Linklaters adds to spurt of laterals with Lovells leveraged finance specialist

Freeman for its leveraged finance team. The magic circle firm has been on a leveraged buyout (LBO) roll of late, all thanks to its merry band of laterals: Nick Syson from Wilde Sapte, Gideon Moore from DLA, Stephen Lucas from Clifford Chance and now Freeman from Lovells.

Linklaters adds to spurt of laterals with Lovells leveraged finance specialist” />Linklaters is rightly cock-a-hoop at landing Lovells golden boy Adam Freeman for its leveraged finance team. The magic circle firm has been on a leveraged buyout (LBO) roll of late, all thanks to its merry band of laterals: Nick Syson from Wilde Sapte, Gideon Moore from DLA, Stephen Lucas from Clifford Chance and now Freeman from Lovells.

Freeman’s arrival date is uncertain, but when he does turn up he’ll be able to tap into a growing practice. Linklaters advised the JPMorgan team that won the €1.85bn (£1.29bn) VNU deal which closed last month and it has a deal list that includes most of the major lenders in the City.

On leveraged finance work at least, Linklaters has a good claim to being Barclays Capital’s (BarCap) second choice law firm at the moment, displacing Allen & Overy. Linklaters has a historical institutional relationship with Barclays, but Syson’s long-term contacts at BarCap – notably transaction management head Paul Sims – have certainly helped. Linklaters advised on the $1.3bn (£70m) debt financing of Inmarsat and the €155m (£107.9m) financing of Rodenstock – both Permira deals.

For Freeman, whose experience of Barclays’ debt finance work has been confined to mid-market deals, it will be a step up.

The intriguing question is this: where are all Linklaters’ home-grown LBO partners? Not in London, that’s for sure. Linklaters tends to send its organically-reared partners abroad – Nathalie Hobbs in Paris and John Stansfield in Frankfurt being perfect examples. Perhaps laterals would be off-message abroad; the Silk Street philosophy seems to be that home-grown partners might be more effective at communicating the culture.

Over at Lovells, meanwhile, there’s speculation as to whether Matthew Cottis’s team will promote to replace Freeman. It’s too late for this year’s round of partnership appointments, but at the moment the smart money is on Gary Hamp and Mark Donald for future preferment.