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Revolving doors: private equity spree continues as Gibson Dunn hires buyout team from Vinson & Elkins

Continuing the private equity theme set by last week’s spate of hires, Gibson Dunn has appointed a trio of buyout partners from Vinson & Elkins in London.

Federico (Fede) Fruhbeck will serve as Gibson Dunn’s new head of private equity in Europe as well as co-chair of the projects and infrastructure practice group. He is joined by fellow partners Robert Dixon and Alice Brogi. Collectively, the new partners will focus on cross-border M&A, particularly infrastructure, ESG and real estate transactions for both private equity and corporate clients.

Jeremy Kenley, a corporate transactional partner in Gibson Dunn’s London office, said: ‘Fede, Rob, and Alice each have extremely impressive deal sheets and strong top-tier client relationships that complement and closely align with our existing platform, including our thriving private equity real estate practice in London. Their arrival will further enhance our private equity practice for us in London and add to the continued expansion of our London corporate team.’

Mayer Brown has also secured a triple hire in London, boosting its global finance capabilities with the arrival of partners Andy Kolacki, Musonda Kapotwe and Myles Mantle. Kolacki, who joins from DLA Piper, has strong experience advising private credit funds, banks and sponsors on both domestic and international acquisition financings.

Kapotwe, named a ‘rising star’ in the GC Powerlist during her time at Barclays, joins Mayer Brown directly from the banking giant. As well as invaluable in-house experience, she has an extensive background in advising clients on the impact of UK financial services regulation on banking, capital markets and derivatives transactions.

Mantle is a project development and finance partner who joins from Haynes and Boone. He predominantly assists with the development, financing and acquisition of complex and high-profile energy projects. Mantle will initially join the London office before relocating to Tokyo in 2022.

Meanwhile, White & Case has continued its recruitment drive, adding funds and investment management partner Robert Nield in London. Joining from Sidley, Nield advises a broad range of global fund sponsors and investors on the formation and operation of private investment funds and managed accounts across a range of strategies and asset classes.

‘As our global private equity and related practices continue to grow exponentially, our global funds formation practice must also grow to support them,’ said White & Case global head of M&A John Reiss. ‘We remain committed to growing our funds formation practice across our offices, with the addition of Robert and others.’

Curtis has expanded in Europe, hiring a leading international finance partner to its Frankfurt office. Jan Krupski joins from Benelux firm NautaDutilh, and brings with him strong knowledge of acquisition finance, project finance, structured finance, securitisation and general banking law in European markets.

Curtis managing partner for Frankfurt, Mark Kramer, said: ‘Jan’s appointment complements the international finance, investment management, tax and corporate strengths of the Frankfurt team and beyond, and we are excited to be developing our European business in these areas. This includes the plan to establish a new office in Luxembourg – a critical centre for financial services in Europe and the second largest investment fund centre in the world – which is high up on our global and European growth agenda.’

Elsewhere, Dechert has launched a financial restructuring practice in Asia with the hire of former Kirkland & Ellis partner Daniel Marguiles in Hong Kong. Marguiles has extensive experience in financial restructuring and insolvency matters, distressed asset sales as well as cross-border and special situation financings. For over a decade, Marguiles has played significant roles in the largest and most complex corporate defaults and restructurings in Asia.

Adam Plainer, co-chair of Dechert’s global financial restructuring practice, commented: ‘Daniel is a highly talented lawyer with an outstanding reputation, and he brings enormous valuable experience that will contribute significantly to our market-leading financial restructuring offering.’

Kennedys has made a significant hire in its Tel Aviv office, hiring a seasoned in-house expert to boost its insurance capabilities. Ilana Bar joins as a partner after more than 20 years as general counsel of Migdal Group, a leading Israeli insurance and long-term savings group.

Bar boasts expertise in a range of legal matters, including capital markets, class actions, legal risk management and financial regulation. Ben Aram, head of Kennedys’ corporate and commercial division, said: ‘We are seeing an increase in our core insurance and financial industry clients’ commercial activity around the world, and Israel is of strategic interest, most notably in the insurtech sphere. Our global capabilities and footprint, combined with Ilana’s expertise, means our clients with an interest in the Israeli market will benefit from a unique one-stop proposition.’

Withers has made a striking tax move in Italy, hiring Stefano Grilli as a partner in Milan alongside a team of five associates. Grilli and his team all join from domestic firm Gianni & Origoni, with Grilli assuming a new position as head of corporate tax.

Grilli primarily represents corporate and individual clients on domestic and international tax issues arising out of corporate transactions and M&A, as well as capital markets and wealth planning. He said of the move: ‘This is a big move for me and my team to an international network that will offer much more to my clients, whilst also allowing us to grow the breadth and variety of our work. Withers’ Milan team has an excellent reputation for developing solutions for clients wishing to take advantage of Italy’s non-domiciled tax regime, and this excellence complements my practice well.’

Finally, HFW has launched a transactional practice in Riyadh via the appointment of ex-Baker Botts partner Euan Pinkerton. Pinkerton, who has over 20 years’ experience including stints at Herbert Smith Freehills and White & Case, assists clients on finance, financial regulation and the procurement, development and financing of large-scale projects.

HFW’s global head of corporate, Alistair Mackie, said: ‘Euan is one of the most experienced projects and transactional lawyers in Saudi Arabia, and we’re very pleased to welcome him to HFW. We see Saudi as a key jurisdiction for the further development of our business in the Middle East.’