Debevoise results confirm blockbuster year

Debevoise & Plimpton has smashed the market average for US firms’ 2007 financial results, posting increases of 23.4 per cent and 27 per cent respectively for revenue and average profit.

Figures provided by the firm today (Wednesday 5 March) showed firmwide gross fee income rose from $575m (£287.4m) in 2006 to $709.5m (£354.6m) in 2007.

Average profit per equity partner grew even more significantly, up from $1.805m (£902,000) to $2.289m (£1.14m) last year. The biggest increase however was in net profit, which grew 31.5 per cent from $238.5m (£119.2m) to $313.7m (£156.8m).

A Debevoise partner argued that the firm’s figures were not astonishing but a reflection of the continuing development of the practice over several years.

“The astonishing part, if there is one, is that all aspects of our practices, across all offices, had strong performances,” the partner added. “The markets were very strong and we were well placed across all our practices and offices to respond to those opportunities.”

Debevoise is known for having one of the leading M&A and private equity practices in the US, with longstanding clients such as Clayton Dubilier & Rice (CDR) ensuring a steady flow of deals.

Last year, and the first half in particularly, was clearly an outstanding example of this. The firm’ highlights included advising Bain, Carlyle and CDR on the $8.5bn (£4.24bn) acquisition of HD Supply from Home Depot; CDR in its $5.5bn (£2.75bn) acquisition of ServiceMaster, and a consortium of investors including CAI Capital Partners and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners on the $3.3bn (£1.65bn) acquisition of CCS Income Trust.

Debevoise also picked up a role advising the supervisory board of ABN Amro on its £50.2bn acquisition by Royal Bank of Scotland as well as the associated $21bn (£10.5bn) sale of its LaSalle subsidiary to Bank of America. Debevoise’s M&A team also advised Phelps Dodge on its $26bn (12.9bn) merger with Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, a deal that created the world’s largest publicly traded copper company.

The Debevoise partner admitted that while the firm’s 2008 M&A pipeline had slowed, other parts of the practice including capital raising and private equity fund formation, remained “very busy”.