Second Chance?

As we reported in last week’s issue, lawyers were predicting a return to form – albeit a muted form – for the private equity market (see feature).

Now, advised by Weil Gotshal, Advent International has made a tentative return to the market with its £190m acquisition of pension and employment benefit group Xafinity from Duke Street Capital (see story); KKR has tested the water by snapping up Pets at Home for £955m under advice from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett (see story); and Permira and Apax are planning to offload fashion retailer New Look via an IPO (see story).

Clifford Chance, which has been in the wilderness almost as long as its private equity cousins, has been closely associated with most of these deals so far.

Okay, so its involvement in KKR’s buyout was that it didn’t get instructed, and it doesn’t have the main corporate role on New Look’s IPO, but at least the firm’s getting some instructions. Its role on Intermediate Capital’s investment in CPA Global is a case in point (see story).

Could the time be ripe for the magic circle firm to finally relocate its lost mojo? If so, we’ve identified the people who could help it do just that (see column).

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Also on TheLawyer.com: There’s movement galore at US firms with Cleary losing two partners; White & Casesaying goodbye to 12 and Greenberg Traurig Maher welcoming one. White & Case has also revealed its financial figures for 2009 – find out how it fared here.