Legal Business

Revolving doors: Baker McKenzie expands £40m City tax practice as Eversheds makes multiple hires

Revolving doors: Baker McKenzie expands £40m City tax practice as Eversheds makes multiple hires

In a muted week for lateral recruitment, Baker McKenzie and Eversheds Sutherland made hires in the City, while Eversheds also grew on the continent.

Baker McKenzie hired tax partner Prabhu Narasimhan to its London office. Narasimhan joins from White & Case and has experience in advising and delivering cross-border mandates, acting for corporate, private equity and family office clients globally.

Mark Delaney, head of tax, told Legal Business: ‘We went from being a tax practice with revenue of £3m about 13 years ago, to being a £40m standalone tax practice.’

The firm has 16 partners in total and has been growing in areas such as tax disputes, tax advisory, and tax planning as well as seeing an increase in tax transactional work.

‘We are continuing to see a lot of regulatory change, whether that’s Brexit, digital service tax, OECD proposals and around the international tax landscape. Legislative and regulatory change creates demand for our services. The environment for taxpayers – the corporate and the individuals – in terms of tax authority hostility is also still very prevalent,’ he added.

Eversheds, meanwhile, hired Christopher Akinrele to its banking team from Addleshaw Goddard. Akinrele will focus on leveraged finance and has experience advising financial institutions, sponsors and corporate clients in syndicated and leveraged finance transactions.

Finance partner Patrick Davis told Legal Business: ‘We operate our leveraged finance practice on a national and, more increasingly, international basis. We’re seeing a lot of demand for leveraged finance work and wanted to add high-quality bench strength to that team.’

The firm has been expanding its capabilities in the upper mid-market areas of private equity and leveraged finance as well as growing the lender side of the business and capitalising on existing institutional relationships with lender clients, with the hire of Akinrele expected to complement the lender side work the firm is involved in. Despite economic uncertainty, client demand in private equity and leveraged finance was high.

Eversheds head of finance and restructuring Simon Waller commented: ‘Volumes of syndicated debt are down. We see it as flight-to-quality, in that as banks tighten some of their credit processes up they’re looking at quality credit and the work is still around.’

Eversheds also added to its bench in Munich with the hire of Michael Prüßner from Pinsent Masons to its corporate and M&A team from Pinsent Masons. The firm now has 11 partners in its German corporate and M&A practice group.

Finally, TLT grew its banking and finance team with the appointment of Marc Gilston as partner. Gilston, who was previously at Foot Anstey, has experience working with major lenders, corporate investors and businesses.

muna.abdi@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Revolving doors: Ashurst bolsters project finance as Eversheds expands in the Netherlands

Revolving doors: Ashurst bolsters project finance as Eversheds expands in the Netherlands

In a week dominated by European hires, Ashurst and Dentons turned to the City with hires in project finance and data privacy, respectively.

Eversheds Sutherland, CMS and Pinsent Masons, meanwhile, all expanded on the continent, with Eversheds adding three partners.

Ashurst grew its project finance team in London with the appointment of Adrian Lawrence, who joins from White & Case and focuses on project finance, banking, corporate and capital markets transactions, with an emphasis on oil and gas and petrochemical projects.

Co-head of the global projects practice Joss Dare told Legal Business: ‘He’s been working on some of the largest oil and gas project financings in the world and is an important part of our plans to grow our international project finance capability, building on recent hires.’ He added: ‘Geographically, he does work around the world but a lot of his focus will be working with Matt Wood to build out our Africa practice.’

Lawrence commented: ‘Ashurst has an excellent project development and finance team, with extensive experience advising both project sponsors and lenders on landmark transactions throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.’

Dentons, meanwhile, hired data privacy and cyber security partner Antonis Patrikios in London. Patrikios, who joins from Fieldfisher, has experience in the telecommunications, media and technology sectors.

Head of Dentons’ media and telecoms practice Andy Lucas commented: ‘His hire reflects the demand we’re seeing from our clients for data privacy and cyber security advice, and growing our capabilities in this area is a focus for our UK business to enable us to better support our clients on their global data privacy and cyber security needs.’

In the Netherlands, Eversheds added corporate partner Jeroen Hoekstra and commercial partner Benjamin van Kessel from Nineyards Law, while corporate partner Elmer Veenman joined from De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek.

Hoekstra is a founding partner of Nineyards Law, established in 2015, and was previously a partner and co-head of the corporate M&A group at Baker McKenzie. He focuses on joint ventures, M&A, private equity transactions and restructurings. Van Kessel advises on all aspects of intellectual property, information technology and commercial law, while Veenman advises on M&A and corporate transactions.

Eversheds European managing partner Helen Thomas told Legal Business: ‘The Netherlands is an interesting region because it’s had significant economic growth and Brexit will also bring opportunities. There are lots of businesses looking to possibly move operations to the region and Dutch businesses are very active globally. It’s seen as a great place to do business, so strengthening and deepening our corporate commercial team is a response to client needs.’

Elsewhere, CMS boosted its energy and infrastructure projects practices with the hire of Lukasz Szatkowski from Weil, Gotshal & Manges. Szatkowski has more than fifteen years’ experience in transaction, projects and regulatory advice for international and Polish energy companies.

Managing partner of CMS Poland Andrzej Posniak commented: ‘Strengthening the energy team is another element of the development strategy of this practice. We hope that Lukasz, a valued expert in the energy sector, will help us expand both the client base of the firm and the offer for companies operating on this market’.

Pinsent Masons hired capital markets partner Susanne Lenz from Hogan Lovells to its Frankfurt office. Lenz advises global and domestic investment banks as well as corporates on high-yield bonds, IPOs, private placements, rights issues, block trades, dual listings, convertible bonds and debt issuance programs.

Finally, TLT appointed Sean McCay from Squire Patton Boggs as partner. McCay, who is experienced in litigation, will lead the construction team in its Manchester office.

muna.abdi@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Eating our lunch: Eversheds unshackles New Law offering and sets £100m revenue target

Eating our lunch: Eversheds unshackles New Law offering and sets £100m revenue target

Eversheds Sutherland is spinning off its £40m New Law business in a bid to supercharge its growth to £100m over the next five years, while opening it up to external investment.

The firm today (26 June) launched Konexo, an entity merging its advisory, interim resourcing and managed service offerings – including its ES Consulting business – to act as a global alternative legal service and compliance provider. Eversheds intends to make it a separate corporate structure, initially owned by the partnership but with the potential to attract external investment.

Konexo generates about £40m in revenue, growing 38% in the last year and winning the firm’s single biggest matter during the latest financial year. A five-year strategy plans to take the arm – which will ultimately be an alternative business structure (ABS) and FCA-regulated – to £100m. Konexo has about 300 staff, of which half are contractors, and will be headed by financial services partner Graham Richardson (pictured, middle).

Richardson told Legal Business the firm had been working on the project for the last six to nine months in reaction to increased activity in this part of the market, both from the Big Four accounting firms as well as existing players such as Axiom and UnitedLex.

‘It’s moved on from some small niche players to some very significant offerings. In-house legal teams are wanting these alternatives, there’s increased interest to buy from a broader range than just a traditional law firm,’ he said. ‘There’s a bit of a defensive thing as well: if we aren’t seen as having an alternative provider service the alternatives start eating the main law firm’s lunch. If we keep it in Konexo, then that’s better than losing it to PwC or Axiom, for example.’

Richardson said the five-year growth strategy had identified Asia and the US market as key opportunities, with Konexo launching in Kuala Lumpur shortly and the latter in September. The firm also sees now as the time to expand further into what it says is a £10bn global alternative legal service provider market.

To do so, however, will likely require some form of external investment. Richardson said that making Konexo a separate corporate structure makes that a possibility, and the firm has already spoken to some corporate finance companies. The business is operating profitably but would like more profitable growth before seeking investment.

‘If we were to go to market as of today, certainly there’d be interest and the profitability wouldn’t hold us back,’ Richardson said.

Eversheds has also given Konexo an investment pot for initial recruitment – a new partner-level head of technology and transformation role has been created – from which it could also potentially fund acquisitions. As a standalone entity, Konexo will also be able to re-invest its profit into the business.

Richardson commented: ‘We don’t have a £100m pot to do that. We’ve done well to be given our year one investment that we do have but with an eye to if we need much more in the future we’re set up in a way to go get that. We’ know there’s a good appetite out there, it’s an investible market.’

Eversheds co-chief executive Lee Ranson told Legal Business Konexo would help define the existing services Eversheds had without it getting lost within the context of the broader law firm. He said the demand from clients for these businesses was strong and if firms did not react, other people would.

‘We have to be alive to the fact that the investment in technology that’s needed to deal with some of those things that are happening might not come from the normal law firm offering and we might have to do things differently.’

The move comes as alternative providers ramp up: Axiom announced its initial public offering in February, UnitedLex secured $500m from CVC Capital partners last year, Lawyers On Demand sold to private equity, and Elevate went on an acquisition spree.

hamish.mcnicol@legalbusiness.co.uk

Legal Business

Eversheds records double-digit growth as ‘uncertainty barometer’ rises

Eversheds records double-digit growth as ‘uncertainty barometer’ rises

Eversheds Sutherland (International) has built on its 2017 transatlantic merger with a second year of strong revenue and profit growth.

However, chief executive Lee Ranson (pictured) has cautioned that the ‘uncertainty barometer is increasing’, although this will not dampen the firm’s appetite for further investment.

Revenue at the firm’s non-US business grew 11% to £548.8m in the year to 30 April 2019, following a 13% increase the previous year. Profit per equity partner (PEP) similarly grew 9% to £886,000 – its highest-ever PEP figure – and on the back of 12% growth the previous year.

Ranson told Legal Business the result was a validation of the firm’s strategy following its February 2017 tie-up with US outfit Sutherland Asbill & Brennan: ‘Increasing our offering to clients so that we can deliver a global service has gone down well and that’s opened up greater opportunities both with our existing client base and also attracted a lot of new clients.’

He added: ‘It’s good to see it’s not just been one year, the year before was good and this year has built on that. The strategy and investments are working.’

The firm recently launched in Prague and Bratislava through local mergers, and made 27 partner promotions earlier this year, up seven on a flat 2018 round. The international results follow the firm announcing in February its global revenue – which includes the financially independent US business – had hit $1.175bn in the year to 31 December 2018, an increase of 10%.

Ranson said there was growth across all the firm’s practice areas and regions, but pointed to the transactional side of the business and litigation teams as having performed ‘remarkably well’. Conversely, the real estate investment market was facing the most challenges.

‘[The growth] is not just limited to one group or one geography,’ he added. ‘Our model is all about ensuring we are serving clients across multiple jurisdictions and that seems to be bearing fruit.’

Ranson said some uncertainty was beginning to creep into some jurisdictions, reflecting geopolitical, rather than economic, uncertainty. He was unsure whether this would prove temporary and activity would bounce back, however, as had been the case following the Brexit referendum.

‘The uncertainty barometer is increasing. After the Brexit referendum we saw a slowdown across huge numbers of areas of the business, but they all bounced back within three months. There’s a feeling that eventually this uncertainty is going to catch up with the market but last year wasn’t that year.’

Despite this, the firm is continuing to seek investment opportunities, although Ranson was coy on what those might be. ‘We’re not going to sit still. We see the sector as one that is changing and offering opportunities and we want to take advantage of those.’

Hamish.mcnicol@legalbusiness.co.uk

Legal Business

Deal watch: City teams fly on £4.6bn Rolls-Royce pension deal as Kirkland and Goodwin take multi-billion dollar mandates

Deal watch: City teams fly on £4.6bn Rolls-Royce pension deal as Kirkland and Goodwin take multi-billion dollar mandates

Big-ticket deals have been fuelling the market in pensions, private equity and fundraising recently with UK top-10 firms and US rivals alike taking the controls on significant mandates.

Legal & General (L&G) handed a joint mandate to CMS and Eversheds Sutherland to advise on its £4.6bn buy-in to buy-out with the Rolls-Royce UK Pension Fund (RRPF), a deal which is billed as the UK’s largest ever bulk annuity and which saw Linklaters act for the trustees.

The pension risk transfer sees the insurer strike its fourth of the five largest deals of this kind in the UK, with the others being British Airways (£4.4bn), ICI (£3bn) and TRW (£2.5bn).

The Eversheds team advising L&G was led by corporate partner Hugo Laing and pensions partner Mark Latimour, alongside CMS partner Thomas Lockley. The Linklaters team was led by global head of pensions Claire Petheram and derivatives partner Mark Brown. The in-house legal team at L&G included Helena Hawthorn, Camilla Curtis and Hannah Kilshaw.

Laing, who also acted for L&G on its £2.4bn buy-out of the Nortel pension scheme and £1.1bn buy-out of the Vickers pension scheme, is optimistic about the market.

‘Volatility in the market can be a good thing for pension deals as it can favourably impact pricing. Insurers buying pension schemes has really boomed in the last few years and the deal values are getting bigger and bigger. The Rolls-Royce deal has shown how big the deals can get and I suspect there will be more of this size to come’, he told Legal Business.

Petheram told Legal Business that the transaction is part of a ‘huge trend’: ‘There is an awful lot of activity in buy-ins where insurers take responsibility for pension liabilities. There has been increased activity in the longevity swap area and that’s only going to ramp up further as corporates look to manage their pension liabilities proactively.’

She added: ‘Insurers represent a gold-standard covenant and there is a willingness on the side of corporates and trustees to lean into these deals. It represents an acceptable position. Trustees have a laser focus on the interests of their members and they can see that deals like this work.’

She expects to see an increase in the number of large-scale transactions over the next 12 months and more innovation in dealing with pension risks.

Kirlkland & Ellis’ City lawyers have also been busy, with the Chicago-bred juggernaut advising investment adviser and repeat customer GLP on the $18.7bn sale of its US logistics business to Blackstone. The firm the same week advised BC Partners-backed United Group on a €220m deal to acquire mobile operator Tele2 Croatia from Tele2 Group.

The GLP deal was co-led by Kirkland corporate partners Michael Steele in London and Michael Brueck in New York, with the team also including real estate partner Kevin Ehrhart in Los Angeles, investment funds partner Kelly Ryan in Chicago and tax partner Mike Beinus in New York.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett advised long-standing client Blackstone out of New York with a team led by real estate partner Davis Coen.

The sale includes logistics properties owned across 3 separate GLP US funds and totals 179 million square feet of urban logistics assets, claiming to be the largest ever private real estate transaction in the States.

London corporate partner David D’Souza led the Kirkland team advising United Group, supported by David Higgins, debt finance partner Neel Sachdev, capital markets partner Matthew Merkle, technology & intellectual property transactions partner Jenny Wilson and tax partners Tim Lowe and Jan Hobbs. The team was also supported by local law firms Divjak Topic Bahtijarevic, Karanovic Partners and Setterwalls.

Tele2 was advised by Schoenherr through its offices in Austria and Croatia, having acted for Tele2 on a number of other disposals in the region. D’Souza said the acquisition will enable United Group to widen the services that it provides and its coverage across Europe.

Having crept largely unnoticed up Legal Business’ Global London table this year, Goodwin Procter’s City office has been making waves, announcing two major fundraisings in the same week.

The Boston-bred firm advised Glennmont Partners on the €850m closing of its Clean Energy Fund III to invest in clean energy infrastructure projects in Europe. The Goodwin team was led by London partners Michael Halford, Alexandrine Armstrong-Cerfontaine and Laura Charkin.

Although led out of New York by partners David Watson and James Donohue, Goodwin also advised Advent International on its $17.5bn fundraise for its ninth global private equity fund GPE IX Limited Partnership.

The fund surpassed its $16bn target after six months in the market while Advent’s previous global fund, GPE VIII, closed on $13bn 2016.Halford and Charkin also advised on the deal out of London.

Halford told Legal Business the Glennmont transaction was a sign of increased interest in renewable energy investments as indicated by the fund’s diversification of investors into the US and Asia. ‘The market is very active and this is a great time to be raising funds. We are expecting more funds activity over the summer.’

Watson said that Goodwin has acted for Advent since its formation in 1984 and has personally advised the private equity house since 1988. He notes an uptick of interest in the ventures space and a migration from its traditional heartlands of California and Boston over to New York.

nathalie.tidman@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Eversheds eyes larger California presence following long-awaited Chicago opening

Eversheds eyes larger California presence following long-awaited Chicago opening

Eversheds Sutherland is opening an office in the ‘very competitive’ Chicago market with the hire of two partners, and has plans to bulk out in California, too.

The firm announced today (29 May) it was opening its first new US office since the 2017 tie-up of Eversheds and US outfit Sutherland Asbill & Brennan. Chicago is the firm’s seventh US office, joining Atlanta, Austin, Houston, New York, Sacramento and Washington DC.

Real estate partners Marc Benjamin and Susan Kai join Eversheds in June from White & Case and Kirkland & Ellis respectively. Benjamin, who will head the Chicago office, only joined White & Case in October, 2018, as part of a six-partner move from Pircher, Nichols & Meeks, while Kai was made up to partner at Kirkland just eight months ago. The pair will be joined by Eversheds litigation partner Robert Owen, who is relocating from New York.

The Chicago office will initially focus on real estate, M&A and litigation, targeting the diversified industrials, technology, media and telecommunications, financial institutions and energy sectors. Co-chief executive Mark Wasserman says the office will be a focal point for both Midwest-based clients and clients engaged in activities there, of which the firm has more than 100.

He told Legal Business the firm had been looking at opening in Chicago for many years but the merger had brought that back into focus. He commented: ‘Post the combination with Eversheds we’ve had two great years, but we were thinking, what is the next thing we need to do to strengthen in the US? That brought us back to Chicago.’

The firm had no set targets for headcount at the office, although Wasserman said they would look to add lawyers in corporate, tax, real estate and litigation. The New York office had grown to about 60 lawyers in the last decade or so – with some more hires due to be announced this week – without ever having a specific goal for its size, and Wasserman was confident the firm would be able to attract talent.

‘It’s a very, very competitive market,’ he told Legal Business. ’Next to New York, you could argue it is the most competitive.’

Having a larger presence in California, where the firm has an office in Sacramento, is the next target. Wasserman said that could include San Francisco, San Diego or Los Angeles, which he argued would be a good fit for the firm’s Asian and European practices as well.

‘We think we should be large in California as well. That’s the next logical place for us.’

Earlier this week, the firm also hired Sarah Paul as a litigation partner to its New York office. Paul was most recently an assistant United States attorney for the Southern District of New York in the Criminal Division, investigating and prosecuting financial crimes.

Eversheds’ global revenue for 2018 rose 10% to $1.175bn. For the 2017/18 financial year, the firm’s International LLP accounts for the non-US business showed revenue increasing 14% to £496m, with the UK playing a prominent role following a 14% turnover hike to generate £396m.

hamish.mcnicol@legalbusiness.co.uk

Legal Business

Eversheds’ City partner promotions dip in bolstered global round as Fieldfisher makes up most ever

Eversheds’ City partner promotions dip in bolstered global round as Fieldfisher makes up most ever

Eversheds Sutherland’s international business has made 27 partner promotions, up seven on a flat 2018 round, but with just three promotions in London.

Fieldfisher, meanwhile, has made up 17 partners this year in its largest ever promotions round.

A third of Eversheds’ promotions are female, with the firm aiming for 30% female representation at partner level by 2021. In the UK the firm made up 16 partners, up from nine last year, across Leeds, Birmingham, Belfast, Manchester, Cambridge, Nottingham, and London.

Three were minted in the City, which was down one on the four made up last year. The 11 promoted outside the UK are in Dublin, Durban, Luxembourg, Baghdad, Rome, Dubai and Munich.

There were nine promotions in company commercial, eight in litigation and disputes, six in real estate and four in human resources. The round is up on last year’s 20 promotions, in what was a flat year. In December, Eversheds Sutherland US made up six to partner, down on last year’s 17.

Chief executive Lee Ranson (pictured) commented on the round, which also included 17 legal director promotions: ‘The Eversheds Sutherland promotion process is challenging and designed to ensure that only the very best candidates succeed. On behalf of the firm, I would therefore like to congratulate all of the successful candidates on this significant achievement.’

Elsewhere, Fieldfisher had another record promotions round, making up 14 across London, Birmingham, Manchester, Brussels, Munich and Silicon Valley. The promotions were up on last year’s ten, and included five in London as well as 50% female representation. The practice areas covered were IP, technology, personal injury, corporate, employment, construction, finance, regulatory and dispute resolution.

Managing partner Michael Chissick commented: ‘I am proud that we have achieved such a high level of promotions this year – a record for the firm, both in terms of the number of new partners and the number of offices involved.’

The full list of Eversheds partner promotions:

Colin Askew, tax, Leeds
Enda Cullivan, corporate, Dublin
Andrew Davidson, commercial, Durban
Alexandre Huebscher, financial services, Luxembourg
Mozahem Khalaf, corporate, Baghdad
Massimo Maioletti, GDPR, Rome
Hani Nassef, corporate, Dubai
Jenna Poulton, restructuring, Birmingham
Lara Wills, commercial, Durban
Lisa Bryson, employment, Belfast
Simon Daniel, pensions, Manchester
Louise Lightfoot, employment, Leeds
Manuela Rauch, employment, Munich
Mark Cooper, FSDI, London
Tom Douglas, (real estate litigation and construction) RELCON, Cambridge
Mariangela di Giandomenico, administrative law, Rome
Richard Hartigan, RELCON, Birmingham
Louise Howarth, CDR, Nottingham
Nick Pinder, RELCON, London
Jane Southworth, environment H&S, Manchester
Salam Zuhair, CDR, Baghdad
Balraj Birdi, core real estate, London
Peter Bowen, operations director, Leeds
Elizabeth Cartwright, core real estate, Manchester
Ben Newton, core real estate, Birmingham
Philipp Turnwald, core real estate, Munich
Daniel Walsh, core real estate, Birmingham

The full list of Fieldfisher partner promotions:

Amy Reynolds, IP and technology, protection and enforcement, London
Dushal Mehta, personal injury, London
Edward Westhead, corporate, London
Fabian Reissinger, employment, Munich
Felicity Fisher, privacy, security and information, Silicon Valley
Helen Andrews, construction, Birmingham
James Corlett, brand development, franchising, advertising and commercial, Manchester
Katharina Weimer, technology, outsourcing and privacy, Munich
Marsili Hale, finance, London
Nick Phillips, real estate, Birmingham
Olivia Woolston Morgan, technology, outsourcing and privacy, London
Peter Sellar, regulatory, Brussels
Stephen May, dispute resolution, Birmingham
Tracey Wright, dispute resolution, London

hamish.mcnicol@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Deal watch: Big cheeses land £975m Dairy Crest deal as Slaughters acts on £1.3bn Provident hostile takeover

Deal watch: Big cheeses land £975m Dairy Crest deal as Slaughters acts on £1.3bn Provident hostile takeover

The UK buyout market had an uncharacteristically frenetic week with City M&A counsel taking the lead on a £1.3bn unsolicited bid for doorstep lender Provident Financial and the £975m recommended offer for UK cheese and spreads stalwart Dairy Crest Group on the same day.

The hostile bid for sub-prime lender Provident was launched at 7am this morning (22 February) by Non-Standard Finance (NSF), with Slaughter and May corporate head Andy Ryde and fellow partner Paul Mudie leading the charge.

NSF was set up in 2015 by former Provident chairman John van Kuffeler, who had previously enlisted Slaughters while at Provident and carried on the relationship at NSF, including on its IPO.

In a rare case of a hostile takeover not leaking beforehand, the target company called up to enlist Clifford Chance on Friday morning when the bid went public. Corporate partners Lee Coney and Mark Poulton are leading the team advising Provident, with the latter having previously advised the client on its strategic review and £331m rights issue.

Shareholders who collectively own more than 50% of the company, including Woodford Investment Management, Invesco and Marathon Asset Management, are understood to be in favour of the offer, given disgruntlement with chief executive Malcolm Le May following a series of profit warnings.

The bid turned hostile after Provident last year rebuffed an approach from NSF. Given heavy regulation of subprime lenders, mainstream banks are unlikely to put in a rival offer for Provident, although the company could be a private equity play.

NSF is planning to demerge its home credit business, Loans at Home, to satisfy the competition authority.

Also benefiting from a long-standing relationship was Eversheds Sutherland  partner Aleen Gulvanessian, who led a team advising Dairy Crest on its £975m sale to Canadian dairy company Saputo.

Dairy Crest is the manufacturer of products including Cathedral City cheddar, Country Life butter – a favourite of former Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon – and Clover spread.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, led by energy and natural resources head Laurie McFadden and corporate partner Stephen Hewes, advised the buyer. An Ashurst team led by partner Karen Davies advised Lazard as buy-side financial adviser.

The Canadian counterpart is using the acquisition, its first foray into Europe, as a foundation for growth in the UK.

Eversheds Sutherland has advised longstanding client Dairy Crest on a string of deals, including its €430m sale of French cheese spread company St Hubert to Montagu Private equity in 2012, the £80m sale of its dairies business to Müller in 2015 and a recent £70m fundraising.

Gulvanessian told Legal Business that the quality of the buyer was an important consideration in the sale process. ‘It is an excellent brand and business. The directors were keen to ensure that not only was the offer good for shareholders but also for all other stakeholders – the farmers, other suppliers, customers and of course employees.’

Elsewhere, Travers Smith leveraged its long-standing relationship with Ancala Partners to advise its joint venture – Leep Utilities – on the acquisition of SSE Water Limited from SSE plc.

Leep Utilities is a joint-venture of Ancala, the mid-market infrastructure investment manager, and the real estate and infrastructure investor the Peel Group. Long-time relationship partner Spencer Summerfield advised the buyer.

SSE Water is the largest new appointments and variations (NAV) company operating in the UK water sector, owning water networks that supply around 20,000 customers across 28 sites in southern England and Wales.

nathalie.tidman@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

In-house: Eversheds brokers Dyson sole adviser deal alongside fresh FSCS appointment

In-house: Eversheds brokers Dyson sole adviser deal alongside fresh FSCS appointment

Eversheds Sutherland has added to its suite of sole adviser relationships with a deal for Dyson’s global privacy mandate.

Eversheds has been a leader on sole adviser mandates since its first in 2006 with Tyco, a relationship which continued after the security provider merged with industrial company Johnson Controls in 2016. The firm’s sole adviser role for Dyson’s global privacy work will run for a three-year term.

The Eversheds team was led by partner Liz Fitzsimmons, pitching for Dyson’s privacy work across 82 jurisdictions. Supporting partners include Paula Barrett, Ros Kellaway, James Hyde, as well as the firm’s global privacy team, particularly in Shanghai, led by partner Jack Cai.

Eversheds executive partner Ian Gray told Legal Business Dyson was attracted to the firm’s global reach across 34 jurisdictions in Africa, Asia, Europe the Middle East and US, as well as a network of more than 200 related firms.

Gray commented: ‘Most large corporations, particularly those working across several jurisdictions, are going the same way in that they are all looking at efficiency. Efficiency includes reducing the number of legal advisers they have got.’

Dyson global legal compliance and ethics director Nicholas Cranfield commented: ‘We were impressed by the quality of their privacy offering as well as its international reach and the team’s deep local knowledge of privacy laws and regulations around the world.’

Eversheds has multiple sole adviser mandates, including with Johnson Controls, Turkish Airlines, the International Air Transport Association and Severn Trent.

‘We seem to be having a reasonably good run at the minute,’ Gray added.

Meanwhile, Eversheds was one of three new firms to be appointed to the FSCS legal panel, alongside Addleshaw Goddard and Clifford Chance (CC).

The FSCS, the UK’s statutory compensation scheme for customers of authorised financial services firms, first created a legal panel in 2015  as it sought a more structured approach to recouping investor losses.

Eight firms were appointed to the panel, which is divided into three lots and runs for three years, with a potential one-year extension. Bevan Brittan, Burges Salmon, Dentons, Burness Paull and Trowers & Hamlins were all reappointed to the panel, while Slaughter and May, Herbert Smith Freehills and King & Wood Mallesons were not reappointed.

Addleshaws, Bevan Brittan, Burges Salmon, Burness Paull, CC, Dentons and Eversheds were appointed to the core legal services lot, worth about £12m, while Addleshaws was appointed to the Scots law lot, and Trowers HR and employment.

FSCS GC James Darbyshire led the review. He commented: ‘Against a backdrop of increasing customer expectation and a changing economic and regulatory landscape, I’m confident we’ve got the right mix of legal partners to help us deliver our strategic priorities in the years ahead.’

Hamish.mcnicol@legalbusiness.co.uk

Legal Business

LLP accounts: Strong returns for CC leadership with bumper 38% pay rise as Eversheds executives see take home remain static

LLP accounts: Strong returns for CC leadership with bumper 38% pay rise as Eversheds executives see take home remain static

Clifford Chance’s (CC) 13-strong executive leadership team took home £22m in the 2017/18 financial year, according to the firm’s filings with Companies House.

It means the firm’s leaders have seen remuneration swell by 38% since last year, when the group of 13 pocketed £16m.

It also represents a drastic leap given that CC’s executive remuneration only inched upwards in £1m increments between 2014/15 and 2016/17.

The considerable financial package is likely related to CC’s healthy overall performance – the Magic Circle firm added £83m to its top line last year, bringing turnover to £1.623bn. This was accompanied by an above-trend increase in profit per equity partner (PEP), growing 16% to £1.6m.

Despite these highlights, the firm’s pay to its highest-earning member has remained flat on last year at £3m. There was revenue growth in all geographies, with continental Europe seeing a 6% uptick to £538m. The Middle East was up by 10% from £49m to £54m, while the Americas increased 6% to £215m.

Total staff costs rose 2% from £693m to £707m, in spite of a 6% dip in average associate numbers, which fell from 2,262 to 2,135. The average partner headcount was also down, decreasing by 10 to 558.

In contrast there were fewer reasons for Eversheds Sutherland International’s leadership team to be cheerful, as the firm’s LLP accounts revealed a payment package static on last year .

Senior leaders took home £4.8m for the 2017/18 financial year, a 20% decrease on last year’s £6m package. However, there was a reduction in executive committee members from five to four during the last year, meaning senior leaders are still taking £1.2m per head. Although a considerable cut at face value, it is marginally less than 2016/17 when executive remuneration was slashed by 22% .

Eversheds Sutherland’s highest-earning member in the non-US business took home 9% more than last year, an increase from £1.4m to £1.52m. This is in line with a wider boost to average remuneration per member, up 11% from £391,000 to £434,000.

The firm’s overall financial outlook is robust, with global revenue increasing 14% to £496m. The UK business played a key role, with a 14% turnover hike to match as the practice generated £396m.

Eversheds Sutherland’s European practice also performed well in 2017/18 as revenue grew 25% to £64m, however the ‘rest of world’ (again not including the US, which has a separate LLP) saw turnover fall 8% to £36m.

tom.baker@legalease.co.uk