O’Melveny breathes new life into London strategy

O’Melveny & Myers is kickstarting its UK office by appointing a founder of SJ Berwin’s private equity group as London managing partner.

Matthew Hudson, who left SJ Berwin in 1998, will be joined at O’Melveny’s London office by his former colleague from the firm John Daghlian, a highly-rated private equity funds partner.

The appointments signal a continuation of O’Melveny’s US strategy to strengthen

its private equity practice following the merger with O’Sullivan, which was finalised in 2002.

Talking exclusively to The Lawyer, O’Melveny chairman Arthur Culvahouse said: “It became clear in 2000 that we had to build out private equity in New York. We already had a practice in California and good clients in New York. After we got New York right, London became an extension of that.”

With the two new arrivals, who join as equity partners, O’Melveny will have four partners in London. Over the past four years, three partners have left, including Christo-pher Hall, who departed for KPNQwest and who is now at Latham & Watkins.

He was followed by banking partner Christopher Kandel, who went to Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson and who now practises at Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft, while restructuring partner Adrian Harris left for Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe’s London office.

Hudson brings extensive experience to O’Melveny’s London office, having worked at Credit Suisse First Boston, Cabot Square Capital and his own venture capital group Far Blue.

Daghlian, primarily a funds expert, boasts transactional knowledge and an impressive client list, including Apax Partners, Bridgepoint and former Nomura star Guy Hands, who he advised on the setting up of Terra Firma Capital Partners.

With O’Sullivan, the firm has close links to the likes of Apollo Management, although Hudson said the London office will act for a number of European private equity houses.