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Hogan Lovells gets brand boost Apple-style with $17bn bond role

Hogan Lovells’ corporate team has received a welcome profile-raiser after advising Apple on its record-breaking $17bn bond issue.

Stuart Stein, Hogan Lovells’ global co-head of corporate, is advising the technology giant alongside corporate and securities partners Eve Howard and Gregory Parisi, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing on Tuesday (30 April). Apple’s legal fees and expenses were not disclosed.

Wall Street leader Simpson Thacher & Bartlett is advising underwriters Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs, according to a preliminary prospectus filed with the SEC on Monday (29 April).

The high-profile issue has been billed as the largest ever corporate debt sale and will be used by Apple to help finance a $100bn cash return to shareholders by 2015, after concerns over slowing growth.

Given its ambitions to materially upgrade its securities and M&A practice following the merger of Lovells and Hogan & Hartson, the mandate will be seen as a major coup for the global law firm. It is acknowledged that Hogan Lovells has been a solid performer since its merger three years ago but has yet to achieve a decisive breakthrough in its transactional practice in the US or UK. The firm saw its London fee income fall by 9% in 2012 while global revenues were marginally down at $1.633bn.

Hogan Lovells’ appointment is notable after Apple replaced it with Morrison & Foerster as its representative in piracy-related class actions two years ago. In the UK, Apple has turned to Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in its global dispute with Samsung over its rival Galaxy tablet, with Morrison representing the company in the US.

Hogan Lovells was unavailable for comment.