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Freshfields further bulks out US M&A leadership team with Shearman hire

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is continuing to boost its New York M&A practice’s leadership, installing Shearman & Sterling partner Peter Lyons as co-head of its global public M&A group, after hiring Skadden and Wachtell veterans earlier this month to take leading roles.

The Magic Circle firm has persuaded Lyons, a leading M&A partner at Shearman who has been with the firm 25 years, to move two doors down on Lexington Avenue. Lyons, who had an eight-year stint as Shearman’s global head of M&A, advised Nokia last year on its $2.2bn acquisition of Siemens’ 50% percent stake in NSN, the two companies’ network equipment joint venture and recently advised India’s Sun Pharmaceuticals on its $4bn purchase of generic drug maker Ranbaxy in a deal that will create the largest pharma group in India.

Lyons will come in as co-head of the firm’s global public M&A group in a bold play to break into the US transactions space. His arrival follows that of Mitchell Presser, who co-founded private equity firm Paine & Partners in 2006 after a 17-year spell at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, as head of US M&A and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom partner Jim Douglas to spearhead the firm’s push into leveraged finance.

Lyons is renowned for his work on domestic M&A deals for US clients and combines this with a strong track record for inbound M&A from overseas clients, particularly those from Germany, where Freshfields is a leading player following its three-way merger in 2000. He becomes the firm’s sixth M&A partner based in New York, which has been the hub for Freshfields’ advisory roles on $60bn worth of deals run out of the US in 2014.

‘Peter is one of the great US M&A lawyers, and is a true senior statesman of the bar,’ said Matthew Herman, head of Freshfields’ US corporate practice. ‘His appointment is another major step in the enhancement of our US M&A team, and our ability to act for US and international corporations, financial sponsors and financial institutions.’

Edward Braham, head of Freshfields’ global corporate practice, added: ‘Our US practice is increasingly important to our global M&A practice and we are committed to growing it further. Peter is a perfect fit.’