Legal Business

Targeting London: Proskauer set for Heron Tower and double its office space after City growth


New York-headquartered Proskauer Rose is set to double its office space in London with a move into the Heron Tower from its current base at 10 Bishops Square.

The firm is set to relocate in the New Year to take an 18,000 sq ft lease in the 230 metre skyscraper at 110 Bishopsgate. Fit out works began at the beginning of October.

Recent hires have taken the firm up to 15 partners in London, where the firm launched in 2007. The US firm hired Robert Gaut from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson to head up its UK tax practice in January and Steve Davis, a senior M&A partner at King & Wood Mallesons, is set to join the firm in December. Davis led SJ Berwin’s City corporate team before its $1bn Sino-Australian merger last year.

Proskauer Rose has 36 lawyers in the City and recently bolstered its partnership ranks with the promotions of high-yield specialist Max Kirchner and finance lawyer Faisal Ramzan. The firm is targeting further growth in London and the new office space will allow for around 100 lawyers.

Revenue at Proskauer Rose increased by 4% to $768.4m in the last financial year, with profits per equity partner up 5% to $1.95m. Its London office recently acted alongside Osborne Clarke on Spanish plasma therapies company Grifols’ $1.7bn purchase of pharmaceutical giant Novartis’ transfusion diagnostics unit. Allen & Overy acted for the Swiss pharma company.

Legal Business

‘Steven has been a tremendous force’: Proskauer turns to KWMSJB’s best-known London M&A lawyer as it shifts focus


Steven Davis, who led SJ Berwin’s City corporate team before its $1bn Sino-Australian merger, is set to leave the firm for Proskauer Rose, whose own merger plans with SJ Berwin collapsed before the City firm looked eastwards for growth.

Davis, who stood down as London head of corporate after seven years in the post following the merger, will become the fourteenth City partner at Proskauer and is something of a coup for the firm which is looking to increase its focus on M&A work. Davis, whose clients include Lloyds Banking Group and private equity giant Bridgepoint, was on legacy SJ Berwin’s seven-member management committee in the run up to the merger and would have been a senior figure involved in the merger talks with Proskauer Rose in 2011.

He reunites with a three-partner funds team, led by Nigel van Zyl, which left SJ Berwin to launch Proskauer’s London office in 2011. He is the first major hire for the firm in London since it snapped up Robert Gaut from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson to head its tax practice in January this year [2014].

King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin senior partner, Stephen Kon said: ‘Steven has been a tremendous force both within the Corporate department and firm over the years.  We recognise and appreciate his contribution and wish him well.’

KWMSJB is planning to boost its London office with Tim Bednall, global practice co-ordinator for its corporate division, and Shanghai-based partner Mike Wang being brought in on secondment to emphasise the firm’s connections with Asia. 

A number of legacy SJ Berwin partners have exited the firm in London since the merger, which was finalised in 2013, including private equity heavyweight Tim Wright who joined DLA Piper and litigator Giovanna Kwong who exited for Stephenson Harwood.

Legal Business

Pharmaceutical boon: A&O, Proskauer and Osborne Clarke advise on $1.68bn Novartis hive off


The buoyant pharmaceuticals market threw up yet another high-profile healthcare deal this week, as Swiss giant Novartis announced the sale of its blood transfusion diagnostics unit to Barcelona-based Grifols for an estimated $1.68bn, with Allen & Overy (A&O), Proskauer Rose, and Osborne Clarke (OC) all securing advisory roles on the transaction.

Basel-headquartered Novartis was advised by A&O’s M&A head Eric Shube in New York, who previously advised the company on its near $52bn acquisition of a majority stake in NYSE-listed eye-care company Alcon, the largest acquisition ever undertaken by the pharma group.

On the other side, Proskauer advised Grifols, with New York-based corporate partners Peter Samuels and Daniel Ganitsky heading the deal. Samuels’ client portfolio in healthcare also includes Andrx Corporation, where he advised on its $1.9bn merger with Watson Pharmaceuticals (now Actavis).

Grifols also turned to Osborne Clarke’s Spanish arm, with head of life sciences & healthcare Tomás Dagá and M&A partner Raimon Grifols heading the team, alongside partners David Miranda (finance), Silvia Steiner (antitrust), and Núria Martín (capital markets).

Grifols previously worked with the healthcare company, of which he has also been a secretary since 2001 according to Reuters, on its €37m acquisition of a 60% stake in biotechnology firm Progenika in May this year.

This latest transaction, which requires customary regulatory approvals, is expected to be completed in the first half of 2014.

The deals comes in a week that also saw Irish biopharmaceutical giant Shire instruct US firm Davis, Polk & Wardwell in relation to its $4.2bn purchase of rare disease pharmaceutical company ViroPharma, which is being advised by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Data recently compiled by Bloomberg shows there have been 44 acquisitions of speciality drug companies for more than $500m in the last three years, with Industry specialist firms reaping the rewards, including Global 100 firms Covington & Burling and Latham & Watkins, which recently won key roles on Salix Pharmaceutical’s $2.6bn acquisition of speciality pharma company Santarus, announced last Thursday (7 November).

Legal Business

Jones Day keen to boost London headcount after departures

Jones Day, one of the largest law firms in the Global 100 by headcount, is most commonly recognised for its US strengths, but John Phillips, partner-in-charge of the London office, says the firm is keen to expand its UK offering: ‘We have to develop in London and turn it into a main office. The plan is to recruit more people, more lateral hires.’

Legal Business

Travers Smith launches review of US best friends network

Travers Smith has always been one to plough its own furrow and last month the firm confirmed it was reviewing its roster of US best friend firms.

The corporate powerhouse is reviewing its line-up in the wake of a raft of US firms strengthening their own London offerings.