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Global London: Respected Paris boutique launches City arm to target cross-border deals

French firm AyacheSalama has launched its first international office in the City with four partners as it looks to advise on client investment from London into France more efficiently.

The new City desk will practice French law only and aims to strengthen relationships with investment funds and banks, private equity funds and French companies that invest out of the City. It will also look to build out a client base that already includes Intermediate Capital Group, TowerBrook Capital Partners and MezzVest, with a focus on corporate M&A, private equity, finance and restructuring.

Four partners – Alain Levy, David Ayache, Olivier Tordjman and Bernard Ayache – will work out of the new office, alongside the Paris headquarters, with Bernard Ayache and Tordjman co-heading the team. The ten-partner firm anticipates that two more partners will join the City base by the end of the year and aims to grow the team in accordance with client demand.

The firm already operated in the City through non-exclusive relationships with firms, including Ropes & Gray, by advising on the French law aspects of cross-border deals. ‘The idea is to work closely with other firms and be their French desk, and be closer to our clients investing into France,’ said Tordjman. ‘The market is already saturated and the point is not to establish a UK practice that covers English law. Cross-border deals need lawyers that understand UK and French law, and this has not been tapped into sufficiently.’

The firm comes recommended in The Legal 500 rankings for its banking and finance, insolvency, and IT and telecoms work, and is ranked as one of the best independent French firms involved in private equity.

‘Our move to London illustrates our optimism that the financial crisis is behind us, and will allow us to implant ourselves in the middle of the City’s networks and European strategies of a large number of clients,’ Tordjman added.