Travers’ PE head Sanderson bids goodbye for Ropes

It’s another private equity goodbye for Travers Smith and this time it really is a big one, with group head Phil Sanderson heading off to Ropes & Gray in what is a major coup for the US firm.

Travers is likely to be more than a little shocked. Exits from its prestigious team are generally rare but this is the second in a year, following leveraged finance partner Ben Davis’ exit to Reed Smith in February.

Why Ropes? The firm has been scouting for a big private equity name for about five years. It is said to have tried wooing the former Linklaters pair Ian Bagshaw and Richard Youle four years ago. According to London head Mike Goetz, firms like Linklaters should watch out. UK firms are finding it hard to compete with US rivals, particularly on financing PE deals, Goetz says.

And there’s plenty of evidence to back up Goetz’s argument. White & Case lured away Bagshaw and Youle while Simpson Thacher recently snatched back Gil Strauss after a spell at Freshfields and Weil Gotshal.

It appears the dollar is up on the pound in one way at least.

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