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Simpson Thacher & Bartlett acquisition finance veteran Tony Keal is retiring at the end of this calendar year, with the firm nominating recently promoted partner Ian Barratt to take over the key Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) relationship in London.
Although KKR is a longstanding institutional client of Simpson Thacher, Keal forged a strong individual relationship with the private equity house prior to joining the firm and has dominated KKR’s financing work for well over a decade. His move from Allen & Overy in 2005 brought that work back to the US firm’s London office.
Barratt trained at Wilde Sapte (now Denton Wilde Sapte) and spent two years at Clifford Chance before moving to Simpson Thacher in 2003 as a junior assistant.
He has worked closely with the private equity house for five years and was the lead associate working with Keal on KKR’s £10.6bn take-private of Alliance Boots in 2007. Other deals for KKR include advising on the financing of last year’s £1.2bn acquisition of Northgate Information Solutions.
A source close to Simpson Thacher said: “Ian’s definitely ready and has learnt at the feet of Tony. It will be an easy and smooth transition.”
Keal, who is understood not to be taking full retirement, is currently in discussions with the firm over the precise role he will play after Christmas.