Hello from the other side: CC private equity star Mahon to join Simpson Thacher

Hello from the other side: CC private equity star Mahon to join Simpson Thacher

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 BusinessAlphas 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”

Deal View: Herbert Smith Freehills’ corporate team – credibility and polish only get you so far up the table

Deal View: Herbert Smith Freehills’ corporate team – credibility and polish only get you so far up the table

‘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”

Deal watch: Weil and Slaughters lead on Bain’s £1.2bn esure bid as CC and RPC land House of Fraser roles

Deal watch: Weil and Slaughters lead on Bain’s £1.2bn esure bid as CC and RPC land House of Fraser roles

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”

Big deals – meet the GCs running the headline deals

Big deals – meet the GCs running the headline deals

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”

Deal watch: HFW acts for Greek government on major state sell-off while US firms score heavyweight mandates

Deal watch: HFW acts for Greek government on major state sell-off while US firms score heavyweight mandates

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”

Focus: Wild West or new frontier? Securities counsel divided as the cryptocurrency ‘float’ rears its blockchained head

Focus: Wild West or new frontier? Securities counsel divided as the cryptocurrency ‘float’ rears its blockchained head

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”

Global elite joins Japanese and offshore heavyweights as Takeda persists with Shire bid

Global elite joins Japanese and offshore heavyweights as Takeda persists with Shire bid

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”

Rich pickings for Travers Smith and Freshfields as Bridgepoint cashes in on Pret

Rich pickings for Travers Smith and Freshfields as Bridgepoint cashes in on Pret

Ten years after acquiring Pret A Manger in a deal worth £350m, private equity house Bridgepoint is selling it for more than four times its original investment and providing City firms with big mandates.

Luxembourg-headquartered JAB Holding Company, an investment firm owned by Germany’s Reimann family, is to buy the food chain for £1.5bn. Continue reading “Rich pickings for Travers Smith and Freshfields as Bridgepoint cashes in on Pret”

Deal View: Life after Hatchard – does Skadden hunger to take its peerless M&A team to the next level?

Deal View: Life after Hatchard – does Skadden hunger to take its peerless M&A team to the next level?

‘Theirs is the biggest succession issue faced by any firm in the City,’ says one Magic Circle partner of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom’s prospects, following the retirement of veteran dealmaker Michael Hatchard (pictured right) at the end of last year.

The widely-admired Hatchard did much to make Skadden a US trailblazer in public M&A work in Europe. Though leveraged finance hogs the headlines these days, Hatchard and Skadden were still the competitive forces most cited by top M&A partners at London rivals. Having moved from Theodore Goddard in 1994, Hatchard (who remains a consultant to Skadden) was one of the most successful transfers ever in City law. Continue reading “Deal View: Life after Hatchard – does Skadden hunger to take its peerless M&A team to the next level?”

Comment: Star power is core to the law firm sales pitch – clients won’t buy excuses

Comment: Star power is core to the law firm sales pitch – clients won’t buy excuses

Within the same week, two Magic Circle firms stressed to Legal Business the same mantra after departures of big-name lawyers: it is not about stars, the focus is the platform and that is what top clients are buying. In a mobile market where even the once-untouchable elite City law firms lose marquee names to high-paying rivals, it is an increasingly familiar refrain, albeit one that has spread from mid-weight stalwarts to the tier more used to the role of hunter than prey.

But law firms – and this goes double for the leaders in the UK and US – would be well advised to go nowhere near the seductive institutional defence and not only because the financial results of the last ten years provide ample evidence that contradicts the assertion. Continue reading “Comment: Star power is core to the law firm sales pitch – clients won’t buy excuses”