Legal Business

Latham and Hogan Lovells move to remote working globally amid alarming coronavirus spread

Latham and Hogan Lovells move to remote working globally amid alarming coronavirus spread

Latham & Watkins and Hogan Lovells have become the latest law firms to ramp up their response to the increasingly global spread of COVID-19 by sending all their staff home.

The news comes as the number of casualties continues to rise around the world, with the latest figures reporting over 200,000 confirmed cases while the death toll has passed 8,000. 

Latham confirmed today (18 March) that its staff is working remotely across all the 2,270-lawyer firm’s 30 global offices.

Chief operating officer LeeAnn Black said in a statement: ‘Except where a jurisdiction has moved to a lockdown, our offices around the world remain physically open although the vast majority of our lawyers and professional staff are working remotely.’

Hogan Lovells also confirmed that the firm has moved to remote working globally.

The 2,642-lawyer transatlantic firm extended yesterday the measure to its UK, American and Australian offices, while its continental European outposts had already been working remotely since earlier in the month.

A spokesperson for the firm said in a statement: ‘We tested our remote working capabilities in the US last week and the UK and Europe this week, and had successful results.’ They added that the firm was ‘confident that we have the tools in place to conduct our business as usual’.

A number of firms have moved to similar arrangements over the last few days, including City firms Linklaters, Clifford Chance, Slaughter and May and Allen & Overy as well as transatlantic firm Eversheds Sutherland.

marco.cillario@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

‘Building on the momentum’: Latham appoints banking veteran Kensell as London head

‘Building on the momentum’: Latham appoints banking veteran Kensell as London head

Latham & Watkins’ executive committee has appointed Stephen Kensell as London managing partner, just four years after he joined from Allen & Overy (A&O).

The appointment, effective yesterday (5 March), sees the banking veteran take over from fellow finance partner Jay Sadanandan, who leaves the post after five years.

Alongside London deputy managing partner Catherine Drinnan, who has been re-appointed, Kensell (pictured) will be responsible for setting and implementing the office’s strategy alongside ExCom.

It is the latest in a long list of management roles held by Kensell, one of the most senior banking lawyers in the City. He co-headed A&O’s own banking group alongside Andrew Trahair between 2008 and 2016 and took over as Latham’s banking vice chair in February last year following the departure of Chris Kandel to Morrison & Foerster.

‘I have always combined the managing partner role with a full practice, which is what I will be doing here,’ Kensell told Legal Business. Except for the firm’s chair Rich Trobman and the two vice chairs, very few of Latham’s partners in management roles get any discount on billable hour targets.

Discussing his strategy for the office, Kensell said: ‘For us it’s about continuing to build on the momentum. We are the second largest office of the firm and we see future growth.’

One of the priorities in London is to build out its public M&A practice and Kensell stressed the importance of combining lateral hiring with organic growth: ‘One of the hallmarks of the mature practice we have is that we are attracting fantastic laterals but also we have a fantastic group of associates. A really important part of the plan is bringing through our London associates and we are starting to see people who trained at the firm make partner here.’

Decided by the firm’s nine-member key executive arm after soundings with the partnership, terms of London managing partners are flexible but they are normally expected to stay on for three to five years.

The appointment of Kensell’s predecessor Sadanandan in 2015 was touted as a significant move in the firm’s efforts to improve gender diversity in its management ranks under former chair Bill Voge. Latham’s largest office – its 515-lawyer New York base – is led by finance partner Michele Penzer.

During Sadanandan’s term the firm grew London headcount 40% to 450 lawyers and consistently outpaced the firm’s global revenue growth, generating about $450m in 2019.

The office has recently passed the 100-partner mark, with recent hires including Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s M&A rising star Sam Newhouse and Taylor Wessing’s TMT head Mike Turner.

Also hired during Sadanandan’s term, Kensell joined the firm in September 2016, a few months after missing out on A&O’s senior partner post to Wim Dejonghe.

marco.cillario@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Coronavirus fallout continues as Latham suspends NY partner conference while Bakers re-opens London branch

Coronavirus fallout continues as Latham suspends NY partner conference while Bakers re-opens London branch

Fears around the spreading coronavirus have yet again affected the business of law, as the world’s second-highest grossing firm Latham & Watkins called off its annual global partnership meeting in New York citing safety concerns.

Meanwhile Baker McKenzie has re-opened its London office today (2 March) after an employee taken ill with suspected symptoms last week tested negative to the COVID-19.

Latham chair Rich Trobman said in a statement on Friday (28 February) that the firm had taken the ‘difficult decision’ to cancel its annual partner meeting ‘with the health and wellbeing of our colleagues and clients foremost in mind’. He added: ‘While we perceive the risks to be small, safety is our first priority, and we thought this decision was in the best interests of all concerned given the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19.’

The conference was due to take place this week, bringing together partners from its 30 offices across the world in Manhattan. Latham has 514 equity partners and 276 income partners.

Elsewhere, Bakers’ London operations were back to business as usual today after the firm shut its 1,000-employee office on Friday citing concerns over a staff member showing suspected symptoms after travelling to northern Italy, Europe’s worst-affected area. The employee underwent tests for the virus and on Sunday the firm received news they were negative, so notified staff that they could return to work as normal today.

A spokesperson for the firm said: ‘Our priority is the health and wellbeing of our people and our clients, and we took these pre-emptive measures out of an abundance of caution.’

Fears around the impact of coronavirus on businesses have been mounting in recent weeks, with many concerned it could have financial crisis-level effect on the global economy. Last Friday news came that US stock markets had suffered their worst week since the 2008 financial crisis, with the three main indexes falling by 10% or more.

Shearman & Sterling has imposed a travel ban for China and Hong Kong, limiting non-essential travel to contaminated jurisdictions and putting in place remote working measures. Dentons has temporarily closed its office in Wuhan, where the virus originated.

Outside law, oil major Chevron last week sent its 300 staff home from Canary Wharf as a precaution, along with Crossrail, which shares the same building.

Marco.cillario@legalbusineess.co.uk

Legal Business

Latham rampant for second year running as surging City growth helps revenue hit $3.7bn

Latham rampant for second year running as surging City growth helps revenue hit $3.7bn

Latham & Watkins has reported its second consecutive year of double-digit growth as its revenue surged to $3.768bn in 2019 while profits per equity partner (PEP) hit $3.78m.

The results announced today (26 February) mean the Los Angeles-bred giant has improved its performance for the fourth year in a row, with the 9.5% surge in PEP outpacing the 6% increase achieved in 2018.

An unsurprisingly bullish chair Richard Trobman (pictured) predicted that such growth will become the new normal at Latham: ‘We expect to see growth rates in line with what we have seen in the last couple of years,’ he told Legal Business. ‘Our business model is strong, we have a clear strategy and a great culture.’

Latham added $381m to its top line in 2019, an increase of 11% on 2018, while net income rose 16%. Revenue per lawyer was up by a very credible 4% to $1.385m as Latham grew its legal staff 7% to 2,720 and partner headcount 8% to 790.

The firm does not officially disclose revenue for its London arm but Trobman said it grew at a much faster pace than the firm globally, hiking revenue ‘well in excess of 15%’. The firm’s 98-partner City office is now believed to generate in the region of $450m, bolstering its reputation as one of the most potent foreign practices in the high-end UK legal market.

Trobman said that Latham’s Asia Pacific business grew at its fastest rate ever and the US was ‘incredibly strong’. ‘Not only are we seeing significant growth, but profitable growth. What we are proud of is that what’s driving that growth is our ability to continue to utilise our global platform, work together as a team, collaborate and support one another.’

He pointed to the fact that the firm’s top 50 clients engaged Latham’s lawyers from on average 23 offices around the world, up from 19 offices in 2018.

The firm’s list of European deals in 2019 included work on the liquidation of travel group Thomas Cook, advising EQT on the financing for the acquisition Nestlé’s $10bn skincare business, and Interswitch on its partnership with Visa. Global deals included advice to Mellanox Technologies in its $6.9bn sale to NVIDIA Corporation.

The firm also made some significant laterals in the City in Linklaters’ insurance partner Victoria Sander and Clifford Chance’s infrastructure and real estate veteran Stephen Curtis in 2019. Even more significant were the moves at the start of 2020 as Latham renewed its push into London’s public M&A space with the hire of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s rising star Sam Newhouse and expanded its City emerging company capabilities through Taylor Wessing’s Mike Turner and Bird & Bird’s Shing Lo.

The 2019 results mean Latham has added $1.16bn to its top line in five years, growing revenue 44% and PEP 30% on $2.61bn and $2.9m in 2014, when it became the highest-grossing law firm in the world and the first to ever pass the $2.5bn revenue mark. The firm has doubled both revenue and PEP between 2009 and 2019.

‘We are in this for the long haul,’ concluded Trobman. ‘We are going to continue to invest in the same way that the partners who came before us did.’

The results temporarily make Latham the highest-grossing law firm in the world. Yet US rival Kirkland & Ellis, which is expected to announce its own 2019 financials shortly, only needs to marginally improve its 2018 figures to remain ahead; the Chicago giant last year reported turnover of $3.76bn. Unsurprisingly, indications from Kirkland are that the outfit will this year become the first law firm in the world to break the $4bn barrier.

marco.cillario@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Freshfields loses key rising star Newhouse as Latham renews City M&A push

Freshfields loses key rising star Newhouse as Latham renews City M&A push

In the latest blow to the UK Magic Circle, Latham & Watkins has hired one of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s brightest young partners, Sam Newhouse.

The US giant confirmed today (25 February) its most significant move in the UK public company M&A space since the hire of Allen & Overy’s well-liked M&A partner Ed Barnett in 2017.

One of the Magic Circle firm’s M&A partners hitting their early-40s prime, Newhouse was both popular and much tipped for his work with energy clients including Total and Essar.

In October last year, Newhouse led a Freshfields team advising Neptune Energy on its acquisition of Edison E&P’s UK and Norwegian producing, development and exploration assets from Energean Oil & Gas. The team also advised Neptune Energy on its acquisition of ENGIE E&P in February 2018.

A Freshfields lifer, he joined the City firm in 2003 as a trainee, qualified in 2005 and made partner in 2013.

marco.cillario@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Taylor Wessing loses practice head as Latham targets UK mid-market for first City tech laterals

Taylor Wessing loses practice head as Latham targets UK mid-market for first City tech laterals

Latham & Watkins has become the latest US player to expand its City emerging company capabilities by targeting two mid-market UK firms for a double-partner hire.

Taylor Wessing has seen one of its more senior departures in recent years as its head of technology, media and communications Mike Turner decamped to the US firm alongside Bird & Bird’s corporate partner Shing Lo. Both hires, announced today (29 January), were voted in by Latham’s partnership in early January and will join the firm over the next few weeks.

‘We are the first law firm that has a compelling emerging companies and venture capital practice on the West Coast, East Coast, Europe and Asia,’ Latham’s London corporate co-chair Robbie McLaren told Legal Business. ‘On top of this, we have the ability to do M&A and equity capital transactions in these jurisdictions as well, and that’s what clients are looking for.’

Promoted to the partnership in 2016, McLaren was until this move the only City partner covering the tech space at the firm: ‘When we set out to refine our global strategy in this sector we thought: where are we underweight in this space? The answer was London.’

He added: ‘As a West Coast heritage firm we understand how [the emerging companies practice] works and the opportunities it offers. There is such a great opportunity in this space with the amount of money being raised by private companies that we thought it would make sense to hire two outstanding practitioners.’

He added that when the firm started scouting partners last summer, Turner and Lo were the two names at the top of the list.

The loss of Turner is particularly ominous for Taylor Wessing, coming a few months after the firm lost a four-partner life sciences and tech team to another US player expanding its City capabilities in the area, Goodwin Procter.

Turner had joined Taylor Wessing from fellow UK tech-focused firm Osborne Clarke in 2013 and forged relationships with a number of tech companies both sides of the Atlantic, such as Farfetch.

Indeed, the entrance of a group of US firms into the City tech space brings a new competitive threat to a number of mid-market UK firms that had so far been largely spared by the Americans’ expansion this side of the pond.

Over the last few years US giants have usually targeted the UK Magic Circle, with Latham last year hiring Clifford Chance’s real estate veteran Stephen Curtis and Linklaters’ insurance partner Victoria Sander.

However, McLaren signalled Latham had no immediate appetite for further City laterals in the tech space: ‘With the connections these two hires bring we’ll have greater opportunity to grow. At the moment this will be sufficient and I suspect we’ll be more likely to promote our own lawyers.’

marco.cillario@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Dealwatch: Weil and Mayer Brown scoop leads on Nestlé’s $4bn US ice cream business sale

Dealwatch: Weil and Mayer Brown scoop leads on Nestlé’s $4bn US ice cream business sale

Weil Gotshal & Manges and Mayer Brown have advised on the sale of Nestlé’s US ice cream business to Froneri for $4bn.

Froneri is an ice cream focused joint venture by Nestlé and PAI Partners created in 2016. The deal means that brands such as Häagen-Dazs, Edy’s, Drumstick and Dreyer’s will join its portfolio which already includes Movenpick, Green & Blacks and Cadbury’s ice cream.

Weil advised Froneri with a team led by London private equity partner Jonathan Wood and Boston private equity partner Matthew Goulding. The team also included London managing partner Michael Francis, head of the firm’s London technology and IP transactions practice Barry Fishley and London banking partner Tom Richards.

Mayer Brown advised Nestle with a team led out of the US by partners David Carpenter, John Boelter and Michelle Gross.

Carpenter told Legal Business: ‘Nestlé has already contributed to the ice cream business in different parts of the world through this joint venture. The buyer is actually 50% owned by Nestlé and so it’s moving the ice cream business into a company that has a private equity partner. It will be focused on ice cream rather than being part of a big conglomerate.’

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020.

Meanwhile, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer advised private equity firm CVC Capital Partners on the acquisition of a stake in WebPros Group by CVC Fund VII from Oakley Capital Private Equity and other investors.

WebPros is a web hosting automation software provider for server management and includes web hosting platforms cPanel and Plesk and web hosting management and billing software WHMCS.

The Freshfields team was led by global co-head of financial sponsors Charles Hayes, co-head of European leveraged finance Alex Mitchell and corporate and M&A lawyer Vincent Bergin.

Kirkland & Ellis advised Oakley Capital on the sale led by London corporate partners Rory Mullarkey and Jacob Traff as well as Ben Leyendeckerin Munich.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020.

Elsewhere, White & Case advised on the $25.6bn IPO of Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco), making it the world’s largest IPO. The company began trading on the Saudi Arabian Tadawul Stock Exchange on Wednesday 11 December under TADAWUL: ARAMCO.

The offering included subscriptions from institutions and individuals, comprising of SAR 446bn ($119bn). The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia sold 3bn shares of Saudi Aramco which accounted for 1.5% Saudi Aramco’s share capital.

The White & Case team was led by Dubai partner Sami Al-Louzi and included London partners Inigo Esteve, capital markets partner Alexander Underwood, Ronan O’Reilly and employment compensation and benefits lawyer Jack Gardener. The Law Office of Megren Al-Shaalan also advised Aramco with a team led by Megren Al-Shaalan and Doug Peel and included London capital markets partner Ibrahim Soumrany.

The $1.7trn valuation makes Saudi Aramco the largest company by market capitalisation. Over 400 White & Case lawyers from around 20 offices advised Saudi Aramco on the transaction.

Latham & Watkins advised the underwriters of Saudi Aramco on non-Saudi law matters. The team was led by New York partners Marc Jaffe and Ian Schuman and included London partner Craig Nethercott. London partners James Inness and Jeremy Green offered advice on corporate matters, Chirag Sanghrajka advised on finance, Rob Moulton advised on regulatory matters while Karl Mah advised on tax.

Prior to the listing, the largest IPO spot was held by Alibaba Group Holding Limited which listed in September 2014 on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) for $21.8bn.

Finally, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton advised Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) on the $450m acquisition of a 25.1% stake in Adani Electricity Mumbai Limited (AEML) from Adani Transmission Limited as well as a shareholder subordinated debt investment by QIA in AEML.

AEML is part of Adani Group, an integrated business conglomerate based in India which includes six publicly traded companies, focusing on resources, logistics, energy and agriculture.

The Cleary team was led by London partners Tihir Sarkar and Nallini Puri.

Puri told Legal Business: ‘QIA is a very big investor to be partnering with. The Adani Group is a big group with lots of diversified interests and historically they’ve engaged in a lot of acquisitions, particularly within India. India’s done less with foreign investors. In some ways this is a very significant partnership for them because they’ve tied up with a very high profile investor.’

AEMl was advised by Indian firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas led by partners from the Mumbai office.

The deal is expected to close in early 2020 subject to customary conditions and regulatory approval.

muna.abdi@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Revolving doors: Latham revisits CC for finance hire as DLA recruits BCLP duo in London

Revolving doors: Latham revisits CC for finance hire as DLA recruits BCLP duo in London

Defying the pre-Christmas lull in City laterals, Latham & Watkins last week returned to Clifford Chance to bolster its finance bench as DLA Piper expanded its infrastructure disputes team with a double hire.

Latham hired CC infrastructure and real estate veteran Stephen Curtis to its London finance team. Curtis, who had been at the Magic Circle firm since 1991 and a partner since 2000, advises on structured finance transactions in the regulated utility, infrastructure and real estate sectors, as well as corporate securitisations.

Latham partner and chair of the global structured finance and securitisation practice Sanjev Warna-kula-suriya told Legal Business: ‘Steve has a world of experience in the structured debt sector, focusing on infrastructure finance and structured real estate. That fits very well into our existing infrastructure finance capability.

‘Infrastructure spend is a very important political and economic target for governments. In the European Union, there’s a huge amount of infrastructure investment plans. From a macro perspective, there will be demand for more infrastructure investment. From a finance perspective, the changes to the regulatory capital rulings make it difficult for banks. We have been seeing alternative investment players coming in to provide the financings,’ added Warna-kula-suriya.

Latham last hired from Clifford Chance back in August 2018 when infrastructure private equity heavyweight Brendan Moylan joined the corporate team.

His was the highest profile PE move from CC to Latham since the US giant recruited practice co-head Oliver Felsenstein in 2015. Nevertheless, it is a well-trodden path, with David Walker, Tom Evans and Kem Ihenacho all having gone the same way between 2013 and 2014.

DLA meanwhile, appointed partners Bob Maynard and Caroline Pope from BCLP to its litigation and regulatory practice in London.

Maynard focuses on litigation, arbitration, adjudication, mediation, project advisory and forensic investigation work while Pope has experience in alternative dispute resolution, particularly mediation and expert determination.

DLA UK head of construction, engineering & infrastructure disputes Paul Giles told Legal Business: ‘Bob and Caroline are tier 1 partners and give a mixture of domestic UK market presence as well as international.

‘We were underrepresented in this area for a firm of our size in the UK. We have been steadily growing over the last few years. We wanted to increase our presence and profile in London but also in the international market,’ added Giles.

Other recent appointments to the construction, engineering & infrastructure disputes London team include partner Anna Mills who joined from Hogan Lovells in January 2019.

Elsewhere, TLT added partner Liz Cotton to its employment bench in Manchester. She joined from JMW where she was head of employment. Cotton has experience in contentious and non-contentious employment law issues.

TLT employment partner Ed Cotton told Legal Business: ‘Liz’s extensive experience in the retail sector is a great addition to our existing specialism in this market. We’ve built a national employment team that covers a wide range of specialisms and Liz’s experience will help to broaden this out in a number of areas.’

‘We’re seeing increasing demand from clients across a range of contentious and non-contentious issues, from redundancy and board disputes to whistleblowing and discrimination claims,’ Cotton added.

Dentons hired partner Oliver Dreher to its capital markets practice in Frankfurt. Dreher joined from CMS where he led the debt capital markets team. He has experience in advising German and international banks and other clients on bond transactions, bonded loans, registered bonds, derivatives, and clearing of financial instruments.

Further afield, Squire Patton Boggs launched a global commodities and shipping group in Singapore and hired partners Barry Stimpson and Jessica Kenworthy from Reed Smith to lead the new team.

Stimpson has over 25 years’ experience in disputes and advisory work in the international trade, shipping, offshore energy, construction and insurance sectors while Kenworthy covers complex commodity financings and ship financings. The commodities and shipping group will offer a range of legal services in international trade and shipping and across all commodity sectors.

Chairman and global CEO of Squires Mark Ruehlmann told Legal Business: ‘Barry and Jessica are an ideal fit for us – they are highly respected in their field, and well connected to the sectors and industries they advise. They are experienced in building teams and nurturing talent and have great commercial flair; and are highly collaborative in their approach to client solutions.

‘With the significant investment into our commodities and shipping group, we can continue to build on our success in Singapore, Australia and the Asia Pacific region. We will see expansion with new hires to strengthen the current team, not only in Singapore but also in the wider region and in commercial hubs such as London,’ added Ruehlmann.

muna.abdi@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

City promotions drop for Latham in US-driven partnership round

City promotions drop for Latham in US-driven partnership round

Latham & Watkins has promoted 33 lawyers to partner, with its London outpost accounting for 15% of those getting the nod.

Effective from January 2020, the promotion round sees a marked decrease in the number associates made up in London, with five promoted compared to last year’s exceptional bumper round of nine.

Globally, the 33 promotions represent a slight increase on last year’s 31-strong round but have a much clearer focus on the firm’s heartlands, with 26 of the new partners based in the US.

Neil Campbell, Stuart Davis and Beatrice Lo were promoted in its London corporate practice, while Manoj Bhundia and David Ziyambi were added to the partnership in the firm’s City finance practice.

Five of the promotions were in its New York base, where the firm is focused on growing and where chair Rich Trobman relocated to in July.

The DC and Houston outposts saw four promotions each; Silicon Valley and Chicago three apiece; while only two were minted in Los Angeles. The other US promotions were spread across its Boston, Century City, Orange County and San Diego bases. The firm’s German offices in Munich and Hamburg got one new partner each.

Speaking to Legal Business the chair of Latham’s associates committee, Peter Gilhuly, cautioned against reading too much into the decrease in London promotions: ‘We study the recommendations carefully and we don’t have quotas at all. We find our numbers move up and down over time. London is obviously a very important office and we tend to promote a number of candidates there but promotion classes vary over time. Those numbers even out over time.’

He added that the lack of promotions in the firm’s Asian offices was due to a ‘pipeline issue’ rather than a lack of demand: ‘Demand is incredibly strong across our platform. If there are people qualified to be promoted they will be considered and promoted. There is no area where we are not promoting.’

Gilhuly described the firm’s transactional practices, which accounted for about 60% of the new promotions, as ‘red hot in a number of areas’: ‘We are having spectacular results in our transactional practices and a number of extraordinary candidates.’

He also expressed satisfaction at the fact that 33% of the new partners promoted were women, up from 29% last year: ‘We are very happy that organically our diversity numbers are rising. I am confident that because we have so many strong female candidates coming up those numbers should naturally tend to increase. We don’t believe in quotas – quality is first, and we are having some good results naturally.’

Latham’s partnership promotions are once again dwarfed by US rival Kirkland & Ellis, which earlier this month broke yet another record by promoting 141 lawyers to the partnership including 16 in the City.

Latham’s most recent set of financials confirmed the firm as the second highest-grossing in the world after Kirkland. In 2018, the Los Angeles-bred giant added $300m to its top line to hit $3.386bn.

Marco.cillario@legalbusiness.co.uk

Legal Business

Global firms lined up to advise as Thomas Cook rescue talks fail

Global firms lined up to advise as Thomas Cook rescue talks fail

With news this weekend that Thomas Cook is on the brink of collapse and has ceased trading with immediate effect, a number of global elite firms have been lined up to advise on the latest high-profile collapse of a household name.

Ashurst is advising  the Official Receiver as well as AlixPartners and KPMG, which were appointed as special managers in respect of certain Thomas Cook entities, while Slaughter and May and Latham & Watkins are advising Thomas Cook. Insolvency practitioners from AlixPartners have been appointed as special managers over the airline and tour operator companies, while practitioners from KPMG have been appointed as special managers to the group’s retail division and to its aircraft maintenance companies.

Giles Boothman, Olga Galazoula and Lynn Dunne are leading the Ashurst team, with Crowley Woodford and Ruth Buchanan advising on the employment law aspects and Derwin Jenkinson, Tom Mercer and James Fletcher focusing on the corporate side. Meanwhile, the Slaughters team is being led by Tom Vickers and the Latham team is headed by partners Nick Cline, John Houghton and James Inness.

A Reed Smith team from the UK, Germany and the US are advising the Civil Aviation Authority in relation to the insolvency. The Civil Aviation Authority and AlixPartners will work together to deal with the repatriation of all stranded customers. The team is led by partners Richard Spafford who is advising on licensing and regulatory issues, Charlotte Møller leads on the insolvency law and contingency planning for the repatriation, while Nick Williams is advising on the financial aspects.

Chief executive of Thomas Cook Peter Fankhauser commented: ‘We have worked exhaustively in the past few days to resolve the outstanding issues on an agreement to secure Thomas Cook’s future for its employees, customers and suppliers.  Although a deal had been largely agreed, an additional facility requested in the last few days of negotiations presented a challenge that ultimately proved insurmountable.’

In July, a team led by restructuring partner Ian Johnson, financing partner Ed Fife and corporate partner Richard Smith from Slaughters and a team from Latham & Watkins advised Thomas Cook Group in relation to the proposed recapitalisation plan.

Thomas Cook was looking for a £750m investment and was in talks with its largest shareholder, Fosun Tourism Group, as well as the company’s core lenders on a substantial new capital investment as part of a proposed recapitalisation and separation of the group.

Muna.abdi@legalbusiness.co.uk