Legal Business Blogs

Goodwin Procter to take Halford and other KWM partners as recap fails

After resigning last month, King & Wood Mallesons’ (KWM) influential head of investment funds and major biller Michael Halford will be joining Goodwin Procter and has taken several other partners with him.

Halford’s exit along with three other influential legacy SJ Berwin partners, Jonathan Pittal, Andrew Wingfield and Rob Day caused the firm to halt and ultimately fail in its plans to recapitalise the business, which is carrying more than £30m in debt.

Goodwin said Halford (pictured) was joining and that ‘certain other London-based KWM partners’ were also given offers. The offers are subject to a partnership vote which is expected to take place in the coming weeks.

A KWM spokeswoman confirmed today (22 November) that a revised plan to recapitalise the business had failed. The rescue deal required around 60% of the European partnership to commit to a 12 month lock-in and a contribution of around £14m in capital. This meant around 70 of 120 partners had to agree. Salaried partners were also asked to contribute £60,000.

Halford specialises in private equity and investment fund structuring, his portfolio also includes real estate funds and infrastructure funds for institutional and private investors. Among the investment houses he counts as clients are Triton, Macquarie, Deutsche, Invesco and BNP Paribas.

The exit was a major hit for KWM, as he was the key figure in the firm’s funds team, a practice seen as the firm’s crown jewel.

KWM filed a lawsuit back in May against former partner Richard Lever and his new firm Goodwin on the basis of the firm hiring a six-partner private equity team from KWM in Paris. Lever left KWM in April 2015, closely followed by private equity partner Simon Fulbrook.

Read more on KWM in ‘Comment: The moment of truth arrives in the SJ Berwin saga’

For an in-depth assessment of KWM, subscribers can see our July cover feature ‘Branded’