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‘Move makes sense’: Skadden breaks up White & Case City PE duo with Youle hire

In what amounts to a break-up of one of the City’s most storied private equity partner duos, Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom has hired White & Case’s global and EMEA PE co-head Richard Youle, along with recently promoted PE partner Katja Butler.

The move splits the long-running and successful pairing of Youle and Ian Bagshaw, who had known each other since Youle was Bagshaw’s trainee at Eversheds in the 1990s. Youle (pictured) joined White & Case with Bagshaw in 2013 after resigning from Linklaters after seven years with the Magic Circle firm.

They were then both named co-heads of PE at White & Case in 2015 and have been central to a strong run of form for the City office of the US firm. Two years after their arrival, the private equity group in London was already pulling in close to the £40m that the Linklaters team had been generating under their leadership.

A spokesperson for White & Case said: ‘We can confirm that Richard Youle and Katja Butler are leaving White & Case to join Skadden. We wish them every success in their future endeavours. Our private equity team and leadership is deep and broad on a global basis and will continue to be run by Ian Bagshaw based in London and Oliver Brahmst based in New York.’

Bagshaw told Legal Business: ‘Richard is a great partner, I’ve had the pleasure of working with him for ten years. This move makes sense for him. We have had a great run since joining up in 2013 and will continue building out White & Case’s private equity practice in London going forward with the wider team.’

Youle advises PE houses and financial sponsor clients on all forms of leveraged M&A and portfolio assistance including restructuring advice, with clients such as HgCapital, Montagu, Oaktree and Mid Europa Partners.

Butler was made up to partner at White & Case in January and her focus is on PE deals as well as providing assistance to sponsor-held portfolio companies between buyout and exit.

White & Case’s London office saw a 4% increase in turnover to $290m as the firm posted a 7% increase in global revenue for 2016 reaching $1.63bn, up on last year’s 1% increase in revenue of $1.52bn.

In 2016, Kikland & Ellis hired David Holdsworth, one of Linklaters’ last remaining private equity heavyweights in the City, as the US firm rebuilt its London office. This followed a six-partner team announced in February 2016 to depart Kirkland to set up a City PE team at Sidley Austin.

Earlier this year, a group of five Paris corporate partners – collectively responsible for a book of business worth £8m – moved from Ashurst to Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

For more on the City private equity shark tank, see ‘ABC – the brutally simple world of a private equity lawyer’