Legal Business Blogs

Revolving doors: Memery Crystal goes public after £30m buyout as Withers opens in Boston

In another week of frenetic partner moves, the parent company of listed firm Rosenblatt has acquired mid-market corporate firm Memery Crystal in a £30m deal.

Behind the deal is AIM-listed RBG Holdings. The 29 partners at London-headquartered Memery are set to receive both cash and a RBG shares for their stake in the firm.

Nicola Foulston, group chief executive of RBG, said: ‘Memery Crystal is a complementary fit with our existing law firm. We believe the acquisition will be transformative in terms of the scale of our business. Memery Crystal is a very successful firm, which combined with our commercial focus on margin and cash, can be even more profitable.’

RBG also confirmed that Memery and Rosenblatt will remain independent brands with their own offices, with Memery chief executive Nick Davis retaining his role. Underlining the complementary tie-up, Davis said: ‘It is very much business as usual.’

In 2018 Rosenblatt joined an exclusive group, becoming only the fourth listed law firm in the UK. Since listing, it has used its fundraising to launch its own in-house dispute resolution funding solution.

Elsewhere, Withers has expanded its international life sciences and venture capital practice with the opening of a new office in Boston through three partner hires. Partners John Serio, Richard Emmons and Christopher Cowles all join from Massachusetts firm Burns & Levinson to staff the new office, advising clients on regulatory and IP issues.

James Shaw, global head of the Withers tech team, commented: ‘For many of our clients who are managing private capital funds, the tech and life sciences sectors are major focuses, and the devastating damage of Covid-19 has hugely reinforced life sciences as an attractive investment target. The addition of our Boston team affirms our commitment to technology, life sciences and venture capital clients in the US and establishes a really robust network to back all of our clients working and investing in the sector around the world.’

Also strengthening its life sciences practice is Goodwin, with the firm hiring partner Anne-Charlotte Rivière from Dechert in Paris. Rivière specialises in venture capital, private equity and M&A in the life sciences and technology sectors, and is recognised by the Legal 500 as a ‘Next Generation Partner’ in life sciences and healthcare.

In London, Shearman & Sterling has hired former Allen & Overy leveraged finance partner Sanjeev Dhuna to lead the firm’s European team alongside current EMEA finance head Ward McKimm. Dhuna brings expertise in advising lenders and borrowers on complex cross-border banking and finance transactions, including acting as lender’s counsel opposite high-profile financial sponsors on large-cap leveraged buyouts.

McKimm said: ‘Sanjeev’s energy, entrepreneurialism, and experience augments our strong global leveraged finance proposition. He will be an integral part in growing our direct lending offering drawing on his vast market knowledge and reputation, combined with our robust global platform.’

Also in the City, Bird & Bird has made a major arbitration play, hiring Nick Peacock as a partner from Herbert Smith Freehills. Peacock, who will become head of Bird & Bird’s London arbitration group, is a veteran advocate with experience in disputes arising in the technology, telecommunications, financial services and energy sectors.

Sophie Eyre, co-head of the firm’s international dispute resolution group, said of Peacock: ‘His keen focus on cross-border collaborative relationships and his in-depth understanding of the arbitration market will be an asset to our team.’

Akin Gump has strengthened its London finance bench via the hire of former Weil partner Clare Cottle. Cottle represents credit funds, institutional investors, private equity funds and portfolio companies on a wide range of financings, both cross-border and domestic.

Akin Gump finance partner Tom O’Connor said her arrival is ‘exactly what is needed to further the existing bench depth of the firm’s finance and financial restructuring teams’.

Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath has boosted its restructuring and insolvency practice with the arrival of partner Susan Moore from Stephenson Harwood. Previously head of Stephenson Harwood’s restructuring and insolvency group, Moore is a seasoned adviser on high-profile cross-border and domestic restructurings and insolvencies. In an expansive start to the year, she is the 12th partner to join Faegre Drinker in 2021.

Ince has expanded its regulatory team with the appointment of partner Colette Kelly, who arrives from Shearman Bowen & Co. Kelly is an expert in white-collar crime, with a particular focus on fraud, proceeds of crime and asset forfeiture. She has routinely represented clients in high-profile cases brought by the FCA, SFO and HMRC.

Elsewhere, Linklaters has turned to a Magic Circle rival in France for its latest Paris hire, bringing in private equity partner Florent Mazeron. A partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer since 2016, Linkaters stated that Mazeron will be ‘one of the leaders’ of the firm’s global financial sponsors group. Mazeron’s practice focuses on major private equity and other corporate transactions, as well as the drafting of strategic partnerships and joint ventures agreements.

Mazeron said of his arrival: ‘The in-depth expertise of its various practices and the breadth of its network will enable us to cover all the issues faced nowadays by our clients in these areas.’

Cooley has appointed an experienced securities litigation partner in New York, bringing in Aric Wu, who joins after more than 20 years at Gibson Dunn. Wu is a seasoned adviser to securities class actions, shareholder derivative litigation, M&A disputes and investigations.

Patrick Gibbs, head of Cooley’s securities litigation group, described Wu as ‘exceptionally talented’, and praised his ‘track record of successfully defending against securities class actions.’

DAC Beachcroft has sought to bolster its Spanish operations by re-appointing insurance litigation partner Pablo Guillén to its Madrid office, returning after an eight-year stint as a partner at Clyde & Co.

‘Pablo has been a dominant figure in the Spanish and international insurance markets for many years, with an outstanding reputation for his directors and officers and financial institutions expertise’, commented José María Álvarez-Cienfuegos, head of DAC’s Madrid office. He added: ‘We’re thrilled that he is returning to the firm’.

And in Germany, Willkie Farr & Gallagher has added to its Frankfurt restructuring capabilities with the hire of former Kirkland & Ellis partner Wolfram Prusko. His practice is focused on assisting investors, debtors and creditors on cross-border distressed transactions and restructurings.

Chairman Matthew Feldman said: ‘Willkie has a leading restructuring practice in all of the markets in which we operate, including the US, UK, France and Italy. It is therefore natural that we are adding a prominent partner with a strong track record to our growing restructuring offering in Germany and across our network.’