Baker McKenzie Enhances Leveraged Finance Team With Significant Hire

Leading global law firm Baker McKenzie has hired Ben Wilkinson from White & Case where he was a partner in the Debt Finance practice. Ben will join the Banking & Finance practice in London on May 3rd, to help build out the Leveraged Finance team.

With over 16 years in the legal industry, Ben’s experience includes advising investment banks and private credit funds in relation to cross-border acquisition finance transactions, in particular those with complex capital structures. He regularly advises lenders, borrowers and financial advisors in connection with the bank financing of acquisitions of public companies, and also acts for a variety of lender syndicates, steering committees, sponsors and companies in relation to various restructuring matters.

Ben is an important strategic hire with a focus and strong experience in cross-border leveraged / acquisition financing transactions, particularly on the lender-side, which will significantly expand our capabilities in the leveraged finance space.

Matthew Dening, Global Chair of Baker McKenzie’s Banking & Finance practice group, commented: “Ben has an outstanding reputation in the acquisition finance and bank lending market. Expectations are that 2021 is going to be very busy as financial performance re-stabilises with pent-up refinancing and liquidity that has yet to be deployed, creating key opportunities. Ben’s appointment will put Baker McKenzie in a solid position to take advantage of these openings.”

London Managing Partner Alex Chadwick added: “We are very excited about Ben joining our Banking & Finance group in London. His practice is firmly aligned with our strong industry focus and his hiring represents our ambitions to become one of the leading transactional Firms globally. Ben has a long track record of doing deals in the financial sector which supports our ambitions to strengthen our relationships with sponsors. We will continue to grow our transactional partnership in London and other key markets, both laterally and organically.”

Ben Wilkinson’s hire comes after a number of recent lateral appointments including M&A partner Nick Rainsford who joined from Ashurst, private equity partner Justin Hutchinson who joined from Kirkland & Ellis, Adam Eastell a partner from Slaughter & May and Nick Bryans, also from Ashurst.

Baker McKenzie is a transactional powerhouse with over 2500 deal lawyers and expertise in over 46 countries. We excel in cross-border deals – over 60% of our deals are multi-jurisdictional. We are global and local, combining money market sophistication with local excellence.

Pinsent Masons hires corporate partner Chris Green in Johannesburg

Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons has boosted its corporate capabilities by recruiting Johannesburg-based partner Chris Green.

Chris advises domestic and multinational clients in various sectors, including infrastructure and energy, on matters in Sub-Saharan Africa with a particular focus on domestic and cross-border M&A transactions.

Head of Pinsent Masons Johannesburg, Apicksha Patel, said “Chris brings invaluable transactional experience across Sub-Saharan Africa and his skillset is well aligned to our sector focus. Chris’ appointment compliments our commitment to growing our transactional practice in South Africa, providing invaluable support to investors, funders and developers alike across the continent.”

Chris has advised a number of high-profile clients during his career including AB InBev, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, CDC Group Plc, BASF Group, Rand Merchant Investment Holdings and Brambles Limited. Recently, Chris has advised BASF Group in relation to various corporate and competition aspects of the separation and sale of its Construction Chemicals business to Lone Star Funds. Chris has also recently advised Coca-Cola Beverages Africa in relation to its acquisition of a majority interest in Kenyan Coca-Cola bottler, Almasi Beverages Limited.

Commenting on this move Chris said, “I’m extremely pleased to join the team at Pinsent Masons and look forward to working alongside a global team advising on high profile matters including significant global energy and infrastructure projects.”

Chris joins from African firm Bowmans, where he had been a partner since 2014.

New partner hire for Dubai corporate team

Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has strengthened its corporate offering in the Middle East with the hire of new partner Kayaan Unwalla.

Kayaan joins from DWF, where he was partner and head of corporate (Middle East). He advises clients on matters including cross-border transactional M&A, joint ventures, government contracts, commercial agreements and regulatory advice within the technology, defence, security, and industrial sectors.

Kayaan will join existing corporate partner Adjou Ait Ben Idir, who heads up Norton Rose Fulbright’s corporate/ M&A practice in Dubai, and is recognised for her experience in advising on complex local and international mergers and acquisitions, privatisations, private placement and joint ventures in various sectors including energy, financial institutions (in particular insurance) and real estate. She also heads up the firm’s Cyber Response Team in the Middle East and has a wealth of experience in cybersecurity related crisis management and corporate governance matters.

Deirdre Walker, head of Middle East at Norton Rose Fulbright, comments: “We welcome Kayaan to the team. Recent changes to legislation and regulation across the UAE – including the overhaul of the foreign direct investment regime in the country – make going into business in the UAE much easier for international investors who were previously excluded from the region. This shift is likely to increase confidence in the business environment and we may consequently see an uptick in corporate and M&A activity in the region. As such, Kayaan, Adjou and their teams of associates are well-placed to advise clients that are looking to capitalise on new opportunities that have arisen.”

Pinsent Masons hires real estate regulatory and investment partner

Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons has hired real estate funds regulatory and investment specialist Dorothee Atwell into its Frankfurt office.

Dorothee is a funds regulatory lawyer advising on regulatory aspects of transactions and fund formation to institutional investment managers investing into real estate in Germany and abroad.

Dorothee joins from investment company Universal-Investment where she developed innovative structures for complex real estate transactions working closely with asset managers and custodians. Dorothee is also admitted to the bar in the UK and United States.

Dr. Wolfram Pätzold, Head of Real Estate Germany at Pinsent Masons said, “Dorothee is a recognised expert in real estate investment and regulatory law and will be a valuable addition to the development of the firm’s real estate offering in Germany.”

Rainer Kreifels, Head of Germany and member of the global board at Pinsent Masons said, “Dorothee’s appointment follows our continued commitment to expand the firm’s Frankfurt office which opened in 2019. This is particularly true of our real estate and financial services teams following the appointment of Antony Morton in May. Dorothee’s expertise spans across both real estate and financial services sectors and is a natural fit for the firm.”

The growth of Pinsent Masons in Germany underlines the success of its sector focus approach. Last year, its German real estate practice doubled in size. With the addition of Dr. Tobias Nuß and Katharina von Hermanni joining the partnership in 2019 and additional associates joining the team, the German real estate practice now comprises 13 lawyers in Munich, Frankfurt and Düsseldorf. The German Financial Services Team now comprises 8 lawyers in Munich and Frankfurt.

Pinsent Masons is one of the top 50 law firms in Germany. With three locations in Germany (Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich) the firm focusses on the technology, life sciences, energy, real estate and financial services sectors.

Information and data privacy law heavyweight joins Pinsent Masons

Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons has hired partner Jonathan Kirsop as a key addition to its leading data privacy and information law offering.

Jonathan advises a wide range of clients on data privacy with particular focus on the financial services sector. His range of expertise spans contractual and regulatory advice, data subject access requests, international data transfers as well as providing broader technology, data and commercial expertise.

He joins the firm from Stephenson Harwood where he established and led the information law practice within their commercial, outsourcing and technology team.

Jonathan will assist in the further development of Pinsent Masons’ information and data privacy law capabilities in London, particularly to the firm’s financial services clients, as well as working with partners within the rest of the UK, across Europe and Asia Pacific offices.

Simon Colvin, Head of the Technology, Media and Telecommunications practice at Pinsent Masons said “Data and privacy is at the heart of the business for most of our clients. As the regulatory landscape continues to evolve, Jonathan brings valuable expertise to support clients, particularly in the heavily regulated financial services sector, as their needs for support and advice on all things information and data privacy law grow and become more complex.”

Laura Cameron, Head of Risk Advisory Services at Pinsent Masons said “The demand for data and privacy advice has increased exponentially and it has become a boardroom issue for businesses. Jonathan is a key addition to the firm at this time, as the continued development of technology and indeed the strategic use of, and protection of, data is a business critical issue for all organisations.”

Pinsent Masons hires construction partner in Melbourne

International law firm Pinsent Masons has hired Phillipa Beck to expand the firm’s Construction Advisory & Disputes team in Australia.

Phillipa is a construction lawyer advising on project delivery and disputes across the energy and infrastructure sectors in Asia Pacific, including Private Public Partnerships (PPP). She joins from Norton Rose Fulbright.

Matthew Croagh, Head of Pinsent Masons Australia said, “There is a strong and expanding pipeline of major projects across Asia Pacific. Philippa brings valuable experience that is well suited to our sector-focused approach. Her skills in advising clients on mega projects developing flexible, innovative solutions that provide the foundation for a project’s successful delivery will be an asset to the firm.”

Phillipa expertise spans risk management, dispute avoidance and all forms of dispute resolution.

Fraser McMillan, Head of Construction Advisory & Disputes in Australia added, “Australia ranks as a world leader in infrastructure development, but challenges around its ability to meet infrastructure demand is set to intensify. Phillipa has the right skillset to work alongside project teams across the firm supporting clients in finding the right solutions to tackle these challenges; whether that be through joint ventures or other frameworks.”

This appointment follows the continued expansion of our infrastructure and energy team in Asia Pacific. Pinsent Masons Australia has more than 100 specialist infrastructure and energy lawyers and business professionals working across our three offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. Recent major projects the firm is advising on in Australia include: the A$11 billion North East Link, Victoria’s largest roads project, the East Rockingham Resource Recovery Facility, Australia’s second only waste-to-energy project and the Stockyard Wind Farm, the largest wind farm in the South Hemisphere.