Shearman & Sterling LLP (Europe)

  • Overview

THE SCOOP

Shearman & Sterling is one of the world's premier law firms, serving the domestic and cross-border needs of an impressive roster of clients.  With more than 900 lawyers in 19 offices across the United States, Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, the firm has an enviable blend of prestige, prowess and reach.  In 2009, the firm was named "Most Innovative US Law Firm" at the International Financial Law Review's European awards.

First in queue

The firm's London office-the centre of its European presence-has been in existence since 1972 and has advised on many of the largest transactions in the London market, including most of the UK privatisations.  Working closely with offices in the Americas, continental Europe, the Middle East and Asia, Shearman's London lawyers are known for advising clients on complex corporate transactions such as the first public takeover in India by a UK public company, the recent acquisition of Scandent Holdings Mauritius Ltd in a £94.4 million acquisition deal that involved UK-based Xchanging plc and Bangalore-based IT services provider Cambridge Solutions.  In another first, March 2009 saw Shearman advising the underwriters in HSBC's £12.5 billion SEC registered rights offering-the largest-ever UK rights offering funded by private investors.

Shearman prides itself on an entrepreneurial spirit, which is evidenced in its roots.  Soon after the firm's birth more than 130 years ago, it began forging relationships with Wall Street's most commanding companies and personalities as well as international powerhouses.  Shearman, for instance, participated in the first US listing of a German company-Daimler Benz AG-on the New York Stock Exchange.  Known for its extensive domestic and global M&A, other well-regarded divisions include technology, telecoms and private equity.  Shearman also does its share of litigation and is well known for its international arbitration practice.  Established in 1987 by Emmanuel Gaillard, chairman and founder of the International Arbitration Institute, Shearman's arbitration team includes 70 specialised lawyers from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds who operate from offices in Beijing, Frankfurt, London, New York, Paris, Singapore and Washington DC.

Merging continents

Consistent with both the growth of emerging markets and the firm's focus on transactional work, many of Shearman's notable recent M&A accomplishments have centred on overseas endeavours.  Its London lawyers took a lead role in one of the largest leveraged buyouts of 2008, the £664 million ($800 million) acquisition of N&W Global Vending by long-term Sherman client Investcorp and Barclays Private Equity.  Shearman's London office also recently represented Dow Chemical in connection with its $17.4 billion joint venture with Petrochemical Industries Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, and advised a group of Abu Dhabi investors on a £3.25 billion investment deal as part of an approximately £7 billion Barclays capital raising that closed in November 2008.  The firm's Middle Eastern practice has also been in growth mode.  Shearman announced that several partners and associates in the firm's London, Paris, New York and Rome offices will be relocating to the Abu Dhabi office over the next year, including London property partner Ian Nisse.  Between the transfers and lateral hires, the firm expects to double the size of the office, from 16 lawyers to 30.

The firm's São Paulo office, opened in 2004, has already proved its worth, greasing the $3.7 billion IPO of the Bovespa stock exchange-the largest Brazilian IPO ever; Shearman's efforts on the offering attracted a "Deal of the Year" nod from Latin Lawyer.  Meanwhile, a half-planet away, Shearman garnered similar praise from Finance Asia for advising on India's largest-ever leveraged buyout, in which Tata Steel acquired client Corus Group for £6.7 billion.  And in 2007, the firm represented Absa Capital and Barclays Capital in the grandest leveraged financing deal ever realised in Africa when the banks led a syndicate including Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and ABN for the funding of Bain Capital's ZAR 26 billion acquisition of Edgars Consolidated Stores.Global politics, inside and out

Shearman's global reach extends to a concern with global politics.  In December 2008, the firm issued a report outlining the extent of worldwide corruption, noting that 91 corporations found themselves the target of governmental investigations into political corruption.  

Shearman is no stranger either to the economic slump and redundancy efforts that have plagued US-based firms.  In March 2009, it cut salaries for newly qualified lawyers in London and froze salaries for other associates and trainees in the UK, Asia and the Middle East, and it also eliminated 18 staff positions in London as part of a global staff reduction plan.  The moves are no surprise, considering the London office's relatively poor showing in 2008-a reported 14.2 per cent drop in revenue to $113.8 million (£78.07 million), from $132.6 million (£94.6 million) in 2007.  Firmwide, the firm reported that global revenue had dropped by 4.9 per cent to $876 million in 2008 and average profit per equity partner had slipped 9.6 per cent to $1.665 million.  Still, it's worth keeping those figures in context:  According to Senior Partner Rohan Weerasinghe, "It was the second-best year in the firm's history."

Taking the driver's seat

In October 2008, Creighton Condon, one of the firm's leading M&A partners in New York, was appointed the new European managing partner, with a mandate to reinvigorate the corporate group and especially its M&A practice.  As reported in The Lawyer in April 2009, Condon declared, "We're looking to build up corporate globally with a special focus on M&A."  (Which is a more positive spin than Senior Partner Weerasinghe put on Condon's new job: "Whip-cracking is part of the managing partner's role," he told The Lawyer.)

Indeed, since the start of 2009, the firm has grabbed lead roles in a number of large-scale transactions, including acting for Morgan Stanley as underwriter on the $41 billion acquisition of Schering-Plough by pharmaceutical giant Merck, and advising Swiss company Novartis on the $1.2 billion acquisition of the generic cancer drug business of Austria-based EBEWE Pharma.  Shearman is also cashing in on the collapse of America's major auto manufacturers.  The firm advised deal managers Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley on the restructuring of Ford Motor Company's debt.  Shearman also represents several creditors and suppliers in connection with the restructuring of the European arm of General Motors, which filed for bankruptcy in the US in June 2009.  In addition, the firm is advising Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co in connection with the proposed acquisition of GM's Hummer business.

 

 

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Shearman & Sterling LLP (Europe)


Broadgate West
9 Appold Street
EC2A 2AP
Phone: +44 (0)207 655 5000
www.shearman.com

STATS


  • Employer Type: Private
  • London Managing Partner: Anthony J. Ward
  • Total No. Attorneys 2009: 900

Major Office Locations

  • Brussels, Belgium
  • Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Toronto, Canada
  • Shanghai, China
  • Beijing, China
  • Menlo Park, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Washington, DC
  • New York, NY
  • Singapore, Singapore
  • Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Paris, France
  • Munich, Germany
  • Frankfurt, Germany
  • Dusseldorf, Germany
  • Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • Rome, Italy
  • Tokyo, Japan
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