Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer corporate partner Chris Bown has become the third senior partner in two months to resign from the Magic Circle firm for an in-house role, with news that he is to join private equity house CVC Capital Partners.
Bown, who founded Freshfields London-based private equity practice in 1999, will be joining longstanding client CVC as a senior advisor when he retires from the 2330-lawyer firm in April next year. He will start his new role on 1 May on a part-time basis, advising CVC’s deal teams and working with both external counsel and the in-house team, which is headed by managing director Richard Perris, who joined from Clifford Chance in 2005.
Deals Bown has led for CVC while at Freshfields include the sale of a $1.6bn stake in Formula One to three investors in 2012 and, in the same year, the private equity house’s acquisition of Ahlsell from Cinven and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners.
Bown is the third corporate partner since the end of September to announce he is exiting the firm, after managing partner Ted Burke stepped down a year early to return to his native Boston as general counsel and chief operating officer of US private equity house ArcLight Capital (announced 30 September), and former City head Tim Jones was last month hired as general counsel to England Rugby 2015 ahead of next year’s Rugby World Cup.
Bown, who joined Freshfields in 1998 after 19 years at Baker & McKenzie and regularly advised sponsors and corporates on acquisitions, minority investments, business sales and joint ventures, said: ‘Contributing to the creation of a private equity group that is now leading the field and has its strength in an enviable client base and a long bench of top quality lawyers has been an extremely rewarding experience, both personally and professionally. The time is now right for me to take on a new challenge and I can’t think of a better one than to be joining one of the most respected and successful players in the private equity industry’.