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Duane Morris Named a South Florida Top Workplace

Duane Morris LLP has been named a 2021 Top Workplace in South Florida by the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The Top Workplaces list is based on an employee survey administered by Energage. The firm’s Boca Raton and Miami offices participated in the survey.

Duane Morris is ranked in the Top Small Workplaces category. For more information, visit the Top Workplaces website.

About Duane Morris

Duane Morris LLP provides innovative solutions to today’s multifaceted legal and business challenges through the collegial and collaborative culture of its more than 800 attorneys in offices across the United States and internationally. The firm represents a broad array of clients, spanning all major practices and industries.

Kirkland Counsels Extraction Oil & Gas in $2.6 Billion Merger of Equals

Kirkland & Ellis counselled Extraction Oil & Gas, Inc. (Nasdaq: XOG) on its all-stock merger of equals with Bonanza Creek Energy, Inc. (NYSE: BCEI). The combined company, to be named Civitas Resources, Inc., will be the largest pure-play energy producer in Colorado’s Denver-Julesburg Basin, with an aggregate enterprise value of approximately $2.6 billion.

The Kirkland team was led by corporate partners Doug Bacon and Alex Rose and associates Camille Walker and Brittany Scheier; capital markets partners Julian Seiguer and Bryan Flannery; asset partners Anthony Speier and Chris Heasley and associate Alia Heintz; and tax partner Mark Dundon and associates Joe Tobias and Courtney Loyack.

Read Extraction’s press release here

CFOs anticipate return to growth and lasting change in 2021

Finance leaders expect a return to growth in 2021 with optimism rising to a record high, according to Deloitte’s latest CFO survey. Despite the surge in business optimism, half of CFOs do not expect demand for their own businesses to recover to pre-pandemic levels until the last quarter of 2021 or later.

The Deloitte CFO survey for Q4 2020, which gauges sentiment amongst the UK’s largest businesses, took place between 2nd December and 14th December 2020, so before new COVID restrictions announced on 19th December and the Brexit deal on 24th December.

A total of 90 CFOs participated in the latest survey, including CFOs of 12 FTSE 100 and 44 FTSE 250 companies. The combined market value of the UK-listed companies that participated is £308 billion, approximately 13% of the UK quoted equity market.

Revenues, risk appetite and economic landscape

There has been a sharp improvement in CFO expectations for UK corporates’ revenues this quarter with 71% expecting a rise over the next 12 months, up from 29% in Q3 2020, while over half (53%) of CFOs expect operating costs to rise. For the first time since 2015, a net balance of CFOs are expecting corporate operating margins to increase in the next year.

Risk appetite remains weak with only 19% believing it is a good time to take greater risk onto the balance sheet, however this is up from just 3% in Q1 2020.

Consistent with the idea of a return to growth CFOs’ expectations for inflation have risen markedly since Q3 2020. Over half of CFOs (59%) expect consumer price inflation to be at or above 1.6% in two years’ time, up from 36% three months ago.

While still showing a net negative balance, CFOs’ expectations for hiring, capital spending and discretionary spending have increased from the record lows seen in Q1 2020, with a strong uptick in each category in the last quarter. Expectations for hiring and spending are running higher than the levels seen between 2016 and mid-2019.

COVID and beyond

More than three quarters (78%) of finance leaders expect COVID-19 restrictions on movement and activity to continue through the first half of 2021, while 57% expect these measures to be removed permanently in Q3 2021.

CFOs believe that the pandemic is set to trigger a fundamental change in the business environment. An overwhelming net balance (98%) of CFOs expect flexible and home working to increase – with a five-fold increase in home working expected by 2025.

Similarly, 98% of CFOs expect levels of corporate and individual taxation to rise, two thirds (62%) anticipate higher regulation of the corporate sector and 59% see the size and role of government in the economy increasing.

Ian Stewart, chief economist at Deloitte, commented: “Boosted by the prospect of mass vaccination and growth, business sentiment surged this quarter with CFOs taking the most positive view on profit margins for the last five years. This rebound in sentiment occurred despite a backdrop of continued Brexit negotiations and with two thirds of CFOs believing that a no-deal outcome would have a severe or significant negative effect on the economy. In the three and a half years between the EU referendum and the pandemic CFOs have ranked Brexit as the top business risk for all but two quarters. The announcement of a deal after the survey closed is likely to have offered an end-year boost to CFO sentiment. The survey shows that in the first half of December, CFOs expected restrictions on movement and activity needed to combat COVID-19 to continue for the first half of this year. The announcement of further restrictions after the survey will clearly add to such concerns.

“Business leaders believe the pandemic will permanently change the business landscape. CFOs anticipate a five-fold increase in homeworking relative to pre-pandemic levels by 2025 and believe that the state will be both larger and more active in the long term.”

The impact of Brexit

CFOs think a no-deal Brexit would have been a far greater risk to the economy and to business than the actual outcome of a trade deal. Moreover, they saw either Brexit outcome as having a greater negative impact on the economy than on their own businesses. The large companies on our panel are more confident about their own ability to deal with Brexit than the wider economy’s.

Two thirds (66%) of CFOs saw a no-deal outcome as having a severe or significant negative effect on the economy and 18% expected a similarly negative impact on their own business. Just 20% of CFOs saw a trade deal as a major negative for the economy and this dropped to 7% in relation to their own business.

A majority (61%) of CFOs expect the post-Brexit points-based immigration system to act as somewhat of a drag on long-term economic growth. Around a quarter (27%) expect little or no effect, while 6% expect the new immigration system to support growth.

A net balance of 66% of CFOs expect both goods and services trade with the EU to decrease, while 77% expect a decrease in high-skilled immigration from the EU, with only 24% expecting an increase in skilled immigration from outside the EU.

Strategy and spending

CFOs remain in defensive mode with 49% and 46% respectively rating increasing cash flow and reducing costs as strong priorities. Meanwhile expansionary strategies have risen in popularity slightly since Q3, for example, around a quarter (28%) cite introducing new products, services or expanding into new markets as a priority for the year ahead.

Richard Houston, senior partner and chief executive of Deloitte UK, said: “The pandemic has triggered fundamental and lasting changes in business, with CFOs expecting rising levels of home-working, greater diversification of supply chains and increasing investment in technology.

“CFOs are optimistic about operating in this changing world, with a return to growth expected this year. However, with pandemic restrictions expected to be in place through the first half of this year and elevated uncertainty CFOs are maintaining defensive balance sheet positioning.

“The UK-EU trade deal ends over four years of uncertainty for business and is a far better outcome than the alternative of no-deal. Nonetheless, CFOs also recognise the challenges that leaving the EU may pose in the years ahead. The UK deal has very limited provisions for services, particularly for professional and financial services. These high productivity sectors are major UK successes and make vital contributions to jobs and prosperity. UK businesses urgently need additional clarity on key issues including financial equivalence as well as more information on the specific changes to other cross-border trading services.”

What will 2025 look like for the life sciences and healthcare sector?

As 2020 draws to a close, Deloitte has unveiled ten predictions on how patients, healthcare and life science companies and their staff might behave and operate in five years’ time, based on today’s evidence.

  • Advances in AI-enabled robotics, cognitive automation, digitalisation and life-long learning will help task shifting and role-enrichment, changing the who, what, and where of work.
  • Advanced AI-enabled technologies will also have accelerated drug discovery and clinical trials improving efficiency and efficacy and reducing costs, enabling companies to reverse the decline in the returns from pharma R&D.
  • Predictive prevention models will have led to more precise public health digital interventions – dramatically lowering smoking rates, improving nutrition and reducing loneliness.

Karen Taylor, director, UK Centre for Health Solutions, said: “This year, inevitably, our predictions have been informed by the unparalleled impact of COVID-19 and how people perceive health risks.

“In response to the pandemic, the pharma industry, academia, biotech and governments initiated scientific ventures funded by governments, multilateral agencies, not-for-profit institutions and the private sector. The sharing of data has expedited the search for new treatments and vaccines, with regulators quickly entering into discussion aimed at supporting the most promising innovations.”

Hanno Ronte, partner, Monitor Deloitte added: “Traditional boundaries are becoming more porous, creating an opportunity for new healthcare behaviours and business and funding models from both incumbents and new entrants.

“We have seen a new public appreciation of the contribution that healthcare and life sciences companies make to each countries’ response to the pandemic. There has also been a huge acceleration in the pace and scale of technology-enabled transformation in ways of working and engaging with patients across the whole health ecosystem that has stood out.”

Dentons announces US COVID-19 50-State Tracker

Dentons, the world’s largest law firm and the only global law firm operating in most of the countries where there is a significant outbreak of COVID-19, including in the US, today adds a COVID-19 50-State Tracker to a suite of client resources available publicly.

Dentons’ COVID-19 50-State Tracker provides an overview of key information for each US state and the District of Columbia, including reviews of state and local governmental orders, directives and financial assistance, official links, public restrictions, health and business directives, school closures and updates on courts and legislative sessions. Official links are provided where possible throughout the Index to ensure that the latest guidance and orders are available.

In addition to official links, the COVID-19 50-State Tracker will be updated regularly. Slated for future additions are information on remote online notarisation and eNotarisation, mortgage and rent payment relief and tele-medicine/tele-health. Those interested in regular COVID-19 updates can opt-in to an e-mail list.

Dentons, which has been a leader in advising and collaborating with the global legal and business communities, pledges to continue to share insights and best practices with clients and contacts around the world, and proactively support the business community as it navigates business challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Dentons has developed multiple resources throughout Q1 2020 and these are available to the public and global business community at large through its COVID-19 hub on the Firm’s website.

About Dentons

Dentons is the world’s largest law firm, delivering quality and value to clients around the globe. Dentons is a leader on the Acritas Global Elite Brand Index, a BTI Client Service 30 Award winner and recognised by prominent business and legal publications for its innovations in client service, including founding Nextlaw Enterprise, Dentons’ wholly owned subsidiary of innovation, advisory and technology operating units. Dentons’ polycentric approach, commitment to inclusion and diversity and world-class talent challenge the status quo to advance client interests in the communities in which we live and work.

Advisory firm Avonhurst boosts practice with associate hires

Avonhurst today announced four new associate hires, cementing the rapid growth that has characterised its first year. Senior associate Joshua Swerner joins the firm from Linklaters, where he spent time in the London and Moscow offices; Tanya Macrae joins from Allen & Overy (Brussels and London) and has worked at both Latham & Watkins and Herbert Smith Freehills; Oliver Elsaesser joins as an associate from Paul Hastings and Katja Loncaric joins from the London office of Norton Rose Fulbright, having previously worked in Clifford Chance’s Frankfurt office.

Avonhurst is a political risk and legal advisory firm dedicated to representing sophisticated capital. Since its launch in July 2019 by founding partner Jonathan Bloom, the firm has attracted a raft of established talent, including seven partner hires – mostly from magic circle firms – as well as hiring four leading figures from the political, financial and legal sectors as senior advisers, including Lord (Gavin) Barwell, tech entrepreneur Sean West, General, the Lord (Nick) Houghton, Blackstone’s Andrew Dowler and Tina Fordham (Partner and Head of Global Political Strategy), formerly of Citigroup.

These have been complemented by the additions of high yield specialist Albert Aharonian (previously at Milbank, Paul Hastings and Sidley Austin), and political expert Jessica Turner who is a US lawyer having joined out of law school and has extensive experience including working on Capitol Hill, Washington DC and at the House of Commons in London.

Jonathan Bloom, Chief Executive of Avonhurst, comments: “We are delighted to welcome Joshua, Tanya, Oliver and Katja to the firm. While we are justifiably proud of our ability to attract established partner talent, we recognise that our long-term sustainability as a leading adviser to sophisticated capital clients requires excellence at every level. We are committed to attracting, nurturing and growing the very best associates.

“Our new hires bring valuable UK and international experience in corporate, antitrust, leveraged, export credit, trade and asset-backed finance, financial services and capital markets, honed at some of the biggest and best law firms in the world. They will work alongside our market-leading partners and advisers to ensure our clients get top-level service across legal, legislative and political advisory, and capital services.”

Continued

Launched in 2019, Avonhurst is dedicated to meeting the changing needs of sophisticated capital by providing a bespoke offering comprising legal advisory, political strategy and capital services. A group of market-leading founders and influencers from the legal world have created a revolutionary advisory business dedicated to helping funds, capital providers, corporate borrowers and issuers, and secured lenders, navigate the complexities of ever-changing markets.