Legal Business

Milbank continues City hiring spree with Shearman high yield guru Gkoutzinis as Vinson nabs Jones Day finance partner

Milbank continues City hiring spree with Shearman high yield guru Gkoutzinis as Vinson nabs Jones Day finance partner

High-yield specialist Apostolos Gkoutzinis is to join Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy from US rival Shearman & Sterling, a move which marks the firm’s fifth hire in the space of a week.

The recruitment of Gkoutzinis, Shearman’s head of European capital markets, is another sign of Milbank’s ambitions to make its mark in City finance, coming just days after it secured a four-partner restructuring team from Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft.

That move – which included Cadwaladers’ global financial restructuring co-chair Yushan Ng, and partners Jacqueline Ingram, Karen McMaster and Sinjini Saha – was a significant boost to Milbank’s City finance team, which counts among its clients Oaktree, KKR, Centerbridge Capital Partners and Blackstone.

Gkoutzinis (pictured) was made up to partner in Shearman’s European capital markets group in 2011 having joined the firm in 2005 as an associate.

He specialises in US federal securities law, high-yield debt offerings and general debt and equity capital markets transactions across leveraged finance, SEC-registered offerings, restructurings, recapitalisations and privatisations. Since 2005, Gkoutzinis has acted on the majority of IPO and high-yield bond transactions in the Greek market brought about the country’s sovereign debt crisis.

In another key City move by a US firm, Vinson & Elkins (V&E) has added Jones Day acquisition and leveraged finance partner Paul Simcock to its London finance bench. The move follows V&E’s hire last year of Clifford Chance finance partner John Dawson.

Simcock joined Jones Day in 2014 having previously been a partner at Berwin Leighton Paisner. He was previously counsel at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom for seven years after training at Allen & Overy.

He has acted for private equity sponsors, alternative credit providers, banks and corporations across a range of debt restructurings, distressed transactions, refinancings and other syndicated and bilateral lending projects. Recent mandates have included advising L1 Retail, the retail investment arm of LetterOne, on the £900m senior financing underpinning the acquisition of heath retailer Holland & Barrett from The Nature’s Bounty Co. and The Carlyle Group.

He has also advised Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund II (MEIF II) on deals including the refinancing and sale of National Car Parks group (NCP) and the refinancing of Condor Ferries Group, an operator of passenger and freight ferry services.

‘Our corporate team has been growing rapidly, and with the addition of another top-tier hire, we’re positioned to push even further into one of the leading finance capitals of the world,’ said London-based Jeff Eldredge, co-head of V&E’s corporate department.

‘Paul is an extremely accomplished lawyer whose strong relationships and energetic approach to client service are exactly what we look for at V&E’, Eldredge added.

For more on Apostolos Gkoutzinis’ career, read ‘Life during law: Apostolos Gkoutzinis, Shearman & Sterling’

Legal Business

‘A no-brainer’: Milbank hires four-partner Cadwalader team to upgrade City restructuring business

‘A no-brainer’: Milbank hires four-partner Cadwalader team to upgrade City restructuring business

It has long been a prestigious New York shop without ever quite gaining critical mass in London, but Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy looks to be widening its ambitions after securing a four-partner restructuring team from Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft.

The move greatly expands Milbank’s City finance team, and includes Cadwaladers’ global financial restructuring co-chair Yushan Ng. He will be joined by partners Jacqueline Ingram, Karen McMaster and Sinjini Saha. Clients of the team include brand name sponsors Oaktree, KKR, Centerbridge Capital Partners and Blackstone.

Speaking to Legal Business, Milbank London co-managing partner Suhrud Mehta described the hire as a ‘no-brainer’ from a business perspective: ‘We have one of the world’s most renowned global financial restructuring practices. By bringing a star and his team on board, we’ll have greater depth on a transatlantic basis and in London one of the largest financial restructuring practices.’

Ng qualified at Linklaters and made partner at the Magic Circle firm in 2008. He joined Cadwalader in 2012. McMaster and Ingram joined Cadwalader in 2013 also from Linklaters, where they were associates. Saha was an associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett before joining Cadwalader as partner in 2015.

The hire comes eight years after Milbank recruited former Ashurst head of restructuring Nicholas Angel and brings the US firm’s London partner ranks to 26 – including six in restructuring. The 660-lawyer Milbank generated income of $855.6m in 2016, up 11% annually. During that financial year, London revenues edged up $4m to $114.1m.

The team’s departure leaves Cadwalader with four financial restructuring partners in London and comes after the firm posted revenues of $50m in 2017, a 10% increase on last year. The New York-based firm has been struggling to regain its 2000s momentum since the banking crisis, when it was heavily impacted by the collapse of key clients Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers.

Legal Business

Shearman, HSF and Milbank join Deutsche Bank panel as junior lawyer rules prove controversial

Shearman, HSF and Milbank join Deutsche Bank panel as junior lawyer rules prove controversial

Herbert Smith Freehills, Shearman & Sterling, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy and Reed Smith have also taken places on Deutsche Bank’s controversial new legal panel.

The firms take their places alongside more than a dozen others – including the entire Magic Circle, on the panel which has made headlines after the bank attempted to remove fees for junior lawyers.

Others on the panel include Ashurst, Simmons & Simmons, Taylor Wessing and Hogan Lovells. US firms on the new panel include Latham & Watkins, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Mayer Brown and White & Case.

The review process, which is understood to be mostly complete, stemmed from a request for proposal sent out to help Deutsche analyse its current policies and processes for external legal counsel. The process, dubbed ‘Project Eagle’, was led by global chief operating officer of legal and compliance Rose Battaglia, with appointments expected to last two years.

As part of the panel review, at tender stage, the bank attempted to implement a system under which trainee and newly-qualified lawyers would not be able to charge for work they carried out.

The system, which is more common in the US, has drawn some strong reactions from the profession. However, it is understood some firms on the panel were able to negotiate themselves out of the system.

One City partner from a panel firm said: ‘We were very concerned with it. Some firms pushed hard, some successfully, not to comply with that request. Those are the firms which offer the bank value for money.

‘I have some sympathy for Deutsche’s push. It doesn’t want to pay a one-year qualified lawyer, who is still an expensive asset, to do non-value-add work. It doesn’t want lawyers to learn on the job for them and get paid £250 an hour.’

However, one head of finance at a Deutsche panel firm said the trend for institutions to delete junior lawyer fees is ‘just for show’. He added: ‘For the purposes of presenting fee estimates, it’s a matter of the relationship between the institution and the relevant law firm as to how those numbers are presented.

‘If that means the client’s desire is not to show junior lawyer time because they feel the customer doesn’t want to pay for it, fine. But the figure will be the figure.’

A Deutsche Bank spokesperson declined to comment.

Read more £- ‘Clients and rookie lawyers – some awkward truths’

Legal Business

London growth slows at Milbank despite 11% global turnover bump

London growth slows at Milbank despite 11% global turnover bump

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy has become the latest firm to announce its London revenues, which rose by nearly $4m to $114.1m in 2016, 4% up on the $110.2m achieved in 2015. Growth in the City has been slower this year for the US firm, which posted a 6% rise last year.

The firm’s City office now accounts for 13% of the Milbank’s total global revenue. Milbank London co-managing partner Julian Stait said: ‘Last year we had a number of laterals who added to the revenue growth, while this year we haven’t made any further investment in new partners and teams so the growth was more steady. All in all, it was another good year for London and matched the trajectory of the firm.’

Turnover at the US firm grew by 11% last year to $855m, up $84m on the $771m the firm generated last year. Profits per equity partner (PEP) also increased by 13% to $3.1m. This brings strong growth after a lacklustre 2015, when the firm showed flat results in some of its key markets and only grew by 1% both in PEP and revenue figures.

Globally, the lawyer headcount and the equity partner numbers at the firm both increased by 2% last year. Overall headcount rose to 664 from 649 the year before, while the equity partner numbers increased to 149 in 2016.

The global rise also follows a series of high-profile hires last year, among them several from Allen & Overy including private equity (PE) partner Michael Bernhardt who joined the firm’s corporate department in Frankfurt and a three-partner team in New York, including the firm’s US senior partner Kevin O’Shea.

Meanwhile, last June PwC Legal hired former Milbank partner Laetitia Costa to run its banking and finance team in London.

Notable wins for Milbank in London in 2016 include getting a seat on Swiss private equity house Partners Group’s legal panel, and advising Nabors Industries on its joint venture with the Saudi Aramco.

Milbank’s City results come as White & Case’s London office saw a 4% increase in revenue sitting at around $290m while Cooley reached $47m only two years after opening in the City. King & Spalding also saw revenue increase by nearly 4% to $1.06bn as its PEP dipped 2% to nearly $2.5m.

Legal Business

Allen & Overy PE heavyweight Bernhardt joins Milbank in Frankfurt

Allen & Overy PE heavyweight Bernhardt joins Milbank in Frankfurt

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy has confirmed private equity (PE) partner Michael Bernhardt will join the firm’s corporate department in Frankfurt from Allen & Overy (A&O).

Bernhardt had moved with a team to A&O in 2011 after five years at Willkie Farr & Gallagher. He has over 15 years’ experience and is focused on corporate M&A and PE transactions.

Described by The Legal 500 as a practitioner with ‘deep business sense,’ Bernhardt’s client base included Deutsche Beteiligungs AG and capiton AG.

Milbank chairman Scott Edelman said: ‘His addition to the team is another strategic step in expanding our private equity and M&A capabilities in Germany and Europe. As we expect private equity to continue to be a particularly active area of M&A in the years ahead, he will play an important role in continuing to position the firm at the forefront of legal advisers to private equity houses with investment interests in Germany and all over Europe.’

The move is the second major play Milbank has made for A&O talent in recent weeks. In November, Milbank took on a three-partner team from A&O in New York, including the firm’s US senior partner Kevin O’Shea.

A&O’s growing private equity team had a solid year last year, topping Dealogic’s European PE table after advising on 31 deals across the 2015 calendar year. This was equal to 21% of the European buyout market last year, amounting to $23.95bn worth of deals including the biggest leveraged buyout deal of 2015.

Legal Business

‘One of the top teams’: Milbank takes A&O US senior partner in real estate group hire

‘One of the top teams’: Milbank takes A&O US senior partner in real estate group hire

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy has taken on a three-partner team from Allen & Overy (A&O) in New York, including the firm’s US senior partner Kevin O’Shea.

O’Shea has more than 30 years’ experience in real estate law, heading up A&O’s real estate practice in the US. He joined the Magic Circle firm’s New York office in 2002, having previously been a partner at Paul Hastings.

He joins Milbank with real estate finance partners Erwin Dweck and Yaakov Sheinfeld. Dweck, who made partner at A&O in 2011, has a practice including advising on real estate debt and equity investment, while Sheinfeld made partner earlier this year.

Milbank chair Scott Edelman told Legal Business: ‘We’ve been looking for a high quality real estate team for many, many years and this is one of the top teams in the New York market. We’re very happy with the New York office at the moment, but real estate was one area where we didn’t previously have this kind of offering, so we’re thrilled to have them.’

The loss of its US senior partner comes after months of building out in New York by A&O. In July, the Magic Circle made a five partner hire to boost its office. The firm hired Scott Zemser as its new global co-head of leveraged finance along with Alan Rockwell and Judah Frogel from White & Case.

The firm also added Rajani Gupta from Proskauer Rose and Todd Koretzky, an associate from Milbank who made partner on joining the firm. A&O is understood to have broken its lockstep to secure the new Manhattan hires in a major finance play to compete with the US elite.

A&O senior partner Wim Dejonghe and managing partner Andrew Ballheimer this summer restated the firm’s commitment to expanding its US law offering, strengthening its practice in New York and other countries.


Legal Business

Milbank posts flat global results as London turnover rises 6% to $110m

Milbank posts flat global results as London turnover rises 6% to $110m

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy has become the latest firm to post flat results following the economic slowdown in some of its key markets, including energy and infrastructure, as its London office put in a strong 6% revenue increase to $110.2m.

Milbank’s London revenue rose $6.5m to $110.2m in 2015, 6% up on the $103.7m it achieved in 2014. The firm’s City office now accounts for 14% of global revenue.

Global revenue grew by just 1% last year to $771m, up just $10m on the $761m Milbank generated last year. Profits per equity partner at the firm increased by 1% to $2.76m. It brings an end to a strong period of growth at the firm, with revenue up 8% in 2014 and PEP climbing 7% in 2014.

The rise follows a string of big name recruits, with Linklaters’ global energy co-head Matthew Hagopian and project finance partner Manzer Ijaz among Milbank’s City hires last year. Clifford Chance aviation and shipping partner Nick Swinburne was another arrival to swell the firm’s City ranks.

Milbank’s lacklustre global financial results follow stronger performances from Mayer Brown which broke the $1.5m barrier for the first time in 2015 as revenue rose 3% to $1.26bn, while Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher has been one of the fastest revenue risers. It notched a 20th straight year of revenue growth in 2015, with revenue up 5% to $1.54bn.

Legal Business

Bursting at the seams: Milbank makes room for 50 extra lawyers in the City

Bursting at the seams: Milbank makes room for 50 extra lawyers in the City

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy is gearing up for further growth in London by leasing extra office space, an extra 35% on top of its current City base.  

Milbank has been expanding aggressively and has more than doubled the size of the London office in the past five years to almost 130 lawyers. The Manhattan firm switched from its traditionally conservative management style when Scott Edelman replaced Mel Immergut as chairman in 2013 after Immergut’s 17-year spell as leader.

The extra office space added to London is intended to provide room for an extra 50 lawyers.

Adding to its space on 10 Gresham Street, Milbank has signed a 10-year lease for two floors in a building just opposite at 125 Wood Street. The extra office space is intended to make room for an additional 50 lawyers.

London growth at Milbank has included several high-profile hires, including the recruitment of Linklaters’ energy co-head Matthew Hagopian and fellow project finance partner Manzer Ijaz, who were appointed in February.

In a statement, the firm said it anticipates continued growth over the coming years.

‘Recent expansion and practice development has forced Milbank to look for additional office space in the City. Over the last few years, Milbank has significantly invested in, and diversified the offerings of the London office by adding two significant counter-cyclical and leading practices – litigation and financial restructuring – and invested in its corporate team.’

Legal Business

CC loses City finance partner to Milbank as Pinsents benefits from German exits with IP hire

CC loses City finance partner to Milbank as Pinsents benefits from German exits with IP hire

Pinsent Masons has become the latest firm to benefit from the on-going travails of Clifford Chance’s (CC) German offering with intellectual property (IP) partner Marc Holtorf leaving the Magic Circle firm’s Munich offices while in London, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy hired asset finance partner Nick Swinburne.

Holtorf, whose exit comes after a strategic review by German head Peter Dieners and multiple partner departures, moved to Munich from Dusseldorf in 2013 as part of another restructure of the Magic Circle firm’s German practice. He has focused on the life sciences, energy and retail sectors as well as advising on structuring and implementing IT and technology projects.

Having been made up to partner at CC in 2007, Holtorf will be Pinsents’ sixth lateral in Germany since opening in 2012 and thirteenth partner in the country.

Commenting on the appointment, Florian von Baum, Pinsents’ Munich head of IP/IT and outsourcing said: ‘Marc’s appointment demonstrates our commitment to further strengthening our pan-European offering at a time when current developments in patent law, such as the establishment of the Unified Patent Court, bring uncertainty for many clients.’

Holtorf joins a string of departures from CC’s German operations including co-private equity head Oliver Felsenstein to Latham & Watkins, longstanding capital markets partner Markus Pfüller to SZA Schilling, Zutt & Anschütz, trademark head Thorsten Vormann to K&L Gates and German corporate chief Arndt Stengel to Milbank.

Today (17 June), Milbank also announced a further hire from CC with Nick Swinburne joining its transportation and space practice as London co-head alongside James Cameron. Swinburne, who is recommended in The Legal 500, specialises in aviation and shipping deals. He joined CC in 1998 as a trainee and became partner a decade later. Standout work has included advising Ansett Worldwide Aviation Services (AWAS), one of the world’s largest aircraft leasing companies, on its first Japanese operating lease in 2013.

Milbank’s global transportation and space chief Drew Fine said: ‘Nick’s arrival marks a significant step in the continued growth of our European practice. His considerable experience in aviation and shipping, coupled with Milbank’s global capabilities, are sure to have great benefits for our transportation clients as we further grow this practice.’

Legal Business

A €6.6bn purchase: Linklaters and Milbank advise on Borealis’ Swedish Fortum Distribution deal

A €6.6bn purchase: Linklaters and Milbank advise on Borealis’ Swedish Fortum Distribution deal

Linklaters and US firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy have picked up key instructions on the €6.6bn purchase of Fortum Distribution, the owner of Fortum’s electricity distribution business in Sweden, by Borealis Infrastructure Management.

A team at Linklaters, led by finance partner Ian Andrews, advised the Swedish-Canadian consortium on UK law aspects of the purchase. The consortium comprised made up of Borealis Infrastructure Management, Swedish national pension funds Första AP-Fonden and Tredje AP-Fonden, and Swedish mutual insurance and pension savings company Folksam.

Milbank advised the mandated lead arrangers, with leveraged finance partner and practice head Suhrud Mehta leading a multi-disciplinary team including finance partners Clive Ransome, Neil Caddy and James Warbey.

Swedish firm Mannheimer Swartling was lead counsel to the purchaser with a team including M&A partner Adam Green. Avance was lead counsel to Fortum with a team including senior partner Ulf-Henrik Kull, while local firm Vinge also provided counsel on the deal with a team led by Johan Gothberg.

Fortum Distribution AB is the second largest player in the electricity distribution market in Sweden, with 900,000 customers representing a market share of around 17%. With the total consideration on a debt and cash free basis, Fortum expects to complete the divestment process during the second quarter of 2015 subject to regulatory approvals and closing conditions.

Linklaters partner Andrews said: ‘This is the leading deal in the market this year and one of the largest and most complex for some time. It is a real credit to the consortium and we are delighted to have been able to help them achieve this success.’

Milbank practice head Mehta added: ‘This transaction is another strong example of our team’s ability to handle the largest and most complicated financings with a very large bank group and demonstrates Milbank’s bandwidth and talent for execution given the sheer number of clients involved and the complexity of the transaction.’