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Apax has also been targeted by Slaughter and May, which has been making a concerted effort to win more private equity work. Just last week a team of four Slaughters partners gave a presentation at Apax’s London office.
The private equity house has been contemplating the move since it teamed up with US counterpart Hicks Muse Tate & Furst on the £2.1bn buyout of Yell in 2001.
During the transaction, Hicks Muse was represented by longtime adviser Weil Gotshal & Manges, while Travers acted for Apax.
Stephen Green, head of the financial services industry group and a director in the leverage transaction group at Apax, told The Lawyer: “Many US firms have a preferred supplier relationship and we’ve come across this in the past.”
Apax uses a myriad of firms here and in Europe – in the UK Ashursts, Clifford Chance and Travers handle the lion’s share of the work.
In Germany, Freshfields and Baker & McKenzie count Apax as a client, while SJ Berwin is Apax’s house law firm for fund formation work.
In the past, Apax has used other firms, including A&O, Weil Gotshal and Lovells.
Green said: “We’ve been very widespread with our favours.” Although Green said the idea of a legal panel is in the early stages, Apax is already setting up a formal list of accountancy firms which have already been asked to tender.