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
‘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”
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”
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)”
In a significant blow to Clifford Chance’s M&A practice, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett has enticed private equity star Amy Mahon to its London office.
Mahon, who emerged as the most widely-cited female partner for private equity in Legal Business’ Alphas feature earlier this year, has been acknowledged by her peer group as ‘the most visible woman at Clifford Chance’ . Continue reading “Hello from the other side: CC private equity star Mahon to join Simpson Thacher”
‘It’s like the rivalry between Fulham and Chelsea,’ notes one former Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) partner of his old club’s oft-cited tension between corporate and disputes. ‘Fulham fans think of Chelsea as one of its biggest rivals. Chelsea fans think of Fulham as that nice team down the road.’
No prizes for guessing that it is corporate that represents the plucky underdog in this reading. At a glance, such a comparison seems uncharitable. HSF’s corporate team is ranked in The Legal 500’s second tier for premium M&A deals, alongside Allen & Overy and Clifford Chance; most peers still regard its City corporate team as the best outside the Magic Circle. The legacy Herbert Smith also has a history stretching back to the 19th century as one of London’s prominent corporate solicitors, long before its embryonic disputes team invented the modern City model of running litigation as a substantive business line in the 1970s. Continue reading “Deal View: Herbert Smith Freehills’ corporate team – credibility and polish only get you so far up the table”
Weil Gotshal & Manges and Slaughter and May have scooped key mandates on Bain Capital’s proposed £1.2bn takeover of UK insurer esure as RPC and Clifford Chance (CC) wade into the House of Fraser saga.
Weil is advising Bain on the proposed take-private, which will see the private equity player acquire, via its Blue (BC) Bidco Limited subsidiary, all shares in the motor and home insurer for 280 pence per share. The Weil team is led by private equity partner Marco Compagnoni and senior consultant Ian Hamilton. Continue reading “Deal watch: Weil and Slaughters lead on Bain’s £1.2bn esure bid as CC and RPC land House of Fraser roles”
The global M&A market is booming. Bill Mordan, general counsel at FTSE 100 drug-maker Shire, would know. Shire’s board recently recommended a £46bn takeover offer from rival Japanese pharma giant Takeda.
‘Money continues to be cheap to borrow and so it’s still easy to get funding from venture capital, as well as other speciality equity investments in new technologies,’ Mordan comments. ‘There’s a large quantum of assets out there available for acquisition.’ Continue reading “Big deals – meet the GCs running the headline deals”
In a deal of major national significance, Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW) and Clifford Chance (CC) have advised the Greek state on the €535m privatisation of its gas network. Meanwhile US leaders Kirkland & Ellis, Weil Gotshal & Manges and Jones Day have also acted on substantial buyouts recently.
The sale of the natural gas transmission system operator, DESFA, is part of Greece’s wider strategy of disposing assets to reduce the country’s debt following the financial crisis. The deal implies a total equity value for DESFA of €810m. Continue reading “Deal watch: HFW acts for Greek government on major state sell-off while US firms score heavyweight mandates”
Marco Cillario sizes up the pros and cons for legal advisers of the current ICO boom
‘We are in an odd position: we feel we need to be closely involved in this, but there is a reputational risk because there is a lot of fraud.’ Understandably, the partner expressing this view does not want himself or his firm identified. But such words still sum up many securities lawyers’ feelings on the hottest topic in their field for years. Continue reading “Focus: Wild West or new frontier? Securities counsel divided as the cryptocurrency ‘float’ rears its blockchained head”
Life sciences giant puts £46bn offer on table for Irish rival
Magic Circle duo Slaughter and May and Linklaters have been joined by Davis Polk & Wardwell and Ashurst in landing key mandates as Japanese giant Takeda Pharmaceutical Company launched a £46bn takeover of Shire last month. Continue reading “Global elite joins Japanese and offshore heavyweights as Takeda persists with Shire bid”