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Dewey Ballantine loses M&A star; US-qualified partner to strengthen investment bank relationships
Clifford Chance Rogers & Wells is the latest international firm to be successful in its search to recruit a US-qualified mergers and acquisitions partner as it takes on Richard Pritz from Dewey Ballantine. Pritz will strengthen the firm's corporate department and will focus on public M&A transactions. According to Clifford Chance's head of M&A for the Americas Steve Hobbs, the firm's New York M&A practice is trying to build up its ranks. "Our strategy is to be ranked within the top eight firms for M&A in New York in the next three years," he said. However, this objective is optimistic given that the firm is currently ranked at 20. Pritz is known for his relationship with the investment banks, in particular Merrill Lynch and Schroder Salomon Smith & Barney. According to Hobbs, he also has good relationships with a number of corporates.
"Our strategy is to be ranked within the top eight firms for M&A in New York in the next three years" Steve Hobbs, Clifford Chance
In 1999 he advised MedImmune on its acquisition of US Biosciences. In 2000 he advised Harmon Industries on its acquisition by GE Transportation Systems. And in 2001 he advised a special committee at Mikasa on its acquisition by Durand Industries. Hobbs claims that Pritz's practice is split equally between banks and corporates, while other sources suggest that most of Dewey Ballantine's M&A work is for adviser banks. The new hire will in-crease the number of partners in the M&A department to 20. Before Pritz, the last partner to be hired laterally into the global corporate practice was private equity partner Kevin O'Mara, who joined the firm from the New York office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in October 2000, bringing with him relationships with Hicks Muse Tate & Furst and Aventis. Last year, Allen & Overy launched a US M&A practice, hiring senior M&A partner Dan Cunningham from Cravath Swaine & Moore and M&A partners David Frauman and Kenneth Coleman from Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft.