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It is thought that Hg initiated the panel review in response to relationship partner Richard Youle leaving Linklaters for White & Case last October (17 October 2013).
At his former firm, Youle was Hg’s go-to adviser since advising on its £322m buyout of Paragon Healthcare Group from Duke Street Capital in 2006. More recently, he advised the private equity giant on the buyouts of Team System, Manx Telecom, and Iris Software Group.
Sources close to Hg expressed little surprise that the client adding White & Case to its panel following Youle’s move. It is understood that former Linklaters’ private equity duo Richard Youle and Ian Bagshaw moved to White & Case with a team of up to 11 associates from their former firm.
One partner close to the review said: “Richard has known Hg for a long time. He moved and was keen to hold on to the business, and Hg thought it should look at the panel to ensure the right people are on it.”
It is thought that Shearman & Sterling was also invited to pitch for the panel, but failed to win a spot. The private equity house has a relationship with the firm’s recent private equity hire Mark Soundy, who joined its ranks from Weil last May. At his former firm, Soundy forged a relationship with Hg via its HgCapital Mercury fund – a smaller TMT focused buyout fund.
Last month, Linklaters advised on its first deal for HgCapital since Youle’s exit from the firm – the strategic exit from its investment in Manx Telecom by way of an IPO and Aim listing. Linklaters also took a lead role on the telecom operator’s debt refinancing.
The Linklaters team was led by private equity partner Alex Woodward, corporate partner Iain Wagstaff and banking partner Adam Freeman.
HgCapital has also been known to instruct Clifford Chance on European deals, usually led by corporate partners Oliver Felsenstein in Frankfurt and Burc Hesse in Munich. Norton Rose Fulbright, Mishcon de Reya, Proskauer Rose and legacy SJ Berwin have also advised the sponsor in recent years.