The Last Word: Elite forces

The Last Word: Elite forces

International focus

‘In 2017 we had a record performance. 2018 was a year of big investment to consolidate our development in Africa and the Middle East but we did it halfway through the year. We are going to continue and consolidate our strategy. A lot of attention and energy will be on the international development. Our strategy is still to become a leader in the Mediterranean area, Africa and the Middle East. For now we are optimistic but from the second half of 2018 we have seen a decrease of investment in M&A.’ Continue reading “The Last Word: Elite forces”

Letter from Iberia – Despite turbulent politics, Madrid lawyers sustain bullish mood

Letter from Iberia – Despite turbulent politics, Madrid lawyers sustain bullish mood

In spring 2018, Legal Business found the Madrid legal elite still recovering from a jolt that unsettled the local establishment. As one of the best-regarded deal makers in Spain, Juan Picón had at the end of 2017 given up his role as DLA Piper senior partner to join Latham & Watkins as Madrid head and Latin America co-chair.

Off the back of three consecutive years of GDP growth above 3% and mounting interest from international investors, Spain had been moving back onto the radar of leading international firms – the list of those stepping up investment in the country going well beyond the US giant to range as wide as Allen & Overy (A&O) to Fieldfisher. Some believed signs of renewed investment would shake up the staid local talent market and bring fresh challenges to the elite independents – Uría Menéndez, Garrigues and Cuatrecasas. Continue reading “Letter from Iberia – Despite turbulent politics, Madrid lawyers sustain bullish mood”

DWF makes first post-IPO splash with £3m Warsaw office acquisition

DWF makes first post-IPO splash with £3m Warsaw office acquisition

DWF is expanding into Poland with the £3m acquisition of K&L Gates’ 11-partner Warsaw office, its first investment since going public in March.

The move, expected to complete later this month, will see 45 lawyers and 31 support staff join DWF alongside the 11 partners in the firm’s first Poland office and seventh in continental Europe. K&L Gates Warsaw managing partner Michal Pawlowski will lead the office, which is expected to generate about £7m in revenue for the year to 30 April 2020. Continue reading “DWF makes first post-IPO splash with £3m Warsaw office acquisition”

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”

Mega-deals and convergence stoke M&A but subdued volumes and volatile conditions linger

Mega-deals and convergence stoke M&A but subdued volumes and volatile conditions linger

This time last year, a collective sigh of relief from City dealmakers was reverberating around the Square Mile as the M&A market regained momentum despite a backdrop of economic and political uncertainty. Since then, deal counsel have barely paused for breath, with many juggling multiple deals well into the parts of August in which even the most committed deal junkie would expect to be pretending not to check work emails on a sun lounger.

Such boom-time dynamics are borne out by the latest Mergermarket figures for H1 2018, which saw announced global M&A deals hit $1.94trn, its highest value since the financial crisis. Continue reading “Mega-deals and convergence stoke M&A but subdued volumes and volatile conditions linger”

Aviation focus: Winds of change

Aviation focus: Winds of change

Uncertainty seems to be the only thing lawyers working in Europe’s aviation sector can count on these days.

The recent collapse of two established major European airlines demonstrated the volatility facing many sections of the industry, with UK-headquartered Monarch Airlines and Air Berlin becoming the latest casualties of turbulence. Continue reading “Aviation focus: Winds of change”

The Brexit countdown – The Irish question

The Brexit countdown – The Irish question

‘A dense population in extreme distress inhabits an island’ – that is how Disraeli began to define the Irish Question in the Commons in 1844. Without much hyperbole, it also defines the current state of the UK. Over halfway through the two-year time limit prescribed by article 50, but with no Brexit deal in sight, the Irish Question still resonates: now less about a united independent Ireland, rather more about an independent but divided Britain.

The Irish Republic, whose economy and culture are closer to the UK than any other, is the only EU member state that also shares a land border. Resolving this 310-mile conundrum – maintaining the open border guaranteed by the Good Friday Agreement while finessing its position in the EU single market and customs union – has become a fault line between the government in London and EU leaders. The Irish taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, has ruled out tripartite talks on the issue and rejected Theresa May’s suggestion that customs arrangements on the US-Canada border could provide a post-Brexit model. Continue reading “The Brexit countdown – The Irish question”

Evolutionary forces – US body for legal ops hits Europe as new breed of client emerges

Evolutionary forces – US body for legal ops hits Europe as new breed of client emerges

Disruption looms as James Wood reports on first European conference for CLOC

Richard Susskind must have lost count of the number of times he has spoken about the future of law, but in his introductory remarks to the 2018 CLOC EMEA Institute gathering in London he seemed cheerfully off balance. Many of the concepts Susskind has prophesied are now realities at large US companies and even sceptics would concede that the emergence of sophisticated legal operations teams feels like a decisive shift for the industry.

Continue reading “Evolutionary forces – US body for legal ops hits Europe as new breed of client emerges”