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DLA Piper Africa claims top spot in M&A for Africa

For the first time, DLA Piper also claimed the top spot on the Mergermarket league table for M&A (based on deal count) in Africa, it added.

According to Mergermarket, the company has advised 43 deals in the Middle East and Africa combined and 30 deals in Africa alone. The company also ranked high in the Mergermarket league tables in a number of regions around the world, including:

  • 1 Global Deal Count (671)
  • 1 Europe Deal Count (411)
  • 3 US Deal Count (296)
  • 1 Nordics Deal Count (131)
  • 1 UK Deal Count (128)
  • 1 Denmark Deal Count (63)
  • 1 France Deal Count (56)
  • 1 the Middle East & Africa Deal Count (43)
  • 1 Africa Deal Count (30)
  • 1 Russia Deal Count (9)

Johannes Gouws, director and managing partner at DLA Piper in South Africa, said, “We are delighted to be ranked number one for deal count in Africa for the first time. It shows that our M&A strategy in Africa is starting to deliver the results we are aiming for.”

“With 20 DLA Piper and DLA Piper Africa offices in countries right across Africa, and numerous other Africa-specialists from financial markets across the globe, there really is no other law firm that can match our M&A offering on the African Continent,” he added.

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Latham adds leading Mergers & Acquisitions partner in New York

Latham & Watkins LLP is pleased to announce that Jane Greyf has rejoined the firm’s New York office as a partner in the Corporate Department and member of the Mergers & Acquisitions Practice. Greyf’s practice focuses on representing private equity firms and their portfolio companies in leveraged buyouts, private M&A transactions, joint ventures, and growth equity investments. She also advises corporate clients in strategic M&A matters.

Greyf has an extensive track record representing leveraged buyout sponsors, venture capital funds, hedge funds, and other private equity investors and portfolio companies in various acquisitions, dispositions, investments, joint ventures, buyouts, tender offers, co-investments, and leveraged finance transactions. She also advises public and private companies in various corporate and securities law issues, including corporate governance, securities law compliance, and general corporate matters. Her experience spans several industry segments, including energy, general industrials, and technology.

“Jane is an accomplished lawyer who has worked on significant M&A transactions,” said Michèle Penzer, Office Managing Partner of Latham & Watkins in New York. “As the New York office continues to grow in a number of areas, including private equity and strategic M&A, we are thrilled to welcome Jane back to the firm.”

“Jane’s practice is a perfect fit for our corporate ambitions in the US and globally. We are focused on building the premier public M&A and private equity practice around the world, advising major listed companies and the world’s leading private equity firms and their portfolio companies on their complex business and legal needs. Jane’s boardroom experience, commercial approach, and mix of skills strongly support our growth in New York, and her arrival marks another step forward in achieving our goals,” added Marc Jaffe, Global Chair of Latham & Watkins’ Corporate Department.

“We continue to see increased demand and opportunities in all areas of our New York M&A practice with a diversity of clients, both public and private,” said David Allinson, Co-Chair of Latham’s Corporate Department in New York and M&A partner. “Jane’s experience advising on high-stakes M&A adds further depth to our platform.”

“We are delighted to add someone of Jane’s stature to our practice, as we are increasingly working on M&A matters that require substantial support across practice areas and geographies,” said Kathleen Walsh, Global Vice Chair of Latham & Watkins’ Corporate Department. “Jane’s expertise will be of tremendous benefit to our clients not only in New York, but around the globe.”

“I started my career at Latham and I know the culture well. I’ve been excited to watch the firm’s strong growth and the execution of its strategy over the years. I am thrilled to rejoin the team and to be a part of the firm’s continued success in New York and beyond,” said Greyf.

Greyf joins Latham & Watkins from Goodwin Procter in New York. She was an associate in the Corporate Department at Latham & Watkins from 1998 – 2006. She received her JD from Columbia University, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, and her BA from New York University.

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Credit Suisse finalises new global legal panel with four firms winning spots

Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse has finalised its new global legal panel, with four firms winning places on the roster.

Ashurst, Allen & Overy, Linklaters and Latham & Watkins have all been appointed to the line-up, which replaces its EMEA and UK panels.

In addition to the global panel, which is expected to handle the bulk of the bank’s work, Credit Suisse has also appointed a number of firms to sub-panels covering practices such as employment, litigation, M&A and securities work. It also has a separate panel for Switzerland, and countries in Asia where it may require specific local expertise.

Credit Suisse’s Zurich-based corporate general counsel Julian Gooding led the review, with the global panel expected to run for two to three years.

The move to a global panel structure is in line with wider organisational changes at Credit Suisse, with the bank moving away from regional divisions in 2016.

A spokesperson for Credit Suisse said: “The driving principle of how we now run our panels is to manage our firm relationships in a holistic way more consistent with our organisational strcture. We’re happy that what we’ve put in place is a more coherent way of managing firms – we want to make sure all parties get the most out of the relationships by managing them globally.”

The bank’s review had been delayed by several months, with firms initially hoping to have heard if they had been successful in August last year.

Confirmation of Credit Suisse’s panel comes after fellow banks Societe Generale and Santander recently completed their international legal panels.

Societe Generale appointed DLA Piper, Norton Rose Fulbright and Mayer Brown among its ‘preferred’ advisers.

The French bank’s panel comprises 12 full-service firms – split into eight ‘preferred’ firms and four ‘selected’ firms – alongside six others appointed specifically to handle large litigation and tax advice.

Santander, meanwhile, has agreed terms with 46 firms, understood to include global firms DLA Piper, Baker McKenzie and Dentons, and US firms including Latham & Watkins and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.

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Revealed: Germany’s Berenberg targets UK expansion amid M&A boom

Germany-based investment bank Berenberg is one City firm taking Brexit in its stride.

The Hamburg firm, the world’s oldest merchant bank having been founded in 1590, has grown its Square Mile office from 70 to 350 people in the last eight years.

It expects to add up to 100 more London staff over the next 18 months as it targets work on an expected UK boom in corporate takeovers and an anticipated spike in demand for equities analysis after a recent EU regulatory overhaul.

“The partners back at our headquarters in Hamburg have been relaxed both pre- and post-referendum about Brexit,” said Dave Mortlock, head of Berenberg’s London office.

“We have our plan [to grow in the UK] and will look to deliver on that.”

Mr Mortlock said the firm’s existing operations in Germany, from which it can continue to trade across the EU bloc regardless of the outcome of Brexit trade negotiations, meant there was “no obvious reason for us to reshape at all”.

“If other firms leave, we have the opportunity to attract their best talent,” he added.

His comments strike a contrast with other overseas banks in the City, many of which – including Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and UBS – have said they will downsize due to Brexit.

Mr Mortlock said Berenberg’s London office would look to more than double the amount of corporate deals it advises on from 17 last year to 50 this year.

Global dealmaking has enjoyed its strongest start to a year in almost two decades, with the value of targeted deals in the UK jumping a third on last year to $21bn (£14.9bn), latest statistics from Dealogic revealed this weekend.

The lion’s share of Berenberg’s work in London is in equities analysis. Mr Mortlock said a recent move by the EU to tighten regulation in this market, called Mifid II, had so far increased demand for its analysis.

Under the changes analysts must explicitly charge customers for their advice, rather than bundling it up with other services.

Mr Mortlock said: “This is a fundamental change for the industry. It’s a challenge and it will take capacity out of the market. But I’m satisfied those that commit like us will get out of it in good shape.”

In full-year results for 2017 Berenberg posted a 69pc rise in equities revenue to €240m (£212m), while its overall staff numbers increased by 70 to 1,576.

Net profits were down 44pc to €90m, although the bank said the previous year’s results were skewed by a one-off gain on the sale of its share in Frankfurt-based investment company Universal Investment.

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Exclusive: Linklaters opens fifth German office to chase banking work

Linklaters will open its fifth office in Hamburg in the first quarter of this year to capitalise on an increase in banking work for German clients.

The firm has made no lateral hires with the launch, instead transferring two existing partners from Frankfurt and Dusseldorf.

Linklaters LLP is a multinational law firm headquartered in London. Founded in 1838, it is a member of the “Magic Circle” of elite British law firms. It currently employs over 2,000 lawyers across 29 offices in 20 countries.

In 2016, Linklaters achieved revenues of £1.31 billion ($1.97 billion) and profits per equity partner of £1.45 million ($2.2 million), making it the world’s fourth highest-grossing law firm, and the most profitable member of the Magic Circle. In the UK, the firm has top-tier rankings across many practice areas, including corporate/M&A, capital markets, litigation, banking and finance, restructuring and insolvency, antitrust and tax. Linklaters counts more FTSE 100 companies among its clients than any other law firm. For direct deals by institutional investors in the first half of 2016, Linklaters tied for first place. In the 2012 Global Elite Brand Index, Linklaters was named the third strongest global law firm brand.