Slaughters, Hengeler, Davis Polk in joint push on European private equity
Slaughter and May is getting closer to its two 'best friends' firms by developing a tripartite set of documents with Hengeler Mueller and Davis Polk & Wardwell. The firm is working with its best friends in Germany and Silicon Valley to produce documentation in a form similar to that used by West Coast investors so that it can be replicated in Europe. London-based corporate partner Jeff Twentyman said the three firms had identified the need for better documentation. He said: "It is a response to the fact that last year all three of our firms had some difficulties with people thinking that the way in which they structure deals in the US was readily exportable to Europe and that's not always true." The new documentation will be used in part to market to US private equity houses, many of which have been referred to the City firm by Davis Polk. Twentyman said: "There are cultural and legal differences between Europe and the US. So the project was to see in abstract, without the pressures of doing a deal, how we could get close to replicating something of how they like to do things over there as opposed to the UK and German model. "We are making it available to investment houses which are setting up over here, giving it to the sort of investment banks that have a sponsorship role and trying to use it to educate our own lawyers and investment houses." He described the move as further example of the close way the firm works with its best friends now. He added that they had been considering extending the project to Spain and Italy. The other European members of the firm's best friend alliance network include Spain's Uría & Menéndez, France's Bredin Prat and Italy's Bonelli Erede Pappalardo. The firm has also just closed a deal for easyRentacar, the car rental company run by EasyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou. Partner Elizabeth Holden led the £26m private equity financing deal, the first Slaughter and May has carried out for the client. EasyJet has in the past used Denton Wilde Sapte and, for its flotation, Norton Rose.