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Akin Gump and Proskauer pick apart Dentons’ City private equity team

Two leaders in Dentons‘ private equity practice in the City have quit the firm, with Igor Krivoshekov departing for Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Eleanor Shanks set to join Proskauer Rose.

Krivoshekov, who was a partner at now defunct Dewey & LeBoeuf before joining Dentons six years ago, has built a strong private equity practice handling oil and gas M&A during his time at the firm. He has been one of the leaders of Dentons’ PE practice in London, which over the last five years has improved its standing in the City market for mid-market deals.

Shanks, who worked closely with Krivoshekov, made partner at Dentons in 2014 after just two years at the firm. She started her career at Norton Rose Fulbright, before a six year stint at US firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.

The hires come amid a rapid expansion of Akin Gump and Proskauer’s City offices, with Akin Gump expanding out its London private equity practice following its landmark takeover of now defunct Bingham McCutchen’s $50m London office in 2014. The bulk of the Bingham team was an esteemed restructuring practice headed by James Roome, Barry Russell and James Terry, but also contained a strong regulatory team. Earlier this year the firm landed Jones Day arbitration star Hamish Lal, who headed that firm’s construction group before his switch.

‘Igor will continue our recent growth trajectory in London and will be instrumental in the ongoing expansion of our international energy offerings,’ said Akin Gump chairperson Kim Koopersmith (pictured). ‘He advises on highly complex private equity transactions and, with his extensive history of deal making, will be an invaluable resource to our clients, particularly those in the energy space. I look forward to welcoming him to Akin Gump.’

Krivoshekov has handled deals across a swathe of jurisdictions, including the US, the UK, Russia, Eastern Europe, Asia-Pacific region and Latin America. His clients include L1 Energy, an investment group set up by Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman’s fund Letter One, Altera Capital, Partners Group and Aton Capital Partners. In early 2015 he and Shanks led for L1 Energy on its $5.7bn acquisition of RWE Dea, the oil and gas unit of Germany’s largest power generator, RWE. Akin Gump has also advised Letter One in the past, from its US offices.

Sebastian Rice, co-head of Akin Gump’s London office, added: ‘Igor has worked with leading private equity houses across Europe on some very significant transactions, in particular in emerging markets. His credentials across private equity, energy and emerging markets fit very well with the firm’s focus internationally, and we will be delighted to have him on our team.’

For Proskauer, the arrival of Shanks follows a rapid scaling up of its private equity practice since the hire of City heavyweight Steven Davis from King & Wood Mallesons in 2014. This year, the firm has already added leveraged finance partner Ben Davis from Reed Smith and private equity real estate duo Jo Owen and Vikki McKay from DLA Piper in London. ‘Eleanor’s strong track record advising private equity players further strengthens our position in the industry as we continue to expand our presence in Europe,’ said Davis.

Dentons said in a statement: ‘We have been steadily growing our corporate and private equity practice in the UK over the last few months with several key lateral partner hires, including David Collins – who now heads up the department – as well as Stephen Levy, Martin Mankabady, Nikolas Colbridge and Jonathan Cantor. ‘Under David’s leadership we continue to focus on strengthening our corporate and private equity offering to clients, and our capabilities, combined with our international reach, mean we are very well placed to take advantage of new opportunities in the market. We want to thank Igor and Eleanor for their contributions to the firm and wish them well.’