Ashurst’s Lloyd set to join Allen & Overy

Ashurst’s former global corporate head Stephen Lloyd is set to join Allen & Overy (A&O) as co-head of its private equity sector group.

He will head the sector alongside the firm’s global leverage finance chief Tim Polglase and corporate partner Karine Kodde, who are based in London and Amsterdam respectively.

The move will cement ties between A&O and private equity firm Apax, one of Lloyd’s major clients. Former A&O global co-head of private equity Derek Baird was one of the firm’s key relationship partners for the firm before leaving for Simpson Thacher in November 2012 (8 November 2012).

A source close to A&O said: “Since Derek Baird left they’ve had a real need for a private equity partner. There was a big hole that needed to be filled.”

A&O is thought to have been in talks with a number of private equity big-hitters over the past year, including Mark Soundy who instead opted to join Shearman & Sterling from Weil Gotshal & Manges in May (15 May 2013).

The firm’s global corporate co-head Andrew Ballheimer said: ”Stephen is the perfect complement to our existing leveraged finance and high yield expertise and to our global corporate finance practice as a whole. The timing of Stephen’s hire couldn’t be better given the pent up demand in the private equity market that is driving increasing levels of activity.”

Recent A&O private equity deals include work for OMERS and AIMCO on their £935m acquisition of Vue Cinemas from Doughty Hanson (10 June 2013), and Advent on its $1.6bn public takeover of Dutch business software company Unit4.

Lloyd handed his resignation at Ashurst last month, and is also thought to have held talks with a number of US firms including Latham & Watkins and Simpson Thacher. 

Earlier this week, Ashurst selected Simon Beddow to co-head its corporate, commercial and competition division (CCC) alongside Sydney-based Phil Breden (9 December 2013).

As part of the move, the firm has scrapped its global corporate head role – formerly held by Lloyd – which was created in July 2010 as part of a corporate management structure revamp.

In order to take up his new position, Beddow has been forced to stand down from his position on the firm’s new post-merger board – onto which he was elected just last month. Elections for a replacement will take place in due course, and his successor will come from the legacy Ashurst side of the business.