Kirkland & Ellis wins legal work for Deutsche Bank spin-off MidOcean

Kirkland & Ellis has emerged as the frontrunner to become the main legal adviser to newly-formed transatlantic private equity house MidOcean Partners, after advising the management on its $1.6bn (£1bn) spin-off from parent Deutsche Bank.

MidOcean is the result of the management buyout of 80 per cent of DB Capital, Deutsche's private equity arm, led by New York-based DB Capital chief executive Ted Virtue and European chair Graham Clempson.

Much of Kirkland's position as frontrunner for MidOcean's legal work hinges on the relationship between Virtue and Clempson and Washington partner George Stamas.

Stamas, who was on the DB Capital advisory board, led the deal for MidOcean, which will be based in New York and London, despite the fact that he works in Kirkland's Washington office and the US legal work was completed under New York law.

Stamas will transfer his position on the DB Capital advisory board, a non-executive position, to MidOcean, he told The Lawyer.

The Lawyer understands that Stamas had to ask Deutsche for permission to advise Virtue and Clempson because of his strong relationship with DB Capital and the parent bank. Stamas is also a former vice chairman of Deutsche investment banking division Deutsche Banc Alex Brown.

Deutsche Bank used Allen & Overy in London, led by partner Nick Gibbon and White & Case partners Tim Goodell and Kevin Barnard in New York.

The Lawyer understands that A&O's new full service New York office did not put itself forward for the deal as Deutsche Bank instead instructed A&O London and White & Case New York directly.

Gibbon said he hoped that A&O would be in the running for MidOcean's London work.

“We have worked extensively with DB Capital in the past and also have good relationships with the former management,” he said.

This deal was part of a double whammy for A&O's London office. The firm also acted for Deutsche on the disposal of investments owned by its other private equity captive Morgan Grenfell Equity Parters to Vision Capital, announced on the same day as the MidOcean deal.

A&O London partner Jeremy Hunt represented Deutsche on the Morgan Grenfell disposals.

Morgan Grenfell was advised by Macfarlanes funds specialist Bridget Barker, who also represented HSBC private equity when it was spun off from its banking parent last year.

Vision, which bought the Morgan Grenfell assets, used SJ Berwin partners Mark Mifsud and Graham Nicholson.