Legal Business

Sidley returns to Kirkland for seven-partner Munich launch as US giant sustains European assault

Sidley returns to Kirkland for seven-partner Munich launch as US giant sustains European assault

Observers of Kirkland & Ellis’ patented burn ‘n’ churn approach to talent management are used to a little partnership movement, but even by the US leader’s standards, news today (15 February) that Sidley Austin has secured a seven-partner haul in Munich will catch attention.

The move sees Sidley return to Kirkland in dramatic fashion after last February hiring a six-partner deal team from Kirkland’s London office, a rare instance of the Chicago-bred institution losing an equity partner to a rival.

Veteran partner Volker Kullmann, joins with fellow corporate partners Björn Holland, Christian Zuleger, Nicole Schlatter and Marcus Klie, as well as finance partner Markus Feil and tax partner Roderic Pagel.

Kullmann joined Kirkland from Clifford Chance (CC) in 2004. With a focus on private equity and corporate, his clients include Ardian, Bridgepoint, Gilde Buy Out Partners, Intermediate Capital Group and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.

The transferring Kirkland team will be joined by Linklaters Frankfurt-based restructuring partner Kolja von Bismarck. Also ex-CC, von Bismarck joined Linklaters in 2009. The new recruits join Jan Schinköth, who arrived from DLA Piper at the beginning of the month and was also previously a partner at Kirkland.

Kirkland’s Munich office is left with five corporate partners and an overall headcount of 14 partners.

Sidley had re-launched in Germany in March last year after the recruitment of the six-partner team led by Erik Dahl in London. The London and Munich-based Dahl was brought in to establish and lead the firm’s German office. Sidley secured the corporate work of key Kirkland client TowerBrook Capital Partners with the relationship managed by Dahl and fellow corporate partner Christian Iwasko.

Sidley had previously shut its Frankfurt office in 2014 following a spate of partner exits that put the office under a review in 2013 but the firm has obviously upgraded its ambitions for Europe.

While Kirkland confirmed the departures, Sidley European head George Petrow said: ‘The addition of these outstanding partners to our Munich office is another key step forward on Sidley’s road toward first-tier global leadership in acting for private capital. Contrary to growing scepticism in some quarters about the future of globalised markets, we remain convinced that the ability to offer cross-border legal services will continue to offer outstanding growth opportunities to the firms capable of exploiting them, and nowhere more so than in private equity, restructuring and M&A.’

madeleine.farman@legalease.co.uk

For more on the revolving door between Sidley and Kirkland, see ‘Kiss the ring – patronage, in-fighting and exits threaten to stall Kirkland’s bandwagon’ (£)

Legal Business

Deal watch: Corporate activity in December 2016

Deal watch: Corporate activity in December 2016

TRAVERS AND W&C LEAD ON LATEST BRIDGEPOINT DEAL

Travers Smith advised long-time client Bridgepoint as it sold off Oasis Dental Care to White & Case client Bupa for £835m. DLA Piper also acted on the deal, advising the dental firm’s management team.

 

Legal Business

Rising star Sum quits for Sidley Austin in blow for Linklaters banking practice

Rising star Sum quits for Sidley Austin in blow for Linklaters banking practice

Rising restructuring star Yen Sum will exit Linklaters‘ banking practice to join US firm Sidley Austin after eight years with the Magic Circle firm.

Before joining Linklaters, Sum trained at the firm’s Australian alliance partner Allens. She joined Linklaters in 2002, moving to Barclays as a leveraged finance specialist in 2005 before returning to the Magic Circle firm in 2008 and making partner in 2010.

Sum is rated in The Legal 500 for her restructuring and insolvency work. Her experience includes leading on the £2.8bn restructuring of French clothing retailer Vivarte and acting on the £2.3bn restructuring of directories business Yell.

The Magic Circle partner will join Sidley a year after the firm also saw veteran restructuring partner David Ereira move to US firm Paul Hastings. Ereira was a rare lateral hire within the Magic Circle, having moved from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to Linklaters in 2007.

Linklaters global banking group is led by Tony Bugg, the former head of restructuring and insolvency, a practice which is now led by global co-heads Rebecca Jarvis and Richard Bussell.

In February, Bugg had picked Sum to lead a push for greater market penetration in the shadow banking space. Sum had previously worked in Barclays Capital’s leveraged finance unit.

Sum will join former Linklaters veteran corporate partner Stephen Blackshaw at Sidley, who joined the US firm’s London office in 2012. Blackshaw is currently co-head of corporate at the London office, having spent 14 years at Linklaters, founding the firm’s Amsterdam office and leading its corporate group.

Linklaters relatively stable banking practice was previously led by now managing partner Gideon Moore. In private equity, the Magic Circle firm has seen more losses to US rivals, with five partners moving to Kirkland & Ellis in the past two years.

Sidley has sought to strengthen its base in the City with a six-partner hire earlier this year from Kirkland, allowing the US firm boost its London private equity offering.

Sidley co-chair of corporate restructuring and bankruptcy James Conlan said: ‘Yen has an excellent reputation in the market and is a welcome addition to our practice and to Sidley. She will also work with our growing team of private equity and finance lawyers as we expand the firm’s offering to clients in situations across the UK, the rest of Europe, Asia and the US.’

Linklaters said in a statement: ‘We can confirm that Yen Sum will be retiring from the firm at the end of the year. We thank her for contribution to the firm and wish her well.’

matthew.field@legalease.co.uk

Read more on the City’s top banking teams in the feature: ‘Golden goodbyes – changing faces and fortunes at the City’s top banking teams’

 

Legal Business

Sidley Austin continues work for Bank of Cyprus with FTSE listing

Sidley Austin continues work for Bank of Cyprus with FTSE listing

Sidley Austin‘s London office is advising as the Bank of Cyprus prepares to list on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

A team led by Sidley co-head of corporate Stephen Blackshaw is advising the bank with tax partner Will Smith and regulatory partner Rachpal Thind. Cypriot counsel is local firm Chryssafinis & Polyviou with managing partner Polyvios Polyviou advising the bank.

HSBC is the sole financial adviser to the bank on the planned float. Linklaters is advising HSBC with a team led by capital markets partner Jason Manketo and corporate partner John Lane.

The bank will use an Irish holding company in order to join the FTSE index. It will remain listed on the Cyprus Stock Exchange as well as the LSE, but remove its listing from the Athens bourse.

The bank is the largest in Cyprus, employing more than 4,000 staff and controlling around €13bn of the Mediterranean island’s deposit market.

The Bank of Cyprus has gone through a period of recovery since the Cypriot financial crisis in 2012-13, while chief executive John Hourican has long held the goal of listing the bank on the LSE since he took over after its 2013 bailout. The bank was saved from collapse by an international rescue package in 2013 and went through a subsequent recapitalisation by HSBC and Credit Suisse.

Sidley has a long relationship advising the bank since its rescue. City-based finance partner Matthew Cahill led Sidley’s efforts on the bank’s recapitalisation in 2014 alongside capital markets partner Stephen Roith. However, Cahill has since left the firm and has been charged in relation to tax fraud. Roith also left in 2015 to join London boutique Raines & Co.

On the recapitalisation, Linklaters advised HSBC and Credit Suisse, with corporate partner Nick Garland and capital markets partner Jason Manketo leading. Cypriot firm Chryssafinis & Polyviou acted as local counsel.

It has been a difficult year for London listings as automotive company TI Fluid Systems, software giant Misys and fitness firm PureGym have abandoned plans to float in recent months.

matthew.field@legalease.co.uk

For more on the Cypriot economic recovery, see ‘Cyprus: picking up the pieces’

Legal Business

Deal watch: Corporate activity in October 2016

Deal watch: Corporate activity in October 2016

CC and Davis Polk On $8bn China IPO: Davis Polk & Wardwell advised Postal Savings Bank of China on its Hong Kong Stock Exchange float, with Clifford Chance leading for the underwriting banks, including JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs. King & Wood Mallesons acted as Chinese counsel to the banks, while Haiwen & Partners was Chinese adviser to Postal Savings Bank.

Legal Business

Sidley secures TowerBrook work despite K&E charm offensive

Sidley secures TowerBrook work despite K&E charm offensive

After a high-profile tussle and one of the biggest team hires in the City, Sidley Austin has secured the corporate work of key Kirkland & Ellis client TowerBrook Capital Partners, amid claims that Sidley pushed aggressively to secure the work.

The news comes after a six-partner team announced in February it would depart Kirkland and set up a City private equity team at Sidley.

Of the six joiners, corporate partners Erik Dahl and Christian Iwasko managed the TowerBrook relationship while at Kirkland, generating $20m a year – a major chunk of Kirkland’s estimated $180m in City revenues last year. Kirkland advises TowerBrook on the lion’s share of its M&A mandates across Europe.

Some of Dahl and Iwasko’s TowerBrook deals include acting for Braas Monier Building Group, which it bought in 2009 with Apollo Global Management and York Capital Management, on its refinancing, high-yield bond offering and initial public offering in 2014; advising on the sale of the Jimmy Choo group to Labelux Group in 2011; and representing the client on its €443m sale of PolymerLatex in 2010.

The move comes amid claims that Sidley has quoted aggressively on fees to successfully secure the transfer of work despite a last-ditch effort by Kirkland to retain a least a chunk of its mandates.

‘I have never seen anything like this before,’ said one City private equity partner. ‘Moving a client into a non-full-service start-up is always risky. [Sidley] is saying “take a punt on us for a year and see how it works”.’

Another added: ‘I was surprised to hear this. TowerBrook is an active client and they are clearly buying the business.’

However, George Petrow, who co-heads Sidley’s finance practice, said in a statement that assertions that clients set to follow the Kirkland team would ‘enjoy a more generous fee arrangement’ were ‘untrue’. TowerBrook declined to comment.

Sidley has clearly made every effort to bolster its newly-launched deal team. Of the six partners joining, private equity partner Fatema Orjela, banking partner Bryan Robson, corporate partner Sava Savov and tax partner Oliver Currall are all understood to have joined Sidley on salaries between $1m and $1.5m. Dahl and Iwasko on the other hand are on financial guarantees of $5m. Sidley last month bolstered its leveraged finance team with the hire of Willkie Farr & Gallagher partner James Crooks.

The firm also hiked the pay of seven associates to secure the recruits. It is understood that one-year post-qualification experience (PQE) associates will see wages rise from £95,000 to £105,000 while two years’ PQE will see pay packets increase from £105,000 to £115,000. Associates with three years’ PQE will take home £129,000, an increase of £14,000.

Sidley, which has historically focused on structured finance in the UK, is also in the process of launching a Munich office, mainly to service Dahl’s clients, despite axing its Frankfurt office in 2014 following a spate of partner exits that put the office under a review in 2013. Dahl worked out of both London and Munich while at Kirkland.

jaishree.kalia@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Sidley secures TowerBrook work despite K&E charm offensive

Sidley secures TowerBrook work despite K&E charm offensive

Tussle continues over lucrative work after K&E raid

After a high-profile tussle and one of the biggest team hires in the City, Sidley Austin has secured the corporate work of key Kirkland & Ellis client TowerBrook Capital Partners, amid claims that Sidley pushed aggressively to secure the work.

Legal Business

Sidley Austin reunites Willkie partner with incoming Kirkland private equity team

Sidley Austin reunites Willkie partner with incoming Kirkland private equity team

Sidley Austin has filled a hole in its City finance debt team with the hire of Willkie Farr & Gallagher corporate leveraged finance partner James Crooks.

Former Kirkland partner Crooks has officially resigned from Willkie Farr and accepted an offer from Sidley. He will re-join six former Kirkland partners – private equity partners Christian Iwasko, Erik Dahl and Fatema Orjelam alongside banking partner Bryan Robson, corporate partner Sava Savov and tax partner Oliver Currall – at the new shop.

Crooks had worked closely with debt finance specialist Robson during his time at Kirkland. Crooks left Kirkland in 2014 to join Willkie Farr as the firm was building its City debt finance practice. He specialises in debt finance, including syndicated lending, leveraged acquisitions and general banking with significant experience in private equity, capital markets and debt restructuring transactions.

The hire is a significant coup for Sidley which is clearly investing in the City, which in the past had no serious private equity offering. The firm also hiked all associate pay in the City office to at least £100,000 to secure seven associates moving across with the Kirkland team.

Sidley also gave some of the new partners and the joining team of seven associates a signing-on fee of up to £100,000 each in addition to their salaries.

jaishree.kalia@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Sidley Austin hikes associate pay to secure Kirkland movers amid plans to launch in Munich

Sidley Austin hikes associate pay to secure Kirkland movers amid plans to launch in Munich

Sidley Austin is upping its game in the City by announcing it will increase the salary of all its London associates to at least £100,000.

The firm is also making plans to launch a new office in Germany to service some of the new clients it will be taking on.

The pay hike comes as part of the firm’s play to secure a team of associates arriving from Kirkland & Ellis, along with a six-partner team that was recruited in February.

Under the changes, newly qualified associates will receive £10,000 more to £100,000 from 1 May this year.

It is understood that one year post-qualification experience (PQE) associates will see wages rise from £95,000 to £105,000 while two years’ PQE will see pay packets increase from £105,000 to £115,000. Associates with three years’ PQE will take home £129,000, an increase of £14,000 more than before.

Sidley is also giving some of the new partners and the team of seven associates a signing-on fee of up to £100,000 each in addition to their salaries.

City private equity partners Erik Dahl, Christian Iwasko and Fatema Orjela alongside banking partner Bryan Robson, corporate partner Sava Savov and tax partner Oliver Currall quit Kirkland & Ellis in February to join Sidley Austin and improve its private equity offering.

Sidley is also in the process of launching a Munich office, mainly to service Dahl’s clients. Dahl – who served as an officer in the US Army earlier in his career – worked out of both London and Munich while at Kirkland.

The office would be the firm’s first base in Germany having axed its Frankfurt office in 2014 following a spate of partner exits that put the office under a review in 2013.

jaishree.kalia@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

US partner promotions: Sidley Austin makes up just one in London in reduced round

US partner promotions: Sidley Austin makes up just one in London in reduced round

Sidley Austin is the latest US firm to announce its partnership promotions, electing 24 new partners, but making up just one in London in a reduced partnership round. 

The total number of promotions is 25% less than last year when 32 lawyers were made up, and matches 2013’s level in which 24 Sidley lawyers also made the ranks.

All promotions were made in the US apart from two in Europe – James Oussedik was promoted in London within the investment funds, advisers and derivatives practice while disputes pracitioner Michele Tagliaferri was made up in the Brussels office.

Last year, the US firm’s London office saw two promotions in the corporate reorganisation and bankruptcy, and real estate practice groups, while the year before no City promotions were made.

Sidley’s management committee chair Larry Barden said: ‘Our new partners share a strong dedication to the core values of our firm and exemplify Sidley’s commitment to excellent client service, integrity, diversity and collegiality.’

Sidley’s round comes after Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan made up one in London in a global round of nine, while London provided the bulk of this year’s partner promotions at Shearman & Sterling, with more lawyers joining its partnership in the City than in the US.

In November, Weil Gotshal & Manges focused on New York and London in a reduced round that saw seven of the eight promotions in the two major cities; after Mayer Brown made up two in London from a 27-strong round; while Simpson Thacher & Bartlett promoted nine new partners across the firm including three in London, and fellow Wall Street elite Sullivan & Cromwell only promoted in the US.

The promotions come into effect on 1 January 2016. 

jaishree.kalia@legalease.co.uk

The full list of Sidley’s partner promotions: 

Michele Tagliaferri, Complex Commercial Litigation, Brussels

Kathleen Carlson, Securities and Shareholder Litigation, Chicago

John McBride, Intellectual Property Litigation, Chicago

Joseph Paral, Tax, Chicago

Beth Quintana, Investment Funds, Advisers and Derivatives, Chicago

Steven Sexton, Securities and Shareholder Litigation, Chicago

Adam Snyder, M&A, Chicago

Robert Velevis, Complex Commercial Litigation, Dallas

James Oussedik, Investment Funds, Advisers and Derivatives, London

Courtney Rangen, Real Estate, Los Angeles

Michael Rosenfield, Insurance, Los Angeles

David Form, Investment Funds, Advisers and Derivatives, New York

Neil Horner, M&A, New York

Robert Kao, Global Finance, New York

Sheetal Khera, Global Finance, New York

John Fisher, M&A, Palo Alto

Jaime Bartlett, Securities and Shareholder Litigation, San Francisco

Kwaku Akowuah, Supreme Court and Appellate, Washington DC

Andrew Blake, Securities & Derivatives Enforcement and Regulatory, Washington DC

Colleen Theresa Brown, Privacy, Data Security and Information Law, Washington DC

Stephanie Hales, Healthcare, Washington DC

Karen Kazmerzak, Antitrust/Competition, Washington DC

Brian Morrissey, White Collar: Government Litigation & Investigations, Washington DC

Raj Pai, Food, Drug and Medical Device Compliance and Enforcement, Washington DC