Legal Business

European tax boost for Shearman as it becomes BFs with Tremonti

Shearman & Sterling has boosted it European tax offering by entering into a ‘best friends’ cooperation agreement with tier one Italian tax practice Tremonti Vitali Romagnoli Piccardi e Associati.

The firms have previously worked together on high profile transactions for corporates and financial institutions and will remain fully independent but will now jointly pitch for work from both Italian and international clients.

Shearman currently has two offices in Italy, opening in Rome in 2002 on a capital markets platform and then in Milan in 2009 with a focus on M&A, financing and restructurings.

Domenico Fanuele, managing partner of Shearman & Sterling in Italy, said: ‘This alliance will form a platform to combine Shearman & Sterling’s extensive legal expertise, in Italy and internationally, with Tremonti Vitali Romagnoli Piccardi e Associati’s top-notch Italian tax capabilities.’

Tremonti Vitali was founded by Giulio Tremonti in the early 1980s and is ranked as a tier one firm Italian tax firm in The Legal 500. Other international firms to feature highly in the Legal 500 table, which is dominated at the upper levels by local firms, include Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and McDermott Will & Emery.

Tremonti Vitali managing partner, Enrico Vitali, said: ‘The experience and professionalism of our colleagues at Shearman & Sterling and the complementarity of our practices were the decisive factors in determining our strategic cooperation, which positions us to further develop and enhance our respective businesses.’

david.stevenson@legalease.co.uk

   

Legal Business

Another senior departure for Shearman’s Euro practice as Links rebuilds French securities team with high profile hire

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The revolving door at Shearman & Sterling’s European practice was spinning once again today (11 July) with news that capital markets partner Bertrand Sénéchal has quit the US law firm to join the Paris arm of Linklaters.

Sénéchal’s practice covers a broad range of debt and equity securities work. The high profile partner has handled the French and US aspects of several large high-yield and Yankee bond transactions, and has advised major companies like Danone and Schneider Electric, as well as prominent underwriters.

‘Bertrand Sénéchal is one of the best French lawyers in capital markets. He is a natural fit with our five capital markets partners and is a superb addition to the team. We are very pleased about his arrival, which is an important step in our development plans for the practice,’ said Paul Lignières, managing partner of Linklaters in Paris.

The departure of Sénéchal, who has been a partner at Shearman’s Paris arm since 2005, comes amid a period of upheaval for the 840-lawyer firm’s European network. Notably Shearman earlier this year announced a major restructuring of its German practice, leading to the closure of offices in Dusseldorf and Munich. Latham & Watkins in May subsequently recruited three corporate partners in Germany – Harald Selzner, Rainer Wilke and Martin Neuhaus – while Allen & Overy in April recruited corporate partner Hans Diekmann.

Shearman’s French practice also in January saw the departure of arbitration partner Philippe Pinsolle to launch a Paris arm for US disputes leader Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.

While Shearman asserts that the German restructuring is a positive move, the firm is generally regarded to have lost considerable ground since the early 2000s, when it was viewed by many as the top US adviser in Europe.

Linklaters, meanwhile, has been moving to restock its French securities practice after in February losing a major chunk of its Paris capital markets team to White & Case amid disagreements over strategy. The departing team comprised partners Cenzi Gargaro, Philippe Herbelin and Séverin Robillard along with a consultant and senior associate with all five joining White & Case as partners.

Sénéchal commented in a statement: ‘Linklaters provides an ideal platform to further develop my business activity. The truly globally-minded environment and the teamwork are decisive advantages to me and I am very pleased to join this French and international team.’

David.stevenson@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Slaughter and May steps in for Siemens on €1.7bn sale of stake in NSN

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Shearman & Sterling has led for Nokia on its €1.7bn buyout of Siemens’ stake in Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) in a deal that has seen Slaughter and May step in for the German engineering giant.

Announced on 1 July, Shearman fielded a multi-disciplinary team across London and New York led by City M&A partner Jeremy Kutner for longstanding client Nokia. Slaughter and May led by London corporate partner Tim Boxell advised the Siemens team led out of its German headquarters.

NSN was formed in 2006 in a €16bn joint venture between Nokia and Siemens aimed at offering innovative mobile broadband technology and services. Advising on its formation was former Shearman City-based partner Jonathan Coppin opposite Clifford Chance (CC).In April this year CC also advised NSN on the sale of its business support systems business to Redknee Solutions for €40m.

The JV was governed by English law and Kutner, who was promoted to partner in 2011, led alongside London finance partners Mei Lian and Clifford Atkins and New York M&A partners Peter Lyons, Scott Petepiece and Samuel Waxman.

The deal was turned round in a week, during which Lian and Atkins put a €1.2bn loan facility in place. Kutner said: ‘They did an amazing job of getting it done in a short space of time.

‘For us the real thing about this type of transaction is how well we work across our practice. A lot of people say that is the case but here it really was. I was closing another deal in Singapore and when I went to bed the people in New York picked it up.’

Shearman was assisted by De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek and Slaughters by Houthoff Buruma in relation to NSN in the Netherlands.

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2013.

sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Shearman bolsters London private equity team with double Weil Gotshal partner hire

The brisk trade in private equity partners continues in the City with news today (15 March) that Shearman & Sterling has hired Weil, Gotshal & Manges’ experienced corporate partner Mark Soundy.

Soundy is joined by fellow Weil Gotshal partner Sarah Priestley, a corporate tax specialist focusing on private equity and hedge funds. Associate Simon Burrows will also move over from Weil to Shearman as partner.

At Weil Gotshal, the trio worked closely with private equity partner Jeremy Dickens who joined Shearman’s New York office in April.

Soundy moved to Weil in 2004 from Travers Smith Braithwaite and has focused on M&A, private equity and restructuring for more than 25 years. Clients include Silver Lake, Bridge Capital and Apax and he has particular experience in media deals. such as advising Apax Partners and HiT Entertainment on the $680m sale of HiT Entertainment to Matte.

Shearman’s EMEA managing partner, Nick Buckworth, told Legal Business that the addition of the private equity team ‘adds a bit of rocket fuel to the tank’.

He added: ‘We are delighted to boost our European PE practice with the addition of such a high quality team. They combine very well with our existing platform in London and, with the recent addition of Jeremy Dickens in New York, will be instrumental in helping drive our global PE business.’

The addition of this trio will help Shearman looks set to establish a private equity offering in London that up until now has been run single-handedly by corporate partner Jeremy Kutner.

Shearman is the latest firm to make a significant play in private equity in the City, following the hire of former global head of private equity at Clifford Chance, David Walker, by Latham & Watkins last month.

david.stevenson@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Latham picks up three-partner Shearman team for Düsseldorf launch

Latham & Watkins is to further expand its German corporate capability with the launch of a Düsseldorf office after hiring a three-partner team from US rival Shearman & Sterling.

Corporate and M&A partners Harald Selzner, Rainer Wilke and Martin Neuhaus will spearhead the new office, while Latham has also hired Shearman corporate litigator Markus Rieder to join its Munich office.

The hires – which come following Shearman’s announcement that it is to close its Düsseldorf and Munich offices  – are in line with Latham’s strategy to extend its corporate reach.

According to Munich managing partner (MP) Thomas Fox – who will also serve as the new MP of Düsseldorf – the firm is looking for German partners with German connections that can raise the firm’s client base with the likes of DAX 30 companies. Those include Eon, holding company Tengelmann Group, car manufacturer Daimler and Allianz, as well as large family-owned German mid-sized companies.

The new corporate team, which will be boosted by the transfer to Düsseldorf of Frankfurt litigation partner Christine Gartner, will advise on domestic and cross-border M&A and high end public company representation and complex disputes matters. The new office is expected to open at the end of May. Latham also has a presence in Hamburg and Frankfurt.

Latham’s chair and managing partner Robert Dell said: ‘We are focused on growing our business with blue chip industrials and other multinational companies, and this team fits our strategy perfectly. Our newest office in Düsseldorf, one of the world’s major industrial centers and a hub for manufacturing excellence and innovation, will be a key gateway for the strategic growth of our corporate capability.’

Joerg Kirchner, vice chair of Latham & Watkins’ global corporate department added: ‘The anticipated arrival of this team follows several significant lateral partner additions in London, continental Europe and the US; all of whom bring profound talents and will contribute significantly to the growth of our corporate and litigation capability.’

Allen & Overy recently hired Shearman Düsseldorf corporate partner Hans Diekmann for its local office.

jaishree.kalia@legalease.co.uk 

Legal Business

Freshfields Pick ‘outstanding’ energy hire

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has demonstrated that US firms in the City are not the only ones to be making high-profile partner hires, announcing the recruitment of respected Shearman & Sterling partner and head of global project development and finance Tim Pick in April.

The arrival of Pick, described as ‘outstanding in all respects’ in the latest edition of The Legal 500, is a significant appointment for Freshfields. He will join as a finance partner in London and will focus on advising clients in the energy and natural resources sector in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Legal Business

A&O picks up corporate partner as Shearman announces Düsseldorf and Munich closures

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Allen & Overy has hired Shearman & Sterling’s corporate partner Hans Diekmann as a partner in its Düsseldorf office.

Diekmann, whose start date at A&O is yet to be confirmed, joined Shearman as a partner in 1999. Before that he worked in the legal department of Deutsche Bank’s headquarters in Frankfurt for over seven years. Diekmann will become the sixth partner in A&O’s Düsseldorf office, all of which have been hired in.

Meanwhile, Shearman has confirmed that it will close its Düsseldorf and Munich offices this year, consolidating its German operations into Frankfurt. In a statement, senior partner Creighton Condon said: ‘This concentration in Frankfurt will enable us to respond to a significantly altered market in Germany while providing our clients with the same level of exceptional service that they have always expected from Shearman & Sterling. In addition, this will enable us to continue to invest in growth initiatives that will benefit our clients throughout Europe and around the world.’

On the hire of Diekmann A&O’s senior partner in Germany, Neil Weiand said: ‘Previously, it was not an option to merge with a German firm, so we decided to do it with a healthy mix of lateral hires and organic growth. We want to be a full service office. The current focus is very much on consolidating our top position in Corporate and M&A. Hans Diekmann will help us in doing so.’

The firm is also growing organically in Germany and has announced three partner promotions with effect from 1 May – employment partner Markulf Behrendt and corporate/M&A partner Malte Holthaus in Hamburg; and banking and finance partner Franz Bernhard Herding in Frankfurt.

Meanwhile Matthias Winter, a senior counsel in Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s finance practice group, joined Bird & Bird’s international aviation group in Frankfurt on 17 April.

Winter’s move to Bird & Bird follows that of asset finance partners Brett Hailey in London from SNR Denton, and Leo Fattorini in Singapore, who was previously in-house counsel at Virgin Atlantic. The lateral hires also come in the wake of Bird & Bird’s 11-strong partner promotion of senior associates in early April, which saw the firm boost its European-wide IP, employment, media, energy and antitrust practices.

Jaishree.kalia@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Liberalisation of Singapore market gathers pace

The Singapore Ministry of Law (MinLaw) stopped receiving applications from foreign law firms seeking a Qualifying Foreign Law Practice (QFLP) licence at the end of August. Twenty-three firms have applied for a QFLP, with UK-based Ashurst, Berwin Leighton Paisner, DLA Piper, Olswang and Stephenson Harwood all confirming that they have applied for licences alongside US firms Jones Day, K&L Gates, Watson, Farley & Williams, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Shearman & Sterling.

Singapore used to only allow foreign firms to work alongside domestic practices in limited joint ventures. However, in 2008 MinLaw granted six QFLPs to Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Herbert Smith, Latham & Watkins, Norton Rose and White & Case, allowing those firms to practise Singaporean law with some restrictions. The latest moves reflect the increasing interest of international firms in practising local law.

Legal Business

Shearman’s rainmaker leaves for Skadden

Shearman & Sterling’s loss is Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom’s gain after Stephan Hutter, Germany’s pre-eminent capital markets specialist, swapped one US firm for another in February.

Hutter joined Skadden’s Frankfurt office along with fellow partner Katja Kaulamo, gifting the firm the German capital markets capability it has sought for so long.