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White & Case loses two capital markets veterans as Bakers ramps up City transactional investment

Baker McKenzie has kicked off 2019 with another step towards its long-stated aim of beefing up its London transactional capabilities, hiring capital markets partners Rob Mathews and David Becker from White & Case.

Veteran Mathews played a key role in White & Case’s high-yield practice and led on a number of large mandates including the $10bn refinancing of Wind Tre in 2017.

A partner at the US firm for more than a decade, Becker’s work has included representing Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Citi, Credit Suisse, HSBC, Mizuho Bank, Morgan Stanley, RBC and Sumitomo Mitsui on the financing of Teva Pharmaceutical’s $40.5bn acquisition of Allergan Generics.

Bakers’ EMEA capital markets head Adam Farlow said the two hires would add ‘underwriter and lender side power’ on the issuer side and ensure its leveraged finance practice is more balanced.

The departures are a rare reversal in White & Case’s City expansion of late, with hires including Weil Gotshal & Manges’ well-regarded head of banking, Mark Donald in November and Herbert Smith Freehills infrastructure partner Simon Caridia the previous month.

For Bakers, Mathews and Becker are the latest in a series of hires since chair Paul Rawlinson unveiled his strategy to recruit up to 20 transactional partners in the City by 2020.

Hires last year included finance partners Matthew Dening from Sidley Austin and Matthew Cox from Ropes & Gray.

The firm last year posted one of its best financial performances in recent history as revenue rose 8% to $2.9bn and partner profits surged 13% to $1.44m in the year to 30 June 2018.

But the firm announced in October Rawlinson would step back temporarily due to exhaustion, with Latin America chair Jaime Trujillo taking over as acting global chair in the interim. There is no set date for Rawlinson’s return although the firm expects he will do so soon.

In a busy start to 2019 for the City’s lateral recruitment market, Clifford Chance announced the hire of former Barclay’s head of incentives Andrew Patterson. He originally trained at City firm Ashurst and practiced as an incentives lawyer there until his move to Barclays in 2010.

For more on Rawlinson’s strategy for Baker McKenzie, see ‘Waking the giant’ (£)