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He may be aggressive. He may be abrupt. He may even, on occasion, be a little bit rude. But when you are as good as Tony Keal, you can get away with it.
One of the doyens of the leveraged finance business, Keal built up Allen & Overy’s lender practice from nowhere in the 1990s before turning his attention to borrower work.
Certainly, sponsors have appreciated his no-nonsense approach – notably US private equity giant KKR. Keal prised away the financing work from Clifford Chance several years ago and has hung on to it tenaciously, despite Simpson Thacher & Bartlett’s recruitment of UK capability.
Last year was no exception. Keal acted on a slew of European deals for KKR, including some key German transactions, such as the e1.45bn (£1bn) acquisition of ATU AutoTeile Unger Group from Doughty Hanson. One of a kind.