Sponsors, pharma and tech fire up deal activity despite a subdued year for marquee M&A in Europe

Sponsors, pharma and tech fire up deal activity despite a subdued year for marquee M&A in Europe

A dearth of megadeals in 2019 did little to dampen the spirits of dealmakers with buyout teams capitalising on the ongoing private equity boom while wider pharma and tech deals drove bid activity.

On the face of it, headline figures from Mergermarket speak of a subdued year, with global M&A activity declining 6.9% from 2018 to $3.33trn. The picture in Europe was considerably more gloomy, with the continent seeing a 21.9% dive in total deal value to $770.5bn. Continue reading “Sponsors, pharma and tech fire up deal activity despite a subdued year for marquee M&A in Europe”

Goodwin and Eversheds make bold corporate plays amid hopes of increasing City transactional firepower

Goodwin and Eversheds make bold corporate plays amid hopes of increasing City transactional firepower

Goodwin Procter and Eversheds Sutherland both made significant corporate hires in November, with the pair recruiting Kirkland & Ellis partner Carl Bradshaw and Simmons & Simmons former head of UK corporate Giles Dennison respectively.

For Goodwin, the hire of Bradshaw comes during an expansive period for the firm, particularly in private equity. He brings nine years of experience from Kirkland – four of which were as partner – and a practice that focuses on cross-border private equity deals; leveraged buyouts; carve-outs; public-to-privates; consortium deals; and co-investments. Continue reading “Goodwin and Eversheds make bold corporate plays amid hopes of increasing City transactional firepower”

Deal View: Freshfields silences critics with four-piece Cleary team but can it keep up the pressure on Wall St?

Deal View: Freshfields silences critics with four-piece Cleary team but can it keep up the pressure on Wall St?

‘Supercharging it’ and ‘pretty wild’ are not superlatives usually cropping up on your average conference call with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. If the conversation with Ethan Klingsberg (pictured), the Wall Street M&A star that led a four-partner team exit from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, was not very Freshfields, Edward Braham’s unrestrained enthusiasm for the hires when the news broke in October was similarly striking for the unfailingly understated senior partner. Reinforcing how much Freshfields had riding on this, Braham was in New York personally supervising the move upon announcement.

Even critics of Freshfields’ slow-and-steady US strategy are applauding the Cleary haul – the prominent M&A veteran Klingsberg, Meredith Kotler, Pamela Marcogliese and Paul Tiger – as the kind of daring statement that has been previously missing. ‘I admire them for having a go,’ admits one ex-partner, now at a US firm, expressing the consensus view. Continue reading “Deal View: Freshfields silences critics with four-piece Cleary team but can it keep up the pressure on Wall St?”

Deal View: A&O’s corporate practice has matured nicely but will O’Melveny fallout take its toll?

Deal View: A&O’s corporate practice has matured nicely but will O’Melveny fallout take its toll?

Habitually viewed as the poor relation to its unparalleled banking and finance practice, Allen & Overy (A&O)’s corporate team has stepped up in recent years, the culmination of a decades-spanning campaign to forge a top-tier name in M&A.

Richard Browne, co-head of corporate, stresses the level of growth the 161-partner practice has seen, having increased its fee income by 50% in the last decade. ‘In the dark ages when I started, A&O’s corporate practice was not the best. It was a banking and finance firm. That is no longer the case at all. Corporate has become the same size as the banking business. It is incredibly profitable, with top-tier work and clients.’ Continue reading “Deal View: A&O’s corporate practice has matured nicely but will O’Melveny fallout take its toll?”

Israel: Anti-fragile

Israel: Anti-fragile

Thriving in the face of adversity as politics and security play an integral part in everyday life is a default position for Israel. The data backs this up: recent OECD reports describe Israel as stable with strong economic growth: annual GDP has consistently risen by three to four percent over recent years to reach nearly $400bn in 2019. This, despite a protracted leadership battle taking place with two general elections in six months bringing the nation no closer to a conclusive result.

Michael Barnea, managing partner of Barnea, Jaffa, Lande & Co, develops the point: ‘The environment is surprisingly robust considering the political instability that we’ve experienced for a considerable time. Investment, both from overseas into Israel and in the local market, is extremely strong and gives every appearance of being confident in the future.’ Continue reading “Israel: Anti-fragile”

Big deal: Weil makes symbolic London play with hire of Linklaters M&A star Avery-Gee

Big deal: Weil makes symbolic London play with hire of Linklaters M&A star Avery-Gee

In a rare marquee hire for Weil, Gotshal & Manges, Linklaters M&A star David Avery-Gee (pictured) is joining the US firm’s City office.

The hire is a standout move for Weil, which has failed to gain meaningful traction on lofty ambitions to bolster its corporate practice in London to support the office’s managing partner, Mike Francies, who has been acting for some time as the firm’s chief M&A practitioner. Continue reading “Big deal: Weil makes symbolic London play with hire of Linklaters M&A star Avery-Gee”

Deal watch: LSE acquisition and aviation industry spell busy summer for the Magic Circle

Deal watch: LSE acquisition and aviation industry spell busy summer for the Magic Circle

The deal teams of elite City firms have seen a busy end of July amid several multibillion-pound deals, as the London Stock Exchange (LSE) launched a $27bn bid to acquire Refinitiv and Advent International announced the £4bn acquisition of UK aerospace supplier Cobham. Meanwhile, another private equity house investing in the UK aviation industry, CVC Capital Partners, acquired BBA Aviation’s aircraft parts unit Ontic for $1.37bn. Continue reading “Deal watch: LSE acquisition and aviation industry spell busy summer for the Magic Circle”

‘Time for a change’ as multiple corporate legal chiefs leave posts for pastures new

‘Time for a change’ as multiple corporate legal chiefs leave posts for pastures new

Anna Cole-Bailey rounds up the latest senior corporate in-house moves

A string of general counsel (GCs) have made career changes of late, including high-profile names such as the long-serving Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) European legal chief Sajid Hussein and Rio Tinto GC Philip Richards. Continue reading “‘Time for a change’ as multiple corporate legal chiefs leave posts for pastures new”

Top Trumps, City-style – Who holds the cards in private equity?

Top Trumps, City-style – Who holds the cards in private equity?

If there’s one City practice that has barely paused for breath in recent years, it is private equity (PE). Global buyout values reached a record high in 2018 and, while Mergermarket data suggests the first half of 2019 slipped back somewhat, activity levels remain strong, with take-privates driving much marquee M&A activity.

This has only served to underline the drawing power of the sector’s top dealmakers and recent years have seen a flurry of lateral moves. Kirkland & Ellis, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Latham & Watkins are among the most potent threats to the Magic Circle, but others, such as Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Willkie Farr & Gallagher have also made investments to build out their City operations. Continue reading “Top Trumps, City-style – Who holds the cards in private equity?”

In-house round-up: New GCs for Royal Mail, Sky and Deliveroo

In-house round-up: New GCs for Royal Mail, Sky and Deliveroo

Royal Mail has filled the void left following former general counsel (GC) Maaike de Bie’s departure to easyJet, hiring in-house veteran Mark Amsden as its group GC and chief risk and governance officer.

Amsden was group GC and company secretary for Morrisons between 2013 and 2017, before a brief stint last year as interim company secretary at Yorkshire Water. Prior to going in-house, Amsden spent 14 years as a partner at Addleshaw Goddard, after starting out at Manchester firm Slater Heelis. Royal Mail has historically counted Addleshaws among its preferred external counsel. Continue reading “In-house round-up: New GCs for Royal Mail, Sky and Deliveroo”