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”

Corporations with benefits – Assessing the rise of US public benefit companies

Corporations with benefits – Assessing the rise of US public benefit companies

When looking for good in the world, corporate governance law is not the most obvious place to train your eye. However, there is a sizeable band of corporations – thousands, in fact – who have opted to start just there, using corporate governance as a springboard to the greater good.

Shareholder primacy, often cast as the villain in corporate scandals or blinkered business decisions, operates on the theory that the job of directors and management is to maximise returns to investors. In turn, corporate law is traditionally viewed as a contract between corporations and investors that the company will, in the balance of law, deliver the highest return. Continue reading “Corporations with benefits – Assessing the rise of US public benefit companies”

Deal watch: Linklaters lands roles on Debenhams administration and Carlyle oil deal

Deal watch: Linklaters lands roles on Debenhams administration and Carlyle oil deal

Linklaters has secured a role in the pre-pack administration of Debenhams, in which the struggling department store has been taken over by its lenders.

Meanwhile, Hogan Lovells and Shoosmiths have acted on M Restaurants’ merger with Gaucho, which was brought out of administration in a rescue deal last September, as multiple firms landed roles in The Carlyle Group’s agreement to buy a minority stake in a Madrid-based oil and gas company in a multibillion-dollar deal. Continue reading “Deal watch: Linklaters lands roles on Debenhams administration and Carlyle oil deal”

Deal View: Goodwin’s City practice goes beyond the clichés with 58% revenue growth

Deal View: Goodwin’s City practice goes beyond the clichés with 58% revenue growth

The cliché says that you have to start somewhere and so Goodwin Procter’s London branch did in 2011 with a solitary partner at a desk with a phone. While it arrived late to the City – fellow Boston outfit Ropes & Gray beat it by a couple of years and has enjoyed a very strong run since – now it is Goodwin’s turn.

City revenue grew 58% in 2018, more than three times the pace of the firm globally, hitting $66.8m in the same year it launched a European life sciences practice and amid a punchy 16% hike in global turnover to $1.2bn. Profit per equity partner saw a 14% spike to $2.46m and revenue per lawyer grew 10% to $1.25m, showing the firm has performed to every metric of success both in the City and in its other offices in Boston, New York and San Francisco. Continue reading “Deal View: Goodwin’s City practice goes beyond the clichés with 58% revenue growth”

M&A focus: A sign of things to come? Europe’s deal market ends 2018 with a whimper after a forceful start

M&A focus: A sign of things to come? Europe’s deal market ends 2018 with a whimper after a forceful start

The ghost of political turmoil did little to hinder deal-doing in Europe in the first half of 2018 but its presence appears to have made itself increasingly felt as the year wore on. With plcs wary of major investments ahead of the threat of mounting Brexit-related convulsions, not to mention a mainland European economy that lost some pace through 2018, it was an uneven run for corporate takeovers.

Globally, the latest figures from Mergermarket show the volume of deals completed in 2018 fell for the first time since 2010 to 19,232, after a decade of steadily rising. However, if overall activity was subdued, there was more cause for cheer with marquee deals; average deal value rose to $384.8m, the second-highest value on record, falling just short of the $400.3m notched up in 2015. Continue reading “M&A focus: A sign of things to come? Europe’s deal market ends 2018 with a whimper after a forceful start”

Deal View: ‘Tooling up’ – Activist funds edging into the mainstream of UK deal scene

Deal View: ‘Tooling up’ – Activist funds edging into the mainstream of UK deal scene

‘Most listed companies have run across activists by now or at least come close,’ says Andy Ryde, Slaughter and May’s head of corporate. Shareholder activism, once barely registering on UK shores, is becoming a fact of life for corporate counsel. Is the trend set to continue?

Allen & Overy (A&O) M&A partner Richard Browne certainly thinks so: ‘The stock market has been going strong over the last couple of years and it is harder for activists to gain traction because shareholders are seeing prices go up. There is likely to be an explosion in activist-driven deals when the market turns.’ Continue reading “Deal View: ‘Tooling up’ – Activist funds edging into the mainstream of UK deal scene”

The Last Word: Opportunity knocks

The Last Word: Opportunity knocks

The deal market tailed off at the end of 2018 after a generally resilient year. Here we ask the City’s leading corporate players for their prognosis on 2019

Powder dry

‘2018 started with a bang, but overall it was a tale of two halves. With competition for assets pushing valuations to eye-watering levels, investor fatigue and a degree of scepticism around the value-creating potential of M&A also took a toll. Looking forward to 2019, many of the factors that supported activity last year remain relevant. These include global growth, strong balance sheets, affordable debt and plenty of dry PE powder. But it’s hard to see 2019 topping 2018. We don’t expect a major correction, but we do anticipate a dip.’
Bob Bishop, co-chair of corporate, DLA Piper Continue reading “The Last Word: Opportunity knocks”

Deal watch: Busy year-end as Japanese group buys Swiss power grid and Malaysian funds invest in Battersea

Deal watch: Busy year-end as Japanese group buys Swiss power grid and Malaysian funds invest in Battersea

City deal teams are having a busy run-up to Christmas, with Baker McKenzie, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Addleshaw Goddard and Linklaters leading on two multibillion-dollar deals.

Bakers’ London private equity head David Allen and corporate partner Jannan Crozier led a team advising Hitachi as the Japanese conglomerate acquired 80.1% of Swiss giant ABB’s power grid division for around $6.4bn. Continue reading “Deal watch: Busy year-end as Japanese group buys Swiss power grid and Malaysian funds invest in Battersea”

Our latest event: 80 top partners and general counsel (plus a few token men)

Our latest event: 80 top partners and general counsel (plus a few token men)

One of our favourite pieces of the year was our first cover feature of 2018, Alphas, which thanks to the tireless efforts of senior reporters Nathalie Tidman and Marco Cillario, aimed to provide a credible selection of the top female talent in City law.

It was always the plan, if the piece was well received, to build on it with an event exploring the trials, realities and rewards for women making it to the top of transactional law, not to mention providing a forum for polished operators to swap notes. Continue reading “Our latest event: 80 top partners and general counsel (plus a few token men)”