Herbert Smith has launched an assault on the private equity market
The firm, which does not have a private equity following that matches the rest of its corporate practice, has committed itself to an aggressive poaching policy to build up business in this area. The Lawyer understands that a whole clutch of top private equity lawyers, including Travers Smith Braithwaite head of private equity Chris Hale and at least three of his partners, have had calls from Herbert Smith or its headhunters. "Our M&A capabilities are beyond doubt. We need to build up our private equity credentials and show we're capable of doing M&A work that is more unique to private equity," said Herbert Smith corporate partner Philip Talboys. The last headline private equity deal Herbert Smith undertook was in 1998 when it worked for Blackstone Group on its £520m acquisition of the Savoy Group of hotels, together with Colony Capital. Herbert Smith is not the only City firm to make a push into private equity recently, but history shows that it may have to be patient. Linklaters has just completed its first notable deal, for CVC Capital Partners, after a year-long campaign to force its way into the sector (The Lawyer, 19 August).