Legal Business

Jones Day to examine role of BHS directors with new administrators


Jones Day is advising on the administration of BHS, joining Weil, Gotshal & Manges and DLA Piper in winding down the collapsed retailer.

The firm will advise administrators FRP Advisory, which was appointed in July, to investigate the conduct of past BHS directors and examining their role in the transactions during the sale of the retailer.

Questions were raised during the BHS inquiry about the sale of certain BHS assets, such as the £35m sale of North West House, one of BHS’s offices on Marylebone Road.

FRP Advisory will act alongside Duff & Phelps, which was appointed as administrators in April this year. DLA Piper is advising Duff & Phelps, while Weil is acting for BHS, with Weil London head of restructuring Adam Plainer advising alongside restructuring partner Mark Lawford.

The scope of Jones Day’s work will include examining the role of BHS’s directors, many of whom came under scrutiny and were questioned before the parliamentary BHS inquiry chaired by Labour MP Frank Field.

BHS was sold by Arcadia Group, chaired by Sir Phillip Green, for £1 to Dominic Chappell’s Retail Acquisitions last year. The collapse of the retailer in April is expected to lead to 11,000 job loses, with Duff & Phelps announcing the imminent closure of BHS’s final stores on 20 August.

The BHS inquiry saw MPs criticise the role of the company’s directors, its legal advisers and its former owner Green.

On the release of the report into the retailer’s collapse, work and pensions committee chair Field said: ‘One person, and one person alone is really responsible for the BHS disaster. While Green signposted blame to every known player, the final responsibility for up to 11,000 job losses and a gigantic pension fund hole is his.’

During the sale of BHS Linklaters advised Green’s Arcadia Group, while Olswang corporate partner David Roberts advised Retail Acquisitions.

The legal advisers on the sale were labelled by the authors of the report as ‘an expensive badge of legitimacy’.

Jones Day declined to comment.

Legal Business

Quinn acts on biggest UK lawsuit ever as MasterCard hit by £19bn claim


MasterCard has become the first big victim of new UK laws allowing US-style class actions, with litigation powerhouse Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan bringing a £19bn claim against the financial services giant on behalf of British debit and credit card users hit with ‘illegal’ charges. 

The claim, the biggest in UK legal history, will be one of the first to be filed under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which allows ‘opt-out’ claims to be brought for the first time in the UK. It was previously hard to bring consumer claims against corporates in the UK as each individual would have had to ‘opt-in’ to the claim.

Quinn Emanuel has estimated damage to UK consumers of £19bn over anticompetitive fees MasterCard charged British retailers to process card payments, which it alleges were passed onto customers through higher prices. If the claim is successful, every single UK consumer stands to be eligible for hundreds of pounds in compensation, unless they explicitly opt-out of the lawsuit.

MasterCard lost a decade-long legal battle over interchange card fees in 2014 when Europe’s top court, the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice, ruled the company had breached competition rules by abusing its dominant market position with the charges. Because MasterCard’s fees have already been found to be illegal by the European Commission, this follow-on claim needs to only prove the damage consumers suffered as a result of MasterCard’s anticompetitive behaviour.

These US-style class actions require a representative, which in this case is former chief financial services ombudsman Walter Merricks.

Merricks said in a statement: ‘The prices of everything we all bought from 1992 to 2008 were higher than they should have been as a result of the unlawful conduct of MasterCard. There is no question that MasterCard acted illegally in the way it conducted its business, a business that affects all of us. All of us over-paid to the tune of up to £19bn during a period lasting 16 years. My aim is to get the redress to which UK consumers are entitled and to ensure that MasterCard cannot hold on to the illegal profits it made. This case should send a signal to companies that break competition laws at the expense of UK consumers that they do so at their financial peril.’

Quinn Emanuel, which has brought similar claims in the US, has been handed a £40m war chest by Chicago-based Gerchen Keller Capital, the world’s largest litigation funder, to bring the landmark class action. Gerchen Keller Capital will therefore take a slice of any potential damages.

Boris Bronfentrinker (pictured), a star hire by Quinn Emanuel in 2014 from London competition litigation boutique Hausfeld & Co, is the lead partner working on the claim. He is working alongside Kate Vernon, a recent addition from DLA Piper, and has instructed silks Paul Harris QC of Monckton Chambers and Marie Demetriou QC of Brick Court Chambers.

MasterCard has instructed Nick Cotter at Jones Day to defend the claim. Jones Day has been one of MasterCard’s to-go firms for its mounting pile of litigation over interchange fees. Supermarkets including Morrisons and Sainsbury’s, as well as department stores Debenhams and House of Fraser, have all brought claims against MasterCard over the charges. Tesco settled its claim against MasterCard last July for £39m.

Bronfentrinker added: ‘This is precisely the type of claim for which the new collective action regime was established. This is a landmark case where unlawful anticompetitive conduct has harmed UK consumers. That harm, likely to be in the hundreds of pounds is not large enough for any individual consumer to bring their own claim. But by aggregating the claims and bringing them on a collective basis, all UK consumers who lost out will get the compensation they are owed.’

Legal Business

HSF and Jones Day lead firms on £1.4bn London housing JV


Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) and Jones Day were among a raft of firms that advised the investors behind residential schemes at the Olympic Park in Stratford and Elephant and Castle on a joint venture (JV) to combine the developments and create a £1.4bn JV vehicle for rented housing. Amid a booming London real estate market, intensified by supply not keeping up with housing demand, the firms were instructed by Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company, property firm Delancey’s flagship fund DV4 and Dutch pension fund asset manager APG, combining to create 4,000 London homes. Olswang, Mishcon de Reya, Simmons & Simmons and London firm Michael Conn Goldsobel also won instructions on the deal.

Legal Business

HSF and Jones Day lead on £1.4bn deal between Qatari Diar and Delancey


Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) and Jones Day are leading a raft of firms advising on a £1.4bn property deal between Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company and Delancey. Olswang, Mishcon de Reya and Simmons & Simmons are also acting on the joint venture.

Qatari Diar, which is wholly owned by sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority, will join together with Delancey’s flagship client fund DV4 and Dutch pension fund asset manager APG creating the £1.4bn large scale residential investment company and a sizeable new force in the capital city’s residential market.

The equal partnership between investors will kick off with an initial portfolio of 4,000 new market-rate rented homes located across London’s East Village (pictured) and Elephant and Castle.

The HSF team, acting for Qatari Diar, was led by real estate partner Alice Dockar, corporate partner Alex Kay and competition partner Andre Pretorius. Dockar had seconded at Qatari Diar as an interim general counsel for two years and acted for on its joint venture with Canary Wharf relating to the Shell Centre last year.

In addition to M&A representation, Jones Day is providing real estate and banking advice regarding the transaction. The firm’s team on the deal is led by real estate partner Alex Millar and private equity partner Anna Cartwright acted for DV4 alongside Olswang, Mishcon de Reya and London firm Michael Cohn Goldsobel.

The team from Olswang comprised tax partner Clíona Kirby and corporate partner Paul Blackmore.

Simmons & Simmons is advising APG on the deal, which is subject to regulatory approval. The Simmons & Simmons team was led by corporate partners Gideon Sharp and Jason Daniel and real estate partner Ali Crosthwaite.

They were supported by environment partner Steve McNab, tax partner Nick Cronkshaw, competition partner Peter Broadhurst, banking partner William Greig and litigator Stephen Gentle.

Legal Business

Arbitration investment: Jones Day construction head Lal departs to join Akin Gump


Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has made a key hire to enhance its international arbitration offering in London with the appointment of Jones Day construction head Hamish Lal (pictured).

Lal advises on high-value international projects in the oil, gas, nuclear, offshore wind, PFI and major projects sectors. Notable mandates include advising a sovereign developer on a series of complex delay/disruption disputes in Qatar; advising the employer on the world’s largest offshore wind farm project; and acting on on the Iraq Crude Oil Export Expansion Project.

Having joined Jones Day in 2009 from Dundas & Wilson, Lal is cited by the Legal 500 as being ‘especially good on delay analysis and disputes.’

In 2014 Akin Gump announced it would more than double the size of its City office with a 22-partner team from Bingham McCutchen’s London office, a move expected to push Akin Gump’s London office into the top 20 international firms in London by turnover.

At the start of this year the firm also made its largest ever number of partner promotions in the City, with three lawyers joining the partnership, in a round of 12.

Akin Gump chair Kim Koopersmith said: ‘Akin Gump is committed to developing one of the world’s leading international arbitration practices. With Hamish on board, we are further strengthening our offering, broadening our market-leading energy practice and continuing to grow our capabilities in London and across Europe and the Middle East.’

The firm’s litigation head Stephen Baldini added: ‘Hamish has established himself among the world’s top lawyers in his field. With his global perspective and background in the energy and infrastructure sectors, he brings a very desirable dimension that few can match.’

Other recent arbitration moves include Clyde & Co hiring Berwin Leighton Paisner’s co-head of arbitration and energy Richard Power in October.



Legal Business

Match of the Day: Jones Day, Herbert Smith and Walker Morris score roles on Crystal Palace FC investment


Teams from Jones Day, Herbert Smith Freehills and Walker Morris have won mandates as Premier League football club Crystal Palace FC restructures in an ownership deal with US billionaires Josh Harris and David Blitzer which includes an initial £50m investment.

Crystal Palace, which is currently seventh in the Premier League and just five points behind the lucrative Champions League spots, will use the initial £50m cash injection to redevelop its stadium (pictured) in south east London. The club has assumed a general partnership structure made up of Harris, Blitzer and current chairman Steve Parish.

HSF advised the existing shareholders, including wine merchant Stephen Browett, founder of investment fund Marathon Asset Management Jeremy Hosking and Churchill Insurance founder Martin Long, on the sale of part of their stake in the club. The existing shareholders, and their investment vehicle CPFC2010, retain a stake.

Jones Day and Wall Street firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz were instructed by Americans Harris and Blitzer. Both are well known in the private equity space, with Harris one of the founders of US leveraged buyout giant Apollo Global Management and Blitzer head of head of tactical opportunities at Blackstone Group. Serial sports investors, the pair currently own the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and ice hockey team New Jersey Devils. City private equity partners at Jones Day, Raymond McKeeve and Michael Weir, led the deal in the UK for the Harris and Blitzer.

James MacArthur, head of private equity at HSF, led the legal advice for the existing shareholders. Walker Morris head of sport David Hinchliffe advised Crystal Palace FC.

Walker Morris, through Hinchliffe and his team, has experienced strong deal flow in the sports industry as overseas investors take stakes in the UK’s biggest football clubs. Recent mandates include advising a Thailand-based consortium on its takeover of Reading FC estimated to be worth around £25m.

Hinchliffe has advised Crystal Palace since it was bought out of administration in 2010 and said ‘the investment will provide valuable funds to enable the club to make long term investments in the infrastructure and give the fans the first-class facilities they deserve’.

Legal Business

US partner promotions: Jones Day makes up two in London from 47-strong round


Jones Day has become the latest US firm to announce its partner promotion round with 4% of the 47-strong round making the ranks in London.

Two lawyers were promoted in London – Anthony Whall who advises on UK corporate and international tax matters, and Glyn Powell from the investigations practice. All promotions will go into effect 1 January 2016.

The total number of promotions has risen since last year when the firm made up 42 lawyers including three City promotions, and a significantly reduced round in 2013 which saw 34 make the ranks with two in London.

The bulk of this year’s round was made up in the US including in the firm’s New York, Atlanta, Washington DC, Chicago, Boston and Pittsburg offices.

Outside of the US and apart from London, promotions were made in Mexico City, Dubai, Singapore, Taipei, Brussels, Paris, Dusseldorf, Munich and Irvine.

In comparison Mayer Brown’s City lawyers made up just 7% of its total round worldwide; Ropes & Gray promoted two new London partners in global round of 17; Baker & McKenzie in contrast made up just three City lawyers in a 83-strong promotions; while Reed Smith promoted seven in the City in a 24-strong partnership round.

The partner promotions in full by office:

Gabriel Altamirano, Antitrust & Competition Law, Mexico City

Rodrigo Gómez Ballina, Tax, Mexico City

Shireen Becker, Investigations & White Collar Defense, San Diego

Andrew Bengtson, Real Estate, Cleveland

Bradley Harrison, Business & Tort Litigation, Cleveland

Justin Herdman, Investigations & White Collar Defense, Cleveland

Susan Prewitt, Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation, Cleveland

Kevin Samuels, Banking & Finance, Cleveland

Casey Bradford, Energy, Atlanta

Kendel Drew, Banking & Finance, Atlanta

Jason Burnette, Issues & Appeals, Atlanta

Edward Carter, Business & Tort Litigation, Columbus

Jason Grove, Private Equity, Columbus

Jennifer Chheda, Intellectual Property, New York

Michael Cohen, Business Restructuring & Reorganization, New York

Benjamin Grossman, Mergers & Acquisitions, New York

Jennifer Del Medico, Business & Tort Litigation, New York

Rory Hood, Capital Markets, New York

Robert da Silva Ashley, Banking & Finance, New York

Dennis Rimkunas, Tax, New York

Laura Washington Sawyer, Financial Institutions Litigation & Regulation, New York

Adam Verstandig, Real Estate, New York

Alain Dermarkar, Mergers & Acquisitions, Dallas

Matthew Divelbiss, Business & Tort Litigation, Pittsburgh

Margaret (Meg) Gleason, Business & Tort Litigation, Pittsburgh

Miguel Eaton, Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation, Washington

Nathaniel Garrett, Issues & Appeals, San Francisco

David Wallach, Global Disputes, San Francisco

Matthew Hertko, Intellectual Property, Chicago

Melissa Hirst, Business & Tort Litigation, Chicago

Jacqueline Lee, Intellectual Property, Silicon Valley

Paul Lettow, Government Regulation, Washington

Sebastian Martinek, Intellectual Property, Boston

Joseph Sconyers, Financial Institutions Litigation & Regulation, Boston

Nicole Perry, Business & Tort Litigation, Houston

Anna Raimer, Intellectual Property, Houston

Glyn Powell, Investigations & White Collar Defense, London

Anthony Whall, Tax, London

Stefan Schneider, Private Equity, Munich

Jakob Guhn, Intellectual Property, Dusseldorf

Audrey Bontemps, Mergers & Acquisitions, Paris

Jean-Gabriel Griboul, Private Equity, Paris

Vanessa Foncke, Global Disputes, Brussels

Sean Boyce, Global Disputes, Dubai

Karthik Kumar, Projects & Infrastructure, Singapore

Edward Chang, Business & Tort Litigation, Irvine

Po-Chien Chen, Global Disputes, Taipei

Legal Business

An American in Paris: Jones Day seeks to bolster teams through local recruits


Jones Day has launched a fund formation practice in Paris through the hire of partner Catherine Martougin from Luxembourg firm Arendt & Medernach in a bid to boost the firm’s private equity capabilities, while it also recruited a five-strong team from French firm Gide Loyrette Nouel to boost its TMT practice, particularly in Africa and the Middle East.

Martougin focuses on advising fund initiators, managers, investment advisors, and investors, particularly in alternative asset areas, including private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and debt. Prior to joining Arendt & Medernach as a partner in 2003, she spent four years in the Paris office of Willkie Farr & Gallagher.

Jones Day’s private equity co-head Adam Greaves said: ‘Responding to strong interest from our fund clients, the addition of a strong Luxembourg fund formation practice in Paris enables us to provide even better service to the many global clients we serve on cross-border matters.’

Sophie Hagège, partner-in-charge of the firm’s Paris office said: ‘With 120 lawyers in our Paris office, she is the latest in a string of very talented lawyers who have joined. And while she may be the most recent, she certainly will not be the last. We will continue to add even more depth to our full-service and cross-border skill set.’

Also today (1 July) the firm has recruited TMT partner Rémy Fekete as a partner in Paris from Gide Loyrette Nouel and he brings with him a four-strong team of associates. Ranked as a leading individual in The Legal 500 for telecoms in France, Fekete is set to build out the firm’s Africa practice and will work closely with its government regulation, M&A, projects & infrastructure, IP and disputes teams, to assist telecoms, energy and infrastructure clients with their projects on the African continent.

‘Joining Jones Day allows us to integrate our practice into a global firm and create substantial synergies around the TMT sector, which is booming worldwide and particularly in Africa,’ said Fekete.

July is following June as a prolific hiring period for the firm. Lateral hires made last month include Herbert Smith Freehills’ City-based deputy senior partner Mark Crean and Latham & Watkins project finance partner Nick Collins.

Other firms scaling up in Paris today include Watson Farley & Williams,which has announced the hire of finance partner Guillaume Ansaloni from local firm De Gaulle Fleurance & Associés.

Legal Business

City moves: Kirkland hires Weil’s London tax chief Kandel as Jones Day boosts its project finance team with a lateral from Latham


It has been a busy couple of days for the City hire market, with leading London tax partner Jonathan Kandel departing Weil, Gotshal & Manges for Kirkland & Ellis while project finance partner Nick Collins is set to join Jones Day from Latham & Watkins.

Kandel, who headed up Weil’s London tax team after leaving Clifford Chance in 2011 as part of a four-partner move, was also a partner in the firm’s private funds group, advising clients on tax issues relating to their fund investments, M&A, restructuring and own-account tax matters.

Commenting on his appointment, Jeffrey Hammes, chairman of Kirkland’s global management executive committee said: ‘Jonathan has a wide range of experience across private equity, fund formation, special situations and real estate investments. His practice will significantly enhance our global tax offering to financial sponsors and credit funds.’

Meanwhile Collins, who joins Jones Day’s projects and infrastructure practice, will be based in the firm’s London office having previously spent over four years in Abu Dhabi. He leaves Latham after the firm announced it was to shut its offering in the Emirate in March this year and instead concentrate its Middle East operations in Dubai and Riyadh.

Collins joined Latham in part of a mass hire from White & Case’s Middle East practice including Villiers Terblanche who is now Latham’s Dubai managing partner in 2010.

‘Nick’s arrival at the firm, right on the heels of Myles Mantle joining in April 2015, strengthens our ability to execute complex, large-scale project development and finance mandates across a range of industries and infrastructure asset classes – whether in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, or the Russian Federation and ex-CIS states,’ said Arman Galledari, head of Jones Day’s projects & infrastructure practice.

Legal Business

Former Freehills chairman Crean exits HSF for Jones Day after missing out on senior partner role


Deputy senior partner Mark Crean (pictured), who served as chairman of Freehills until its 2012 merger with Herbert Smith, has resigned from Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) to join Jones Day.

Sydney-based Crean, who lost out to London-based corporate heavyweight James Palmer in the race to become senior partner in November last year, was influential in orchestrating one of law’s biggest mergers when City firm Herbert Smith combined with Australia’s Freehills in 2012.

In the aftermath of the senior partner election, the partnership council agreed to extend Crean’s time as deputy senior partner, a role he assumed post-merger in what was originally designed to be a temporary position to support integration. Crean was well-supported in the election to become senior partner following Jonathan Scott’s decision to retire from the firm, contesting Palmer for the role after the elimination of London head of litigation Tim Parkes and EMEA managing partner Allen Hanen.

Crean is currently on gardening leave and in negotiations with the firm about when he can join Jones Day. His vacated spot on the firm’s partnership council is open to all partners, with a partnership vote to take place at the start of July. The firm has yet to decide whether to continue the deputy senior partner role, which is said to be an informal position, but favoured by Palmer due to his heavy client commitments.

The former Freehills chairman leaves the firm after 24 years, having held a string of management positions. He headed Freehills’ corporate practice for six years prior to the merger and later chaired HSF’s risk management and audit committees. He held key clients relationships with Australian corporates at the firm, including real estate giant Lend Lease, where he stood in as group general counsel in 2006 following a request from the company’s chief executive.

Earlier this year Palmer brought in two non-executives to beef up the partnership council’s commercial awareness, appointing Commonwealth Bank of Australia director Jane Hemstritch and senior independent director at insurer RSA Johanna Waterous as the first external members on HSF’s main oversight body.

Jason Ricketts, Australia managing partner at HSF, said: ‘We can confirm that Mark Crean has made a decision to leave the firm. We thank him for the significant contribution he has made to the success of our firm and wish him well for the future.’

For more on HSF’s post-merger prospects see: Consumed – Can burning ambition from Down Under recast Herbert Smith for the global stage?