Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP (Europe)

The Scoop

A powerhouse in restructuring, private equity and litigation, Weil, Gotshal & Manges has long been one of the world's leading law firms, with a world-class bankruptcy practice that focuses on international and complex cases.

New York and beyond

Weil Gotshal was founded in New York in 1931 and now has more than 1,200 lawyers scattered throughout Europe, the United States, Asia and the Middle East. With more than half of its 20 offices based overseas, the firm has a tradition of jumping on expansion opportunities-such as heading off to Warsaw shortly after the fall of the Iron Curtain. Recent additions to the real estate portfolio include offices in Munich, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing and Dubai. The growth has only spurred the firm's successes, as it continues to be one of the highest-grossing law firms in the world, with global revenues regularly topping the $1 billion mark.

Weil fields one of the most respected and effective restructuring departments in the world. The firm has enjoyed a prominent role in the largest insolvencies in history, which include General Motors, Washington Mutual and the linchpin of the financial meltdown: Lehman Brothers.

Large in London

Housing more than 100 lawyers, the majority of whom are UK-qualified, Weil's London office is the firm's largest outside the US and the second-largest after New York. Despite its relative youth (the office opened in 1996), it has already made its mark. The office, one of whose stated goals is "to be the leading private equity law firm in London and Europe", routinely does work for high-profile clients and benefits from the balance of a strong restructuring practice. The firm acted for private equity house Terra Firma in connection with the £3.2 billion transaction that took EMI, one of world's largest music publishing groups, private. The firm also advised Kinder Morgan management on its $23 billion privatisation in 2007, at the time the largest management-led buyout in US history and the largest LBO of any kind since RJR Nabisco in 1989.

Known for its work on the debtor side of transactions, the global restructuring practice works as a team from the London, Paris and Frankfurt offices primarily, representing clients in cross-border transactions. The firm, for example, has represented Lion Capital in the £1.1 billion buyout of FoodVest (owner of Youngs Seafood and Findus) and advised Icelandic bank Kaupthing on its restructuring.

Restructured thinking

As one of the first top firms to restructure its operations in the wake of the market downturn back in late 2008, Weil Gotshal counterbalanced the general lack of structured finance work by merging its London banking and securitisation practices, under the logic that skill sets required for both practices are similar. The firm continues to develop its financial institution client base and derivatives and prime brokerage practice from within the new group.

Recent News

Adventures with Advent

Clients of Weil Gotshal's London-based private equity group include Fidelity Equity Partners, CCMP, Teachers Private Capital, Triton Partners and Argan Capital. In early 2011, the firm completed two transactions on behalf of Advent International, advising Advent on its £200 million investment in Towergate Partnership, the largest independently owned insurance intermediary in Europe, and on its acquisition of the Priory Group, a UK-based mental health service provider, for £925 million. Several months earlier, Weil had advised private equity houses Advent International and Bain Capital in their £2 billion acquisition of a 80.1 per cent stake in the credit-card arm of Royal Bank of Scotland. The sale values the unit, RBS WorldPay-also known as Global Merchant Services-at £2.03 billion, including debt.

Consultancy changes hands

Weil advised Environmental Resources Management, one of the largest environmental consultancies in the world, in connection with a management buyout announced in May 2011 through which British private equity firm Bridgepoint Capital will sell a 65 per cent stake in ERM to Charterhouse Capital Partners. ERM partners will hold the remaining 35 per cent. The deal, which is subject to the approval of ERM's 440 partners, values ERM at $950 million. Weil had been involved in a previous ERM sale, when long-time client Bridgepoint purchased a majority stake from 3i Group in 2005.

Big pharma buyout

In February 2011, Weil advised French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis on its $20.1 billion hostile takeover of Boston-based biotech company Genzyme, the second-largest acquisition in biotech history. The merger drew on lawyers from Weil's London, New York, Paris, Boston, Dallas and Washington DC offices. The deal will be worth an additional $2.7 billion if drugs used to treat multiple sclerosis and two rare diseases meet certain sales goals, overcoming a slowdown in production following a viral contamination at Genzyme's plant in 2009. Weil has also done antitrust work for Sanofi, advising on an abandoned plan for an animal health joint venture with Merck in 2010.

Welcoming with open arms

In June 2011, Weil launched a new European private equity fund formation group, thanks to the addition of a four-partner team from Clifford Chance. The influx of partners from what one commentator has referred to as a "marquee practice" at the Magic Circle firm represents a nice coup for Weil's City office. Earlier in the year, the firm raided another City practice when it lured Jones Day's London head of restructuring, Adam Plainer, to lead Weil's own restructuring team in London.

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Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP (Europe)


One South Place
London EC2M 2WG
Phone: +44 (0)20 7903 1000
www.weil.com

STATS


  • Employer Type: Private
  • London Managing Partner: Michael Francies
  • Total No. Attorneys 2011: 1,200

Major Office Locations

  • Shanghai, China
  • Beijing, China
  • Silicon Valley, CA
  • Wilmington, DE
  • Washington, DC
  • Miami, FL
  • Boston, MA
  • New York, NY
  • Providence, RI
  • Dallas, TX
  • Houston, TX
  • Warsaw, Poland
  • Prague, Poland
  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Paris, France
  • Munich, Germany
  • Frankfurt, Germany
  • Budapest, Honduras
  • Hong Kong, Hong Kong
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