‘This level of scrutiny of governance is quite unusual. Historically in deals of this kind, no-one ever used to ask: “What’s going to happen to the workers?” It is becoming more and more of an issue as companies seek to avoid reputational damage.’
The words of Paul Watchman, ESG luminary, senior UN legal adviser and former Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partner on the proposed £6.3bn takeover of UK supermarket giant Morrisons resonate as the deal looks set not only to become one of the biggest public to private transactions of the decade, but also to enshrine a playbook for ESG in years to come.
Simmons & Simmons managing partner Jeremy Hoyland said there was ‘an element of the exceptional’ in the firm’s financial results announced today (16 July), with revenue growing 12% to £437m and profits shooting up 35% to £171m.
There was also a steep increase in profit per equity partner, growing 30% to reach £980k. Overall, this year’s results far outstrip the unremarkable 4% revenue growth and 6% profit increase from last year , as Hoyland explained that the firm benefited from a significant boom in instructions due to the pandemic.
Linklaters partners have elected global finance head Paul Lewis as the successor to managing partner Gideon Moore, the firm announced today (15 July).
The move sees Lewis, a Linklaters lifer and a partner since 2006, take the helm alongside Aedamar Comiskey, the M&A heavy-hitter who succeeded Charlie Jacobs as senior partner on 1 July.
Veteran litigation partner Lawson Caisley has joined White & Case after nearly nine years at Allen & Overy. Caisley typically advises large corporations, financial institutions and funds on all aspects of commercial litigation and investigations, such as post-acquisition disputes as well as fraud and white-collar crime.
Markus Langen, head of disputes for White & Case in EMEA, described Caisley as a ‘highly ranked lawyer with a strong international practice’ with ‘a track record for advising a number of the world’s largest global companies on their most significant disputes’. He added: ‘The depth of his experience and expertise across sectors and industries will add further prestige and bench strength to our team in London and EMEA.’
Herbert Smith Freehills announced a striking 30% increase in profitability as part of its 2020/21 financials today (13 July), with strong international contributions underlining the firm’s robust overall pandemic performance.
The firm’s profit jumped to £366.9m from last year’s £283.2m. This represents an emphatic comeback after profits tumbled by 8% last year amid steep operating costs.
Thanks in part to their respective European networks, Fieldfisher and Kennedys have both posted robust 2020/21 revenues in the face of the pandemic.
There was an inevitable slowdown in growth at Fieldfisher, today unveiling a modest 6% uptick in revenues to reach £290m. It is the firm’s eighth consecutive year of growth, but it does not match double-digit increases seen in recent years. The firm chalked up the deceleration to ‘the impact of the pandemic.’
In the latest round of lateral partner appointments, K&L Gates established a new base in Luxembourg while firms went worldwide for their strategic hires.
K&L Gates combined with Luxembourg firm Volckrick & Associates, handing the firm its eighth European branch and bringing the network worldwide up to 46 offices.
CMS UK unveiled a muted set of financial results today (5 July), with revenues inching up from £566m to £567m as global income increased 3% from €1.426bn to €1.475bn.
However both marginal increases represent a slowing of growth on the previous year, when UK and global figures grew 4% and 5% respectively.
As Euro 2020 fever well and truly takes hold, the London deal team of Skadden has scored four times in recent days, not least advising Visa on its €1.8bn acquisition of European open banking platform Tink opposite an international team from White & Case.
Tapping into the ongoing trend of transactions in the online payments sector, the high-profile deal sees the US financial services giant acquire Stockholm-headquartered Tink, a platform that enables banks, fintechs and start-ups to develop data-driven financial services.
There was a transactional theme to this week’s lateral partner recruitment, as Ashurst, King & Spalding, Pinsent Masons and Squire Patton Boggs (SPB) all made strategic hires, while Michelmores added a number of partners.
Seasoned private equity specialist François Hellot has joined Ashurst’s Paris office after a 12-year partnership stint at Dechert. Hellot is particularly noted for his work in the telecoms, health and biotechnology sectors, and has assisted clients on both French domestic and international matters.