UKFinance on Brexit issues. On the contentious front Jenny Stainsby leads the team that is one of the most respected in the City. Brexit has dominated the firm’s work along with advice around the Senior Managers & Certification Regime. 

The firm’s investment funds work is split between retail, real estate and private equity with a focus on closed end funds. The firm has acted for the likes of SDCL Energy Efficiency Income Trust, US Solar Fund and Allianz Real Estate. Along with fund formation work the firm has also acted on a range of und share placings and IPOs. Niger Farr who heads the team has been particularly active. 

In the M&A and private equity areas the firm is particularly active in the energy, real estate and TMT sectors. The firm also points to specialisms in areas such as distressed asset acquisitions and work related to shareholder activism. The firm has taken roles for the likes of Antin Infrastructure Partners, Blackstone, Impilo and BTG Pactual. 

In the projects space the firm has picked up roles on several of the UK’s most significant projects including the Thames Tideway Tunnel, the Sizewell C project and High Speed 2. Africa is another area of strength and the firm has acted on the Nachtigal hydropower plant in Cameroon. Patrick Mitchell and Matthew Job have been particularly active. 

The restructuring and insolvency team acts for both debtors and creditors and is been on an impressive run of later acting on matters including the high profile Carillion liquidation, the largest in the UK to date, the Seatruck restructuring and the long running Nortel administration. John Whiteoak and Kevin Pullen have both acted on a number of mandates. 

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Carillion Group insolvency

• Energean Oil & Gas LSE IPO

• GlaxoSmithKline $5 billion acquisition of Tesaro

• Nachtigal 420MW hydropower plant

• Republic of Ghana $1 billion 7.625% sovereign notes issue

• Sizewell C nuclear project

• Thames Tideway Tunnel

• The Stars Group £635 million acquisition of Sky Betting & Gaming

King & Spalding

King & Spalding is traditionally strong in the oil and gas space, but the US firm is not a mere sector specialist. Banking and finance, projects and M&A are the firm’s main focus in its London office.

In the finance space, alongside traditional corporate finance the firm points to a focus on private credit lending, acting for the likes of Access Group, VPS and Park Square Capital. The firm primarily acts for lenders and sponsors and has also picked up a number of PIK deals during the research period. Mark Wesseldine leads the practice and acted on the majority of deals during the research period.

In the M&A space the team has picked up several mandates in the insurance sector during the research period acting for the likes of Life Company Consolidation Group and Armour Group Holdings. This has complimented its practice in its traditional core sectors of energy and oil and gas where clients include Transocean and Baker Hughes. William Charnley is a key figure and one of the more active partners during the research period. The firm added Derek Meilman from Hogan Lovells at the end of 2018.

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Global Payments/HSBC Mexico joint venture

• Independent Vet Care £280 million refinancing

• Life Company Consolidation Group £1.8 billion acquisition of The Equitable Life Assurance Society

• Life Company Consolidation Group €400 million acquisition of Generali Worldwide Insurance and Generali Link

• Transocean $3.4 billion acquisition of Songa Offshore

Kirkland & Ellis

Kirkland & Ellis is a private equity powerhouse and is strong across all areas and products that relate to asset management including sponsor side leveraged finance mandates, acquisitions, investment fund work and debt capital markets issues. 

In banking and finance space the firm has an exclusive focus on sponsor side mandates acting for the likes of Apax, BC Partners and Ontario Teachers. Stephen Lucas and Neel Sachdev are big names in the team and the firm has hired Leon Daoud and Kazik Michalski from Freshfields and Simpson Thacher respectively. 

In the capital markets the firm’s focus is on debt capital markets and high yield issues specifically, advising on US law. The firm added Shawn Anderson from Latham’s high profile practice during the research period. William (Bill) Burke heads the practice and was particularly active during the research period. 

In financial services regulatory the team led by Lisa Cawley has a focus on issues affecting its private equity and fund client base primarily, so the team has provided advice around AIFMD and MiFID II. The firm has expanded its team through the hires of Sarah Thompson, Colin Sharpsmith and Romin Dabir from Linklaters, Dechert and Macfarlanes respectively. 

The funds team is strong, one of the leading practices in London and has a focus on private equity. Richard Watkins leads a team that has added the likes of Access Capital Partners, FSN Capital and Montagu Private Equity as clients during the research period adding to a list that already includes the likes of Ares and Nordic Capital. The firm states that it has closed over 40 funds in Europe in the last three years and over 400 globally. 

M&A and specifically private equity buyouts is another clear area of strength and with 30 partners in the broader group the firm is one of the largest PE teams, if not the largest in the London market. The team was further enhanced through the hire of Adrian Maguire during the research period from Freshfields. The firm also opened a Paris office during the research period increasing its European footprint. David Higgins and Matthew Elliott lead the team and Rory Mullarkey has been particularly active. The firm has picked up work from the likes of Apax Partner, Bain Capital, BC Partners and The Carlyle Group during the research period. 

The restructuring and insolvency team has taken on a number of notable mandates recently including roles on the Noble and Agrokor restructurings and Homebase’s voluntary arrangement. The firm acts for debtors, shareholders, noteholders and lenders. The team was further enhanced during the research period with the addition of Kate Stephenson from Weil Gotshal & Manages. Department head Kon Asimacopoulos and Elaine Nolan have both been active leading a number of mandates. 

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Ares Credit Europe IV

• BC Partners acquisition of stake in United Group

• Inmarsat take private

• Nexi Capital €2.2 billion high yield bond issue

• Noble Group restructuring

• Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan C$985 million sale of stake in Helly Hansen

• Partners Group/Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan/ Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec acquisition of Teche

Latham & Watkins

Latham & Watkins is one of the largest US firms in London and is considered one of the market leaders in areas such as leveraged finance and in particular high yield debt. The firm has also made a play for private equity work in recent years. 

In banking the firm added to its ranks during the research period with the hire of Conrad Andersen from Allen & Overy. The firm acts across the whole range of leveraged finance work including more niche structures such as margin loans, PIK loans, US Term Loan B and bank/bond financings. The firm acts for borrowers, sponsors such as Nordic Capital and lenders such as Bank of America and JPMorgan. In addition the firm has a dedicated Islamic finance team led by Craig Nethercott. 

Brett Cassidy heads the firm’s high yield department, which also includes well know names such as Jocelyn Seitzman. The team is the largest in the market and arguably the most high profile and with a further two partners promoted this year that looks set to remain the case. The firm’s strong banking practice also gives it a boost when considering bank/bond work. The firm acts for both issuers and underwriters acting for the likes of Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley and Merlin Entertainments. Jennifer Englehardt and Francesco Lione has been particularly active during the research period. 

The firm has made a play for the structured finance and securitisation market in recent years, global head Sanjev Warna-kula-suriya joined from Slaughter and May in 2016 and in early 2019 Jeremiah Wagner added to the team’s depth when he joined from Cadwalader, a firm with a very strong reputation in this space. The firm focuses on asset-backed securitisations and CLOs and also points to experience in asset classes such as aircraft and auto loans and leases and trade receivables amongst others. In derivatives the firm has acted on matters including structured equity and synthetic risk transfers and also points to an increase in mandates from emerging markets. 

In the projects space the firm has clear strengths in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America and also picks up work in the CEE. The team acts for lenders, sponsors and project developers. Oil and gas has been a particularly active industry sector with the Anadarko project in Mozambique and the Duqm Refinery in Oman just two examples. Ayesha Waheed, Clement Fondufe, Matthew Brown and John Balsdon have all been active during the research period. 

The firm’s restructuring team was enhanced with the addition of Yen Sum and Jennifer Brennan from Sidley Austin during the research period. The firm acts for creditors, lenders and bondholders and can draw from its US law bench strength on matters such as Chapter 11. The team also points to an increasing amount of work involving special situations lending. The firm has acted on restructurings such as Prezzo, Steinhoff Group and Savannah Petroleum, with Simon Baskerville, James Chesterton and Helena Potts particularly active. On the refinancing side the firm highlights a greater number of mandates acting for trustees.  

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Duqm Refinery Project

• Mozambique LNG Project

• SoftBank Group $2.52 billion senior notes issue

• SoftBank Vision Fund

• Steinhoff group restructuring

• Takeda Pharmaceutical $30.85 billion acquisition of Shire

 

Client feedback

"Excellent, thoughtful work, with a very good view on the market." - Capital markets : Debt

"Good. One first class loan lawyer, lots of excellent high yield lawyers." - Capital markets : Debt

"One of the best HY firms in town. Credible, sound advice. Given how active they are, their insights are very meaningful. Pleasure to deal with." - Capital markets : High yield

"Latham's work is excellent. Their recent hires in the restructuring space - Yen Sum and Jennifer Brennan, have added a lot of breadth to their practice. They are thorough, control-minded while at the same time, very commercial." - Restructuring and insolvency

"The case was high profile and potential political fallout and the experience was up there with my most enjoyable experiences working with law firms in the city. The team are excellent in high yield, second to none, what was surprising was their deep bench of expertise, instead of purely at senior partner level and the thing that struck me most was their pragmatic approach to solving problems, a pragmatic and commercial approach to solving problems. I was expecting eye watering US law firm fees and I was surprised how reasonable they were. They appear seamlessly connected with their US colleagues." - Restructuring and insolvency

"Very strong, reliable across multiple jurisdictions that are key to us, particularly UK, Germany, France and Italy." - Restructuring and insolvency

"Excellent all around. Highly technically skilled, commercial, dedicated, and a pleasure to work with." - Restructuring and insolvency

Macfarlanes

Macfarlanes is one of the few law firms to be based solely in the UK (though the firm does have lawyers in Brussels) that competes at the top levels of the financial and corporate markets. The firm is strong across finance, capital markets and corporate and has strengths in key industry sectors too such as real estate. 

In the banking area the firm primarily acts for borrowers and sponsors on acquisition and leveraged finance, but does do some lender side work advising in the alternative credit and fund finance areas. Kirstie Hutchinson has been particularly active during the research period. The team has acted for the likes of Searchlight Capital Partners, GHO Capital, Cimpress and Partners Group. 

In the debt capital markets Richard Fletcher’s team primarily acts for issuers with clients like Venn Partners and Regional REIT. On the equity side Robert Bole leads the team that acts on listings on both the AIM and LSE main markets. The firm primarily acts for issuers including Supermarket Income REIT, Canaccord Genuity and WWW Holdings. 

Richard Fletcher heads up the structured finance and securitisation practice which acts on securitisation, covered bonds and CLOs. The team has acted for the likes of Goldman Sachs and NatWest Markets. On the derivatives front the firm focuses on the buy-side and acts on derivatives, repos and clearing matters. William Sykes and Chris Acton have both acted on their fair share of mandates. 

In the investment funds area the firm has a broad practice covering various fund structures, with private funds a particular area of expertise. Clients include the likes of Quilter Investors, Legal & General Investment Management and Jupiter Asset Management. Lora Froud has been particularly active during the research period. 

In the M&A space there was some change at the firm with the addition of partner Robert Ogilvy Watson and the retirement of Charles Meek. The firm acts on sizeable mandates and is often across the table from the larger international firms, the Searchlight Capital acquisition of Mitel Networks being just one example. The firm also picks up a lot of referrals due to its structure. Richard Burrows and Harry Coghill have been particularly active during the research period.  

In private equity the firm is one of the leading practices for mid-market deals working for a variety of sponsors. The team is also known for advising management on larger value deals with one example being work on the sale of North Sea Midstream Partners. Stephen Drewitt has been particularly active during the research period.  

The restructuring and insolvency team is led by Jat Bains and Simon Beale. Alongside general restructuring and insolvency matters the firm also acts on distressed M&A and investments and debt and claims trading. The firm has been active in the legal sector acting on deals related to Slater + Gordon and Ince & Co. 

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• ECI 11 fund

• Foncière des Régions £858 million acquisition of Starwood hotels portfolio

• PRS Finance bond programme

• Salary Finance/Clydesdale Bank joint venture

• Searchlight Capital partners $2 billion acquisition of Mitel Networks

• Slater + Gordon restructuring

• Spectris $800 million revolving credit facility

• Supermarket Income REIT LSE IPO

 

Client feedback

“Excellent work, completed quickly and efficiently, based on fantastic technical knowledge and a thorough understanding of latest market developments.” - Banking

“Excellent. High level of partner involvement and quality level of assistant solicitors as well. Extremely competent but also commercial and easy to deal with.” - Banking

“They were excellent, commercial easy to communicate with and very supportive.” - Banking

“Responsive and quick turnaround, technically sound and working with their tax partner has been just as good as working with their fund and finance partners.” - Capital markets : Debt

“Very good technical ability at partner level.” - Capital markets : Debt

“Strong market knowledge, commercial, user friendly, cost effective.” - Capital markets : Derivatives

“The entire team (particularly William Sykes) have been excellent. William is very technical and concise. His advice is solution based and he is very analytical and logical when approaching complex legal issues. I have often reached out with technical questions (without notice) and William has been able to provide a comprehensive response on the spot. Will and his team are very responsive and I can always rely on them to provide a timely response.” - Capital markets : Derivatives

“The Macfarlanes finance and derivatives team is highly responsive, pragmatic and accurate with its advice and output. They bring to the table a deep understanding of the market and this allows us to target our efforts and progress negotiations fast. The team brings deep reserves of direct in-house sell-side and buy-side experience. They really understand what is important to you - and to your counterparties. Their pricing is also attractive.” - Capital markets : Derivatives

“Very strong across all areas.  Have not encountered a weak partner yet.  Very commercial approach which gets things done well, quickly.” - Capital markets : Equity

“Good performance, good attention to detail, focus on key issues and worked to a tight timetable.” - Capital markets : Equity

“Excellent all round. Tough, responsive, pragmatic, great to work with.” - Capital markets : Structured finance and securitisation

“Very responsive, knowledgeable, responsive, and good value for money.” - Capital markets : Structured finance and securitisation

“Ongoing but advice to date has been concise and commercial.” - Financial services regulatory

“The firm has a longstanding commitment to the investment management sector and has a good understanding of hedge fund structuring and the regulatory environment. Regulatory advice is well thought out and pragmatically crafted to take into account particular features of the firm. Billing transparency is good and availability of key partners has always been a strong point.” - Financial services regulatory

“The firm has always appeared to be driven by quality and not quantity, and this is borne out in the approach to financial services, regulatory. Client service and availability is good, reflecting a longstanding commitment to the asset management sector. Advice is pragmatic and the team take time to understand our business and the personalities of those in leadership positions.” - Financial services regulatory

“Very good lawyers giving practical advice. More international focus would be helpful.” - Financial services regulatory

“Very good sounding board. They understand our business, the internal dynamics and the law very well. They are not afraid to express a business rather than wholly legal opinion.” - Financial services regulatory

“Efficient, competent, commercially-minded, flexible and accommodating in delivery.” - Investment funds

“Excellent, timely and insightful on changing requirements of the regulator.” - Investment funds

“Macfarlanes (Chris Good) do a very good job for us: efficient turnaround of work and commercial review of the key points which are important to us.” - Investment funds

“Macfarlanes provides excellent commercial advice straddling the world of regulated and unregulated funds. Bills that do not make your eyes water. Lora Froud provides fantastically commercial advice as well as being a pleasure to work with. A problem solver not a problem finder.” - Investment funds

“Professional, highly skilled work across a number of areas. Teams and lean and resourcing sensible.” - Investment funds

“High quality, responsive and knowledgeable. They know and understand our business well.” - Investment funds

“Lora Froud's regulated funds team has been an excellent support to us over the past few years. Lora has ensured that we are advised by quality associates that we have built a good relationship with, including via a secondment into the team for six months, but also makes sure that she is available at short notice for the more strategic and innovative advice. We have together built a good network across the industry and help provide panellists at seminars and to assist with in-house lawyer training. Where Macfarlanes could improve upon is to recruit equally commercial and impressive regulatory lawyers to complement the energetic funds team.” - Investment funds

“The investment funds team are great to work with. The quality of their advice is high and always on point. They are very quick to respond which aligns with the continually changing nature of our business.” - Investment funds

“Very user-friendly, practical, goal-oriented and responsive. I regularly correspond with them when it's past midnight their time. In particular, Chris Good, Stephen Robinson and Harriet Miller are all incredible resources for funds, and James McCredie is my go-to for complicated international tax issues involving the UK. Being able to put a client into the hands of someone at another firm and having 100% confidence they'll be taken care of an I'll be apprised of status is a huge asset and something I don't come by frequently. Very strong in private funds, tax, finance and public markets.    If there's one thing that could be improved, it is helping trainees with communication. That said, any communication that is important comes from someone who is senior solicitor or higher.” - Investment funds

“Excellent.” - M&A

“Extremely good. They understand our organisation and our sector very well. They are very flexible and will give clear decisive advice which is not overly risk averse but is also blunt when it needs to be on legal risk.” - M&A

“Strong overall levels of support, very knowledgeable about the sector and market norms, responsive and pragmatic.” - M&A

“Quick response, good understanding of clients' needs, especially when clients are overseas, close to market.” - Private equity

“Responsive, commercial and sensible advice. Worked hard for us over the Christmas period. A pleasure to work with. Sensible on fees, with strong communication where fees varied from estimates.” - Private equity

“Strength was overwhelming resourcing that ensured sell side were rapidly and unerringly advanced to signing without any hiatus thus eliminating any out-bidder risk. This demanded client bandwidth also, so we were at maximum to maintain the pace set by Macfarlanes.” - Private equity

“Very positive, they are user friendly, very personable, diligent, high quality responsive. They work better with some management teams than others, it gives them a differentiation and isn't necessary a criticism.” - Private equity

“Very satisfied: excellent client relationship management, good market insight, high quality of execution.” - Private equity

“Capable, dependable, quality advice.” - Restructuring and insolvency

“Macfarlanes were extremely responsive and focussed on my needs as a client. They got to grips with the factual background very quickly and were able to start providing helpful and pragmatic advice almost from the start. They deployed a well-balanced team with an appropriate range of skills.” - Restructuring and insolvency

“Very strong team, with commercially astute partners who can properly assist the client through the situation and the transaction. Jat Bains is a star and I have respected him when he is working on the opposite side, and he is great to have on our side.” - Restructuring and insolvency

“We received very clear advice delivered promptly.”  - Restructuring and insolvency

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown has a broad practice in London and this year sees ranking improvements for its banking and finance and capital markets practices to reflect its strength and investment in these areas. The firm can point to a particularly strong list of Spanish and Turkish clients with a number of mandates emerging from these countries.

The firm has consolidated in the banking space bringing on three new partners in the forms of Stuart Brinkworth and Paul Tannenbaum from Fried Frank and emerging market specialist Ashley McDermott from Clifford Chance. While much of the firm’s work is confidential, the team’s deal list shows a mix of lender and borrower side mandates in the acquisition and asset finance space. Dominic Griffiths and David O’Connor have both been active during the research period.

In the debt capital markets space the firm picks up work on investment grade and high yield bond issues, covered and green bonds and MTN programmes for both issuers and underwriters. The firm is strong in advising on bonds with a US aspect, Eurobonds and acting on Turkish mandates including acting for the likes of Vakifbank, Garanti Bank and Isbank. Other clients include the likes of CPPIB, Abbott Laboratories, Novartis and Barclays. James Taylor has been particularly active during the research period along with Bernd Bohr on high yield issues.

In the equity capital markets the firm acts primarily for underwriters but also picks up some issuer side work including advising Promotora de Informaciones and Metrovacesa, which also highlights the firm’s Spanish strength. Kate Ball-Dodd and Rebecca Bothamley have both been active during the research period.

The firm expanded its structured finance and securitisation team during the research period with the addition of Dasha Sobornova from Paul Hastings. The team primarily acts for the arrangers with clients including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, BNP Paribas and Morgan Stanley. The firm has acted on CMBS deals, auto loan securitisations and more exotic asset classes. David O’Connor, the firm’s global co-head of practice has been particularly active. In the derivatives space Ed Parker and Chris Arnold have been active advising clients on regulatory matters and opinions, clients include ISDA.

In the investment funds area the firm acts on private equity and real estate funds with Tim Nosworthy taking the lead on key mandates. The firm points to a specialism advising start-up investment management and family investment firms.

The M&A team also expanded during the research period with the firm adding Jeremy Hill from Debevoise & Plimpton and Neil Evans from Simpson Thacher to its ranks. The firm has been active across a range of sectors including banking and finance services, energy, consumer goods, media and technology. Richard Page has been particularly active.

In the projects space the firm points to strengths in Infrastructure, mining and oil and gas. In project finance the firm has a focus on acting for lenders advising the likes of UniCredit, the EBRD and Société Générale. The firm has picked up work in markets as diverse as Kenya, Macedonia and Turkey. Ian Coles has led a number of the firm’s key matters.

The firm added to its team during the research period hiring Michael Fiddy and Amy Jacks from DLA Piper. The firm points to recent work in the retail sector and to specialties in pensions restructuring and distressed M&A. The team led by Devi Shah has acted for a number of trustees and has picked up work on matters involving Odebrecht Oil & Gas, Ideal Standard Group and Mothercare.

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Francisco Partners £221 million acquisition of ByBox

• Glencove Funding £10 billion commercial paper programme

• GTT Communications €1.9 billion acquisition of Interoute Communications Holdings

• Ideal Standard Group restructuring

• Klesch Group/Raffinerie Heide €250 million senior secured notes issue

• Öksüt gold mine $150 million project financing

• Sumitomo Metal Mining $1.2 billion acquisition of a 30% indirect interest in Compañia Minera Teck Quebrada Blanca

• TheWorks.co.uk LSE IPO

 

Client feedback

“The firm has a very strong London asset based lending practice. The partners (Alex Dell and Simon Fisher) are very experienced. The key strength of the practice is the junior team (Charles Thain and Ravi Amin) who are very knowledgeable and capable of leading complex transactions. Alex Dell is a very experienced lead partner who can run complex cross border fees and is very transparent on pricing.” - Banking

“Excellent work, highly skilled lawyers, timely input, very accessible partners, very good understanding of our business and our needs.” - Capital markets : Debt

“The team was packed with excellent professionals who are skilled at dealing with high complexity deals.” - Capital markets : Debt

“Very good counselling. Have been trusted advisors on capital markets in Europe for a long time.” - Capital markets : Debt

“Diligent, technically up to speed, well prepared, hardworking, well-coordinated, nice to work with.” - Capital markets : Debt

“The firm is responsive and the overall calibre of its partners is very high. We primarily deal with Chris Arnold, who is both excellent in terms of his technical and commercial understanding of transactions.” - Capital markets : Derivatives

“Excellent work, knowledgeable partners in UK and US, very responsive.” - Capital markets : Derivatives

“Kate Ball-Dodd is super! No weaknesses. She is very commercial, able to advise on risk, excellent in her field.” - Capital markets : Equity

“The firm is very strong in the Spanish market, particularly in finance and capital markets. We appreciate their deep understanding and appreciation of local law and cultural aspects of our transactions, and how they combine best international practice with the specific demands of our clients.” - Capital markets : Equity

“Good market knowledge and commercial approach.” - Capital markets : Structured finance and securitisation

“Mayer Brown is a very professional firm with good depth of knowledge in this practice area and a good network of correspondent firms for multi-jurisdiction matters. I was particularly impressed by the regulatory knowledge of Kevin Hawken and by Merryn Craske who continues to be one of our go-to securitisation lawyers.” - Capital markets : Structured finance and securitisation

“MB is always highly engaged and is thoroughly knowledgeable regarding our structure and the related legal and regulatory considerations. They are highly responsive and thorough and I have complete confidence and comfort in using them when we are completing a new financing.” - Capital markets : Structured finance and securitisation

“Very good value for money, great client and counterparty relationship and in-depth knowledge of the market, detailed and commercial while balancing legal risks.” - Capital markets : Structured finance and securitisation

“Very strong - commercial, broad experience.” - Capital markets : Structured finance and securitisation

“The firm provides solid investment and tax advice. They are good at getting on a call to discuss the best way to scope out advice and what it is that we really need as a client, and what that should look like.” - Financial services regulatory

“A superb team effort by Mayer Brown to prepare the paperwork associated with the high yield bond in the short time frame agreed.” - M&A

“Exceptional team – Very helpful, the professional expertise level is high.” - M&A

“MB are a very commercial, client focussed and responsive law firm.” - M&A

“Strong partner involvement/leadership. Deep client knowledge/insight, good communication with wider team. Cost effective resourcing. Pragmatic, commercial approach. Excellent network especially German and French offices, with established relationships with client’s local businesses.” - M&A

“The overall performance is excellent.” - M&A

“Commercial, technically strong and ability to hit very tight deadlines.” - Private equity

“Quality and timely work. A well-experienced team, especially at partner and senior associate levels. Long-term practitioners in the sector, so we see the same senior team, and get the benefit of their experience. More junior team members rotated more frequently giving them experience in the sector.” - Project finance

“Excellent advice provided by Richard Page, coordinating all aspects of a highly complex multi-party transaction, including public sector stakeholders, complex structuring and corporate acquisition.” - Real estate

Milbank

Milbank has built up an impressive finance practice in London over the last several years and has impressive practices across banking and project finance and debt capital markets in particular. In the past 1-2 years the firm has added several lawyers to its London practice in recent years including a high yield team from Shearman & Sterling and a restructuring team from Cadwalader. 

In banking the team led by Suhrud Mehta has a clear strength advising lenders - such as key clients Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Merrill Lynch - and is focused on acquisition financing. The firm has acted on a number of substantial mandates during the research period including Carlyle and GIC’s acquisition of AkzoNobel’s chemicals business. The firm also specialises in bank/bond financings and bridge to bond loans. 

In the capital markets debt issues are a clear strength and the firm specialises in high yield bonds. The arrival last year of Apostolos Gkoutzinis and Rebecca Marques from Shearman & Sterling adds further notable names to a practice, which has grown its reputation substantially in recent years. The firm acts for both initial purchasers and issuers such as Jaguar Land Rover and KAEFER Isoliertechnik. 

In structured finance and securitisation the firm focuses on CLOs, largely acting for collateral and portfolio managers, and this is backed up by industry statistics around value and volume. James Warbey’s team has acted for the likes of PGIM, KKR Credit Advisors and Halcyon Loan Advisors. The firm has also picked up work related to asset backed securitisations. 

In M&A Mark Stamp and Stuart Harray lead the department. Clients include private equity houses such as Blackrock, EQT and KKR as well as corporates and banks and deal highlights include high profile deals such as EQT’s acquisition of SUSE and Postbank’s acquisition of Piraeus Bank of Bulgaria. 

In project development and finance the firm focuses on the oil and gas and power sectors. The team’s global scope is emphasised by work on the project financing of a Brazil gas power project, the restructuring of an Egyptian LMG project and work for the lenders on the financing of a refinery in India. Brazil has been a particularly active hunting ground during the research period. John Dewar, Matthew Hagopian and Manzer Ijaz have been particularly active. 

With the addition of a high profile team from Cadwalader, led by Yushan Ng, the firm has pushed forward in the restructuring space. The firm focuses on financial restructuring – including capital markets - and distressed investments and acquisitions. The firm frequently advises its private equity client base like Njord Partners and KKR on their investments in distressed companies. 

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Blackrock/KKR/Abu Dhabi National Oil Company $4 billion midstream pipeline infrastructure investment agreement

• Carlyle/GIC €10.1 billion acquisition of AkzoNobel's specialty chemicals business

• Dryden 63 CLO 2018

• EQT $2.5 billion acquisition of Micro Focus SUSE software business

• Jaguar Land Rover €500 million senior notes issue

• Porto de Sergipe thermoelectric complex R$5 billion project finance

• Postbank €75 million acquisition of Piraeus Bank of Bulgaria

 

Client feedback

“Milbank's UK / US capacity was seamless. They have experienced lawyers and delivered work product efficiently and within the short timetable.” - Banking

“I've been extremely impressed by the professionalism, dedication and helpful nature of the colleagues at Milbank. Suhrud and Apostolos who head the capital markets loan / bond practice are great partners to work on our transactions and the team is of a quite high calibre.” - Capital markets : Debt

“Strengths - diligent, hardworking and are willing to challenge the market.” - Capital markets : Debt

“Very professional, good knowledge of the UK takeover code, commercial, strong cross-border credentials.” - Capital markets : Debt

“Excellent - all top tier firms provide excellent advice. Milbank have excelled in their communication - being quick and efficient with providing advice, advice is clear and concise with good reference points and market views, lawyers are friendly, helpful with queries and always great at updating us on progress, delays, overall timing, issues etc.” - Capital markets : High yield

“Leading expertise in high yield space with seasoned advisers in the team we use. Excellent client management, responsiveness and trusted advice. Pragmatic and commercial. Consistent quality and same core team over last few years (previously part of a different firm - we switched to Milbank when they moved). Milbank brand not as established as some in the specific market but strengthened recently through introduction of new partners and personnel including our team.”  - Capital markets : High yield

“Very good franchise with solid structuring capabilities, focus on disclosure and excellent advice on covenant packages / overall structuring. Powerful HY franchise in combination with the strong loan structuring capabilities makes Milbank a one stop shop for complex cross-border financings.” - Capital markets : High yield

“Well-staffed, readily available with good technical knowledge of the high yield market.” - Capital markets : High yield

“Outstanding - Tim Peterson is the best capital markets lawyer with whom I have worked in my 35+ years.” - Capital markets : High yield

Morgan Lewis & Bockius

The strongest suits for the Morgan Lewis & Bockius team in London are in banking and finance and capital markets and the firm improved its rankings in bank lending, equity capital markets and structure finance and securitisation this year. Its client list includes a number of banks and corporates from Russia and the former CIS states. The firm is strong in the technology and life sciences sectors.

In banking the firm expanded its team during the research period with the addition of Georgia Quenby and Paul Denham from Reed Smith and Dorsey & Whitney respectively. Quenby has been brought on-board to establish the firm’s London asset based lending practice. The firm acts for both borrowers and lenders including Sberbank and Praesidian Capital Europe. Bruce Johnston has been particularly active during the research period.

In the debt capital markets the firm has acted for issuers and underwriters on a range of issues from emerging markets including sovereign bond issues by the Seychelles and the Republic of Suriname and issues in markets such as the Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Carter Brod has led on a number of the firm’s stand out transactions.

In the equity capital markets the firm, through partner Tim Corbett has acted on a number of share offers and IPOs in the life sciences sector including work for the likes of Replimune Group and uniQure. In addition the firm’s Russia strength has again been demonstrated through work on the listing of Yandex.

The structured finance and securitisation practice has acted on a range of asset classes including trade receivables, MBS deals, warehouse transactions as well as a range of securitisations. Theresa Kradjian and Lisa Cargill have both been active. The firm has acted for issuers like NewDay Credit Cards and a variety of banks as arrangers and managers.

In the investment funds space the firm focuses on sponsors and investors and also points to work specifically on fund of fund and venture capital matters including work for the likes of Harbert Fund Advisors, FF&P Venture Funds and Pantheon Ventures. Gawain Hughes has been particularly active.

The firm has expanded its corporate capacity significantly during the research period with the addition of three partners from Herbert Smith Freehills in the forms of Nicholas Moore, Tom Wozniak and former PE head Mark Geday. In the broader corporate area the firm has also enhanced its outsourcing capability through the additions of Mike Pierides and Simon Lightman from Pilsbury Winthrop. The firm has picked up work recently in the travel and tourism sectors as well as in the natural resources, media and b2b spaces. Tom Cartwright has led on a number of the firm’s key matters.

In restructuring and insolvency the firm focuses on financial restructurings including advising the lenders on the Maplin and LK Bennett administrations. Georgia Quenby has been active on a number of key matters.

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• CarGurus acquisition of PistonHeads

• Harbert European Real Estate Fund V

• JPMorgan Securities $20 billion commercial paper program

• LK Bennett administration

• Royal Caribbean Cruises $1.02 billion acquisition of Silversea Cruises

• UniQure $147 million follow on share offer

• We Soda $1.66 billion loan facility

• Yandex/Uber joint venture

Morrison & Foerster

Morrison & Foerster’s strengths in London primarily lie in finance and capital markets and the firm has a particular specialism in advising on derivatives. The firm’s obvious US strengths and its notable Japanese practice

During the research period the firm has put a particularly focus on building its banking practice with the notable hires of Latham’s co-chair of banking Chris Kandel and Benoit Lavigne from Ropes & Gray. Just before that the firm added Caroline Jury from Clifford Chance.

In the capital markets on the debt side the firm has acted on a number of sizeable debt issues including several private placements acting for the likes of Merrill Lynch International, Alliance Trust and Informa. Scott Ashton has been particularly active.

In derivatives the firm points to expansion in equity derivatives linked to capital markets and M&A transactions. The practice also advises clients on general regulatory matters, risk mitigation and trading. Key clients include the likes of Oxygen, Adara, JPMorgan, RBS and UBS. Vladimir Maly leads the team and is active on most of the firm’s key mandates.

In the investment funds space the firm focuses on private funds work with clients such as Ada Ventures, Oxx Capital and Seedcamp. Sector specialisms include technology. Rob Mailer has been particularly active during the research period.

In M&A Graeme Sloan and Andrew Boyd have both been active during the research period acting for clients such as SoftBank, Tate & Lyle and Vonage Holdings. Much of the firm’s work is done in tandem with the US and Japan offices.

In restructuring and insolvency the firm focuses on financial restructurings including acting for Microport Scientific and also on insolvency matters including acting for Saad Investments. Jonathan Wheeler was particularly active during the research period.

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Bank of America Corporation €3.25 billion senior notes issue

• JPMorgan Japanese Investment Trust ¥13 billion senior notes issue

• Oxx growth fund

• Permira Funds acquisition of Synamedia

• SoftBank Group Corporation $7.7 billion investment in Uber

• The Carlyle Group £450 million acquisition of EnerMech Group

Proskauer Rose

Proskauer has steadily built its practice in London in various areas but remains best known for its private equity and funds practices and its restructuring work.

In the private equity space the firm has acted on a range of investments and funding rounds during the research period including One Peaks’s investment in DocPlanner, Deliveroo’s latest funding round and Morgan Stanley Investment management Fund’s investment in Tikehau Capital Advisers. Richard Bull and Andrew Wingfield have both been active.

In restructuring and insolvency the firm makes good use of its strong US practice, with the London team picking up work on cross border restructurings and insolvencies including notable Chapter 11 cases like Westinghouse Electric Corporation. GLAS is a key client and the firm has acted for its clients in its role as trustee on various note restructurings. Mark Fennessy leads the team and has been particularly active during the research period.

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Deliveroo $575 million financing round

• Morgan Stanley Investment Management Fund investment in Tikehau Capital Advisers

• One Peak investment in DocPlanner

• Westinghouse Electric Corporation Chapter 11

 

Client feedback

"Commercial, available and client aware." - Capital markets : High yield

"Very professional, very knowledgeable, very proactive, providing expert legal advice and are able to handle multiple parties on both sides very well." - Private equity

"Although this was a relatively routine matter, it received top class attention which ensured that the objective was achieved smoothly." - Restructuring and insolvency

"Proskauer is a very strong outfit in London. Very on top of international work. Creative and extremely responsive." - Restructuring and insolvency

"Very good." - Restructuring and insolvency

"I have been extremely impressed with the team at Proskauer and they compare extremely favourably with other lawyers in similar fields that I have been working with over the course of the year. Their professionalism and sound advice has also been noted by our clients, who have also been heavily reassured by their approach to matters." - Restructuring and insolvency

"Very responsive, commercial, and pragmatic. Very good at cutting out the noise on a distressed deal and focusing on what matters." - Restructuring and insolvency

"They are excellent. Technically superb and strategically astute. Very driven and extremely client focused." - Restructuring and insolvency

Reed Smith

Reed Smith’s growth in the UK has been built on the back of its capital markets practice with the firm maintaining a particularly specialism in structured finance and securitisation. However the practice also has steady workstreams across a variety of other areas including banking, M&A, funds and restructuring. Energy, mining, media and transport are particular industry strengths.

In bank lending the team has been enhanced through key hires including Bronwen Jones, brought in from Macfarlanes to lead the practice and Kevin-Paul Deveau. On the other side the firm did lose Georgia Quenby, who left to join Morgan Lewis & Bockius. The team picks up general corporate finance work alongside asset finance, fund finance, real estate finance and distressed debt matters. It primarily advises borrowers. Nicholas Williams has been particularly active during the research period.

In the debt capital markets the firm has acted for a number of parties as trustees on various corporate issues, acting for the likes of Citibank and Deutsche Bank. In addition the firm has acted on innovative development bonds in the areas of education and healthcare for the likes of the British Asian Trust and Palladium Group. Ranajoy Basu has been particularly active.

In structured finance and securitisation the firm has acted on securitisations involving mortgages, shipping loans, auto leases, trade receivables and picked up CLO work. The team often acts for the arrangers including the likes of Deutsche Bank. The firm also points to its work in deals related to distressed assets. Tamara Box, Simon Hugo and Nicholas Stainthorpe have all been active.

In financial services regulatory the firm can point to growth in its headcount and points to experience in the energy and mining sectors. Claude Brown and Tim Dolan have both been active. The firm has acted on regulatory reviews and investigations work for a variety of banking and corporate clients.

In the funds area the firm has acted on various fund formation matters in the private fund and real estate fund areas with Leith Moghli particularly active. Some of the firm’s clients include the likes of Fortress, Oak Hill Advisors and York Capital.

In M&A the firm primarily focuses on mid-market deals but also picks up larger mandates. The firm highlights energy, mining, entertainment, transport and life sciences as key sectors and real estate also features in its deal list. Philip Taylor has been particularly active during the research period.

In restructuring and insolvency the firm has advised administrators, trustees and creditors on a variety of matters with a lot of work arising from the hospitality and tourism areas.  Charlotte Møller and Diane Roberts have both been active during the research period.

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Channel 4 £75 million revolving credit facility

• Deutsche Bank $1 billion sale of shipping loan portfolio

• Elite UK Commercial £282.15 million acquisition of Hayhill Portfolio

• SAZKA Group €500 million senior notes issue

• Severn Trent £120 million acquisition of Agrivert Holdings

• Swiss Auto Lease Securitisation 2019-1

 

Client feedback

"Very good value for money, personalised approach and technically strong. Very good client training." - Capital markets : Structured finance and securitisation

Ropes & Gray

Ropes & Gray’s strengths lie in debt capital markets, private equity and funds. The firm makes good use of its US links both in terms of its client base and its US law capacity on matters such as high yield issues. In addition to investment management the firm has sector expertise in the telecoms sector.

In the banking space the team expanded during the research period adding Carol Van der Vorst from Goldman Sachs. The firm focuses on sponsor side mandates and bank/bond deals and points to an increase in mandates from the travel sector. The firm has acted for its PE client base on a range of acquisition financings including advising Epiris, Duke Street Capital and BigHand (Bridgepoint). It has also acted from PE houses in roles as alternative lenders including work for the likes of Bain Capital Credit. Alex Robb and Malcolm Hitching have both been active.

In the debt capital markets space the firm has a notable high yield practice, traditionally focusing on issuers. Clients include the likes of Cable & Wireless, Altice and Samsonite. Michael Kazakevich, the firm’s co-head of finance has been particularly active.

The firm’s structured finance and securitisation team is closely linked to its real estate practice and acts on various deals including CLOs, NPL securitisations and asset backed lending deals. Clients include the likes of Bain Capital Credit and Blackstone Mortgage Trust. In the derivatives space the firm points to novel work such as developing a rolling FX hedging programme and the firm also provides regulatory advice. Anna Lawry is the key figure.

In the financial services regulatory area the firm focuses on advising its private equity and other investment management clients. The firm has provided regulatory advice on various M&A deals and advised on specific topics such as AIFMD.

In the investment funds area the firm now operates a single asset management team that spans hedge and private funds and investment management work. The team led by Matt Judd has acted on fund launches for the likes of Nordic Capital and Proventus Capital Management.

In private equity, one of the firm’s clear strengths both in the UK and globally, the team has consolidated in the market adding the likes of Ares Management, Avenue Capital Group and Duke Street Capital to its client roster. A clear highlight for an established client during the research period was work on ICG’s joint investment in IRIS, the largest ever UK software buyout. Phil Sanderson and John Newton have both been active during the research period.

The firm’s restructuring practice forms part of a broader special situations team and acts primarily on financial restructurings.

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Ardian acquisition of Study Group

• Bain Capital Credit US 2019-1 CLO

• Cable & Wireless $500 million senior notes issue

• Ensono $455 million acquisition of Wipro's managed hosting business

• Intermediate Capital Group/Hg Saturn Fund £1.3 billion investment into Iris Software

• Nordic Capital Fund IX

• Samsonite $350 million 3.5% high yield issue

• Suddenlink/Optimum merger

 

Client feedback

"Very responsive. Partner level finance related advice is very high quality and tailored to relevant scenario. Finance partners are familiar with numerous structures and have in-depth knowledge allowing them to work on innovative structures that are not yet widely accepted in the market." - Banking

"Always very professional and also innovative in their thinking and how to optimize documentation for clients. Good understanding of market dynamics." - Capital markets : Debt

"Fantastic underwriter's advice and support. They have a fantastic franchise, great people, very good advice, quick, hit every timeline, focus on key commercial points and manage the process seamlessly." - Capital markets : Debt

"Great work, diligent and well-focused team." - Capital markets : Derivatives

"Excellent. R&G has long been one of the best law firms to work with due to the high level of competence and teamwork, willingness to work all hours to meet tough deadlines and lack of internal barriers between its regions and experts." - Private equity

Shearman & Sterling

Shearman & Sterling is one of the more established US firms in London and also has one of the broadest practices with strengths across most areas of financial and corporate work and in several practice areas a well-developed bench of talent. 

In the banking area the firm focuses on acquisition and leveraged finance for both borrowers, lenders and sponsors and has acted for the likes of Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Nokia and Boston Scientific. Philip Stopford and Mei Lan have both been active during the research period. In the Islamic finance space, Iain Goalen leads the team who advise on financings and sukuks in the Middle East. 

The debt capital markets team was enhanced with the return of high yield partner Ward McKimm, who had been with the firm till 2011. The firm acts for both issuers and underwriters with an emphasis on the latter. Marwa Elborai and Jacques McChesney have both been active during the research period with the firm picking up roles on issues from the likes of James Hardie (debut), Cable & Wireless, Zoopla and Samsonite. 

In the equity capital markets David Dixter’s team acted on a range of continental European deals during the research period including the IPOs of Nova Ljubljanska Banka in Slovenia, Elkem in Norway and NIBC Holding in the Netherlands. The firm acts for both issuers and underwriters. 

In the structured finance and securitisation area Patrick Clancy leads the team and James Duncan has been particularly active. In the derivatives space the firm acts on hedging, margin loans and regulatory matters. 

In financial services regulatory the team led by Barney Reynolds has advised various banks and insurance firms on issues such as Brexit including speaking at various events and giving evidence to parliamentary select committees. As with most firms MiFID II is also producing a lot of work. The firm was also enhanced through the addition of Simon Dodds from Deutsche Bank. On the contentious side Jo Rickard’s team has acted for various banks and exchanges on cases. 

John Adams leads the London funds team that has acted on private funds and hedge funds for the likes of EFG Hermes, IG4 Capital, Steadfast Capital and the IFC. Alongside fund formation work the firm also provides regulatory advice on matters such as AIFMD. 

M&A is one of the firm’s strong suits as evidenced by work on Boston Scientific’s bid for BTG and Advent’s bid for GE’s distributed power business. Laurence Levy and Paul Strecker were particularly active during the research period. On the private equity side Simon Burrows’ team points to more work arising from family investors and government-related entities. The firm has acted for the likes of Tiger Group, UST Holdings and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. Though the firm did lose Jeremy Kutner during the research period it did hire Timothy Sheddick from Baker McKenzie.  

The firm’s restructuring offering is particularly strong on financial restructurings and restructurings with the banking and financial services sector itself. A clear work highlight was Project Amoeba where the team acted for Piraeus Bank on the sale of a significant NPL portfolio. The firm also took a role advising the lenders on the high profile Agrokor restructuring in the Balkans. Solomon Noh and Mei Lan have been particularly active. 

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Advent $3.25 billion acquisition of Distributed Power business

• Bain Capital Credit €1.95 billion acquisition of NPLs

• Boston Scientific $4.2 billion acquisition of BTG

• Comcast £30 billion acquisition of Sky

• IFC Emerging Asia Fund

• James Hardie €400 million 3.625% senior notes issue

• Nova Ljubljanska banka Ljubljana Stock Exchange/LSE IPO

• Tele2/Com Hem merger

 

Client feedback

"Excellent work. Highlights important red flags from the client’s perspective." - Capital markets : Debt

"Very responsive, technically spot on and keen to build relationships." - Private equity

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett is one of the market’s key players in the private equity and investment management areas and a lot of what the firm does in the financial and corporate space is geared around those clients, whether it be acquisitions, disposals, leveraged financing, bond issues or fund formation. The firm regularly acts for the likes of Blackstone and KKR. 

In the banking and finance area the firm focuses on advising borrowers and sponsors on a range of acquisition and leveraged finance deals. Ian Barratt and Sinead O’Shea have been particularly active during the research period. The firm has also advised on a number of real estate financing deals, with Blackstone a particularly active client. 

In the debt capital markets high yield work is a specialism, as you’d expect from a firm with a strong New York law capacity. The firm primarily acts for issuers and sponsors picking up work on issues by the likes of the United Group, Intertrust and the Stonegate Pub Company. Gil Strauss has been particularly active. 

In the equity capital markets the firm acts on sponsor IPOs for the likes of Apax and KKR. Notable highlights saw the firm act on IPOs by Aston Martin Legonda and gates Industrial Corporation. 

The firm is one of the clear leaders in private equity fund work with the team led by the high profile Jason Glover. The firm picks up work from a number of the largest European buyout firms including Bridgepoint, CVC, EQT, Cinven and Triton and in 2018 acted on the three largest PE fundraisings in Europe in EQT VIII, Bridgepoint Eirope VI and Triton V. 

In the M&A and private equity space the team, which includes the likes of Ben Spiers, Clare Gaskell and Adam Signy, focuses on private equity buyouts, take privates and disposals and acts on the some of the largest PE deals in the market. This includes work during the research period on Silver Lakes’s bid for ZPG, the largest UK take private of 2018 and Melrose’s acquisition of GKN, the largest hostile bid in the UK in recent years. 

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings LSE IPO

• Blackstone €1.5 billion senior secured notes issue

• Boston Scientific $4.2 billion acquisition of BTG

• EQT VIII

• Intertrust €500 million 3.375% senior notes issue

• KKR €6.825 billion acquisition of Unilever's global spreads business

• KKR acquisition of Exact Software

• Melrose £8 billion acquisition of GKN

 

Client feedback

"Excellent: responsive, efficient, focused on points that matter, results driven, really good understanding of subject matter and commercial implications." - Capital markets : Debt

"Excellent service and value for money. STB know the law and the market and develop optimal solutions." - Capital markets : Debt

"Outstanding in substance in support, and in value." - Capital markets : Debt

"Excellent service, very efficient, very responsive, full of common sense." - Capital markets : Equity

"Excellent - highly capable, very smart and motivated, small teams, know us well and what we want/need." - M&A

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom

Skadden has strengths in banking, capital markets and M&A in particular. A powerhouse corporate firm, anything related to acquisitions is squarely in the firm’s wheelhouse. 

In the banking space the firm acts primarily for borrowers on acquisition and leveraged finance. The firm’s three leads have all been active during the research period with mark Darley, Clive Wells and Pete Coulton all picking up their fair share of mandates. The firm has acted recently for Sands China, CME Group and Adecco Group and on the lender side Morgan Stanley. 

In the capital markets the firm’s team is flexible with partners such as Danny Tricot and Pranav Trivedi acting across equity and debt matters. In the equity side the firm took roles on the dual-listed Kazatomprom IPO and EVRAZ on a share offer. In debt the firm picked up work for HSBC and its securities arm on issues and acted for the State of Qatar on a sovereign issue. 

In the investment fund space Greg Norman and Stephen Sims have acted for the likes of Yellow River Global Capital and Crosstree Real Estate Partners. The firm advises on fund formation, investments and restructurings. Scott Hopkins has been particularly active. 

M&A is a key practice for the firm and this is reflected by the high profile and high value mandates it has picked up during the research period including Worldpay’s merger with Fidelity National Information Services and Nasdaq’s acquisition of Oslo Børs. The firm is particularly strong on continental Europe deals and UK inbound investment matters. Scott Hopkins and Lorenzo Corte have been particularly active during the research period. In private equity Richard Youle and Katja Butler spearhead the practice which has acted for the likes of Hg, Montagu Private Equity, Colony Capital and TDR Capital. 

The firm’s restructuring practice acts on financial and corporate restructurings and insolvencies and has acted on high profile matters such as the financial restructuring of Danaos, the insolvency of Monarch Airlines and the restructuring of Westinghouse Electric Company. The firm has also picked up a number of bond restructuring mandates for the likes of Brunswick Rail and Russian Standard Bank. Dominic McCahill and the now retired Chris Mallon were active on a number of the firm’s key matters.  

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• DSV $4.3 billion acquisition of the Panalpina Group

• Ferrero $2.8 billion acquisition of Nestle assets

• HSBC Securities $20 billion notes issues

• Kaztomprom AIX/LSE IPO

• Monarch Airlines insolvency

• Qatar $24 billion sovereign bond issues

• Worldpay/Fidelity National Information Services merger

• Yellow River Fund I

 

Client feedback

“First engagement with the firm, very responsive and commercial approach to the engagement.” - Banking

“Excellent - commercial and practical advice with high understanding of client priorities.” - Capital markets : Equity

“Danny Tricot's team is technically strong and commercially astute.” - Capital markets : Equity

"We work with Stephen Sims and Greg Norman. They are great guys, very good. If we give them something reasonably complex, they explain it well, there's not a lot of iterations. There was a lot a lot of noise around the work but they pick up on all the important points, we have very robust discussions about things, not just legal matters but commercial as well. There's not a lot of time wasted. We're testing some concepts that are bespoke they are not standard and they handle it well. We had fixed fees on most things and pretty straightforward negotiations. They are expensive but we are paying for quality. But it's not just the funds guys we deal with them across the board. We know we're getting quality when we get Skadden partners. The Skadden network means a lot to us." - Investment funds

“Excellent work to get a difficult situation to an acceptable outcome. Creative thinking and pragmatic approach - not always found in combination.” - M&A

“The firm is extremely responsive, thorough and gives clear well-though through advice.” - M&A

“Exceptional. The level of service Skadden's PE team provides is off the charts. They are complete rock stars and we love working with them.” - Private equity

“Only good words to say. Great advice, pragmatic negotiating, dedicated team, great outcome.” - Private equity

“Outstanding, great commercial sense, technical ability, great to work with.” - Private equity

“Has been fantastic, know the subject matter well. Good commercial advice excellent service.” - Private equity

“The team has excellent problem-solving skills and is able to provide novel solutions to complex situations. Advice is thoroughly considered and practical.” - Private equity

Slaughter and May

Slaughter and May is one of the best known names and brands in the UK market with a long history of working on high profile deals for UK public entities and listed companies. The firm has strengths in various areas but is perhaps best known for its corporate work. In cross border deals the firm has a unique network of ‘best friend’ firms including the likes of Hengeler Mueller in in Germany and Bredin Prat in France. The firm has also cultivated relationships with a handful of US firms including Cravath Swaine & Moore, Paul Weiss and Wachtell Lipton. 

In banking the firm makes the most of its corporate client base and primarily acts for borrower, though it is also expanding its sponsor side practice. The firm has acted on a number of large acquisition finance deals including the likes of Vodafone’s acquisition of Liberty Global’s German operations. Partners including Oliver Storey, Guy O’Keefe and Azadeh Nassiri have all been active during the research period. 

In the debt capital markets the firm focuses on advising issuers and - in line with the wider firm’s client profile – acts for a large number of FTSE1000 companies. The firm points to work for a number of debut issuers during the research period including Euroclear and Compagnie Financière Richemont. The firm has also acted on high yield issues by the likes of Hibu Group and CEVA Logistics. 

In the equity capital markets, again the firm primarily acts on the issuer side. The firm picked up work on IPOs for the likes of Acquis Exchange, Aston Martin Lagonda and rights issues by DS Smith and Cineworld. Sally Wokes and Richard Smith were particularly active during the research period. The Aston Martin deal is particularly notable as it was one of the first to be completed following the FCA rule reform. 

The firm’s financial services regulatory team led by Jan Putnis and Ben Kingsley acts for a range of banks and insurance firms and points to more work emerging in the fintech space. As well as providing transactional support, the team has advised clients on Brexit issues and advised Goldman Sachs on the introduction of a new inducements regime. 

In the investment funds space the firm acts on various transactional matters including fund related M&A, placings and listings. The team also works closely with its financial regulatory team to provide assistance on matters such as AIFMD. Jonathan Marks was particularly active during the research period. 

It is in the M&A area where the firm’s strength in advising UK corporates shines through with the team pointing to 119 London listed clients. The team is one of the nest known names in the market for large scale M&A as evidenced by work for Disney on its acquisition of 20th Century Fox and Shire on the offer made for it by Takeda Pharmaceutical. The firm has a large team but Roland Turnill was one of its most active partners during the research period. In the private equity space clients include the likes of Midlothian Capital Partners and Global Infrastructure Partners, with Robert Chaplin and Murray Cox particularly active. 

In restructuring and insolvency the firm acts primarily (though not exclusively) on the debtor side for corporate clients and has taken on roles on high profile mandates such as the Seadrill Chapter 11, the Interserve administration and work for the liquidator and special managers on the Carillion insolvency. Ian Johnson, Rober Byk and Tom Vickers have all had active years. 

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Aston Martin Lagonda LSE IPO

• Carillion liquidation

• Interserve restructuring

• Seadrill New Finance $880 million 12% secured notes issues

• Takeda Pharmaceutical £45.6 billion bid for Shire

• The Walt Disney Company $85 billion acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox

• Vodafone Group €18.4 billion acquisition of Liberty Global's German operations

 

Client feedback

“Excellent capability and competency. Strengths include on the point assessment of issues relevant to us with a commercial perspective crucial for us as a disruptor in banking and financial services. The firm's work on fintech and Innovation is impressive. The firm should continue to build on its strength to engage with clients in a manner that is relevant to them.” - Banking

“High quality work responsive.” - Capital markets : Debt

“Very good. At all levels they operate with a calm assurance that promotes an efficient transaction.” - Capital markets : Derivatives

“Slaughters are peerless in the UK market for issuer side work.” - Capital markets : Equity

“Very high quality advice and guidance with good understanding and appreciation of the business issues.” - Capital markets : Equity

“Always very high quality work, technically at the top of the game. That matches my expectation of them being a magic circle firm with high fees. Service levels are responsiveness are both high.” - Financial services regulatory

“S&M are very commercial, as well as being exemplary from a technical perspective. They are responsive, personable and flexible.” - Financial services regulatory

“Very responsive and reasonable fee quotes provided. Good attention to detail and methodical approach.” - Financial services regulatory

“Generally we're very happy with their work - they are incredibly prompt in responses, they never oversell on response times and in general take a pragmatic approach.” - Financial services regulatory

“The Slaughters team provide robust advice that can be relied on and stands up to scrutiny.  Board members take comfort knowing Slaughters have provided the advice we are relying on.” - Financial services regulatory

“Excellent. Ian's team were top quality throughout - hard-working, very strong on the technical issues, very good client attention and very focused on delivering what was a complex and difficult transaction on time.” - Restructuring and insolvency

“S&M advised in four different areas although all were interconnected, as part of a restructuring project. Without exception the work of all of the fee earners involved was of an exceptionally high standard. What particularly impressed me (in comparison to another City firm I worked with on a corporate matter) was that all the fee earners from the different groups (banking, restructuring and corporate) were fully aligned at all times and there was no gap between them. I found the general attitude of the S&M team to be extraordinarily client friendly; the phrase I heard most often from S&M fee earners was "What would be most helpful" - Restructuring and insolvency

“Slaughter and May have an excellent restructuring and insolvency team, led by Ian Johnson and Tom Vickers. They are technically excellent, very client focussed and bring very sound judgment to complex and difficult situations. The team is strongly supported by excellent junior lawyers.” - Restructuring and insolvency

“Strengths:  Superb quality of legal insight and advice.  Highly responsive, hard-working team.  Documentation was all produced to a very high standard. Weaknesses: Not much to say here - it's a top firm. I suppose if pushed, I'd comment that Slaughters' lawyers pride themselves on their breadth whereas the competition typically narrow their focus to niche areas. Whilst the breadth of individuals' practice is largely a strength and demonstrates the exceptional intellectual power that Slaughter and May's lawyers bring to their work, occasionally this leads to a situation where a lawyer is not as deeply embedded in a market niche as their opposite number, and hence may be less familiar with current market features.” - Restructuring and insolvency

“Strong debtor side advisor. Ian Johnson was fantastic and led a very capable and talented team.”  - Restructuring and insolvency

“Good overall quality and deep bench of quality solicitors. Does not have the same level of experience for hard restructurings compared to others in the industry but delivered a very difficult project nonetheless.” - Restructuring and insolvency

“Slaughter and May have been very quick to react to a manner of difficult issues that have arisen in the administration.  They have worked well with a counsel team to provide advice on evolving issues at short notice.  All of the Slaughter and May team have been very approachable and easy to work with, and appreciative of the commercial difficulties we have faced.” - Restructuring and insolvency

Sullivan & Cromwell

Sullivan & Cromwell has strengths in finance, capital markets and M&A but also in projects work and is one of only a few US firms in London with a strong presence in the project development and finance area. 

In the banking area the firm primarily acts for borrowers on acquisition financings but also acts for lenders on some financial restructuring advising the likes of Santander, Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank. Chris Beatty and Presley Warner has been particularly active during the research period. 

In the capital markets the firm has a strong track record on IPOs for European clients including during the research period acting on deals by the likes of Carel Industries and TFI TAB GIDA YATIRIMLARI. Vanessa Blackmore and John Horsfield-Bradbury have been particularly active. 

Within M&A the firm added a high profile partner to its ranks in the form of Jeremy Kutner from Shearman & Sterling. The team acts on some of the largest deals in the market including in the research period work for Abertis Infrastructuras on its acquisition and Bayer’s sale of selected crop science businesses. The firm also reports an increase in distressed asset sales. Ben Perry and Richard Pollack have led a number of the firm’s key highlights. 

In the projects space the firm acts on large scale projects in all the core sectors but is particularly strong in power and oil and gas. The firm picks up projects in Africa, the Middle East and across Central Asia. Key examples include an LNG project in Mozambique and an aluminium smelter in Abu Dhabi. Stewart Robertson co-heads the global team. 

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Altran Technologies $2 billion acquisition of Aricent

• BASF €7.6 billion acquisition of Bayer's crop science businesses

• Carel Industries Borsa Italiana IPO

• CK Holdings €6.2 billion acquisition of Magneti Marelli

• Danaos Corporation restructuring

• Hochtief/ACS/Actividades de Construcción y Servicios/Atlantia acquisition of Abertis Infrastructuras

• Oyu Tolgoi $4.4 billion project financing

• Rovuma LNG Phase 1 $25 billion project financing

Sullivan & Worcester

Sullivan & Worcester’s practice is focused solely on trade, export and commodity finance structures with a four partner team led by Geoff Wynne. Recent years have seen the firm also move into the financial disputes space in support of its primary practice.

Highlights include work for banks such as Santander and Deutsche Bank on the financing for Kumasi airport in Ghana and Africa Trade Finance on a club trade finance facility for United Bank of Nigeria.

Alongside Wynne Simon Cook has also been active.

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Republic of Ghana €73 million financing of Kumasi Airport

• United Bank for Africa $160 million trade finance facility

Travers Smith

Travers Smith is one of a small group of UK firms without a broad, branded international network that can go toe to toe with its international firm counterparts, be they firms with UK or US origins. The firm is fairly strong across the financial and corporate space but has particular strengths in private equity, funds and financial services regulatory work. 

In contentious regulatory the firm’s lawyers are part of the regulatory investigations team and act on contentious cases and investigations by the likes of the FCA and the SFO. The firm also points to its experience in the investment management and alternative funds sectors. Rob Fell, head of dispute resolution, has been particularly active during the research period on the contentious side.  

In the non-contentious area the firms experience covers financial market infrastructure, funds, regulatory capital, pension schemes and trustees amongst others. A clear highlight was work for the trustee of the British Steel Pension Scheme on its separation from Tata Steel. Tim Lewis, Stephanie Biggs, Mark Evans and department head Phil Bartram have all been active during the research period. 

In the funds area the firm acts on real estate, listed funds and has a particular focus on private funds work which covers private equity, infrastructure and private debt funds. The firm acts on fund formation and secondary transactions for the likes of SV Health Managers, Benson Elliot Capital Management and new clients like Pemberton Asset Management. Sam Kay, Jeremy Elmore, Aaron Stocks and Will Normand were particularly active during the research period. 

In private equity the firm points to an increasing number of high end matters in addition to its mid-market strength, this is demonstrated by work on matters such as JAB’s acquisition of Pret a Manger. Key clients include the likes of Bridgepoint, TA Associates and Inflexion. Department head Paul Dolman was particular active during the research period. 

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Benson Elliot Real Estate Partners V

• Inflexion £300 million investment in Huws Gray

• ITRS Group acquisition of OP5

• JAB acquisition of Pret a Manger

• Legal & General £605 million acquisition of 52.1% stake in CALA Homes

• TA Associates acquisition of Merian Global Investors

• TA Associates reinvestment in The Access Group

 

Client feedback

“Superb. Clearly much strength and depth across the finance team.” - Banking

“Very high quality, diligent and professional service. Key strengths include: highly diligent and thorough work with excellent attention to detail. Strong depth of team, with quality lawyers in place from junior associate through to partner. Also have a wide range of expertise within the firm which can be brought in to support (e.g. amongst best-in-class pensions team). Personable and relationship orientated, Travers are very easy/enjoyable to interact with and there is no such thing as a silly question. One weakness may be lack of international coverage, which reduces efficiency and drives high costs for cross border transactions. They do have a wide network of foreign partners that can be brought in to support foreign counsel requirements however.” - Banking

“Excellent depth of experience across a wide team, meaning they had experience and expertise in all the key areas.” - Capital markets : Derivatives

“Excellent firm, pro-active, prompt and commercial in its responses.” - Capital markets : Equity

“Technically very strong Lots of relevant experience Good level of partner involvement Experienced associates.” - Capital markets : Equity

“The great combination of very technical, commercial, hardworking, personable and fun – Technical, able to cut through complex problems quickly to give concise and easily understood advice. This high quality is consistent from partner to trainee. Commercial, they are able to calibrate quickly to our risk profile for each matter and they focus on the key issues, adopting a practical approach rather than points scoring. Collaborative between teams. Enjoyable to work with, the people have a good sense of humour and don't take themselves too seriously - A lot more partner visibility compared to their peers.” - Capital markets : Equity

“The firm was highly supportive.  It was a complex multi-jurisdictional project and they helped us navigate this very well.  Particularly appreciated the support on the reporting accountant element of the listing process. Partner and staff were very responsive and always available for queries. It was clear that they were highly experienced in this area, and flexed their style to work with our firm.” - Capital markets : Equity

“Timely, valuable, and highly skilled.” - Capital markets : Equity

“Very solid as always.” - Capital markets : Equity

“First class service, highly responsive, proactive and commercial. Team is always a pleasure to work with.” - Capital markets : Equity

“They are very precise and responsive. No obvious weaknesses to be reported.” - Capital markets : Structured finance and securitisation

“Deep expertise in antitrust matters. Extraordinarily adept at managing and coordinating multi-jurisdictional government inquiries in antitrust matters.” - Financial services regulatory

“Excellent quality and generally very responsive.” - Financial services regulatory

“In my view they are the best. They have a very strong collaboration culture, which helps them bring always the right persons to the table. They are knowledgeable and pragmatic.” - Financial services regulatory

“The firm is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to financial service regulation, specifically in the payments world. We are always confident that the firm will be able to pull complex legislation to mind when it comes to whatever project we're engaged in. They have an uncanny knack for being able to call upon regulatory provisions right off the top of their heads. They also have an unbelievable skill making those concepts easy to understand to the business and will implement commercial documents in a way that fits with the regulatory regime but also doesn't confuse everyone involved. They are a fantastic firm to work with.” - Financial services regulatory

“The firm's approach to this matter has clearly demonstrated its very keen understanding of the practical issues and commercial priorities of our organisation. It has gone out of its way to be helpful.” - Financial services regulatory

“The law firm has a clear dedication to excelling in each of its practice areas and providing a very high quality service and level of advice to its clients.” - Financial services regulatory

“Thorough, thoughtful and commercial interpretation of regulation that fits with our firms risk appetite.” - Financial services regulatory

“Travers is our go to in the UK. They are competent, they deliver to the highest standards and are pragmatic.” - Financial services regulatory

“Very knowledgeable.” - Financial services regulatory

“Travers Smith have an exceptionally talented team. They are also some of the nicest people to work with. Their work is excellent.” - Financial services regulatory

“Excellent service. Responsive and dedicated and provided clear and concise advice.  Excellent commercial and industry insight as well as regulatory knowledge.” - Investment funds

“Travers Smith provide an exceptional service from all levels of the team across the spectrum of listed and private funds. Additionally, they are supported by one of the best regulatory teams in the City. They are friendly, accessible and response which makes working on even the most complex transactions bearable!” - Investment funds

“Very good knowledge of market.” - Investment funds

 “Extremely high quality, responsive, commercial, user friendly. Extremely high quality tax and banking capability as well.” - M&A

“Superb. Clearly a breadth and depth of talent at the firm. Seamless handover of accumulated experience from one partner to another who led on this transaction.” - M&A

“Excellent firm. Professional, pragmatic and engaged. We know the firm well and they always deliver an excellent standard of service and are not afraid to have frank conversations with us.”  - M&A

“Excellent.” - Private equity

“Overall the work was done very well. Full engagement by all disciplines of the practice to ensure all angles were covered, worked seamlessly with the firm's administrator in Jersey and Jersey Counsel. Documentation and communication is clear and concise. Always kept up to date, but also not pestered with trivial matters. Worked well with fund counsel. Improvements: Very few I could suggest, but perhaps a bit more face time instead of just emails.” - Private equity

“Overall very high quality of advice and service level. Bench strength in all key areas of law.” - Private equity

“The Travers Smith team, led by Ian Shawyer and Adam Orr, continues to deliver a really good service. We receive professional, timely, commercial, accessible and numerate legal support. I am not sure I have yet identified material weaknesses or areas for significant improvement.” - Private equity

“Travers Smith are professional, commercial and highly responsive. They are our 'go to' law firm for our most important strategic projects.  In short, we trust them.”  - Private equity

“We have worked with the Travers Smith banking team recently on a new facility and a renewal of an existing facility. The quality of the advice we have received is of the very highest standard.” - Private equity

“Excellent strength in depth within the insolvency team. Technically very competent.” - Restructuring and insolvency

“It has been a pleasure to work with the Travers team, both in terms of the quality of their advice and the individuals on the deal team.” - Restructuring and insolvency

“Strengths: working as a real integrated team across many practice areas - restructuring, corporate finance (equity raise, disclosure obligations and exceeding borrowing powers), debt finance (both from banks and a significant shareholder) which impinged on each other and ensured that our needs were paramount at all times. Clear, practical and comforting advice to the board in relation to their obligations in difficult circumstances. Great work with other advisers too.” - Restructuring and insolvency

“My impression of Travers Smith is a firm of the very highest quality, with one of the top restructuring and insolvency practices in the City.” - Restructuring and insolvency

Weil Gotshal & Manges

Weil Gotshal & Manges has strengths in private equity, funds, structured finance and restructuring work specifically, but the firm’s London team has a broad UK/US practice and covers most types of financial and corporate advice.  

In the banking space the firm primarily acts for sponsors and lenders on acquisition financings including bank/bond deals and both US and English law matters. Reena Gogna, Chris McLaughlin and Tom Richards have all been active during the research period. The firm acts for the likes of Advent and OMERS on the sponsor side and Barclays and Citigroup on the lender front. 

In the debt capital markets the firm focuses on high yield and has acted on a range of refinancings and restructurings as well as new issues for both issuers and underwriters. The team led by Patrick Bright and Nitin Konchady have been active during the research period and work closely with the banking team on bank/bond issues. Clients include the likes of Goldman Sachs, Dana Gas, Morgan Stanley and the Paprec Group. 

In structured finance and securitisation Jacky Kelly and Brian Maher focus on CLOs and consumer asset securitisations like credit card and mortgage loans. The firm also points to strengths in related areas such as M&A of securitised businesses and NPL sales. The firm has acted for the likes of Blackstone and Carlyle on CLO matters and Hertz Europe and Shop Direct on securitisations. On the derivatives front the firm acts on hedging (including securitisation linked transactions), derivatives in M&A transactions, repos and credit default swaps. 

In the investment funds space the team focuses primarily on private funds, including under that umbrella private equity, infrastructure and real estate funds among others. Clients include the likes of Actis, CapMan, Graphite Capital Partners and OMERS. Along with fundraisings the firm has also acted on fund transactional work including advising the liquidators of Abraaj Investment Management on its insolvency. 

In the M&A and private equity areas the firm added Mark Thompson from Sidley Austin during the research period. Though best known for its market leading private equity practice the firm picks up its fair share of high value M&A as well including advising Sanofi on its sale of Zentiva and Vinci on its acquisition of the owner of Gatwick Airport. In private equity, along with traditional target areas the firm has made an effort to offer advice for clients in new areas of focus for PE funds like infrastructure and real estate. The firm has picked up work for the likes of Bain Capital, Advent and Antin Infrastructure Partners. Marco Compagnoni and Jonathan Wood have been particularly active. 

In restructuring and insolvency the firm acts for insolvent entities as well as liquidators and administrators. Highlights include work on projects such as Westinghouse Electric, Paragon Offshore and MF Global. Alongside traditional restructuring and insolvency matters the firm also points to work on distressed investments and NPL portfolio sales. Adam Plainer and Andrew Wilkinson have taken the lead on a number of the firm’s key matters. 

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Actis Long Life Infrastructure Fund

• Advent International $3.25 billion acquisition of GE's distributed power business

• Advent International £1.8 billion acquisition of Zentiva

• Crosthwaite Park CLO

• Dalmore III

• Paprec Group €800 million senior secured notes issue

• TeamSystem €750 million senior secured notes issue

• VINCI Airports £2.9 billion acquisition of a majority stake in Gatwick Airport

 

Client feedback

“Generally excellent service with strong partner presence and availability whenever required to get the deal done well.” - Banking

“Very competent, very professional, highly experienced team. Nothing was too much trouble both during the deal and afterwards.” - Banking

“No negatives whatsoever - Really strong performance from all the team resulting in a successful issue and favourable terms. Ongoing assistance re management of investors has also been excellent.” - Capital markets : Debt

“Very good interaction, always available and strong advice both on legal side and commercial terms.” - Capital markets : High yield

“Weil are focused, proactive, experienced and commercial. They provide the right balance of expertise as well as deal and client management, without antagonizing or wasting people's time.” - Capital markets : Structured finance and securitisation

“Highly responsive and worked to tight deadlines.” - Capital markets : Structured finance and securitisation

“Strong commercial focus. Timely advice.” - Investment funds

“Outstanding quality, both in terms of knowledge base around the latest terms/trends in the industry and in terms of speed and efficiency.” - Investment funds

“Partner responsiveness and commercial approach.” - M&A

“Strong M&A and financing practice.” - M&A

“Very experienced partner Michael Francies leading a strong team, works well with our internal legal and business teams, good coverage in all key areas.” - Private equity

“Very strong technical knowledge but also very commercial in its approach. Very trustworthy advice.”  - Private equity

“Excellent. Weil, and in particular, Marco Compagnoni, excel at combining brilliant client care with top-class legal expertise.” - Private equity

“Very good knowledge of both market and industry.” - Private equity

“The Weil restructuring team in UK is characterised by its extraordinary attention to detail and its extremely broad understanding of the relevant legal and factual questions underlying every dispute.  They are "always on", in terms of being accessible at whatever hours, in terms of responsiveness to client needs. They get involved in the most arcane and complex matters, often with multiple adversaries, managing thoughtful and well-coordinated interactions with that multitude. These skills are visible not only in the context of general advisory, but also very much so in the management of complex litigation and the interaction with QCs. I cannot say enough good things about them.” - Restructuring and insolvency

White & Case

White & Case has strong finance, capital markets and projects practices in London, where it is one of the longest serving US firms in the City. 

In the banking space the firm has hired a number of partners recently including Shane McDonald from Lone Star Funds, real estate finance specialist Sudhir Nair from Baker McKenzie, Julia Smither Excell from JPMorgan and Fergus Wheeler from King & Spalding. The firm has a strong lender side practice, for which it is best known, with clients including the likes of Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Barclays. The firm also picks up its fair share of borrower and sponsor side mandates including acting for the likes of CVC Capital Partners. Jeremy Duffy who heads up the firm’s EMEA bank lending practice has been particularly active during the research period. 

In the capital markets there was movement as Gilles Teerlinck and Tom Falkus joined from Kirkland & Ellis and Weil Gotshal respectively. During the same period Rob Mathews and David Becker left to join Baker McKenzie. On the debt side the firm has a clear focus advising sovereigns in emerging markets having picked up work on issues by a number of African and Middle East nations with Melissa Butler and Stuart Matty taking the lead. The firm also acts for corporate issuers and underwriters in various emerging markets and picks up a high volume of high yield work. Clients include Consolidated Energy and International Game Technology. 

In the structured finance and securitisation area the firm picks up a fair deal of securitisation and CLO work, including acting for the G20 Sustainable Finance Study Group on the creation of a sustainable CLO market. The firm also added experience in the form of Tom Falkus. Clients include the likes of BNP Paribas, Amigo Holdings, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley. Ingrid York and Chris McGarry have been particularly active. 

In restructuring and insolvency the firm focuses on financial restructurings acting for both debtors and creditors. A clear highlight in 2018 was the work done on the Oi restructuring in Brazil, including both bank and bond debt. The firm also acted on the substantial Seadrill restructurings. The likes of Chris Pilkington and Ben Davies have both been active during the research period. 

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Advent International £1.8 billion acquisition of Zentiva

• Amigo £200 million securitisation facility

• Lone Star Funds €1.025 billion acquisition of Stark Group

• Oi $20 billion debt restructuring

• Republic of Uzbekistan debut $1 billion sovereign bond

• Seadrill restructuring

• Yapi Kredi $650 million additional Tier 1 notes issue

 

Client feedback

“Excellent service. Very proactive and business friendly lawyers.” - Capital markets : Derivatives

“Excellent work overall - not a cheap firm but service and dedication of lawyers stands out.” - Capital markets : Derivatives

“We've used them on a number of transactions, I've only used them on one transaction. I thought they were very good, we were using a specific deal team, they did a very good job in very difficult circumstances, a lot of moving parts, a very demanding client, unfortunately the terms of the client changed quite regularly, they handled that situation very well indeed, brought a highly commercial view.” - Capital markets : Derivatives

“High quality, efficient, keenly priced.” - Capital markets : Derivatives

“Commercial, practical advice. Very responsive.” - Capital markets : Structured finance and securitisation

“High-quality, good-value legal work. W&C is one of two core legal service providers for all capital markets activities, including litigation relating to such transactions.” - Capital markets : Structured finance and securitisation

“High-quality, highly-responsive, result-oriented, pragmatic legal services for a good-value.” - Capital markets : Structured finance and securitisation

“We really appreciate that we always get a great deal of partner time on the complex transactions on which we work. We can always count on the team to get even the most complex transactions completed on time and to the high standards we expect.” - Capital markets : Structured finance and securitisation

“We were overall very satisfied with W&C work, they were very thorough, proactive and responsive. They were very thorough and professional and provided us with valuable advice. The team proved practical and market-oriented. We were also satisfied with the team's coordination skills (the transaction involved multiple jurisdictions).” - Capital markets : Structured finance and securitisation

Willkie Farr & Gallagher

Client feedback

"The individuals we have interactions with at the firm are extremely knowledgeable and professional, which I believe is a reflection of the wider firm." - Banking

"Very efficient well organised firm who get on with it." - Restructuring and insolvency

"Excellent overall." - Restructuring and insolvency

"Overall an outstanding performance: great details in the analysis and dedication." - Restructuring and insolvency

Winston & Strawn

Winston & Strawn’s London practice spans finance, M&A and projects work. In the latter area the firm picks up a large amount of work in the energy space with a particular specialism in LNG power projects.

In banking the firm added capacity in the form of Anthony Riley from Orrick during the research period. The team acts for both borrowers and lenders on a variety of acquisition and asset finance matters. Ian Borman has been particularly active.

In M&A, head of department Zoë Ashcroft has been particularly active during the research period acting for the likes of Gladson Group Holdings, The Wicks Group and Yioula Glassworks. Probably the firm’s most high profile deal saw it act for General American Capital Partners on its €160 million acquisition of Bordeaux Football Club. In private equity the team led by Nicholas Usher has acted for the likes of Diversis Capital and Biscayne Capital.

As mentioned above the firm has acted recently on several LNG projects in the market including the Delimara 4 project in Malta and work for Energy Capital Vietnam on a power plant in Bac Lieu province in Vietnam. In addition the firm has acted on power and utility projects in Africa and the Middle East. Stephen Jurgenson, Jason Parker and James Simpson have all been active.

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Delimara 4 LNG power plant

• Energy Capital Vietnam LNG power plant

• General American Capital Partners €160 million acquisition of Bordeaux Football Club

• Glanbia acquisition of SlimFast

• Hiscox $800 million refinancing

• Industrea $610 million acquisition of Brudage Bone Concrete Holding

 

Client feedback

"Great client service and delivery leading to excellent value for money for the client. They are experienced at complex cross border transactions for large international clients and are able to offer commercial advice underpinned by excellent technical skills." - M&A

"I have used Winston & Strawn London for over 10 years. I rate the office very highly. I rate partners Zoe Ashcroft and Stewart Worthy for both corporate and finance work. They are highly skilled and excellent with the clients. We also find Winston to be an excellent platform with a network of offices that are very useful." - M&A

"Great team. Zoe Ashcroft and Stewart worthy in particular. Client friendly, practical and good lawyers. Also they can cover both corporate and banking work so a broad skill set." - M&A

"Thorough review of documents and analysis, prompt preparation of written legal advice, responsive to client's comments, excellent drafting, etc." - Project development

"The work which has been done has been of a consistently excellent quality, well informed of the issues not only in the UK but also the US, India and China." - M&A