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Paul Weiss makes rare London hire in blow to Simpson Thacher’s corporate department

In a rare lateral move for the US firm, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison is to appoint Simpson Thacher & Bartlett corporate partner Alvaro Membrillera.

Membrillera has been at Simpson Thacher since 2001. His practice focuses on private equity mergers and acquisitions and high-yield offerings for both underwriters and private equity sponsors in Europe and Latin America. Membrillera’s clients have included KKR, The Blackstone Group, Spanish multi-national engineering company Gestamp and Palace Entertainment. Originally from Spain, Membrillera is both US and Spanish qualified.

He will join Paul Weiss’ two London-based partners, capital markets partner Mark Bergman and corporate partner David Lakhdhir. The disputes leader has historically had a small London base, focused on core corporate practice areas and serving as a European platform for its litigation department.

In April last year, Paul Weiss made headlines with the eye-catching hire of Cravath, Swaine & Moore partner Scott Barshay in its New York office. One of the most prominent M&A lawyers in the US, key deals include advising 3G Capital and HJ Heinz in the $60bn Kraft-Heinz merger; Anheuser-Busch InBev in its $107bn acquisition of SABMiller; advising Cameron International in its $15bn sale to Schlumberger and acting for Honeywell in its $90bn proposal to acquire United Technologies.

Meanwhile, Simpson Thacher made a rare London hire at the end of last year, taking on Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partner Ben Spiers to boost its M&A practice. Widely tipped as a potential successor to heavyweight Adam Signy, Spiers’ practice focuses on the TMT sector.

Speirs’ recent mandates include advising Hewlett-Packard Enterprises on the sale of its software business for $8.8bn to UK tech firm Micro Focus, and acting for SoftBank on its £23.4bn deal to acquire UK tech flagbearer ARM Holdings.