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Allen & Overy beats UK rivals to top 2015 deal table for European private equity

Allen & Overy (A&O)’s growing private equity (PE) team has had a strong year, topping Dealogic’s European PE table after advising on 31 deals across the 2015 calendar year for clients including Apollo Global Management, The Blackstone Group and Carlyle Investment Management.

The firm advised on deals equal to 21% of the European buyout market last year, acting on $23.95bn worth of deals.

The A&O team, led by co-heads Stephen Lloyd (pictured), Karine Kodde and Robin Harvey, edged out Magic Circle counterparts as well as US firms in the City.

In the biggest leveraged buyout deal of 2015, A&O advised Carlyle on its $7.4bn acquisition of data storage unit Veritas Technologies from the antivirus software maker Symantec Corporation, opposite Baker & McKenzie. In June last year, the team acted for OMERS Private Equity and Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) on its $1.7bn acquisition of ERM Group from Charterhouse Capital Partners. A&O also advised co-investor AIMCo, alongside Ashurst.

The team acted on the first leveraged buyout in India, as it advised Aion Partners, a joint venture between Apollo and ICICI Venture, in its acquisition of General Electric (GE)’s India commercial lending and leasing businesses on a $400m deal. The team acted opposite Shearman & Sterling, which advised GE.

Lloyd, who left Ashurst in 2013 to move to the Magic Circle firm, said: ‘That wasn’t some flash in the pan because it is continuing this year and we’re acting for everybody.’

He added: ‘Twelve months ago I would have laughed if you told me we would be doing deals for people like Apollo, Blackstone and Carlyle – big American houses that were perceived as being very close to American law firms. We’re not just doing one deal, we’re doing repeat deals. I’ve just got my third instruction from Apollo. Who knew that was possible?

‘Rival law firms will still say A&O doesn’t have a private equity focus, because why should they? Why would they praise us? But they would reluctantly admit in private that it’s going quite well here.’

Following Lloyd’s arrival, the firm has been bulking up its PE practice. Ashurst partner Karan Dinamani joined A&O in 2014, with colleague Juan Hormaechea coming on board in 2015.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer appeared in second place in Dealogic’s table, advising on $23.6bn worth of deals last year, while Clifford Chance came third with $15.07bn.