Legal Business

In need of sponsors – can a bank-dominated A&O get the hang of this private equity thing?

Jaishree Kalia assesses A&O’s latest attempt to break into the buyout game.

There was never any obvious reason for Allen & Overy (A&O) to largely ignore private equity. While a circular debate simmered in the City about the problems of combining deal finance and corporate, its arch rival Clifford Chance (CC) had long made hay in both leverage finance and private equity. A finance-centric law firm should on paper be in tune with private equity houses, while the lack of a public M&A heritage to rival a Linklaters would suggest the buyout barons would have made good clients to build its corporate brand.