The winner in this category must demonstrate an ability to land the most significant mandates in an incredibly competitive market for private equity-backed deals. Judges will look for evidence of an ability to move with the market and stand out from competitors in the most eye-catching transactions.
2016 WINNER: Travers Smith
Dolman’s team of nine partners advised on £16bn worth of private equity transactions during the year. Highlights included advising Exponent on the sale of Trainline to KKR which, because the ticket retailer was initially planning for a listing, meant the advisers had to work within a tight IPO timeframe to get the deal done.
In a year that saw this mid-market player complete more than 30 private equity transactions with a total value of more than £3bn, Addleshaws advised ECI Partners on its secondary buyout of the Evans Cycles retail chain following an auction process.
This well-established team advised on 90 deals with an aggregate value in excess of £44bn in 2015, including acting for Cinven on its parallel acquisitions of Labco for €1.3bn and €1.7bn in France and Germany in order to combine the businesses.
FRESHFIELDS BRUCKHAUS DERINGER
A standout deal for this highly-rated practice was acting for CVC on its £800m acquisition of a controlling stake in Sky Bet. The deal included a bespoke long-term brand licence with Sky group which retains a 20% share in the company.
LATHAM & WATKINS
Mike Bond; David Walker
Having recruited new partners in London and Germany, Latham’s highlight deal last year was Onex Corporation’s €3.75bn acquisition of the packaging company SIG Combibloc. The deal involved bridge, bank and bond financing with US and European elements.
SIMPSON THACHER & BARTLETT
Consistently involved in some of the most high-profile private equity transactions of 2015, including acting for CVC Capital Partners and Blackstone on the £653m sale of their stakes in Merlin Entertainment.
WHITE & CASE
A team with momentum, Bagshaw’s group now has seven partners and acted for Allianz Capital Partners, Borealis Infrastructure Management, ADIA and Munich Re on the acquisition of Autobahn Tank & Rast Holding. This sale by Terra Firma and Deutsche Asset and Wealth Management was the largest German private equity deal since 2007.