Firms converge on rich private equity sector

The former Lovells private equity team has had a bumper month. Marco Comapagnoni, who is now at Weil Gotshal & Manges, has handled his first deal for HG Capital since scooping a place on the UK private equity house’s legal panel. HG Capital is backing the management buyout of UK recruitment and staffing services company SHL Group. Surrey 4, the acquisition vehicle formed by the management of SHL, has agreed to buy the company for 180p a share, which values the business as £99.95m.

Barlow Lyde & Gilbert advised the target, Eversheds acted for the management and Clifford Chance acted for the banks. As first reported by The Lawyer (17 July), HG Capital replaced longstanding adviser Lovells with Weil and Clifford Chance following a shake-up of its legal panel.

Linklaters, which also suffered losses in its private equity practice in the form of partners Graham White and Raymond McKeeve, retained its position on the panel.

Meanwhile, Allen & Overy (A&O) private equity partner Derek Baird has won his first instruction from Advent International since his arrival from Lovells earlier this year. Baird is leading the team advising on the £137m sale of financial public relations agency Financial Dynamics to US financial consultancy services provider FTI Consulting. Clifford Chance is advising FTI, while Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw is acting for Financial Dynamics’ senior management.

Baird has already closed a deal for Charterhouse since joining A&O. Within three weeks of joining the magic circle firm he completed a follow-on deal, involving the disposal of baby product manufacturer Avent to Royal Philips Electronics for Charterhouse.