Legal Business Blogs

Boyd becomes the latest Linklaters partner to jump ship to Kirkland

Rising private equity star Stuart Boyd has become the fifth Linklaters partner in the City to switch to US rival Kirkland & Ellis (K&E) in the last 18 months.

Boyd, who counts the likes of The Carlyle Group, CVC Capital Partners and Bridgepoint as clients, is to join K&E’s London office.

The move sees Boyd reunite with ex-Linklaters private equity partners, David Holdsworth, who agreed to move to K&E earlier this month, and the Magic Circle firm’s former Nordic head of private equity Roger Johnson, who joined last September.

Boyd leaves Linklaters after 13 years at the Magic Circle firm, having joined as a trainee in 2003. As an associate, he was part of the Linklaters team advising British bank RBS on its now infamous €71bn hostile takeover of Dutch bank ABN Amro in 2007 as part of a consortium that included Santander Group and Fortis.

Boyd became a partner in 2013, building a strong practice handling with private equity M&A and restructuring. His recent deal list includes acting for Filipino noodle maker Monde Nissin on its £550m purchase of meat-substitute food company Quorn from its private equity owners in October and advising Brait, the investment vehicle of retail magnate Christo Wiese, on its £1.9bn acquisition of clothing chain New Look last May.

His exit further depletes Linklaters’ private equity team, which on top of Holdsworth and Johnson, also lost head of real estate M&A Matthew Elliott to Kirkland & Ellis in 2015. Elliott had built his practice around high-end real estate M&A for private equity and sovereign wealth funds. Linklaters has proved fertile hunting ground for K&E, with the US firm having also hired Linklaters’ UK head of competition, Paula Riedel, at the end of 2015.

The move comes as the US firm rebuilds its frontline deals capability in London after losing a six-partner team led by Christian Iwasko and Erik Dahl to Sidley Austin at the start of the year as the latter looks to build a stronger reputation in the City PE market.

Read more about private equity in the City in the feature: ‘ABC – the brutally simple world of a private equity lawyer.’

For more on the challenges facing Kirkland & Ellis’ City operation, see ‘Kiss the ring – patronage, in-fighting and exits threaten to stall Kirkland’s bandwagon’