Out with the old

Lovells seems to have won the favour of Middle East private equity house Abraaj Capital. The group’s general counsel Tom Speechly appears to be neglecting his former firm but one Norton Rose. Where once Abraaj appeared to be wedded to Speechly’s alma mater, the likes of Lovells and Clifford Chance seemed to have muscled in.

In June this year Clifford Chance’s Simon Clinton led the team advising on Abraaj’s acquisition of Egyptian Fertiliser Company (EFG), while Rahail Ali at Lovells scooped the role advising on EFG’s recent £424m refinancing.

It seems the private equity house is playing the field to see what other Middle East practices have to offer.

Since Speechly’s days at the firm (and he did have a spell at Macfarlanes in between) Norton Rose has lost a series of Middle East partners. But the firm recently flew out partner Campbell Steadman to shake things up in Dubai. Perhaps Steadman’s private equity background may make Speechly give his former firm another look.