City and US heavyweights line up on Lego owner’s £4.8bn offer for Merlin

City and US heavyweights line up on Lego owner’s £4.8bn offer for Merlin

Slaughter and May and Clifford Chance (CC) are representing the City elite on a £4.8bn offer for Merlin Entertainments, in a deal that brought together a line-up of heavy hitters with Kirkland & Ellis and Latham & Watkins also fielding veteran partners.

The deal was announced on 28 June with Merlin, which is being advised by Slaughters, agreeing the terms of a recommended offer. The acquiring consortium comprises Kirkbi – the investment vehicle for Lego’s founding family – alongside private equity houses The Blackstone Group and the CPP Investment Board (CPPIB). Continue reading “City and US heavyweights line up on Lego owner’s £4.8bn offer for Merlin”

Dealwatch: US firms enjoy marquee run of deals with Kirkland and Goodwin leading the way

Dealwatch: US firms enjoy marquee run of deals with Kirkland and Goodwin leading the way
  • Kirkland & Ellis advised investment adviser and repeat customer GLP Investment Services on the $18.7bn sale of its US logistics business to The Blackstone Group. The Chicago-bred juggernaut fielded corporate partners Michael Steele in London and Michael Brueck in New York. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett advised longstanding client Blackstone out of New York with real estate partner Davis Coen leading the team.
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  • Eversheds Sutherland advised Legal & General (L&G) on its £4.6bn buy-in to buy-out with the Rolls-Royce UK Pension Fund, with corporate partner Hugo Laing and pensions specialist Mark Latimour leading the team. The deal is billed as the UK’s largest-ever annuity transfer and saw CMS advise L&G with partner Thomas Lockley at the helm, while Linklaters acted for the trustees with global head of pensions Claire Petheram and derivatives partner Mark Brown advising. Continue reading “Dealwatch: US firms enjoy marquee run of deals with Kirkland and Goodwin leading the way”

Global 100 overview: Escape velocity as the world’s largest firms pick up momentum

Global 100 overview: Escape velocity as the world’s largest firms pick up momentum

Compared to the dramatic events that have defined each of the three previous years, 2018/19 was relatively benign for the world’s top 100 law firms. True, the world has been dealing with increasing protectionism, US-China trade wars and the endless saga of the UK-EU divorce. But none of these headwinds were a shock for an industry that three years ago was reeling from the Brexit referendum in the UK and in 2017 from the start of Donald Trump’s presidency in the US.

Last year’s Global 100 report spoke of two milestones, with the global legal elite smashing the $100bn collective revenue barrier and entering the age of the $3bn law firm. Those looking for events of a comparable magnitude this time around will be disappointed. But if the legal industry appeared resilient in summer 2017 and flourishing 12 months later, this year it is nothing short of booming. Collectively, these are the strongest results since the pain of the financial crisis started to be felt ten years ago. Overall revenue for the group grew by 9% to $113.51bn – the fastest rate of growth for a decade; gross profit rose by a healthy 8% to hit $43.44bn – a pace unmatched in ten years. Average profit per equity partner (PEP) also rose by a solid 7% to $1.87m. Continue reading “Global 100 overview: Escape velocity as the world’s largest firms pick up momentum”

Global 100 – Letter from Silicon Valley

Global 100 – Letter from Silicon Valley

For reporters used to the profession’s usual cautious pronouncements, it is striking how enthusiastic California lawyers are about the outlook; in the Bay Area you can forget the caveats that still dominate in New York and London. ‘We are in this extraordinary period of extended boom,’ says Cooley’s San Francisco corporate partner Rachel Proffitt. ‘We see equal strength in capital markets and M&A and that’s because there is so much capital. All indicators point to a continued strong year.’

The list of bullish quotes collected in a dozen interviews with the West Coast legal elite is certainly lengthy. Many note the much-touted fact that if the state was a country, California would be the world’s fifth-largest economy (now larger than the UK). It is also America’s most populous state and third-largest by land mass, measuring 770 miles at its longest point. Others simply invite you to drive down the 101 route from San Jose to San Francisco and look around at the offices of the Sunshine State’s corporate titans like eBay, PayPal, Google, Visa, Intel, Oracle, Twitter… the full list of tech giants remaking multiple industries on a global level. Continue reading “Global 100 – Letter from Silicon Valley”

‘Independent thinker’ Greenberg Traurig picks Milan as latest step of unusual European footprint

‘Independent thinker’ Greenberg Traurig picks Milan as latest step of unusual European footprint

Greenberg Traurig’s executive chair Richard Rosenbaum has pointed to his firm’s track record for independent thinking as it enters Italy through a merger in Milan.

In July, the northern Italian city will become the location of the Miami-bred firm’s 40th office, after Greenberg absorbs its local ally of 14 years, Santa Maria Studio Legale. Two Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer veterans will also join the firm’s first Italian base: local real estate head Marzio Longo and finance partner Corrado Angelelli, giving it a starting team of around 50 lawyers. Continue reading “‘Independent thinker’ Greenberg Traurig picks Milan as latest step of unusual European footprint”

US firms in London – the new apex predators are here

US firms in London – the new apex predators are here

There was never any doubt that 2018 would prove another good year for US law firms in London coming off what has been a great decade for the breed. But it is only when you start to pull together the numbers that you realise how fast the City legal market is shifting in favour of American entrants. Legal Business has a reputation for being bullish on US firms in London. These numbers indicate that we haven’t been bullish enough. There are now more than 7,000 lawyers working in the London offices of the top 50 largest practices in London. Even stripping out the impact of including the legacy Berwin Leighton Paisner’s City practice, that’s an annual increase of 7%, a startling growth rate and one that is actually accelerating even as many expected investment in London to slow in the face of the UK’s looming exit from the EU.

Continue reading “US firms in London – the new apex predators are here”

The Last Word – Global London perspectives from inside the shark tank

The Last Word – Global London perspectives from inside the shark tank

To mark the launch of our 2019 Global London report, we ask senior management at the leading US firms in London for a progress update

Brexitproof

‘Milbank does not just have stellar transactional practices: a very significant component of the London office are countercyclical businesses such as restructuring and litigation. They are among the strongest performers. At some point the economy may deteriorate, but we have positioned ourselves to thrive in good and bad conditions.’

Julian Stait, London co-managing partner, Milbank Continue reading “The Last Word – Global London perspectives from inside the shark tank”